Monday, July 28, 2008

Conservative Affirmative Action

Lately, the question of Obama and McCain's positions on affirmative action have been making the rounds among the punditocracy. Many conservatives deplore the whole concept of affirmative action, often arguing that objective qualifications should be the basis for placements or hiring. And yet we have evidence that the Bush Justice Department was practicing its own kind of affirmative action hiring. Monica Goodling, that farce of an attorney, engaged in all kinds of affirmative action litmus tests in hiring lawyers for career staff positions at the Department of Justice. Money paragraphs from the New York Times story on the subject:

In one case, for instance, Ms. Goodling slowed the hiring of a prosecutor in the United States attorney’s office in Washington, D.C., for a vacancy because she said she was concerned that he was a “liberal Democrat.” After the United States attorney, Jeffrey Taylor, complained to her supervisors, he was allowed to hire the candidate anyway.

And in another case, colleagues said that Ms. Goodling refused to extend the appointment of a female prosecutor because she believed the lawyer was involved in a lesbian relationship with her supervisor, according to the report.

And in another case cited by the inspector general, Ms. Goodling blocked the hiring of an experienced prosecutor for a senior counter-terrorism position because his wife was active in Democratic politics. The candidate was regarded as “head and shoulders above the other candidates” in the view of officials in the executive office of United States attorneys, but they were forced to take a candidate with much less experience because he was deemed acceptable to Ms. Goodling.
Notice we're not talking about college admissions or private company hiring practices, we're talking about the U.S. Department of Justice, that government agency responsible for serving all Americans in the impartial and fair administration of justice. The blatant politicization of the DOJ by Monica Goodling under the watch of ex-Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez is stunning. The last I checked the DOJ is a branch of government, not a branch of the GOP nor of the Christian Coalition. Where's the outrage among conservatives?

Anti-Liberal Derangement

At least when folks who hate liberals go on killing sprees inside Christian churches, they're honest enough to admit it:

A man who the police say entered a Unitarian church in Knoxville during Sunday services and shot 8 people, killing two, was motivated by a hatred for liberals and homosexuals, Chief Sterling P. Owen IV of the Knoxville Police Department said Monday.
I wonder who this guy was planning to vote for in November?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Drama in the Hood: Cops and Shooters

Wow! There are about 35 police vehicles surrounding my street. A little red car is crashed on the corner of Walmsley and Pine Streets, about 50 feet from my home. Apparently this car was involved in a police chase. Apparently, after crashing the car, the driver bolted and ran into the neighborhood and began a shootout with the police. My neighborhood is cordoned off and it looks like the SWAT team, or some kind of specially trained forces are now on the scene. I think they have the person cornered, but they haven't brought him in yet. I'm here in the house alone. Good thing the family is away visiting relatives. Would hate to have them subjected to this scene. More as the situation develops ...

UPDATE: Friday, July 25, 2008: 9:51PM CST: Well, the police eventually apprehended the suspects (there were two, and not one). I saw one of them being placed into the police vehicle to be brought down to the station. Here's the Times-Picayune's story on the incident. The whole event pinned me to my home for half the day, which meant that I had to rush off to work as soon as I could and so didn't have the time nor the energy to commit to updating the story at the moment. So, I'm doing it now. I did manage to snap a picture from one of the windows in front of the house. Here it is to give you a glimpse of what I saw:

And that was just a peek out the window. You can't even see the crashed car on the street corner, which is a little to the right of what I captured in this shot. There were more than a dozen vehicles at least sweeping off to the right. And helicopters flying about, too. Needless to say, a very interesting morning. In the end, a massive, strong showing of law enforcement power. I guess that's a good thing. Now, with the exception of a bent fire hydrant, it all looks like nothing ever happened.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I'm So Glad

Im sitting in the Houston International Airport waiting for my connecting flight back to New Orleans, and I'm feeling pretty good to be back right now in the USA.

Mexico was great, but there's no place like home!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Home in 4 days

... but who's counting?!?

It's been a great ride this year in Guadalajara and other environs here in Mexico. Our group's recent trip to Mexico City was superb this year. And the weather was just fine.

One little comment about the Mexico City trip. We were all out in the Zona Rosa at a Mexican restaurant for dinner one evening and there was a mariachi band performing. It was nice. About halfway through the evening, one of the group stunned all of us. In a good way! This young woman, out of the blue, just got up, joined the mariachi band, and sang a mariachi song in Spanish. And she was great! A great voice! We had no idea!

I must say it was a great source of pride. Here we were, a big group of obvious gringos, gathering at a Mexican restaurant, and one of our fair gringas got up and showed Mexicans how it was done. The Mexicans in the restaurant were equally stunned but in very good spirits. It was a great moment for cultural solidarity. That was probably the highlight of the Mexico City trip.

Anyway ... much to do when I get back to New Orleans. I've lots of work to catch up on in the office in preparation for the upcoming academic year.

But one thing that I've decided will be one of my first tasks upon returning is to explore the possibility of either purchasing or renting an Alto Sax and then learning how to play it. I've really been brushing up on my Jazz History this summer and, though I've been thinking this for a while, the fact has finally congealed in my mind that I really want to play the Alto Sax.

I've always liked Charlie Parker, but this summer something really touched me and moved me about his music, his playing, and his contributions to Jazz. I'm just motivated by Bird to give the instrument he handled so well a go of my own. Any other Alto Sax players out there who might have some inspirational tips for me as I begin my journey into this musical venture, please don't hesitate to drop me a comment.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

It's Been A While

I haven't posted to the blog in a good while now. In part, it's because my family is here in Mexico with me and my attentions are elsewhere. But it's also largely because I have very weak wifi internet signals at the places where I am most likely to post blog entries. At the place where I am staying, I can get a very weak signal, but it comes in and out and I often have trouble connecting to Blogger's server through this connection. The other place, the school where I am teaching, has a better and stronger signal, but when I am there I am usually preparing for classes. And when my class is over, I usually don't hang around the school much because I want to get back to my family. So, the result has been some sketchy blogging.

I am now at the school and have made it a point to take a few minutes from my class preparation to make a posting.

Every year my family comes to Mexico, we try to take a picture of the family holding the Travel Section of the Times-Picayune so that we can submit this picture to the Times-Picayune for publication. So far, the Times-Picayune has not published our pictures. So, not waiting to see how the Times-Picayune decides this year, I'm going to publish our picture from this year right here on the Huckupchuck. Here are my lovelies with not one, but two, Travel sections of the Times-Picayune in front of the Teatro Degollado in the Historic Downtown District of Guadalajara:

And since I am not in the above picture as I am the picture taker, I figure I'd give you another picture of me in Guadalajara. Here I am in a place called Tlaquepaque singing with the Mariachi:

Notice the 2008 Jazz Fest T-shirt. You can take the boy out of the N'awl; but you can't ever take the N'awl out of the boy!