Posted on February 1, 2010

O Tempora, O Mores! (February, 2010)

American Renaissance, February 2010

Speak Spanish or Else

Charlie Guzman and a couple of friends went into the laundry room of their apartment complex in Immokalee, Florida to wash some clothes. Mauricio Escalante, a 33-year-old illegal alien and some of his pals were already using the facilities and the two groups of men began talking. The discussion grew heated because Mr. Escalante objected to Mr. Guzman speaking English instead of Spanish. Mr. Escalante went to a nearby apartment, grabbed a knife, came back and stabbed the 17-year-old Mr. Guzman to death. Mr. Escalante was no stranger to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, but because his prior offenses were only for public drunkenness, he was never turned over to immigration authorities for deportation. [Brent Batten, Immokalee Stabbing Shows Another Side of Immigration Debate, Naples News, Dec. 21, 2009.]

White Science

Berkeley High School in Berkeley, California, suffers from America’s universal failing: blacks and Hispanics do worse than whites and Asians. This must be particularly galling to ultra-liberal Berkeley, because the gap is even greater than the already yawning state average. What to do?

The school’s governance council, which is made up of teachers, parents, and students, has decided to eliminate all the science labs and fire the five teachers who run them, and spend the money on “underperforming” students instead. Paul Gibson, an alternate representative on the governance council, says the decision was made in large part because the science labs mainly benefit white students.

Mardi Sicular-Mertens, who has taught science at Berkeley High for 24 years, insists that the labs help blacks and Hispanics, too. She notes that there are 12 black students in her AP classes and that her environmental science classes are 17.5 percent black and 13.9 percent Hispanic. Apparently no one dares argue that science labs are important even if whites are the main beneficiaries.

The proposal to terminate the science labs will be on the agenda for the next meeting of the Berkeley School Board. The board usually endorses the recommendations of high school governance councils without debate. [Eric Klein, Berkeley High May Cut Out Science Labs, East Bay Express, Dec. 23, 2009.]

Unfit to Print

On Christmas Eve, two gunmen shot and killed Salvation Army Major Philip Wise outside the organization’s community center in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Mr. Wise was walking in with his three young children, when the men approached, demanded money, and murdered him. The gunmen fled into a nearby housing project and, as this issue went to press, were still at large.

The local newspaper, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, and the Associated Press both filed stories on the incident, but the AP story forgot to mention the shooters’ race. It noted that both killers were still on the loose, so a description could have been helpful. The story did, however, offer the alert reader a clue when it noted that the shooting took place is “a low-income neighborhood troubled by gangs and drugs.”

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette gets credit for including the race of the killers, and for running a photo of Mr. Wise, clearly showing he was white. [Chad Day, Major Shot at Salvation Army, Dies, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Dec. 25, 2009. Major’s Shooting a Tragedy for Community, Say Authorities, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Dec. 25, 2009. Tom Parsons, Salvation Army Major Shot in Front of 3 Children, AP, Dec. 25, 2009.]

Aiding and Abetting

Ricardo Dominguez is an associate professor of “new media arts” at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD). He describes himself as an “artivist” — an artist-activist — who helps illegal aliens. With the aid of researchers from the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, Mr. Dominguez has invented something he calls the “Transborder Immigrant Tool.” This is an inexpensive Motorola cell phone retrofitted with a GPS system to help illegals sneak across the border. It helps with basic orientation, records distance from the destination, and shows where there is water. Mr. Dominguez, who has received some $15,000 in grants to develop his “immigrant tools,” plans to sell them for around $30.00 each. He hopes churches and Hispanic activist groups such as Border Angels and No Mas Muertes will distribute them to Mexicans. The telephone’s signal will be encrypted to avoid detection by the Border Patrol. Mr. Dominguez claims the Transborder Immigrant Tool is designed “to save lives” rather than promote illegal crossings, but admits that “in terms of the civil disobedience we follow, we consider the right of safe passage to be a trans-global right.”

The phones will also have short poems loaded on them — no doubt in Spanish. “We wanted to have a hospitality tool,” he explains, adding, “At the core of the poems is a rethinking of the idea that good fences make good neighbors. Borders do not make good neighbors. We should be welcoming.” [Bill Morris, Border Crossings: There’s an App for That,, Dec. 18, 2009.]

Mexican Manners

On December 16, Mexican naval troops managed to kill one of Mexico’s most notorious drug kingpins, Arturo Beltrán Leyva. The “Boss of Bosses” died in a hail of lead along with six henchmen during an attack on his luxury compound in the resort city of Cuernavaca. Mexican media hailed what was undoubtedly the greatest success in President Felipe Calderón’s three-year war on the cartels, and the lone soldier killed, Marine Ensign Melquisedet Angulo Córdova, was declared a national hero and given a state funeral.

