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Brown Babies And All That

I really can’t blame Tom Brokaw for what he said. Maybe it has more to do with how he said it. But let’s face it, he is an old white dude, and well, he did not know any better.

The thing is, that I can relate to those speaking out to the concept of brown babies not being accepted into American society because I was one of those brown babies.

So the following article says a lot about me and my own experience growing up in a somewhat Latino bicultural world.

The real question at the center of the Brokaw backlash: What does it take to be seen as American enough?

Tom Brokaw angered many Sunday when he said “Hispanics should work harder at assimilation.” (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

By Theresa Vargas

Columnist

January 30 at 3:30 PM

I was standing in line at a CVS pharmacy on a recent afternoon, waiting to pick up antibiotics for my youngest son, when a man grabbed my arm and looked at me with pleading eyes.

I knew before he even opened his mouth what he wanted. He wanted me to translate for him.

This happens to me often, and each time it does, I have the same nagging thought: I wish I spoke Spanish more fluently.

I speak Spanish, but not that type that slips easily through my ears and off my tongue because I’ve heard it my whole life.

I speak the type of Spanish that took years of studying and traveling through South America to learn, the type that even during a casual conversation in which I’m laughing with someone, I’m also forcing my brain to double-check verb conjugations.

I have long been frustrated by this. I have also long understood the reason for it: assimilation.

‘Show me your passports’: Racist rants against Spanish speakers caught on camera

A woman was shown on video Oct. 17 yelling obscenities at a family speaking Spanish at a Virginia restaurant. It isn’t the first racist rant caught on camera. (Melissa Macaya /The Washington Post)

My parents suffered because they spoke Spanish as children growing up in San Antonio in the 1940s and 1950s. My father told me recently about a day he was in middle school. He spoke English in all his classes. But outside of class, he accidentally slipped into Spanish for a moment with two other boys. “Que paso,” he had said. “What’s up?” Just two words, but a teacher heard him and my father knew what was coming next: swats with a wooden paddle.

I don’t fault my parents for later choosing to speak mostly English, with a sprinkling of Spanglish, in our home when my siblings and I were growing up. Spanish had literally brought them pain.

Other Latinos and members of other ethnic groups did the same thing. They consciously allowed parts of their heritage, whether it be traditions, language or the pronunciations of their names, to fall away in the hopes that it would help their children be considered more American than they were. It didn’t matter whether, like my parents, they had also been born in this country, worked hard every day and paid their taxes on time. Americanism, society had let them know, was about more than citizenship and contribution.

To many people, the outrage that journalist Tom Brokaw ignited when he said, “Hispanics should work harder at assimilation,” may seem overblown. Those same people would probably point out that he apologized.

[Tom Brokaw apologizes after saying ‘Hispanics should work harder at assimilation’]

For what it’s worth, I don’t think there is much more to gain from further attacking him. But I also don’t think we should wave his remarks away, as some of his supporters have tried to do, and ignore why they were hurtful to so many people — and not just to Latinos.

His comments came during a discussion on NBC’s “Meet the Press” about the border wall and the recent government shutdown. He spoke about assimilation after remarking on how he had heard from people who don’t know whether they want “brown grandbabies.”

“I also happen to believe that the Hispanics should work harder at assimilation,” he said. “That’s one of the things I’ve been saying for a long time. You know, they ought not to be just codified in their communities but make sure that all their kids are learning to speak English, and that they feel comfortable in the communities. And that’s going to take outreach on both sides, frankly.”

Days after his remarks, followed by his apology, people were still sharing their anger and hurt on social media, many defending their place in this country. That’s not because there are a lot of overly sensitive individuals. That’s because his words struck at a concern many people of color share: What does it take to be seen as American enough?

People touted their degrees and their accomplishments online, asking if that made them assimilated enough. They also spoke of what their families had given up to be seen as American. Was that sacrifice enough? Would anything be enough?

[Hispanic immigrants are assimilating just as quickly as earlier groups]

“This son of Mexican parents and five siblings speak both English and Spanish, all graduated from top universities, own their own homes and businesses, have college educated grandchildren, two of which earned doctorate degrees,” one person tweeted. “Is that assimilated enough Mr. Brokaw?”

“My late great uncle changed his Italian surname to an English version to find work in Chicago,” wrote another person. “I’d wish that on no family in America.”

“I’m a non-Spanish speaking Hispanic,” wrote a woman whose profile says she served in the military. “I grew up with 4 grandparents who spoke Spanish around us. Later on I was sad to learn they thought they were ‘protecting’ or ‘helping’ us by not teaching us Spanish. Yet growing up in So. CA, I was called ‘beaner’ & ‘wetback.’ Go figure.”

Some people have argued that Brokaw’s comment uttered any other time would have been ignored. Maybe that’s true. But we’re not in another time. We’re at a point in this country in which our president described an Indiana-born federal judge as incapable of being fair to him because he was “a Mexican.” He might as well have called him “not American.

We’re at a point in this country in which individuals and groups who have spouted hate against people of color were quick to latch onto Brokaw’s words and defend them as the truth, ignoring data that showed otherwise.

