Friday, March 31, 2023

International Transgender Day of Visibility

Transgender Day of Visibility is an international event on March 31 dedicated to recognizing the resilience and accomplishments of the transgender community. ...

Here are a couple of gentle, calm, beautiful videos from the Transgender Law Center for this occasion. Enjoy.

In the context of the rightwing brouhaha about the Tennessee school shooter, Shannon Watts of Moms Demand Action makes the obvious point:

People who are trans are much more likely to be the victims of violent crime than the perpetrators. It’s the guns.

Thursday, March 30, 2023


Not much to say, really. It's hard to see beyond this.

Click to enlarge.

This map does seem to show that there is a high correlation between stronger regulation of guns and less gun deaths. Maybe we should start calling the current rightwing Supreme Court "the Suicide Pact Tribunal." Apparently their judicial philosophy amounts to "just die." 

You probably know that most gun deaths -- despite the publicity rightly given to school shootings, etc -- are suicides.

Heavily regulated Illinois where there are strict-ish gun laws appears an outlier here -- until you remember it's surrounded by places where running around with guns is easier. We're one country, even if it doesn't feel that way some times.

Prayer does seem highly appropriate -- for the ongoing parade of victims of our folly, and for us all.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Police protect and serve themselves and their institutions

The Los Angeles Times has produced a devastating report about how police are trained to interrogate family members of people they have killed, looking for derogatory information that will defend against, or lower payouts, in any wrongful death lawsuit.

Here's just one example among many the report includes:

Julie and Rick Perez unwittingly offered up a golden statement when a detective from the Richmond Police Department and an investigator from the district attorney’s office knocked on their door at 4:20 one morning in 2014. A few hours earlier, an officer in the Bay Area city had fatally shot their son.

When Julie Perez asked if her son was in trouble, the investigator said, “I’m going to get to that in a second,” according to a recording of the encounter first published by KQED.

The investigator launched into a series of questions about their son. Did he use drugs? Did they have a good relationship? Did he have problems with the police? Did he have “demons to conquer?” Unknown to Julie and Rick Perez, the investigator and the detective were secretly recording their responses.

“We’re not trying to trick you or nothing,” the investigator told the increasingly agitated parents.

“I hope he’s not in big trouble, and I wish you guys would get to the punch line,” Rick Perez said 10 minutes into the interview.

“I don’t know how to say this,” the investigator said.

Rick Perez finished his sentence: “You guys shot him.” 

When the couple filed a lawsuit, it became clear that the city intended to defend itself by focusing heavily on what they and other family members had disclosed to investigators. The thought of having their family’s worst secrets and darkest moments spilled in open court was a factor in the family’s decision to settle with the city for $850,000. 

It turns out, cops-in-training are taught that their first job, after an officer kills someone, is to extract whatever they can from friends and relatives that would be derogatory about the dead person. There's a company, Lexipol, which many California departments contract with for training, that specializes in getting this message across. A former cop and lawyer named Bruce Praet teaches new officers how to avoid responsibility. 

In an online training seminar reviewed by The Times, Praet instructs detectives to approach a mom before she learns her son has just been killed by police: “You got about five, 10, 30 minutes to get out there before word gets back on the street — that bad guy is either in the hospital, dead, jail, whatever.”
... In one seminar highlighted by [Joanna Schwartz, a UCLA law professor], Praet recommended that officers who use force against people in mental health crises should describe them in their reports as appearing to be on drugs because “jurors don’t like druggies.”
In another seminar, Praet showed off a police photograph of a man who had just been mauled by a police dog. He noted with approval how the police photographer had posed the man with his arm draped over the police dog while smiling and flashing a gang sign. “That was Exhibit One in the lawsuit, guys.”
Ninety-five percent of California law enforcement agencies use Lexipol for training according to the Times.

Departments that choose to train officers this way make the case for "defund the police." This isn't about safety for the community; it's about safety for cops. Ban contracts with Lexipol.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

East Palestine and effective neighborliness

Hard to know what to say about the train derailment disaster that has polluted the Ohio town. I've written before about how oil and chemical shipments by long distance rail are tragedies waiting to happen. And also about how communities rally to try to keep these potential bombs out of their neighborhoods.

The news cycle has moved on from the immediate Ohio nightmare, but it was good to see the horror has evoked a residual comradely spirit among people who've experienced similar calamities. 


From the Washington Post:

On a late February evening in East Palestine, Ohio, Melissa Mays came in from out of town — from Flint, Mich. She had driven 300 miles, and she had a message for residents: You’re not alone.
... From towns affected by an accident or spill, and in neighborhoods adjacent to polluting facilities, thousands of Americans have faced contamination and the sense of catastrophe that East Palestine residents are contending with — often with less national attention.
In towns across the country — whether a cancer cluster near a railroad facility in Houston, lead pipes in Chicago or water contamination in towns near military bases from California to New York — many are still experiencing the effects. The responses often follow similar patterns, advocates said, and residents sometimes end up in years-long efforts to ensure cleanup and fight for stricter protections.
Now, an informal network of those activists has popped up to help East Palestine, where residents are concerned about chemical contamination, cleanup, health effects and whether it’s safe to live in town.
Since government's multiple layers and bureaucracies need to be herded into getting their job done, people who've been through that wringer know they need to help each other.

Religion News Service chronicles the observations of the Rev. Steve Court, a retired pastor who coordinates disaster response in the East Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church ...
“Centenary United Methodist Church, here in town, is the host of the EPA and railroad and other local offices. We’ve set it up as a coordination center,” he said. Two other churches are hosting a health clinic and a Norfolk Southern-sponsored family assistance center.
Diane Russell, a community involvement coordinator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said local faith-based organizations are “key stakeholders” that are helping the EPA understand and meet the needs of folks on the ground.
Americans still demonstrate the instinct for collective self-help and self-organization which the traveling French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville marveled at in 1840:
"In the United States, as soon as several inhabitants have taken an opinion or an idea they wish to promote in society, they seek each other out and unite together once they have made contact. From that moment, they are no longer isolated but have become a power seen from afar whose activities serve as an example and whose words are heeded."

