Friday, July 30, 2010

And the Immigration Blowup Continues to, Well, Blow Up

If your attention has been focused elsewhere this week--say, on cut-up and sewn-together joints, as mine has--you may have missed the news that a federal judge put the kibosh on several provisions of Arizona's new immigration law, specifically, the parts requiring cops to double as immigration agents and demand papers from anyone they stop who they think might be here illegally. A lot of people saw some very big red flags snapping in that breeze, and so, too, did judge Susan Bolton.

The overall law will still take effect Thursday, but without the provisions that angered opponents. Sections barred from being enforced include:

• Requiring a police officer to make a reasonable attempt to check the immigration status of those they have stopped;

• Forbidding police from releasing anyone they have arrested until that person's immigration status is determined;

• Making it a violation of Arizona law for anyone not a citizen to fail to carry documentation;

• Creating a new state crime for trying to secure work while not a legal resident;

• Allowing police to make warrantless arrests if there is a belief the person has committed an offense that allows them to be removed from the United States.

"Requiring Arizona law enforcement officials and agencies to determine the immigration status of every person who is arrested burdens lawfully-present aliens because their liberty will be restricted while their status is checked," U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled.

The predictable response reared its head, right on schedule.

The federal judge who halted parts of Arizona's immigration law is getting "thousands" of e-mails and phone calls, many in opposition to her ruling - and a few threatening her life.

A guy I play soccer with did not threaten the judge, but did post a status update on his Facebook asking if Bolton would give him back the $5000 he paid to go through the immigration/citizenship process when he came here from Greece. Another soccer acquaintance, this one from Poland, chimed in and said she'd like her 5k back too. Both said they don't see anything racist about SB1070 as it stands, and don't know why the hispanics think it's just targeting them instead of the Greeks and Poles and Chinese, and the Greek guy said he wouldn't mind carrying his passport and being questioned by a cop every day if that's what it takes to stop illegal immigration.

I try to avoid this kind of discussion on Facebook, so I did not post a response pointing out that (1) SB1070 has absolutely nothing to do with the legal citizenship process and thus isn't handing out fee waivers to every dehydrated Guanajuate who stumbles across the border, (2) the reason the Greek guy and Polish girl had the opportunity to fork over five grand and be welcomed with open arms in the first place is because (a) they came from countries whose quotas aren't filled and oh yeah (b) are, respectively, a software engineer and a cardiac nurse, not the (c) unskilled laborers from Latin America who would find themselves on a citizenship waiting list several generations long, and (3) if the Greek and Polish underclasses could walk here instead of having to pay for a boat or plane ride, it wouldn't just be the Mexicans and Salvadorans feeling like they have a target on their backs.

The Greek guy's wife is having a baby any day now. I wonder if Yorgos would always remember to take his passport and naturalization papers with him on the inevitable 2 a.m. runs to Walgreen's when the baby has a fever and he might not stay under the speed limit or come to a complete stop at every sign before turning. I wonder how excited he would be then to cooperate with a cop who thinks his skintone, beard, and accent mean he's not supposed to be here. I don't know why he doesn't think this could have happened to him, or why he thinks he would welcome the impingement of the freedom he shelled out all that cash to have. It's moot in any case, since Bolton's ruling ensures that he won't be faced with that situation, but I almost wish it wasn't. Because lots of shit sounds like it's a good idea, or would at least be tolerable, until it actually happens to you.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


We have been a tad under the weather since Monday, with "under the weather" here meaning "operating with one functional limb." And it turns out that one-handed typing isn't as much fun as I'd been led to believe--who knew?--so posting will be light for a while.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Burning Questions

The pre-op check-in nurse is very nice on the phone. She goes through the vaguely familiar litany of questions--it's been six years since the last knee mishap, so some parts are foggy--starting with the actual spelling of my name, rather than the common two-letter transposition that turns me from half-Czech to all-Cuban, progressing to allergies and abnormal neurological history (seasonal and none, in order) with a side trip to consult the travel guide to East Narcotia (they all make me puke, hellooooo Advil) and finally to detailed directions on how to find the outpatient surgery department. She is adamant that the correct elevator is no more than ten paces from the door. I feel like a pirate.