Hispanics have been found to assimilate and learn English just as quickly as other groups. The Pew Research Center released a report in 2017 that showed a growing share of Hispanics had gone to college and that “a record 35 million Hispanics ages 5 and older say they are English-proficient.”

No one is saying Latinos shouldn’t assimilate and learn English. They are saying that they have long been working hard to do so in ways they chose and in ways that were chosen for them. If you don’t see that, then you need to expand your circles.

I have no doubt that the man I helped at that CVS counter that day wished he knew English. No one moves to this country — or any country — and doesn’t want the easier life that comes with being able to better communicate. No one wants to have to rely on strangers to help them with the simplest of tasks.

That afternoon, he just wanted me to let the pharmacist know that he really needed that medicine that day.

Theresa Vargas

Theresa Vargas is a local columnist for The Washington Post. Before coming to The Post, she worked at Newsday in New York. She has degrees from Stanford University and Columbia University School of Journalism. Follow

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Language on the iPhone box — “Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China.”

Updating to include news that Foxconn the Taiwanese company that was to build that factory in Wisconsin to assemble touch screens for Apple products has been downgraded to a technical center. It was to employ over a thousand factory worker, Going forward the plans are a lesser number of engineers and other technical workers.

Of course Foxconn received a phone call from the President telling them to build the factory. We’ll see how that works?

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Workers assembling Macintosh computers at Apple’s factory in Fremont, Calif. March. 5, 1984.CreditCreditTerrence McCarthy for The New York Times

PAST TENSE

Apple Computers Used to Be Built in the U.S. It Was a Mess.

Steve Jobs tried to create a manufacturing culture in Silicon Valley. As one former Apple engineer put it, “It wasn’t great for business.”

John Markoff

By John Markoff

In 1988, when Jean-Louis Gassée took a close look at Apple’s “highly automated” Macintosh factory in Fremont, Calif., what he saw was not pretty.

Mr. Gassée, a French specialist in office automation, had just been promoted to president of Apple’s product division by John Sculley, then Apple’s chief executive, and was responsible for the company’s engineering and manufacturing work. When he first started, Mr. Gassée decided to spend two days learning how the company actually built its products by working on a factory production line.

His experience assembling a Macintosh computer display and then stuffing chips into a computer motherboard is an important part of the story behind the artful language on the iPhone box — “Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China.”

After Apple announced a large new campus in Austin, Tex. — creating as many as 15,000 jobs, none of them expected to be manufacturing — it’s worth looking at the company’s flirtation with advanced manufacturing in Silicon Valley in the 1980s. Apple’s co-founder, Steve Jobs, had an abiding fascination with the tradition of Henry Ford and the original mass manufacturing of automobiles in Detroit, as well as the high-quality domestic manufacturing capabilities of Japanese companies like Sony. But his efforts to replicate either in California were examples of his rare failures.

Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. Sept. 22, 1980.CreditTerrence McCarthy for The New York Times

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Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. Sept. 22, 1980. CreditTerrence McCarthy for The New York Times

Apple to Add $1 Billion Campus in Austin, Tex., in Broad U.S. Hiring Push

Dec. 13, 2018

 

In 1983, Mr. Jobs oversaw the construction of a state-of-the-art plant where the new Macintosh computer would be built. Reporters who toured it early on were told that the plant, located just across San Francisco Bay from Apple’s headquarters, was so advanced that factory labor would account for 2 percent of the cost of making a Macintosh.

“Steve had deep convictions about Japanese manufacturing processes,” recalled Randy Battat, who joined Apple as a young electrical engineer and oversaw the introduction of some of the company’s early portable computers. “The Japanese were heralded as wizards of manufacturing. The idea was to create a factory with just-in-time delivery of zero-defect parts. It wasn’t great for business.”

What Mr. Gassée found several years after Mr. Jobs was forced out of the company, was that the reality of manufacturing was different than the personal computer pioneer’s original dream.

“I embarrassed myself attaching a display to the computer bezel with a screwdriver,” Mr. Gassée recalled in a recent interview. At the end of his shift, Mr. Gassée grabbed a broom and swept up the parts that had fallen off the production line. “It was really shameful,” he said of the noticeably slipshod process.

Apple’s Macintosh manufacturing in California lasted just eight years. March. 5, 1984.CreditTerrence McCarthy for The New York Times

Ultimately, the Macintosh factory closed in 1992, in part because it never realized the production volume that Mr. Jobs had envisioned — such sales numbers for the Mac would only come later.

So, the story of Silicon Valley’s success turned out to be the ability of a company like Apple to devise manufacturing supply chains that stretch all the way around the globe, taking advantage of both low-cost labor and lax environmental regulations.

“We don’t have a manufacturing culture,” Mr. Gassée said of the nation’s high-technology heartland, “meaning the substrate, the schooling, the apprentices, the subcontractors.”

It took Mr. Jobs a bit longer to grasp that idea, however.

In 1990, just a mile and half from where he had built the original Mac factory, he created another $10 million one to manufacture his Next Inc. personal workstation. Like the early Macintosh, however, he was never able to make flashy jet-black Next machines in quantities to support a Silicon Valley-based assembly operation.