Monday, March 27, 2023

Angry young women

Daniel Cox is a data scientist who runs the Survey Center on American Life. He observes that some young liberal American women display measurable evidence of mental distress and even despair. He opines:

One recent event was especially significant for young liberal women: #MeToo. Even as public interest in the #MeToo movement recedes, its influence remains considerable. In recent interviews with young women, we found that the #MeToo movement was incredibly salient—for many, it was a transformative experience that informed their views on relationships, sexism, and gender equality.  
... As the #MeToo movement gained traction, many women began to reevaluate their understandings of the way American society treats them. Gallup polls reveal plummeting levels of satisfaction with the treatment of women in the last few years. In 2016, 61 percent of women said they were satisfied with the way women were treated in the US. The next time Gallup asked this question, in 2018, feelings of satisfaction had fallen dramatically. Today, only 44 percent of women report being very or somewhat satisfied with the treatment of women in American society.
Sounds plausible to me. Women are having a moment of being more appropriately aware that our aspirations are impeded by the sexist and misogynist elements in our society -- like, say, Republican judges and Donald Trump. And, too often, though by no means always, men in women's peer groups can be oblivious and unsupportive.

Cox goes on to report mournfully that 4 in 10 among current young liberal women are open to adopting a bisexual or lesbian sexual orientation. He thinks that indicates depression. I think it merely makes sense given what young women are experiencing ...

There's a universal antidote to depression that arises from seeing the world as it is. That's to struggle to make things better, in this case, a revived 21st century feminism. Will current distress generate a new feminist wave? It might. It seems as if every few years we experience a new such eruption -- and will continue to do so as long as women realize we won't have the equality we expect and deserve without demanding it,.

• • •

I was going to give Mr. Cox's distressed musings a pass, until I ran across this: The Real Reason South Koreans Aren’t Having Babies. Wow! The conflict between the sexes could be so much worse.

On the days she’s feeling most generous toward men—say, when she sees a handsome man on the street—Helena Lee can sometimes put her distaste aside and appreciate them as “eye candy.” That’s as far as she goes: “I do not want to know what is inside of his brain.” Most of the time, she wants nothing at all to do with men.
“I try to have faith in guys and not to be like, ‘Kill all men,’” she says. “But I’m sorry, I am a little bit on that side—that is, on the extreme side.”
The ghost of Valerie Solanas lives in South Korea?
[Helena] Lee is part of a boycott movement in South Korea—women who are actively choosing single life. Their movement—possibly tens of thousands strong, though it’s impossible to say for sure—is called “4B,” or “The 4 No’s.” Adherents say no to dating, no to sex with men, no to marriage, and no to childbirth. (“B” refers to the Korean prefix bi-, which means “no”.)
They are the extreme edge of a broader trend away from marriage. By one estimate, more than a third of Korean men and a quarter of Korean women who are now in their mid-to-late 30s will never marry. ...
... “I think the most fundamental issue at hand is that a lot of girls realize that they don’t really have to do this anymore,” Lee told me. “They can just opt out.”
That's some angry women. 

According to this account, young Korean women find dating unsatisfactory and sometimes physically dangerous. Demographers are projecting that the Korean population is shrinking because many young women simply are not choosing to couple and have children -- and don't like the available male partners.

In the U.S., the similar trend is partially mitigated by widespread acceptance of female single parenthood, though that's a hard road for the mother. And new immigrants generally have been more likely to want and bear large families. If it weren't for immigration, we'd be on a demographic trajectory more like Korea's.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

No wonder old GOPers are so spooked

Click to enlarge. Just do it and come back for an explanation.

This chart displays several sets of information in parallel in a form which makes new meaning. I found the density here fascinating. Let's unpack it a bit.

The underlying data points are the relative percentages of U.S. adherents to six religious postures which are defined so as to include a racial component within those identifications. That is, we are characterized in percentages of white evangelicals, white mainline protestants, white Catholics, Christians of color, other religions (no implied race, probably mostly Jews, Muslims and perhaps Hindus?), religiously unaffiliated (no implied race), and other Christians (no implied race, perhaps Orthodox?). This is not exactly how we usually think of these divisions -- but the groups are not unrecognizable.

It would be possible, and perhaps conventional, to display the result in two separate charts.

One chart would compare the distribution of religious groups by age: 18-29, 30-49, 50-64, 65+.  Some numbers crunchers might quibble with the divisions, but this seems commonplace.

A second chart would compare these divisions by political party identification: Democrats and Republicans. Again commonplace.

But the creators of this chart (PRRI American Values Atlas) have combined the two charts in a visual form which suggests far more -- and had the decency to spell out what they are getting at in the accompanying caption:

... the Democratic Party looks like 20 year old America, while the Republican Party looks like 80 year old America.

No wonder old GOPers are so spooked. It's a new world they are living in.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Two demographic and cultural turning points

What [political scientists Andrew Gelman, Yair Ghitza, and Jonathan Auerbach] found was that the formation of presidential voting preferences was most heavily centered on the period from age 14 to 24. “At the height of their influence, around the age of 18,” they write, political “events are nearly three times as meaningful [in forming voting preferences] as those later in life.”
Thinking of my own time in that decisive age bracket, what was formed in me was not only presidential voting patterns (I have voted consistently for Democrats including first in the ghastly Nixon-Humphrey election of 1968) but even more a suspicion of the warlike and other dishonest pretensions of authorities.  As Mr. Bump would I think agree, my generation broke patterns of conventional conformity that had characterized the 1950s for many Americans. He focuses on the sheer size of the boomer demographic elephant (born 1946-1964), which over and over demanded novelties from the society. In material terms, that meant so many more kindergartens and schools. But our arrival also meant cultural earthquakes. Reading Bump, I found myself wondering constantly about how current events of my early boomer youth shaped the society which struggled with our sheer numbers.

So, lately I've been reading histories of the U.S. Indochina imperial adventure as well as turning to more contemporary journalistic accounts from that time period. In particular, I turned to David Halberstam's The Best and Brightest, that war journalist's 1973 opus trying to explain contemporaneously the Vietnam imperial horror show and the collective folly of leaders.

