Yes, Memorial Day weekend looms. But it’s also time for the National Day of Action Against SB 1070, a nationwide rally organized by multiple Hispanic activist groups to protest Arizona’s new immigration law and President Obama’s plan to send National Guard troops to the Mexican border and wrest an extra $500 million from Congress to secure the boundary. Protests are planned in Phoenix and in cities in 22 other states on Friday and Saturday “to push back against the police-immigration collaborations that led to the rise of SB 1070,” says Pablo Alvarado, director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.
“The events of the past several days have shown the incredible stakes of the moment we live in and our responsibility to rise to the occasion,” he says, adding, “In Phoenix, we are expecting tens of thousands to march from the barrios, from as far away as Rhode Island, alongside notables such as AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Dolores Huerta, Eliseo Medina, and original participants in the Mississippi Freedom Summer of the 1960s.”
“Public support for beefing up security along the U.S. border with Mexico and deporting all illegal immigrants has grown significantly,” says a new CNN poll, which reveals that 88 percent of Americans favor putting more Border Patrol and federal law enforcement agents on the U.S. border with Mexico and 82 percent say they would not participate in the much ballyhooed public boycott of Arizona because of the state’s new immigration law. (See the complete figures in Poll du Jour, at this column’s end.)
“Support for more crackdowns on employers who hire illegal immigrants is high and also on the rise, from 58 percent four years ago to 71 percent now,” says CNN polling director Keating Holland. “Seven in ten would support a federal ID card that everyone would have to show to an employer.”
“You better leave my kids alone.”
- Sarah Palin on Fox News, to investigative journalist Joe McGinniss, who has moved in next door to her in Wasilla, Alaska, to research a book with the working title, “Sarah Palin: A Year of Living Dangerously.”
There’s been some high-profile dithering over the Gulf oil disaster, with a curious lack of public annoyance about it. There may be a reason for that: A new Media Research Center analysis of 157 stories about the spill that aired on ABC, CBS and NBC from April 21 to May 20 reveals that a whopping 95 percent of those accounts were “devoid of any criticism of President Obama and top officials.” In contrast, the study also found that the press “blasted” the response of former President George W. Bush and his administration within 72 hours of Hurricane Katrina’s destructive arrival.
The federal PR shops, meanwhile, have been gushing over with public outreach, even before U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry granted approval to BP to begin a “top kill” procedure to cap the errant drilling platform.
Witness the new and fabulously official sounding Deepwater Horizon Unified Command, a coalition of 13 federal agencies plus BP and Transocean, which has some serious image management going for it. A spiffy website tracks and coordinates everything from volunteer efforts and damage claims to congressional hearings and reports of “oiled” wildlife. There are on-demand videos, lots of hot lines and live image “feeds” from BP’s underwater robots.
There are numbers, too: As of Wednesday, 20,000 people and 1,300 “response vessels” were in action, along with 3.1 million feet of containment booms and 840,000 gallons of dispersant material. See the bubbling well of information here: www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com.
And while Americans are just beginning to protest the slow response to the spill, many are fascinated, more or less, with the drama of it all. The command’s official Facebook page already has close to 25,000 fans, and its Twitter page (twitter.com/oil_spill_ 2010) boasts more than 5,700 followers.