The Next manufacturing facility featured robotic devices, but it failed as its Apple predecessor had. Dec. 7, 1990.CreditTerrence McCarthy for The New York Times

That failure taught Mr. Jobs the lesson. He returned to Apple in 1997, and the next year, he hired Tim Cook as Apple’s senior vice president for worldwide operations. Mr. Cook had mastered the art of global manufacturing supply chains, first in IBM’s personal computer business and then at Compaq Computer.

Apple, like many companies in Silicon Valley, had begun outsourcing manufacturing early on. Not long after Silicon Valley emerged in the 1970s, labor-intensive assembly, such as the process of packaging semiconductor chips, was moved to Asia, to countries with progressively lower labor costs. That trend only accelerated as the company grew.

“When I started my career, all my flights were to Japan,” said Tony Fadell, one of the hardware designers of the iPod and iPhone at Apple. “Then all my flights went Korea, then Taiwan, then China.”

Today, Silicon Valley has retained a relatively small manufacturing work force, as electronics manufacturing has exploded globally, creating millions of jobs. The small amount of manufacturing still done in the Valley is largely done by specialized contract firms that focus on fast-turnaround prototype systems.

The challenge today is that an enormous manufacturing ecosystem is required to make products for mass markets, and that ecosystem has largely moved to mainland China, where some 450,000 people have worked at a single iPhone plant.

In the early 1990s, when Andrew Hargadon was a product designer at Apple with a portable computer called the Macintosh Powerbook Duo, the ecosystem had already moved to Asia. He worked with a complex web of suppliers.

Steve Jobs, then C.E.O. of Next, speaking during the Unix Expo at the Javits Convention Center in New York. Oct. 30, 1991.CreditRichard Drew/Associated Press Photo

“You can’t bring manufacturing back because of those webs, you would have to bring the entire community back,” said Mr. Hargadon, who is now a professor of technology management at the Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Davis.

When Mr. Jobs fell ill and had to take a leave of absence in 2009, he appointed Mr. Cook as the company’s future chief executive. It was a significant statement about the nature of Silicon Valley and what the mature computing industry there looked like. The dream of manufacturing computers at scale in California was basically abandoned.

Through the 1980s and 1990s, there were many people who predicted the manufacturing flight would mean the death of Silicon Valley.

“When I started doing research, I begun looking at the chip companies that were moving to low-cost manufacturing regions in the U.S.,” said AnnaLee Saxenian, the dean of the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of “Regional Advantage,” an early analysis of Silicon Valley’s success. “Their executives told me that Silicon Valley is going to die because it’s too expensive. I wrote my book because I was basically trying to explain why Silicon Valley was different.”

Indeed, the offshoring of manufacturing jobs didn’t kill the Valley; the region became the world’s leading industrial and software design center. But unlike Detroit’s automotive model of the mid-20th century, relatively few middle-class jobs were created, and the region is marked by a vast concentration of wealth in the upper, white-collar reaches. Hourly workers routinely commute more than 100 miles to their support-staff jobs in the Valley, $100,000 Teslas are a common sight and the median price of a home in Fremont — the former site of Mr. Jobs’s ill-fated factories — is $1.1 million.

I Love my HUAWEI smart phone

FeaturedI Love my HUAWEI smart phone

This blog is old now. My daughter has moved. We are still in central Mexico, Patzcuaro, Michoan to be exact. And, I still love my HUAWEI! I don’t really care if them Chineese are monitoring me. This is the best smart phone I’ve ever had. Politics aside, and I do mean asisde, I would get another HUAWEI if the one I had died.

Sitting at home looking a CNN reporting on hurrcane Irma. I have also been on my cell phone texting back and forth with my daughter. She is in Hileah, Florida. Irma has passed by leaving high winds and lots of water. Our conversation was cut off due to power failure. We, my wife and I, are in central Mexico, far away from loved ones. If it were not for our computing devices we would be pretty much cut off from the US.

I came to Mexico fifteen years ago, and found it to be the land of phone land lines. ATM’s had yet to arrive. There was the beginnings of cell phone communications. These were sketchy at best. But, there have been an upward evolution of communications. The bank ATM’s now speak to other ATM’s and the world! We have internet and wireless! For a long time we clung to our landlines.Preferring them over experimenting with cells. That is old school now. We have smart phones with which we can call anywhere in the United States and Canada. Don’t know any one in Canada. Who knows when we will meet someone from that area.

But let me get back on-topic. My daugher  is in midle of a serious storm! How were to stay in touch, and try to find out how she was doing? I amold fashioned. Dad said to us, if you don’t have business to get off the phone! My phone conversations tend to be brief, to the point. I don’t like to using the phone. I’ve made good use of Skype as a telephony tool. That is because I get to see the person on the other side of the conversation. This was an emergancy, and I’ve paid for international calling. What harm can it do to communicate with my daughter using my smart phone? Don’t care too much for the audio on cells but texting should work.

It was wonderful! I got across, and have been texting ever since this morming. Never a dull moment. Not being good at spelling, the spell checker on the phone works well. Not only that,  the app guesses what I am am going to type next. It works well. I can type away much faster on my cell phone than on my computer keyboard!

I love my HUAWEI smart phone!