One last thing, she says. Would you like a chaplain to come say a prayer with you before surgery? Hmmm. No. No, I would not. I would like a bartender to come pour me a shot of bourbon before surgery, if it's not too much trouble.

So I'm off for an overhaul on Monday morning, armed with my lucky boxers and a Sharpie for scrawling helpful notes and reminders for the surgeon all over my legs and arms. Right knee? Scope here pls. Left knee? Insert cortisone here. Right elbow? Slice and splice here pls. Left elbow? THIS IS THE ONLY FUNCTIONAL JOINT LEFT IN MY BODY NO MOLESTAR POR FAVOR KTHXBAI.

Stay tuned for the Boltgirl Frozen Peas Rehab Journal, sure to contain such exciting entries as Stationary Bike Chronicles and Honey I'm Ready for Another Gin and Tonic and Holy Fuck This Hurts.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


A few days ago I took a break from the interminable parent information sessions accompanying new student orientation at my son's university and spent an hour wandering the grounds and gardens on campus, getting to know the cool-and-mist-loving Pacific Northwest flowers and trees that are new to me. One flower in particular caught my eye, a stand of tall stalks topped with spiky balls in varying stages of bloom that shimmered purple.

Half-bloomed, with bee; click to make life-sized.

Fully bloomed, sans bee.

"They're wonderful, aren't they?" came a voice behind me. I turned to see an elderly man who I had not met, but whose crooked-toothed, lopsided grin was familiar.

He told me the plants were called globe thistles, and, chagrined, I glanced down at the thorn-tipped leaves and spiky stalks and said Oh, of course, a thistle, I should have looked at the foliage. These aren't like the thistles I grew up with. He smiled and told me about the globe thistles in his back yard, how they used to be covered with bees every summer, but that he hadn't seen a single bee this year and was worried that the hive had died or moved on. He asked where I was from and asked questions about saguaros and their flowers, and after a pause regarded the thistles again. "They're so fascinating, how different they look at different times. See these new ones that are all spiky and silver with a purple glow, and then these that have bloomed and are covered in almost a periwinkle?"

Yeah, I said, and then inside they have such a deep purple at the base of the blooms. Really striking. He leaned closer to a flower, examining it, and said, "You know, you're right. I'd never noticed that before. Nature is so wonderful when you take a moment to stop and just look at it. You'll always see something new," and I heard his words in his soft, measured voice and looked at his kind, gauzy eyes and gentle smile, and on that cool, overcast day a thousand miles from home I saw my grandfather again.

He wished me a good rest of my visit, I wished him luck with his bees, and he continued on to wherever he was walking. It was a good day.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Placeholder Posts? We Got 'Em!

I am freshly back from Seattle and am trying to remember what I do for a living. Please bear with us.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Apparently the Pentagon is only trying to decide if they'll go with bright colors, neutrals, or camo for the new ghey-proof shower curtains they'll have to order if DADT is repealed. No segregation after all, Marine Commandant James Conway's musings aside.

Well, now that that's all cleared up, I'm off to the Pacific Northwest for a few days of gentle weather, good coffee, and damp green scenery. Don't trash the place while I'm gone, 'k?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Offered Without Comment.

Well, other than Jesus fucking Christ, of course.

"We think it would be irresponsible to conduct a survey that didn’t try to address these types of things. Because when DADT is repealed, we will have to determine if there are any challenges in those particular areas, any adjustments that need to be made in terms of how we educate the force to handle those situations, or perhaps even facility adjustments that need to be made to deal with those scenarios."

Wait, I guess I do have one more thing to add. Hello, military? You have already been showering, sleeping, eating, shitting, training, and bleeding next to gay servicemembers since day one at Ft. Leonard Wood, since D-Day, since fucking Valley Forge. And your gay brothers- and sisters-in-arms have somehow managed to resist throwing themselves at the giant throbbing hunk of man/woman you apparently represent and just done their jobs. So you really don't need a fucking survey about how the delicate sensibilities of a Marine tank crew are going to be offended if their gay TC doesn't shuffle off to the gays-only rack at night. And you don't need to think about gay-only racks, showers, messes, or anything else in the first place.