Beltrán Leyva’s cartel, the Zetas, wasted no time in showing they were still in business. Hours after the funeral, gunmen burst into the marine’s family home in Paraiso and murdered his mother, his sister, his aunt, and his brother, and seriously wounded another sister. The message was clear: anyone who fights the drug cartels risks having his family exterminated.

Sadly, President Calderón made the revenge killings possible by revealing Ensign Córdova’s identity and letting the media cover his funeral. Mexican troops normally wear black ski masks during operations to avoid being recognized and prevent retaliation. The identities of two other marines who were wounded in the raid remain secret.

President Calderón vows that he is unintimidated, but the criminals are rattling sabers, too. Following Beltrán Leyva’s death, signs began appearing in Cuernavaca reading, “It’s not even the beginning of the war . . . you’ve made the terrible mistake of messing with THE business.” [Ruth McLean, Mexican Drug Gang Massacres Family of Hero in Revenge for Boss’s Death, Times (London), Dec. 24, 2009.]

Bad Ideas

People planning crimes would do well to avoid the following:

1. Dreadlocks. On December 23, employees of Greer’s Food Tiger in Mobile, Alabama, noticed a man stuffing steaks into his pants as he walked through the aisles. The store manager challenged him and grabbed him by the hair, which made him drop several items. The man, Gregory York, managed to flee with at least two packs of steaks, but police caught him a short time later, thanks to the detailed description they got from the store manager, who had a good look at Mr. York while holding him by his dreadlocks. [Jamie Burch, Store Manager Grabs Shoplifter By His Dreadlocks, WKRG-TV (Mobile), Dec. 23, 2009.]

2. Baggy pants. On December 23, career criminal Hector Quinones burst into a Manhattan apartment and killed his former prison cellmate, Carlos Rodriguez, Jr., and the man’s father, Carlos Rodriguez, Sr. He then stabbed to death the 87-year-old grandfather, Fernando Gonzalez, just as the wife of Mr. Gonzalez, returned to the apartment with her daughter. Mr. Quinones took a shot at Mrs. Rodriguez, grazing the back of her head. He then lunged for the daughter, who just managed to step out of reach when he tripped over his low-slung pants. She ran into a bedroom, climbed out onto a fire escape and called for help. Mr. Quinones tried to kick down the door, but then decided to make a break for it down another fire escape. Again, he tripped over his baggy pants, and this time, he fell three stories to his death.

Police think Mr. Quinones wanted to rob his former associate. They found a “significant amount” of heroin and a smaller amount of cocaine in the apartment, as well as a lockbox stuffed with cash. [Larry Celona, John Doyle and Laurie Kamens, Killer Tripped on Baggy Pants, Plunged to Death after Slaying Three, New York Post, Dec. 18, 2009.]

Majority Minority

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg spent more than $102 million to win a third term in November, just squeezing by a black man, former New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson, with just 50.6 percent of the vote. Missing from much of the post-election analysis was the fact that. for the first time, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians cast the majority of votes. Non-whites have long been the majority in New York, but because so many are not citizens, there were more white voters. Whites were 56 percent of the electorate in 1989, 55 percent in 1993, 53 percent in 1997 and 52 percent in 2001. In the 2009 election, whites were just 46 percent, followed by blacks at 23 percent, Hispanics at 21 percent and Asians at 7 percent.

Demographic change has helped non-whites win several prominent offices. In 2000, Mr. Thompson became the first black comptroller and in Queens, Helen Marshall became the first black borough president. In November, John Liu took over from Mr. Thompson, becoming the first Asian elected to city-wide office.

In an interview after the election, Mr. Thompson told New Yorkers they should expect to see “even more diverse candidates.” Bruce N. Gyory, a political consultant, notes that “all the room for growth in the electorate is amongst Hispanic, Asian, biracial and black New Yorkers.” He adds that “this polyglot electorate will demand the jigsaw-puzzle skills of coalition-building and diplomacy.” [Sam Roberts, For First Time, Minority Vote Was a Majority, New York Times, Dec. 25, 2009.]

TB Roars Back

Tuberculosis (TB) kills more adults worldwide — two million a year — than any other infectious disease. One in three people across the globe is infected, though only 10 percent of them will develop active TB. The disease has been found in 4,000-year-old Egyptian mummies, and killed as many as one in four Americans and Europeans as late as the 1850s. In 1944, doctors began treating TB with antibiotics, which were so effective that by the end of the 1960s, then-US Surgeon General William H. Stewart announced it was “time to close the book on infectious diseases and declare the war against pestilence won.”