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Introduction to Orwell’s 1984 Revisted

Revisiting an introduction to George Orwell’s 1984. It has been less than a year since Donald Trump took office. Now it is becoming clear that his actions are leading to the subversion of American institutions. All of the government agencies seem to exist for the sole purpose of restructuring themselves. DOJ is far from embracing the notion of justice for all. Supreme Court is in the process of defending the federal government instead of the people. The progress of the Civil Rights Movement has been set back and all minority rights are being trampled upon! So has Orwell’s 1984 being update for our generations?

The Trump campaign, his subsequent election, and his follow through, has many people re-reading this science fiction novel. It is my belief that this has much to do with his flipping the purpose of American institutions, such as the EPA and the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice is now under a person that fought against the Civil Rights movement. And the Environmental Protection Agency plans to deregulate most controls on the protection of the environment. So looking at an introduction to 1984 might be useful in evaluating the present situation.

Ricardo Montoya Ochoa

Introduction
George Orwell‘s 1984, like many works of literature, unmistakably carries with it literary traditions reaching back to the earliest of storytellers. Among the literary traditions that Orwell uses is the concept of utopia, which he distorts effectively for his own purposes. Utopia, or Nowhere Land, is an ideal place or society in which human beings realize a perfect existence, a place without suffering or human malady. Orwell did not originate this genre. In fact, the word utopia is taken from Sir Thomas More’s Utopia, written in 1516. The word is now used to describe any place considered to be perfect.
In 1984, Orwell creates a technologically advanced world in which fear is used as a tool for manipulating and controlling individuals who do not conform to the prevailing political orthodoxy. In his attempt to educate the reader about the consequences of certain political philosophies and the defects of human nature, Orwell manipulates and usurps the utopian tradition and creates a dystopia, a fictional setting in which life is extremely bad from deprivation, oppression, or terror. Orwell’s dystopia is a place where humans have no control over their own lives, where nearly every positive feeling is squelched, and where people live in misery, fear, and repression.
The dystopian tradition in literature is a relatively modern one and is usually a criticism of the time in which the author lives. These novels are often political statements, as was Orwell’s other dystopian novel, Animal Farm, published in 1945. By using a dystopian setting for 1984, Orwell suggests the possibility of a utopia, and then makes very clear, with each horror that takes place, the price humankind pays for “perfect” societies.
Historical Background
Orwell wrote 1984 just after World War II ended, wanting it to serve as a warning to his readers. He wanted to be certain that the kind of future presented in the novel should never come to pass, even though the practices that contribute to the development of such a state were abundantly present in Orwell’s time.
Orwell lived during a time in which tyranny was a reality in Spain, Germany, the Soviet Union, and other countries, where government kept an iron fist (or curtain) around its citizens, where there was little, if any freedom, and where hunger, forced labor, and mass execution were common.
Orwell espoused democratic socialism. In his essay, “Why I Write,” published in 1947, two years before the publication of 1984, Orwell stated that he writes, among other reasons, from the “[d]esire to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other peoples’ idea of the kind of society that they should strive after.” Orwell used his writing to express his powerful political feelings, and that fact is readily apparent in the society he creates in 1984.
The society in 1984, although fictional, mirrors the political weather of the societies that existed all around him. Orwell’s Oceania is a terrifying society reminiscent of Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union — complete repression of the human spirit, absolute governmental control of daily life, constant hunger, and the systematic “vaporization” of individuals who do not, or will not, comply with the government’s values.
Orwell despised the politics of the leaders he saw rise to power in the countries around him, and he despised what the politicians did to the people of those countries. Big Brother is certainly a fusing of both Stalin and Hitler, both real and terrifying leaders, though both on opposite sides of the philosophical spectrum. By combining traits from both the Soviet Union’s and Germany’s totalitarian states, Orwell makes clear that he is staunchly against any form of governmental totalitarianism, either from the left or the right of the political spectrum.
By making Big Brother so easily recognizable (he is physically similar to both Hitler and Stalin, all three having heavy black mustaches and charismatic speaking styles), Orwell makes sure that the reader of 1984 does not mistake his intention — to show clearly how totalitarianism negatively affects the human spirit and how it is impossible to remain freethinking under such circumstances.
The Role of the Media
Orwell spent time in Spain during the time of Franco’s Fascist military rebellion. Although he was initially pleased with what he considered to be the realization of socialism in Barcelona, he quickly saw that dream change; such a political climate could not maintain that kind of “ideal” political life. The group with which Orwell was associated was accused of being a pro-Fascist organization, a falsehood that was readily believed by many, including the left-wing press in England. As a reflection on this experience, in 1984, Orwell creates a media service that is nothing more than a propaganda machine, mirroring what Orwell, as a writer, experienced during his time in Spain.
Orwell worked with the BBC during World War II when certain kinds of restrictions limiting what news could be disseminated were common, and he became disturbed by what he perceived to be the falseness of his work. It is noteworthy that Winston Smith, the main character in 1984, works in the media and is responsible for creating what is, essentially, deceptive propaganda. In fact, it is Winston’s position in the media that gives the reader the most insight into the duplicity of the society in which he lives and therefore, the society that Orwell most condemns.
The Setting
The setting of 1984 is Oceania, a giant country comprised of the Americas; the Atlantic Islands, including the British Isles; Australia; and the southern portion of Africa. Oceania’s mainland is called Air Strip One, formerly England. The story itself takes place in London in the year 1984, a terrifying place and time where the human spirit and freedom are all but crushed. In the novel, war is constant. The main character, Winston Smith, born before the World War II, grew up knowing only hunger and political instability, and many of the things that he experiences are hyperboles of real activities in wartime Germany and the Soviet Union.
It is important to remember that Orwell based 1984 on the facts as he knew them; hunger, shortages, and repression actually happened as a result of the extreme governmental policies of these countries. The war hysteria, the destruction of the family unit, the persecution of “free thinkers” or those who were “different” or not easily assimilated into the party doctrine, the changing of history to suit the party’s agenda, were all too real. Orwell’s speculation of the future is actually a creative extension of how the masses were treated under Franco, Hitler, and Stalin.
By setting 1984 in London, Orwell is able to invoke the atmosphere of a real war-torn community, where people live in “wooden dwellings like chicken houses” in bombed-out clearings. His intent clearly was to capitalize on a memory that every reader, especially a British reader, was likely to have. London in 1984, then, becomes not just a make-believe place where bad things happen to unknown people, but a very real geographical spot that still holds some connection for the modern reader.
In 1984, the world is sliced into three political realms — the super states of Oceania, Eastasia, and Eurasia. Orwell drew these lines fairly consistent with the political distribution of the Cold War era beginning after World War II. Each of these three states is run by a totalitarian government that is constantly warring on multiple fronts. By creating an entire world at war, Orwell not only creates a terrifying place, but he also eliminates the possibility of escape for Winston, who is forced to live within his present circumstances, horrible and unremitting as they are.
Oceania’s political structure is divided into three segments: the Inner Party, the ultimate ruling class, consisting of less than 2 percent of the population; the Outer Party, the educated workers, numbering around 18 to 19 percent of the population; and the Proles, or the proletariat, the working class. Although the Party (Inner and Outer) does not see these divisions as true “classes,” it is clear that Orwell wants the reader to see the class distinctions. For a socialist such as Orwell, class distinctions mean the existence of conflict and class struggle. In Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union, for example, the few people who comprised the ruling class had a much higher standard of living than the masses, but in these nations, as in 1984, revolt was all but impossible.
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Everybody’s’ leaving town. Seems they’re moving to L.A.