That book was written in the midst of the national discovery that something about American culture had changed massively, something concurrent with the arrival into adulthood of the first wave of the enormous boomer generation, but before such an observation was simply a commonplace. So I cannot help but be arrested by Halberstam's attempt to describe what was going on among the young all around him. The times they were a-changing in Bob Dylan's lyric that captured the ethos.
Now in 1964 the cracks in the concrete were beginning to show in a variety of places, and the coming of the war would heighten the very restlessness which was just beginning to emerge. Hollywood of course had always supported the Cold War; at best a movie like High Noon was an oblique criticism of the McCarthy period. But generally certain things were sacred, and Hollywood seemed to be particularly good at grinding out films on the Strategic Air Command.  
In early 1964 nothing seemed to symbolize better the conflicting forces and changes of attitude, the new and the old, than the appearance of Stanley Kubrick’s movie Dr. Strangelove, and the review of it by Bosley Crowther in the New York Times. The Kubrick film was an important bench mark; it attacked not so much the other side as the total mindlessness of nuclear war, portraying how the irrational had become the rational. It was wild black humor at its best, and it touched some very sensitive nerve ends. But Crowther, who knew where the line should be drawn, was appalled and called it a sick joke: “I am troubled by the feeling which runs all through the film, of discredit and even contempt for our whole defense establishment, up to and even including the hypothetical commander in chief. It is all right to show the general who starts this wild foray as a Communist-hating madman convinced that a Red conspiracy is fluoridating our water in order to pollute our precious body fluids . . . But when virtually everybody turns up stupid or insane—or what is worse, psychopathic—I want to know what this picture proves . . .”
(Significantly, as the change of values intensified in the middle and late sixties, there would be almost a complete turnover in the critics for all the major publications, such as the Times, the Washington Post, Newsweek and Time. The older reviewers would be moved aside and younger, more radical critics quickly promoted in film, books and the theater. Traditional outlooks still marked those publications’ political attitudes and reporting, but publishers, realizing that times were changing, had accommodated in their cultural sections; the result was that sometimes a paper like the Times seemed to have a split personality; its political reporters hailing what its critics shunned.)
In 1964 Lenny Bruce, who a few years later would become a major cultural hero, was being prosecuted by the District Attorney’s office. Bruce would lose the case, but what he stood for—the essential change in attitude—would win. Bruce was saying that individual foul epithets were not obscene; it was the tolerance of all kinds of inhumanity by people in power which was genuinely obscene. His definition of obscenity was rapidly gaining acceptance. He was by no means simply a popular nightclub comedian; he was linked to the same broad assault on the society’s attitudes that Kubrick was part of.
There were other political reflections. Young whites went to Mississippi that summer to attack segregation, but they made it clear that they were attacking the entire structure of American life and that Mississippi was merely the most visible part. Their activity led to the formation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic party, which caused the one sour note as far as [President Lyndon] Johnson was concerned at the convention. There they were quickly put down, but what the Freedom Democrats symbolized politically, deep and abiding dissent from the processes and an unwillingness to compromise on terms dictated by the existing power structure, would live and grow. By 1968 many of the people who had helped put them down at the 1964 convention were with them, and the Democratic party itself seemed threatened.
Philip Bump's The Aftermath seems in the context of Halberstam's observations a strange book. It includes only three mentions of Vietnam, those tangential rather than substantive. Civil rights gets a few more mentions, nine in total. These social upheavals were the fabric of the lives of at least half the young boomers -- had they no consequence for our subsequent trajectories? That seems impossible.

Bump's real subject is where might the current emerging generations take us that surviving boomers will find novel. We boomers should finally be superseded by millennials as the largest block in the electorate in 2024. Younger Americans are different, very different from boomer old people. Here are some teasers from Bump's demographic explorations of the contemporary transitional scene:
• Whites are generally older than the population overall because younger Americans are less likely to be White … But this is a development that has occurred within the boomers’ lifetimes. In 1920, there wasn’t a significant gap in race between the oldest and youngest: the youngest tenth of the population was about 89 percent White while the oldest tenth was about 93 percent White. By 1970 that hadn’t changed much. In 2020, though, the oldest tenth was only about 77 percent White — and the youngest tenth was more than half non - White. This intertwines with the fact that the baby boom arrived during a period of restriction on migration to the United States.
• ... Whichever direction the arrow points, it is generally the case that boomers are White and Whites are Republican and Republicans are often boomers. None of these statements is uniformly true, certainly, but the Venn diagram of the three has a lot of overlap. Seven in 10 boomers are White. Fifty-three percent of Whites in 2019 were Republican or Republican leaning. Fifty-six percent of Republicans in 2019 were aged 50 or over.
• ... America’s non-White population is now mostly not Black.  

• The poles of Whiteness are sturdy. Everything else is more fragile.
Bump looks at possible "aftermaths" in terms of the evolutions of various states:
• Sociologist Richard Alba pointed to California as it was a place “where Whites are already a population minority.” The state has already seen an “influx of people from new groups into the leadership,” he continued, “but Whites are also still extremely important in the leadership of the state. At least in many parts of the country, there’s going to be — you know, I use the word ‘mainstream,’ there’ll be a mainstream. It’ll be much more diverse than today but Whites will still be very important players in that mainstream. It’s going to be a continuation of what we have today.”
• Since Republicans “see very clearly that they cannot expect to keep dominating going forward if this country is a democracy,” the historian Thomas Zimmer told me, “they are very blatantly and openly trying to restrict the electorate, restrict American democracy in a way that will result in a sort of a stable conservative minority rule. Something like Wisconsin, basically. Where you only get forty percent of the vote, but forty percent of the vote might be enough to stay [in power].

• With its balance of disparate regions, from the deeply conservative Panhandle — essentially an extension of the Deep South — to the urban, Democratic region around Miami, [Florida] includes an unusual geographic diversity. But there is a key way in which it’s an outlier, one that certainly affects its politics and is obviously pertinent to this discussion: it is old.  … Since older voters skew more Republican and more White, that suggests an influence on state politics that other places won’t share. Though, of course, the America of the future will be similarly older and those older Americans still more densely White than younger generations. So is Florida an aberration, or is it a preview?
I experienced Bump's book as a fascinating assemblage of largely undigested demographic insights. Perhaps he thinks it violates a journalist's code to extrapolate or draw conclusions from his data? Or maybe the magnitude of the changes he summarizes just overwhelm his explanatory powers. His data show that we are undergoing a generational transition as far reaching and wrenching as the one I lived in my high boomer youth. Bump passes along observations from a diverse collection of political scientists and sociologists. But he resists pulling it all together.

If, like me, you thrive on data, this is a wonderful collection. But if you wonder what our current generational transition means, this is just a beginning and we know that we will continue to drown in divergent efforts to shape our understanding of what we are living through. Just as my elders had to in the 1960s, but all moving so much faster ...

Friday, March 24, 2023

San Romero de las Americas

On March 24, 1980, Oscar Romero, the Catholic archbishop of San Salvador, was assassinated by a right-wing death squad as he celebrated a commemorative mass for the mother of one of his people. Romero's offense? He condemned violence done to the poor in an oligarchic society on the verge of civil war. The political instigators of his murder remained unpunished and even went on to capture the Salvadoran government.