TB is now making a comeback, thanks to misdiagnosis, misuse of antibiotics, and immigration. In the Third World, ill-educated doctors failed to treat TB effectively, and it spread among the poor. Immigrants flooding into the West spread it to places where it had been virtually eradicated. Even when Western doctors recognized TB, their patients often failed to complete the full course of antibiotics. This let the bacterium mutate into various more powerful forms: multi-drug resistant (MDR), extensively drug-resistant (XDR) and extremely drug-resistant (XXDR). Doctors estimate there are more than 500,000 annual cases worldwide of MDR-TB, which cost $100,000 each to treat. There are fewer cases of XDR, but it is more lethal, killing 52 of the 53 people who were diagnosed with it in South Africa in 2006. There are only a handful of XXDR cases worldwide, but it is deadlier still.

America got its first case of XXDR-TB in 2007 — though this was kept from the public until just a few weeks ago. Peruvian Oswaldo Juarez was in the US studying English when he was diagnosed, and it took nearly two years of isolation in a Florida sanitarium to cure him to the point where he was no longer contagious. Dr. David Ashkin, a leading TB specialist who treated Mr. Juarez, says that while his case of XXDR was the first in the US, it won’t be the last. Mr. Juarez’s cure cost taxpayers $500,000 — money Dr. Ashkin believes had to be spent. “This is an airborne spread disease . . . so when we treat that individual, we’re actually treating and protecting all of us. This is true homeland security.”

“There’s a lot of MDR and XDR-TB that hasn’t been diagnosed in places like South Africa and Peru, Russia, Estonia, Latvia,” says Dr. Megan Murray, a tuberculosis specialist at Harvard. “We think it’s a big public health threat.” Dr. Lee Reichman, a TB expert at the New Jersey Medical School, says, “You’re really looking at a global issue. It’s not a foreign problem, you can’t keep these TB patients out.”

That sounds like liberal hogwash. Eighty-two percent of American patients with the various forms of drug-resistant TB are foreign-born. There are ways to screen immigrants for TB, but to do so efficiently would require concentrating on people from certain countries, i.e., profiling. If Americans can’t even bring themselves to admit that young Muslim men are more likely than Japanese grandmothers to be terrorists, they are certainly not going to admit that Vietnamese are more likely than Danes to have TB.

Other diseases are developing drug-resistant strains. Scientists say a mutated form of malaria has been discovered in Cambodia, a growing number of AIDS patients in Africa are infected with a form that is harder to treat, and drug-resistant staph infections kill more people in the US each year than prostate and breast cancer combined. [Margie Mason and Martha Mendoza, First Case of Highly Drug-resistant TB Found in US, AP, Dec. 27, 2009.]

Kwanzaa Fizzling?

Kwanzaa is a holiday for blacks, created in 1966 by black power radical, convicted felon, and tenured professor at California State University, Long Beach, Ron Karenga, (see “We Wish You a Phony Festival,” AR, February 2002, for a closer look at the colorful professor). Kwanzaa has been blessed by the media, the post office, the President, and the greeting card companies, but fewer blacks are lighting the black, red, and green candles and observing the seven principles: Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity) and Imani (faith).

Camille Zeigler, president of the Atlanta Alumnae Chapter of the black sorority Delta Sigma Theta, says many of the girls who attend the sorority’s annual Kwanzaa celebration know very little about the holiday. Sorority member Evita Broughton celebrated Kwanzaa for the first time with her family four years ago, but has skipped it ever since. “It felt like a school project that lasted seven nights,” she says. “I didn’t feel like I had that connection. I tried to share my experiences with others but no one else was celebrating it.”

Keith Mayes, an assistant professor of African American & African Studies at the University of Minnesota and author of Kwanzaa: Black Power and the Making of the African-American Holiday Tradition, estimates that just 500,000 to 2 million of the nation’s 40 million blacks celebrate the holiday. He says Kwanzaa has evolved away from its radical roots, and is now all about “inclusion, diversity, goodwill, multiculturalism.” He notes that white institutions now celebrate it as part of their commitment to diversity. This no doubt drives away some blacks.

Others reject it for other reasons. Nicole Duncan-Smith of Brooklyn, thinks Kwanzaa detracts from Christmas and doesn’t think it has anything to do with African heritage. She also notes that Kwanzaa’s founder’s felony conviction was for torturing two women who were in a faction of blacks opposed to Prof. Karenga. Jesse Lee Peterson, founder of BOND (Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny) and author of SCAM: How the Black Leadership Exploits Black America, believes the holiday is racist. “Get rid of it,” says Rev. Peterson, who is black. “Reject it completely. Just as we would do if a white racist came up with a false holiday to celebrate whiteness.”

The Obamas do not celebrate Kwanzaa, but like his predecessors Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, the President issued an official Kwanzaa message, in which he said that the seven principles of Kwanzaa “have sustained us as a nation during our darkest hours and provided hope for better days to come.” [Megan K. Scott, Kwanzaa Celebrations Continue, But Boom is Over, AP, Dec. 17, 2009.] When the British burned Washington, Madison was no doubt greatly comforted by them.