Back in time El Paso, Texas was isolated from most of the United States. Hardly anybody ever left. This was in the forties an fifties. But then started the trickle in my family. Los Angeles and the rest of California were the main places. It was almost a religious thing,  the pilgrimage to L.A. and back. They inadvertently came back to El Paso. Then one uncle, Frank Ochoa on my mom’s side of the family, and then another on my Dad’s side, Jose Montoya left. They would come back to visit but they were gone, never to come back accept for a brief visit. These were the first ones to leave our parochial town.
I never thought that I would leave. I loved the city,  the thought of leaving never entered my mind. I stayed put. There were not many jobs to be found, those that existed did not pay much. But, I figured that with enough schooling I would be able to find work. Got married not long after high school graduation, and then the kids came. I had kept on going to school, went to night school at Burge High School and El Paso Tech. I was interested in My interested electronics and did well in classes related to that. There were few jobs in electronics in town. I had to get whatever jobs that I could to support my young and growing family. Worked food service at first and just managed. The only way to get a decent job was if you knew someone that could open doors for you. I thought I could make it on my own, and so I struggled.
After trying to find work and finding only food service jobs paying low wages I finally got smart. Deciding to ask for help, I found it in a couple of uncles that worked for one of the biggest employers in town, Farah Manufacturing. My uncle Joe Farah got me into the garment factory. Later Uncle Eddie Ochoa got me into their research and development shop. More tales to tell later on the eleven or so years that I spent at Farah. It was a great learning experience, leaning to work with people, knowing how to go up the corporate structure, but best of all applying my basic electrons classes. In the end, I had to leave. Problems within Farah family over control of the company and attempts to unionize created an unstable environment. And so I left Farah.
I am skipping over a lot of history but that will be the next step in telling the story related to my leaving El Paso for better pastures. My oldest boy had a good job in town working for an electronics company. The second son only found work in food service. My older brother had lived in Dallas for some time, so I suggested to my second eldest that he look for work in Dallas. It did not take him long to decide to go there where he found jobs easily. The electronics company my eldest worked with started one of many restructuring steps. Eventually, he too left for the Dallas area.  The story is still incomplete but let me just stop here to say that I too followed in seeking work in Dallas.

 

Greenland is not for sale!

Tongue in cheek, why in hell would Denmark even for a moment consider this! The US ranks way below in man of the things in which Denmark excels such a education, healthcare and much more. This just goes to show how much of a dumb ass Donald Trump is!

Fedor Selivanov / Alamy Stock Photo

COPENHAGEN (The Borowitz Report)—After rebuffing Donald J. Trump’s hypothetical proposal to purchase Greenland, the government of Denmark has announced that it would be interested in buying the United States instead.