The oppressed people of Central America venerated the fallen archbishop as a saint in their hearts; Pope Francis officially canonized Romero in 2018.

A single shot felled Romero as he delivered his homily (thanks to the Jesuit magazine America for this bit of text.)
This holy Mass, the Eucharist, is itself an act of faith. With Christian faith we know that at this moment the wheaten host is changed into the body of the Lord who offered himself for the world's redemption and in that chalice the wine is transformed into the blood that was the price of salvation. May this body immolated and this blood sacrificed for humans nourish us also, so that we may give our body and our blood to suffering and to pain—like Christ, not for self, but to impart notions of justice and peace to our people.
¡Oscar Romero presente!

Friday cat blogging

Despite many attempts, I've never gotten a good shot of this feline on its window bed. The animal just won't cooperate with passersby. It's a fine arrangement for an urban cat. 

This photo is ripped off from Mission Local, your essential source for not only the Mission District, but also for the city's less media-attractive neighborhoods in general. Not to mention our dysfunctional,  corrupt city government.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Spring is here

Back on January 22, I heralded the arrival of spring in San Francisco by posting a picture of a daffodil in our front yard. And shared my East Coast-origin consternation at its early arrival.

Yesterday daffodils bloomed here next to our Martha's Vineyard patio.

That's closer to my expected time line for the arrival of spring. I've lived in California over 50 years, but an East Coast seasonality endures within me. Odd.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

No heroes, some villains

I already posted my retrospective on the evils of our Iraq war. Lots of writing about this 20th anniversary is floating around; my short item felt like more than enough for me -- knowing there will never be enough to make amends. 

John Ganz writes the substack Unpopular Front. His subjects are fascism, nationalism, history, and whatever catches his first-rate mind and heart.

His denunciation of the U.S. adventure in imperial war in Iraq is so searing that I'm moved to add some bits to the noise:

No one today can supply a simple reason for the invasion of Iraq that stands up to the slightest moral or factual scrutiny. Every attempt to provide a rationale for the war is patent sophistry or self-justification.
This groundlessness, this inability to situate the war in anything tangible or concrete, is simply because it was based on a lie. More than a single lie, it was based on thoroughgoing hostility towards reality itself. It was based on an absurdly oversimplified ideological picture of the world. It was based on the willful ignorance and manipulation of intelligence. It was based on the fictitious and fanciful idea that Saddam was somehow connected to Osama bin Laden, a falsehood that played on the fears and anger of a wounded and humiliated nation, ready to lash out. It was based on indifference to the actual history and culture of Iraq, as if we could just easily shape another nation to our will.
And, perhaps most disturbingly, it was based on the belief that projecting the image of power, of a tough and vengeful nation, was of paramount concern. The planners clearly thought about the war as it would play out on T.V.: in spectacular scenes that would impress audiences at home and abroad. “There are no good targets in Afghanistan; let's bomb Iraq,” Donald Rumsfeld remarked to Richard Clarke — There was just more to blow up.
... There is a tendency to try to portray the Iraq War as a “tragedy,” as a mistake, brought on by hubris or zeal. One should reject this framing, for the reason that it is intrinsically ennobling. Aristotle wrote that tragedy aims at making its subjects appear better than in actual life. Hegel thought tragedy did not result from the conflict of good and bad, but of two equally valid claims on conscience. The world of tragedy is a world of heroes, fate, ascents to towering heights and falls into the dark abyss; It is a world of high seriousness and profundity; of noble men with great flaws.

 ... All this is improper in the case of the war in Iraq. It is an attempt to use heady incense to cover up a noxious stench.

Do read it all.

Before the U.S. invaded in 2023, millions of people around the world took to the streets to denounce the American intentions. We knew better. But we couldn't stop the determined mandarins and fools that Ganz denounces. The peace movement did chip away at the legitimacy of the Bush/GOPer project, making significant opinion inroads, though too slowly. And Obama's muted opposition to the Iraq war certainly helped his presidential campaign in 2008, if not his subsequent policy priorities once in power.

My generation lived and fostered two society-shaking peace movements -- against the horror that was Vietnam and against this second Iraq war; some of us also thought better of GHW Bush's Iraq-1, and even of Afghanistan, but never achieved much traction against those.

And some of us now support the Ukrainian national struggle for survival as I do. But war is always evil and full of bluster and lies.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

What's this "woke" stuff?

I've been trying for a couple of days to work up a post on "woke." Maybe I should just drop the effort, but instead I'll offer a sort of brain dump. Here goes, FWIW -- possibly not much.

For me, being "woke" connotes empathetic awareness of the feelings and life circumstances of other people. When practiced, it might lead to something like to politeness, curiosity, and striving "to be in love and charity" with our neighbors. That's both a lot -- and just the stuff of human life.

That set of connotations may underlie findings that seem to create consternation among political combatants:

According to a recent USA Today/Ipsos Poll, 56% of Americans surveyed say they think that being woke means “to be informed, educated on, and aware of social injustices”.

The same Guardian article by Arwa Mahdawi points out:

The term comes from African American Vernacular English and, originally, was broadly defined as being “alert to racial prejudice and discrimination”.

The term has somewhat escaped that origin context. As is so common with the Black experience in this country, other groups have repurposed the word to refer to additional conditions in which society renders people unseen -- and deserving of awakened attention. This strikes me as both a rip off and a form of cultural appreciation. Your mileage may vary.

As a white person who still, at 75, is often misgendered by oblivious retail clerks, I am viscerally aware that I have spent a lifetime wishing that people could be a little more "woke" to the person in front of them. Though having aged, I just figure they weren't paying attention when they make me male.

Meanwhile, as Molly Roberts observes watching the brouhaha over the "woke" (?!) Silicon Valley Bank:

Woke is the word these days, and conservatives are shouting it whenever they can — to the point that what exactly it’s supposed to mean, beyond “thing that I don’t like,” has become a mystery.
The best commentary on "woke" I've run across anywhere is this discussion between two smart lesbians coming from quite different histories. They decode what people say in Longwell's voter focus groups and by the end find themselves just talking personally about what "woke" has meant in their lives. Enjoy.

Monday, March 20, 2023

Hooray for brain drain

Insights by Stanford Business rightly touts the enormous contributions of immigrants to U.S. prosperity. 

