DISENFRANCHISED. Are there no limits to the depths to which conservatives and the Tea Party fringe will sink? My jaw dropped when I read the following:
"In a move contrary to the most cherished of American values, a band of ultraconservative activists is targeting the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants -- and others -- to score political points. Their stated objective is to overturn a bedrock constitutional right: the right to citizenship by birth on American soil.
"Such efforts are unlikely to succeed, but they must be challenged because they strike at the core of what makes citizenship in this nation so unique, special, and coveted. Rooted in the post-Civil War reforms to reverse the infamous Dred Scott decision and to establish birthright citizenship as a right of the then-recently emancipated black slaves, the 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, guarantees that 'All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside.'
"For all practical and legal purposes, the law is clear and settled. For more than a century, our nation's courts have affirmed that the 14th Amendment means what it says -- the fundamental measure of citizenship in the United States is rooted in the soil on which an American is born. It stands in direct opposition to notions that America is some sort of country club, a place where the vagaries of politics, prejudices, or popularity may recognize some and exclude others. Birthright citizenship is a profound American value."
The authors go on to describe in vivid detail the financial, legal, and moral costs and consequences of conservatives' proposed redefinition of citizenship -- both to the populations that would be marginalized, and to the population of current citizens. Bottom line, if you are born in this country, whether or not your parents are citizens, you are a citizen. If you are born in another country to parents who are American citizens, you are a citizen. "America is not a country club. We have always welcomed and accomodated individuals, especially immigrants from foreign lands, who wish to contribute to our experiment in self-governing democracy .... Children born on our soil are citizens with the full set of legal rights, which are rooted in the highest moral and legal traditions of our nation."
You will find the entire text, which examines the motives of neocon conspirators and the many sides of this issue, here.
EVA. A friend sent me a link to one of the songs performed by Eva Cassidy, whose ethereal voice delighted listeners with original interpretations of jazz, blues, folk, gospel, country, and pop classics. She was virtually unknown outside the Washington, DC, area when she died of melanoma at age 33, in 1996. Posthumously, Eva achieved recognition first in Britain, then in Europe and the United States. The song which launched her worldwide appeal was Somewhere Over the Rainbow, which you can hear in its original version here. I love the fact that even lifelong musicians and music lovers hear a fresh, delicate, and sweetly unpredictable performance of the Judy Garland classic.
JUSTIFIED. Yesterday I finished watching on DVD the first season of the FX series Justified. The crime drama is based on the fictional life of U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, a character created by novelist Elmore Leonard, who has gifted us with a prolific series of westerns, crime and suspense novels, and screenplays since 1953. Givens is played by one of my favorite actors, Timothy Olyphant, whose film and television credits include the HBO series Deadwood. In Justified, Olyphant comes into his own in an understated, complex portrayal of Givens, an old West Marshall in the 21st century -- soft-spoken, direct, observant, quietly sexy, with eyes that can project humor and danger in one glance. Givens plays no games. He straight out tells any criminal he's pursuing, "I'd prefer this didn't go sideways, but if I have to draw my weapon, I'll shoot to kill." Leaving the choice up to the man (or men) he's addressing. The effect is electric.
There's one other nice touch to this cowboy-hat-and-boot wearing Marshal -- his weapon of choice is identical to my own, a Glock .45 semi-auto. He even favors the same leather paddle holster that I do. All I'm missing is the badge. And the youth. And the training. And ..... oh well. Here is the series website, where you can watch or purchase episodes. You can also simply rent them on Netflix. (See the DVD cover below, click to enlarge.)