“As we have stated, Greenland is not for sale,” a spokesperson for the Danish government said on Friday. “We have noted, however, that during the Trump regime pretty much everything in the United States, including its government, has most definitely been for sale.”

“Denmark would be interested in purchasing the United States in its entirety, with the exception of its government,” the spokesperson added.

A key provision of the purchase offer, the spokesperson said, would be the relocation of Donald Trump to another country “to be determined,” with Russia and North Korea cited as possible destinations.

If Denmark’s bid for the United States is accepted, the Scandinavian nation has ambitious plans for its new acquisition. “We believe that, by giving the U.S. an educational system and national health care, it could be transformed from a vast land mass into a great nation,” the spokesperson said.

  • Andy Borowitz is a Times best-selling author and a comedian who has written for The New Yorker since 1998. He writes The Borowitz Report, a satirical column on the news.

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When Hate Came to El Paso

When Hate Came to El Paso

The worst massacre aimed at Latinos in American history happened in my hometown, to my people.

By Richard Parker

Mr. Parker is the author of “Lone Star Nation: How Texas Will Transform America.”

At least 20 people were killed by a gunman at a shopping mall in El Paso on Saturday. 

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At least 20 people were killed by a gunman at a shopping mall in El Paso on Saturday. CreditCreditRudy Gutierrez/Associated Press

EL PASO, Tex. — The older man next to me on the metal bench, dressed so dignified in his peach dress shirt, dark pants and dress shoes, touches me gently on the elbow.

It is Saturday late afternoon, and we are both in front of MacArthur Middle School, where the flags already droop in the desert heat, approaching 100 degrees, at half-mast. Police officers, Red Cross workers and firefighters of all kinds come and go. This little school is where the living come to look for the missing and the dead after a white male from the Dallas suburbs named Patrick Crusius, 21, allegedly came to my hometown to commit the largest massacre of Hispanics in American history. The handwritten sign over the schoolhouse door says it all: “Looking for Family and Friends.”

Behind his glasses, tears welled up in the eyes of my bench mate, Charles Almanzar, 70. Wordlessly, he shows me his phone: There is a picture of two small children, a girl of 2 and a boy of 5. The little boy is in the hospital. The little girl is still missing, the subject of a frantic search by Mr. Almanzar’s brother-in-law. Their mother, Jordan Kay Jamrowski Anchondo, at just 25, is dead, killed by Mr. Crusius, along with at least 19 others, at a Walmart not far from downtown El Paso.

If you want to know what a mass shooting is like in your hometown, it’s like this: text alerts on your phone, a frantic woman on local television begging people to bring water to waiting families, 200 people lining up to give blood in the blistering heat, helicopters thundering overhead, the dead left lying inside the crime scene called “horrific” by the police chief. Those waiting on word of dead and lost stand calm and dignified as strangers pull up with truckloads of that bottled water. It’s also like this: a stab in the heart not to your hometown, but to your people, in my case Latinos. Mr. Crusius specifically came here to my town, to kill my people.

“Oh God, oh God, oh God, oh God,” my little sister, Janet, also the child of an American father and a Mexican mother, says to me. “Oh God, oh God, oh God, oh God.”

I read the manifesto believed to be by Mr. Crusius, though not confirmed by the police, who traveled over 600 miles to kill and wound men, women, old people and children. Cell phone video posted online by victims betrays the dreaded elapse of time as they die: ten shots fired from an AK-47, not in rapid succession but in cunning staccato. First a shot. Then a long pause. Then one after another after another. And then there is the shout in Spanish: “Ay, no!”

“Oh, no!” the man screams.

“This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas,” the manifesto reads, before eerily and coolly describing the killer’s preferences of weapons and ammunition, politics, economics and racist philosophy. His idea is devastatingly simple: Killing Hispanics will stop immigrants from coming and drive citizens to leave. “I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by invasion.”

Of course, Latinos arrived in Texas from Mexico in 1690, when it was all New Spain. My people settled the harsh brush country of south Texas, fought Comanches and Apaches and brought Christianity to America. My mother’s uncle, a Mexican citizen, fought in the Navy in World War II and perished. My Mexican grandfather came to Texas as an orphan, lived in Laredo and returned to Mexico. My Arkansan father, a soldier, met my mother in Monterrey and we settled way out here in the deserts of West Texas in 1970. We invaded nothing; we were already here long before Mr. Crusius was even conceived.

But he is just another passing figure in the moment of modern American violence that we all are living through: the predictable weakness of Republican politicians in the face of the gun lobby amid the ready availability of weapons of war. The other day, I perused a pawnshop, bought a fine fly rod but noticed that the only guns in vast supply were AR-15s, the kissing cousin of our favored weapon of war, the M-16.

Most significantly though, the El Paso massacre — and that’s what it is, it is not a mass shooting but a premeditated massacre — was the inevitable byproduct of the Trump era’s anti-immigrant, and anti-Latino invective, which with its pervasive, vile racism has poisoned our nation.

El Paso-Juarez is a big, bustling desert city of over two million, straddling the United States and Mexico. My hometown has virtually zero modern history of ethnic strife; El Paso alone is over 80 percent Hispanic. We switch from English to Spanish without skipping a beat and we are fine with that. But the Trump era is not.