I guess we knew that smart people want to come to this country. But the sheer magnitude of immigrant contributions to invention and entrepreneurial success are enormous.

The United States has long touted itself as a nation built by immigrants. Yet there has never been a precise measure of immigrants’ contribution to the country’s economic and technological progress. Around the time that President Donald Trump was moving to curb employment visas for skilled foreigners, economist Rebecca Diamond and a team of researchers set out to examine this unresolved question.

To find the answer, the researchers looked at the output of nearly 880,000 Americans who patented inventions between 1990 and 2016. They found that immigrants made an outsize contribution to innovation in the U.S. While they comprised 16% of inventors, immigrants were behind 23% of the patents issued over these years.

It wasn’t just a matter of quantity: The share of patents immigrants produced was slightly higher when weighted by the number of citations each patent received over the next three years, a key measure of their quality and utility. Moreover, immigrants were responsible for a quarter of the total economic value of patents granted in that period, as measured by the stock market’s reaction to new patents.

Obviously, Stanford and Silicon Valley focus on the large number of skilled inventors attracted here -- but despite everything -- despite Trump, Biden, and whatever other exclusionists rule the roost -- this country remains the desired destination for people with "get up and go" from across the planet. Even newcomer unskilled laborers are often the most capable of their families, off to seek a better life, however hard that may be. And we get the benefit.

For all our problems, a goodly quantity of people manage to bring their drive and their hopes to this country. You see some of this in Europe, but you sure don't see the global best and brightest trying to immigrate to China ... this is what we do here.

Yes, this is brain drain from across the globe. The only way to stop it -- short of walls and violence and cutting off our noses to spite our faces -- is to help other countries become equally attractive. That seems a long shot.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Michigan goes blue; Ohio stays red; Nevada splits the difference

Here's an interesting discussion of why Michigan and Ohio, states which might seem similar, have diverged politically since 2016. In that year, both voted for Donald Trump. By 2022, Michigan elected Democrats to state offices across the board, while Ohio elected Republicans to the U.S. Senate and statewide. The latter is now considered a solid "red state," while Michigan looks solidly "blue."

These are apparently demographically similar places, with only small differences:

Michigan and Ohio have similar white populations, 78% and 80%, respectively; Black populations, 14% and 12%; bachelor’s degree recipients, both 18%; people over 65, both 17%; median household incomes, both $59,000 in 2020 dollars; and workers belonging to unions, 13% and 12%.

The study's authors go on to discuss whether perhaps different voting laws shape different electorates. Michigan has put in place automatic voter registration through the DMV and election day registration. Ohio makes potential voters sign up a month in advance. Michigan's easier voting laws may make for increased participation.

According to the Michigan secretary of state’s official election results, there were 4.5 million total votes in the gubernatorial election, the highest office contested in 2022. Meanwhile in Ohio, the secretary of state reported 4.2 million total official votes cast for governor. ... The total number of voters in Ohio dropped by 295,466 between 2018 and 2022.
Well - maybe. But I have reservations, based having worked the election in Nevada in 2022. Under a Democratic governor and legislature, both elected in 2018, that state put in place election laws that do everything possible to make voting easy. Every Nevadan got a ballot in the mail, could mail it in or vote it in person as much as two weeks before election day, or register on election day if somehow they'd missed out on the mailing or at the DMV. 

And Nevada remained its deeply divided self in 2022, replacing its Democratic governor with a Republican, and re-electing a Democratic U.S. Senator, both by razor thin margins.

So very easy voting in Nevada (easier than in Michigan I think) wasn't enough to shape the partisan outcome.

The authors of the Michigan/Ohio comparison note one considerable discrepancy between but don't discuss it much:

Ohio voters were less likely to reside in a union household – 21% to 27% – and were much more likely to identify as Republicans, 41% to 32%.

Did the labor movement in Michigan get out the vote?

From what I saw in Nevada, it was the massive commitment of the hospitality union -- Culinary/UniteHERE -- to electing the Democrat that saved Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. Union membership in Nevada is not so different than in the other two states, between 11 and 12%. But a determined, high functioning union sector can make a difference in outcomes. And, so far, union membership does keep a lot of Nevadans identifying as Democrats. 

Perhaps unions in Ohio, despite their nominal membership, are not doing the work of communicating the advantages of Democratic governance to their people. Or maybe, their members have irrevocably soured on messages from these unions. These study authors conclude that whatever is going on, it may not be irrevocable --"... writing off Ohio as a noncompetitive state may be premature." Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown will be testing this out in 2024.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Terrible memories, terrible crimes that are not forgotten

I can only say: at least the New York Times rightly situates its retrospective article on the United States' invasion of Iraq in a cemetery.

That war was a fraud and a crime from its outset. Iraqis died; Iraqis were made refugees in their own country and beyond; Iraqis are still physically insecure and impoverished by corruption in their own country where sectarian differences can still be deadly.

That war broke a generation of U.S. soldiers sent battle for incomprehensible, sometimes non-existent, ends.

That vicious, preposterous war of aggression ensures that much of the world disbelieves the United States and Europe when we decry Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Unsurprisingly, Americans are not popular:

“My opinion of the Americans is negative, because if someone comes and kills my family and I don’t have any power to fight them, it leaves a hatred,” [Waleed Dhahi, now 23,] said. “Of course life continues and we must start again. But I lost my family and that has affected me, and sometimes I wish I had died with them.”

Friday, March 17, 2023

Friday cat blogging

This seems a bit saccharine as pseudo-icons tend to be -- but fun. According to CatGenie:

March 17th is the feast day of one very special saint, who is often grossly overlooked by the history books. Her name is Saint Gertrude of Nivelles, and she’s the Patron Saint of… you guessed it: CATS. ...

So, who was Saint Gertrude? Well, born in 628 to a noble family in what is now modern day Belgium, your girl Gerty was one sassy lassie, as God-loving as she was headstrong. At the tender age of 10, when presented with the prospect of marriage to a duke, Gertrude set the record straight and insisted that she wasn’t ever gonna marry no duke. In fact, she wasn’t gonna marry no man at all, so jot that down, thank you very much.

Some time later, after the death of Gertrude’s father, Gertrude’s mother Itta shaved her daughter’s head in the “tonsure” style that monks often wear. Gertrude and Itta then travelled to Nivelles and established the Abbey of Nivelles, which served as a Benedictine nunnery. Later, it became a monastery for both nuns and Irish monks alike. A scholarly and charitable woman, Gertrude spent many years of her life as Abbess to the monastery, dedicating her time to helping the sick, the elderly, and the poor. This earned her a reputation as a patron saint of travellers, widows, and the mentally ill. Today, she is called upon to ward off rats, fever, and insanity....

