Friday, April 30, 2010

The new Immigration law/debacle in Arizona

My readers know that my parents are immigrants - first generation to England after the emancipation of Jamaica, a former British colony. Many great countries are built on the backs of their hardworking immigrants - taking jobs that most Americans or even Europeans, for that matter - don't want to do.

Years ago, whilst working in preparation for the Olympics of 2002 in Salt Lake City, Utah - I recall vividly a raid on airport workers - they rounded up nursing mothers - separating them from their not-yet-weaned babies - I watched them put them all into paddy wagons or vans designated to harbor the disenfranchised.

I fielded many phone calls from disgruntled residents - many of whom wanted to know how they could apply for those jobs that had been "taken from them" by these undocumented workers. Turns out they didn't really want to work for barely over minimum wage - turns out they mostly wanted to vent and have some innocent bystander listen to their rantings about undocumented aliens.

The ACLU is poised to address this issue and I know they are working overtime to make sure that they are ready to meet any challenge.

I hope to be able to attend a rally supporting immigrants in New York - how thankful I am for the leadership of Mayor Mike Bloomberg who supports immigrants and recognizes the vibrancy that they bring to our lives - this is not about who cleans your hotel room or who busses your table - this is about giving opportunities to all who desire to come to America.

There has to be a humane and orderly way to do this - in the meantime - "Ihre Papiere bitte" - to which I would be tempted to reply: "Do I look illegal?"

Gordon Brown's "misstep"

It seemed like any other innocuous walkabout or knock and talk/greet the voters earlier this week. Alas, after Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown had an impromptu, albeit scheduled by his staffers, meeting with the woman who expressed her outrage about "those Eastern Europeans" wanting to move to England.......he went back to his car with his entourage and spoke candidly, mike still live - about the woman's obvious bigotry.

Later that day, the comments aired on a radio show where the Prime Minister of England was being interviewed. He was clearly not prepared for the playback on live radio.

He hurried back to the constituent's house to do some spin and damage control. He apologized profusely to the woman and seemed to make things smooth, though the woman has indicated that she will not be changing her vote back to vote for him.

His numbers are slipping in the polls - indeed, they were prior to this debacle, and now he is fighting for his political life.

Frankly speaking, I would have had more respect for him had he not apologized - the woman is clearly bigoted and does not appreciate the many immigrants who helped make Britain what it was after they emancipated the colonies - my own parents are first generation Jamaicans who came to England in the 60's and tried to make a new life.

I wish he had not apologized - it was not necessary - I believe in calling a spade a spade and even though I worked for several years as a political appointee to an elected official, I heard plenty of spin, I can only recall one occasion where I personally heard the mayor speak disparagingly of a constituent - she never knew - there was no live hidden mike.

Lessons learned....

Sandra Bullock - or how to succeed in spite of one's spouse's shenanigans in Hollywood

We were all thrilled to see Sandra receive the Best Actress Oscar for Blind Side - an amazing story of resilience, love and faith.

It would appear that Sandra was not just acting - she is either one hell of an astute women or has some handlers and PR staffers who are guiding her moves these days.

We have not seen any inappropriate tweets vis-a-vis her departing soon-to-be-former spouse, Jesse and his infidelities and other shenanigans.

Others in Hollywood would do well to watch how she is handling her grace under incredible fire - take note - Elin Woods and others.......

Governor Paterson draws a line in the sand

David Paterson is understandably fraught with worry over the state's impending deepening financial crisis - so much so, he has suggested furloughs for some 100,000 state employees. Either that, or the state will be forced to shut down, causing we New Yorkers to lose some valuable municipal and state services that we have come to take for granted.

I have lived in New York for just over 2 years and frankly have been unimpressed and inspired by many leaders and politicians. There just does not appear to be the political will to get done what needs to get done in Albany to keep the people of New York moving.

I shall be watching this closely, reporting on developments as they occur and watching along with other New Yorkers to see where this will lead us.