It has brought us walls, internment camps and children in cages. The massacre is the outcome I have feared for years now, and I can’t help but feel that its genesis lies with the president of the United States.

To put all of this into perspective, there have been other massacres of Latinos in American history. The worst was the notorious Porvenir massacre, 101 years ago, in what is now a vanished border town. Texas Rangers descended on the town in the early morning hours of Jan. 28, 1918, led off 15 Hispanic men and boys and executed them. The remaining inhabitants did exactly what Saturday’s shooter wanted: They fled to Chihuahua.

Back at MacArthur Middle School, Mr. Almanzar tucks away his phone. A Jehovah’s Witness, he had been out knocking on doors when the horror struck. Many asked him how God would allow this, and he gently responds by showing me Job 34:10, which in part reads: “Far be it from God, that he should do wickedness.” No, we both agreed, switching from English to Spanish. God did not do this.

We did. In allowing those weapons of war on our streets. In giving credence to sociopathic racists, only one of whom will be in jail tonight. In poisoning our body politic with the occupant of the White House. On the horizon, storm clouds build over the desert mesas to weep upon this desert city. And still the people keep coming, desperately bringing water to those here, quietly searching for the dead.

Richard Parker is the author of “Lone Star Nation: How Texas Will Transform America.”

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Welcome to the Hotel California

Retro day at home listening to old time hits on our CD player. One of this was Hotel California, the extended version. Got to thinking a visit taken to El Paso. On the way there we stopped at a small West Texas town. I won’t mention the name of the town. Owner-host was an older genlemen who went out of his way to please. He came across as very needy for company. It seems like we could not get away from him! That is where the Eagles Hotel California comes in.

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face.
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year (any time of year) you can find it here

So I called up the Captain,
‘Please bring me my wine’
He said, ‘we haven’t had that spirit here since nineteen sixty-nine’
And still those voices are calling from far away,
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say”

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face.
They livin’ it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise), bring your alibis

Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said, ‘we are all just prisoners here, of our own device’
And in the master’s chambers,
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can’t kill the beast

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back to the place I was before
‘Relax’ said the night man,
‘We are programmed to receive.
You can check out any time you like,
But you can never leave!’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYkL5igsG4k 

The bed with bedspread, pillows seemed like from a different time and place.

Don’t you love the choice of colors?

Shelf protrait.

One can only imagine a return to an earlier time.

It was an interesting visit but it also felt kind of creepy! We paid for our stay. Just let me say that the gentleman went out of his way to please. Way out of his way! We kind of felt like he was going to chase us and beg us to stay another day. That’s why I borrowed the song and lyrics from Hotel California.

If we ever go that way again, you can be sure that we will avoid this place, this town!

Finish this joke: “A Rabbi, a Priest, and a Minister Walk Into a Bar…”

Finish this joke: “A Rabbi, a Priest, and a Minister Walk Into a Bar…”

No, this  not not going to be a blog on religion, politics, nor sex. Although one might say that computers have become my religion since I have so many of them.

I have every make of such, starting with my old Windows 7 desktop, my newer Windows 10 tablet, and my newest Apple Ipad. I won’t even mention the half dozen other devices. Well, I guess that I will my Chromebook and Android driven devices which I will include here. So now it come to a matter of choices, which one do I keep, which one works best for me and the like?

I have clung religiously to my desktop because I like the way Windows 7 works for me. Of course this operating system or one similar to it, Windows 98, Me, XP. You may understand that I do not particularly like change. Only moved to 7 when I found it more ‘friendly’ to my needs. Now it seems that someone wants to force me to use 10. I have tried it on my tablet and still don’t like it! But what is one to do. Sigh!

Of the Androids, I enjoyed use my Chromebook. It had almost everything that I would want in a tablet. And, it came with it’s own operating system, which I thought was a good thing. It is still very usable, and I plan to keep it. But as I have grown more ‘mature’ I have found that my eyes are not as tolerant of small screens and the quality of graphics. Graphics in my words is the tiny pixels displays. That is my way of explaining graphics. Getting back to android drive devices, not robot androids but the operating system, I enjoy the flexibility that goes with these. I’ll always have a computing machine driven by such.

My newest is my Apple Ipad. I love it! It is so friendly and easy to use. It so easy on the eyes with a clear crisp display. It connects easily and is very fast. So if I had my rathers, which I do, this would be my ultimate device. However, I’ll keep at least one or more of the others. Decisions decisions, decisions!

Getting back to the joke which I will use to finish this off. A Rabbi, a Priest, and a Minister Walk Into a Bar. The Rabbi has a Window 7 laptop. The Priest, a Windows 10 tab. The Minister has a Chromebook. Wait! In walks and Atheist joins them. He is carrying an Ipad. They immediately get into a discussion on which one has the best computing device to do their work! You may just want to finish the dicussion among yourselves.

No se habla Español

It may seem a bit funny or perhaps strange that growing up in El Paso, Texas, I was sorely lacking in my ability to speak Spanish. El Paso was after all, more than ninety percent Hispanic! I spent most of my childhood in the care of my grandmother. She spoke very little English but somehow we communicated with any problems. I understood enough to get along. Our whole neighborhood on Frutas Street was Spanish speaking.