... When someone wanted to get rid of a rat infestation, they called upon Saint Gertrude. As such, much of the iconography that surrounds Saint Gertrude includes little rats and mice at her feet. Did people in the Medieval times necessarily know that rats carried with them the Black Death? Weirdly enough, probably not. At least not for like, a while. Yikes.

In the 1980s, devoted Christian Gertrude-lovers took the leap from associating Gertrude as a rodent-banisher to a protector of cats (who, you know, are also rodent-banishers.) To quote Thomas J. Craughwell, “St. Gertrude is invoked against mice and rats, which has led cat lovers to assume that Gertrude was a cat person, and so the ideal patron of their favorite pet.”

Imagine the cats' response to this is something like "we don't need no stinkin' saint ... But you could put out more cat food ..."

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Where you gonna lay your head?

Last summer while working in Reno to re-elect a Democratic U.S. Senator, Erudite Partner and I found ourselves having to learn a lot about housing. 

For me, that meant scrambling for places for incoming canvassers, something that you might think would be easy in a tourist town still trying to find its feet after the pandemic. It was not easy. We ended up with a shifting variety of solutions: extended stay hotels (heavily booked), short term corporate apartment rentals (pricey and some of them just plain weird), and finally, rooms at a run-down but unionized casino. 

Kasa Archiv where some of us ended up living...definitely weird.
For the E.P., learning about housing was a matter of equipping our hard working canvassers to talk about an issue they quickly discovered mattered desperately to many of the infrequent, low income voters they were meeting at the doors. Yes, people cared about abortion rights and keeping crazies out of government (and gas prices which pushed them away from us), but whether they would be able to keep a place to live that they could afford was often their main issue. 

Reno had seem an influx from California during the pandemic; it is growing a tech-industrial economy that displaces the old time Nevadans. It was a frequent experience for our canvassers to knock on a door, only to learn that the voter had been evicted. Sometimes the address no longer existed, torn down to make way for expensive future condos. 

To the credit of the Culinary/UniteHERE in Nevada, the union has taken on Nevada's housing squeeze, using its hard-won political clout to lobby for rent controls and other fixes. What good is a union contract if the worker can't afford to live where their job is located?

2022 was not a good time to be a renter in Reno. E.P. has taken the lessons of Nevada nationwide in her new essay for the syndicator, Tom Englehart: Don't Try to Find a Home in Washington, D.C. Or Pretty Much Anywhere Else If You're a Renter. 

E.P. asserts there exist a menu of policy solutions that should help:

There is no single solution to the growing problem of unaffordable housing, but with political will and organizing action at the local, state, and federal levels it could be dealt with.

 Read all about it.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

What did Ron DeSantis do at Guantanamo?

So anti-woke Florida bully-boy Governor Ron DeSantis (an aspiring Republican presidential nominee) has thrown down with the view that Russia's attempt to erase Ukraine and Ukrainians is just a "territorial dispute." Apparently he fears Donald Trump's Putin-love will upstage him unless he goes along. Kind of pathetic, but common behavior from people who only punch down.

If DeSantis prevails in his bid to lead the GOPers, there's a detail in his biography that will probably get more attention. As a newly minted Navy legal officer in 2006, DeSantis got an education in punching down at the U.S. gulag at Guantanamo. He doesn't talk about it much, but as part of his self-presentation as stand-up military guy, it will certainly draw at least some scrutiny.

It's not at all clear what DeSantis did at America's Cuban prison. He was there at a particularly bad time, when, interrogators frustrated because their captives didn't provide intelligence about al Qaeda (because the prisoners didn't have any) turned to brutal methods. Prisoners responded with a hunger strike -- having no other recourse to assert their humanity, they became willing to starve themselves. Official accounts say DeSantis filled a very junior paper pusher role; this makes sense. But the Florida BullDog, a muckraking online pub, passes on a story from a released detainee which adds to some color to DeSantis' Guantanamo tour.

Mansoor Adayfi, formerly detainee #441 and also known as Abdul Rahman Ahmed, says JAG Officer Ron DeSantis observed, allowed and participated in illegal acts of torture to help put down a hunger strike in 2006 by dozens of detainees protesting their detention. DeSantis also covered up the torture, Adayfi says.

The Yemen-born Adayfi, held for 14 years without charges, was released in 2016 and flown to Serbia to start a new life after a review board determined he was not a threat to the U.S. He made his allegations about DeSantis in a Nov. 18 interview podcast of Eyes Left, hosted by U.S. Army veteran and anti-war activist Michael Prysner, a graduate of Florida Atlantic University.

“I saw a fucking handsome person who was coming. He said, ‘I’m here to ensure that you’re treated humanely.’ And we said, OK, this is our demand, you know. We’re not asking for much,” Adayfi said. He said DeSantis went on, “And if you have any problems, if you have any concerns, if you have…just talk to me.’ And you know we, we, we, we’re drowning in that place. I’m like, ‘Oh, this is cool.’ That person actually writing something. He will raise the concerns, but it was [a] piece of the game. What they were doing, they were, they were looking what’s [going to] hurt you more, to use against you.”

Adayfi, now 44, said DeSantis watched with amusement as he and other detainees were repeatedly force-fed Ensure, a “meal replacement” shake, through a nasal feeding tube pushed down their throats.

With considerable pride, Adayfi continues:

*So, when he approached me, I said this is the way we are treated. He said, ‘You should start to eat.’ …I threw up on his face. Literally on his face.”
True story? Only DeSantis knows and he's not answering questions. The image of a prisoner striving for some smidgen of dignity under intolerable conditions by throwing up in the face of his jailer stays with with me. 

DeSantis, during his time in Congress, consistently joined the Republican push to keep Guantanamo open despite most of its inmates being declared no danger to Americans, while denying access to American courts to the few who were actually charged with specific crimes.

Not all military lawyers sent to work at Guantanamo ended up punching down solely. For some, their attachment to law led to a different path. Colonel Moe Davis who was DeSantis' boss later left his post refusing to use evidence obtained through torture.

Cartoon credit: DonkeyHotey

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

He got away with murder. Or did he?