If you want to segregate somebody, segregate the dumbasses who think they need to worry about dropping the soap into their own gobshite stupid facilities, and leave the professionals alone.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Because I Have Far Too Much Time

I think this template. The previous one with all the leaves was just too busy.

DOMA: Quick Hit

It will take a while to read through the details, but the short version is that a federal judge in Massachusetts found DOMA (well, specifically, Section 3 of DOMA) unconstitutional.

To further divide the class of married individuals into those with spouses of the same sex and those with spouses of the opposite sex is to create a distinction without meaning. And where, as here, “there is no reason to believe that the disadvantaged class is different, in relevant respects” from a similarly situated class, this court may conclude that it is only irrational prejudice that motivates the challenged classification.149 As irrational prejudice plainly never constitutes a legitimate government interest, this court must hold that Section 3 of DOMA as applied to Plaintiffs violates the equal protection principles embodied in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Both the Fifth and 14th Amendments are cited as being violated, which bodes well. However, the Tenth is cited as well, and that gives me pause. If states' rights to define marriage are being held as the major constitutional tenet being violated by DOMA, I am forced to (1) remember that I live in Arizona, and (2) conclude that my state's reaction will probably involve (a) passing a second, we-double-dog-mean-it marriage amendment, (b) criminalizing all non-procreative sex acts for people under 65, and possibly (c) seceding from the Union when the state legislature realizes suing the Feds to remove the 5th and 14th amendments from the Constitution ain't gonna fly, and it's the only way to avoid having to recognize the marriages of Tucsonans who might flock to Cedar Rapids for summer wedding junkets.

Another take on the potential Tenth Amendment can o' worms is at FireDogLake. Much reading to do!

Monday, July 05, 2010


There is something to be said for the lazy days of summer, and perhaps more to be said when such a day hits a level of lazy that is magical enough to knock our neuroses clean outta the park. About 7:30 last night, as we lounged on the couch having just wrapped up The Godfather and carryout pad thai, the girlfriend wondered if we should have had a party or something for the 4th, thrown a token hamburger on the grill, asked some people over to watch fireworks from the roof, anything. Nah, I said, not at all.

The Fourth has been a big deal to me for a long time, wrapped up in childhood memories of my grandfather and homemade ice cream and band concerts in the park and watermelon and fireworks, and more recent memories of my personal coming-out anniversary.

This year? Pfft. I hung out with my girlfriend and my son, lollygagging in the breeze from floor fans that made the hot day tolerable, sucking on Otter Pops, catching up on classic American films all of us managed to miss the first time around due to either not being born yet (him) or being busy with other things, apparently (girlfriend and me). Rocky, Godfather, pad thai, family, relaxing in the present instead of dutifully hauling out the memories of the past.

It was a good day.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Monsoon, Mon-not-soon-enough

The cicadas are in overdrive. Stepping from an air-conditioned office into the parking lot briefly feels good, like a basket of warm towels fresh from the dryer feels good, but the muzzy warm blanket feeling quickly cedes to holy fuck it's hot oppression. Clouds pause at the mountaintops, think about it for a while, and then text all their friends and it's a flash mob of cumulonimbus goodness spilling from the Catalinas over the edges of the basin, promising globs of dark gray there, and over there, and especially over there, rolling over and mercifully blocking the late-afternoon sun, but not yet right here overhead. The mob teases with a few flashes of lightning in the distance and some puffs of promising wind moist with creosote and water on soil, flings a sprinkle of droplets against the window, and then calls it a day.

Maybe tomorrow.

Meanwhile, we roast, and schedule hanging up the laundry for sometime after midnight when it might drop below 100 degrees, and glance up at the single cloud milling aimlessly on the horizon and hope its friends get their shit together a little more productively today.