The main obstacle to being fluent was grammar school. Texas forbade speaking Spanish in the classroom and so that did not allow for most students to develop learning skill in what was our parents’ native tongue. But I cannot hardly blame the state for my diving headlong into being very good in school and off course it helped me get ahead in school. But this caused me to neglect my Mexican culture fulling embracing the “American” way of life. So I went through life blending in. I.E. I passed for white. Or at least that is what I thought. By the time that I had been in high school, was no longer Ricardo Montoya, the given name on my birth certificate, but Richard Montoya. But there was someone in school that could see through that mask. That my Speech teacher. In his class I had adapted what I perceived to be a Texas accent including a drawl. He made fun of it chastising my false Chicano accent! But that did not bother me nor keep me from continuing to use it.

Being able to speak English fluently without much of a Mexican accent seemed to get me far with regards to finding work but I did not realize how far it had taken me from my heritage. That is until it caught up with me in San Antonio, Texas!

At the time I was working for Farah Manufacturing as an industrial electronics technician based out of El Paso. Part of the job was flying to outlaying factories to show mechanics and machine operators how to work with our new equipment. On this particular trip I started with the operators all women with my standard fifteen minute spiel. I had it memorized but was still a one on one giving time to comment and ask questions. I started my lecture with this blonde blue-eyed young lady. About ten minutes into my presentation, she stopped me. Saying disculpe pero no entiendo ingles! That is, I’m sorry but I don’t speak English! Now that really caught me off guard! I could not even imagine her not speaking English! I tried to back up and start the whole process but it was useless. My flaying hand gestures would not do in getting the message across. It was then that I realized what a huge mistake I had made in not trying at least get a little better at speaking the language of my parents and grandparents. It was than and there that I promised myself to do better. But I did not know at the time how to go about doing that.

But years later and a thousand miles away, Si se habla español.

!

Resume Part 3: Labor and Other Problems.

That fatal day a my plant!  The in-house communications speakers calling workers to attention.  Would the employees please line up to pick up their pay checks. The factory was shutting down! The would have two extra weeks of pay. Oh, and blankets would be distributed at the same time. It was close to Christmas when every one would get blanket! No bonuses that year! While I was listening to the announcement management took me aside.  I would still had a job back home in El Paso. I spent the next month or so preparing equipment to be sent back to Farah in El Paso. A handful of workers remained. There were cold cuts and other food in the lunch room. We finished them off while waiting for trucks to arrive to haul away the sewing machines and other equipment. We drank coffee and waited. It bothered me that so many of my fellow workers were out of work! Why was I saved? Some strings had been pulled for me. I was glad to be going back home. But did not know what was waiting for me. I was probably in for a surprise. More on that follows.

When many of the mechanics walked out I had to earn my keep by learning how to work on industrial sewing machines. When I was in school, aptitude tests showed I did not have an natural ability for mechanics. But I did learn how to work on, and fix sewing machines. I never liked to do that kind of work! But I did learn and became very good at it! This was to help me when I got back to El Paso.

I don’t know if I read Thomas Wolfe’s book You Can’t Go Home Again, but the title registered with when I got  home! “You can’t go home again. You can’t recover the past.” When I left El Paso I was working at the large Farah Manufacturing complex next to Cielo Vista Mall. The area had the huge lower level manufacturing area including corporate offices, a smaller factory, and the research and development building. I worked out of the R & D building. Reporting for work, I found the building a mere skeleton of what it had once been. Friends in the shop were gone, having been laid off of fired due to major restructuring. With a shrinking restructured company, there was no need for a research and development facility. 

It was not just the strike and boycott that spelled the end of Farah as a going concern. It made major mistakes. Farah made thousands of leisure suits! The style lingered for a long time, and so did the company’s dependence on this style. It invested tons of money in purchasing looms to make the materials for it and for other styles that it was making. It was a huge overreach on it’s part. Farah internal family and corporate squabbles added to it’s problems.

You may ask how did I fit into the picture? I got back to the shop while all this was going on. The strike, boycott, restructuring and more were taking place. It was not the same with so many people gone. I felt in limbo. I had to work, and so did what I could to keep things running here and the other factories, helping them with machine technical problems. Union organizers made headway with negations. The company urged all workers to sign up with the union. They negotiated a sweetheart deal! The union got in, workers hours got cut! Not a problem for the union, and Farah could breath a sigh of relief. The poor factory workers got a really bad deal. Before this, the company provided some good benefits like medical service with an in-house infirmary, free eye glass exams and glasses. At least I felt that it was a good working environment. But with this deal it seemed like things would get back to normal.

In time I found out that the San Antonio factories were to reopen in the near future. I missed San Antonio and wished that I could get back. So I started to look in it. Long story short, I started to train as mechanic supervisor for Farah San Antonio. I spent hours down on the floor off the main factory learning from mechanic supervisors and mechanics the ins and outs of their jobs. So after a while I was all set to return.

The San Antonio factories opened almost two year later. And so I went back one more time. But this was short-lived! To be continued.