Kyle Rittenhouse. Oh yeah, the troubled teenager who grabbed up an AR-15 and drove to Kenosha, Wisconsin to play vigilante during protests in 2020 against the police shooting of Jacob Blake. He killed two young white men playing protester and severely injured another. A Kenosha jury called Rittenhouse's exploit self-defense. His surviving victim is trying to add him to a civil suit against the city and Ritttenhouse is apparently evading subpoenas.

Shortly after he got off on the murder charge, Rittenhouse showed some interest in getting out of the public view and perhaps making a life. But he hasn't gone that way. Instead, he's been performing on the rightwing grifter circuit -- and apparently not being much of an attraction.

His promoters are still using this childish photo, three years after his defining moment. Guess he plays to someone's notion of the innocent all-American white boy.

Mother Jones journalist Stephanie Mencimer has been following the young man's trajectory.  Her account is sad and sensitive.

Rather than slink off into anonymity after his acquittal, Rittenhouse has spent the past year trying to rebrand himself as a free speech and gun-rights activist. Following the siren song of the right-wing industrial complex, Rittenhouse, now 20, spends his time going on podcasts, attending conventions, and taking selfies with fans. ... after a year on the right-wing circuit, Rittenhouse has shaved off any introspection from his public commentary, opting instead for conservative buzzwords about gun rights and the left. 

In public appearances, he seems baffled by the rest of the world’s refusal to exonerate him and embrace the Kenosha jury’s conclusion that he’d acted in self-defense. The problem, of course, is that the verdict didn’t absolve him of taking an assault rifle into a violent protest in the first place. “The conscious choice to impose a risk—even permissible risk, as in the case of driving—opens a person up to moral liability,” the Oxford professor moral philosophy Jeff McMahan told the New Yorker in 2017.  “People who are not culpable can nevertheless be responsible.”

Former First Lady Laura Bush was also 17 when she ran a stop sign and killed another 17-year-old driver. In a memoir, she wrote of losing her faith afterwards, and being “wracked by guilt for years after the crash.” Bush suffered in silence for more than 40 years. “Most of how I ultimately coped with the crash was by trying not to talk about it, not to think about it, to put it aside,” she wrote. “Because there wasn’t anything I could do. Even if I tried.”

Killing those men in Kenosha is all Rittenhouse talks about. From the beginning, Rittenhouse has been preyed on by right-wing opportunists. Bad actors anointed him a hero and absolved him of culpability. They’ve pushed him in front of the klieg lights ...

Mencimer's story feels sad and vacant. And most likely to end badly. 

I'm reminded of another famous killer who seemed to escape appropriate punishment, though not the verdict of society. Ex-cop and ex-elected official Dan White convinced a jury he was high on a twinkie when he killed George Moscone, mayor of San Francisco, and Harvey Milk, our first gay member of the Board of Supes. He got off with a short prison sentence. 

White died by carbon monoxide suicide in his garage two years after his release.

Monday, March 13, 2023

As we await a Nor'easter on Martha's Vineyard ...

Much of this summer tourist island is shut down or hunkered down for the New England winter. But the characteristic post-pandemic economic dislocations persist here too. 

I was greeted by this sign while looking for bird seed at the feed store.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Daylight Saving Time, again

Oh please ... Paul Poast, an International Relations and Foreign Policy prof at the University of Chicago, shares the origins of this nuisance in a tweet thread. The Great War in Europe of 1914-18 inspired the idea among belligerents in order to save coal (it probably didn't). The U.S. played along when we joined the fray in 1917.

The idea required some public education. Note it was "for the soldiers."

After the war we just kept this novelty and are STILL trying to get rid of it. 

Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) have repeatedly introduced legislation to keep us permanently on what is now called Daylight Saving Time. Now that's some bipartisanship. I'm all in for their bill.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

A righteous rant from Radley Balko

Some twerp named Michael Knowles who writes for a rightist propaganda outfit called the The Daily Wire suggested recently that  it was time for the “eradication of transgenderism from public life.” Knowles got pissed when folks drew the logical conclusion that this is the language of genocide for trans peope. But quibbles aside, that is what it is.

Knowles' demagoguery, along with more from his partner in bullshit Republican U.S. Senator Mike Lee, teed off that great civil libertarian and scourge of bad cops Radley Balko. (Here's more on Balko's masterful history of policing, The Rise of the Warrior Cop.) Balko is having none of Knowles' whining. 

It isn’t hyperbolic to send up the distress flares when prominent figures in your society first begin using the same sort of rhetoric previous aspiring authoritarians deployed to lay the groundwork for what later became atrocious crimes against humanity — even if you think the odds of similar crimes happening here on a similar scale are pretty low.

No society goes from “not at all like genocide” to full blown genocide without passing through countless “not exactly like Hitler, but still unacceptably Hitler-like” phases along the way. You needn’t wait until the ovens are running or until you stumble onto a pile of spent Zyklon-B canisters to raise alarms. It’s perfectly okay to say, “It’s pretty fucked up that a guy with 400,000 followers who works for a network with an audience of millions thinks trans people don’t exist in an ‘acceptable state of being.’”

... The point here is that Knowles knows exactly what he was doing, and what he’s doing is as common among aspiring demagogue bigots as part lines and flop sweat. You craft a message that you know your nuttiest, most foaming-at-the-mouth supporters will hear as reassurance — but that also leaves you with plausible deniability should one of them resort to violence. “Stand down and stand by.” “Really fine people.”

Balko apparently is no longer an opinion columnist for the Washington Post, a gig he had for nine years. But truth telling like this and an ongoing diet of sophisticated commentary on police misbehavior can be found at his Substack, The Watch. Highly recommended. 

Friday, March 10, 2023

Friday cat blogging

Janeway has found her bliss -- or perhaps Allan has. I doubt if she misses us while we're on the other side of the country. I think of Allan as "the animal whisperer." Mutual delight on Bartlett Street.

Thursday, March 09, 2023

A Tale of Two States

You may vaguely remember Sarah Huckabee Sanders -- one of Trump's press secretaries who was willing to say that down was up and up was down for the former POTUS. Well she has wandered off to Arkansas (sorry Arkansas, a state with some good people and lovely outdoor resources) and won the Governor's mansion, sort of a hereditary perk since her father once held that job. 

Governor Huckabee has just worked with her tame Republican legislature to legalize child labor. Really. Here's how CNN reports the legal change:

Arkansas Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed a bill into law this week that rolls back a number of child labor protections across the state, including a measure that had required employers to obtain work certificates for children under the age of 16.

“The Governor believes protecting kids is most important, but this permit was an arbitrary burden on parents to get permission from the government for their child to get a job,” Sanders’ spokesperson Alexa Henning said in a statement. “All child labor laws that actually protect children still apply and we expect businesses to comply just as they are required to do now.”

Previously, minors under the age of 16 needed to verify their age and get the written consent of a parent or guardian before a work certificate could be issued by the state’s Division of Labor. But H.B. 1410, known as the Youth Hiring Act of 2023, which passed the Arkansas state legislature earlier this month, no longer requires youth under the age of 16 to have that work certificate as a condition of their employment.

If you think child labor is purely a thing of the past, I would suggest reading Educated and think how this might work out in Arkansas. 

• • •

Meanwhile, the great state of Michigan where a Democratic legislature has prevailed over a gerrymander (and over indigenous white Christian nationalists who sought to kidnap the Democratic Governor) to do away with a "right to work" law

Not that long ago, the Michigan Capitol was a laboratory of conservative policymaking. In 2012, with Republicans holding full control of state government, legislators passed a right-to-work law that allowed employees in unionized workplaces to opt out of paying union dues or their equivalent. ...

“You’ve got this climate where companies that you might have been negotiating with for decades now see unions as weaker,” said Ms. [Lisa] Canada, who until recently served as the political director of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights. “So they go into negotiations with a whole different attitude.”

When Democrats came to power this year, they quickly pledged to undo right-to-work. And on Wednesday, workers in union apparel testified in support of the repeal and filled the balcony of the House chamber as Democrats invoked their two-seat majority to do what they said was the will of the people.

So-called "right to work" laws allow some employees in unionized workplaces to free ride on the benefits won by  the struggles of their unionized co-workers. They serve the employers' interests by undermining solidarity among co-workers. The bosses love that.

Michigan is demonstrating that, as my UniteHERE colleagues would say: "When we fight, we win."

Wednesday, March 08, 2023

For International Women's Day

The Rev. Anne Robertson, whose tweet this is, has served for decades as a United Methodist pastor. I don't know if she knows more about the intricacies of the situation in this Georgia which straddles Europe and Asia in the Caucasus region than I do. For me that's very little. Americans aren't much good at knowing about faraway places.

But like her, I want to recognize courage and collective action where I see it.
The Guardian explains the protests:
Police in the former Soviet state of Georgia have used water cannon and teargas in an attempt to disperse thousands of people who rallied on Tuesday night after parliament gave its initial backing to a draft law on “foreign agents” which critics say represents an authoritarian shift.
... The law, backed by the ruling Dream party, would require any organisations receiving more than 20% of their funding from overseas to register as “foreign agents”, or face substantial fines.
Critics have said it is reminiscent of a 2012 law in Russia that has since been used to crack down on dissent.
In too many countries, including also Hungary, Poland, and Nicaragua, which preserve ostensibly democratic elections, these state efforts to eliminate international support for a wider international  culture, often feminist, are a step toward authoritarian capture. So Georgians wave the European Union flag, though Europe is unlikely to want to bring Georgia in any time soon.
This law in Georgia is widely contested.
Georgia’s president, Salome Zourabichvili, has said she intends to veto the law if it crosses her desk but the parliament could override her veto. She expressed solidarity with the protesters on Tuesday.
The struggle for more freedom never ends.

Tuesday, March 07, 2023

Cruelty is repellent

Alejandra Molina, writing for Religion News Service, reports an intriguing development: In Florida, Latino evangelicals mobilize against DeSantis’ crackdown on immigrants.
(RNS) — After Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered state regulators to deny licenses or renewals to those sheltering unaccompanied migrant children, more than 200 faith leaders and evangelical pastors of Spanish-speaking churches made their way to downtown Tallahassee last year in February to protest the governor for preventing them from doing the “work that God has called us do.”
Many of those shelters were housed in local Latino evangelical churches, according to the faith leaders who also demonstrated against a law that now forbids state and local governments from contracting with transportation companies that knowingly bring undocumented immigrants.
Now, as DeSantis prepares for a possible 2024 presidential bid and as he’s unveiled an immigration package that seeks to impose stiffer penalties for Floridians who “knowingly transport, conceal, or harbor” unauthorized immigrants, some Latino evangelical leaders say they’re willing to break the law if it’s enacted and are mobilizing their flocks — this time in larger numbers — to “fight against DeSantis.”
Much is made of DeSantis' success in winning Florida's Latino voters from the Democrats in his recent re-election. And the churches whose leaders have been riled by his anti-immigrant policies are very conservative -- happy enough with DeSantis' anti-LGBTQ initiatives and encouragement of a broad abortion ban. But there is such a thing as going too far ...
The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, who serves as president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, said “there is angst in the Latino evangelical community” over DeSantis’ immigration proposal.
“Every Latino pastor in the state of Florida, every Latino pastor who pastors a Spanish-speaking ministry, if I were a betting man, we have undocumented individuals in each of these churches, bar none,” he said. ”So are you saying that the same Latino pastors that are pro-life, pro-religious liberty, biblical justice, no to socialism and communism and yes to parental rights —  that this leadership, that we are criminals?”
The pastor lauded DeSantis’ “outreach to the Hispanic evangelical community,” but said he is concerned about the third degree felony penalties for harboring someone who is undocumented as well as hospitals collecting immigration information. This doesn’t mean that Latino evangelicals favor President Joe Biden’s handling of immigration issues, he added.
One reason these doubts about DeSantis may be unlikely to have much immediate electoral impact in Florida is that even these pastors' church members who are citizens and could vote, very likely don't vote. Latinos notoriously participate at low rates. If they are also new citizens and thus newly eligible, it often takes people many years in their new country to get into the election habit.

But performative cruelty to the Spanish-speaking migrants can be felt as viscerally morally offensive. DeSantis is attacking deep communal values that are strongly held. The community gets by through communal care; they expect their politicians to have the same values.

In California thirty years ago, a majority of the Spanish-speaking community was turned for life against Republicans by Governor Pete Wilson's cruel anti-immigrant measures. A generation of Latino political leaders grew up determined to participate fully in the governance of the state. They became some of recent decades most notable politicians (for better and less good) -- Kevin de León, Xavier Becerra, Alex Padilla ...

In Philip Bump's new book The Aftermath, he quotes Lisa García Bedolla, a UC Berkeley political scientist, about the generally stand-offish posture of many (most?) potential Latino voters toward elections and the Democratic party:

“There’s growing independent identification in the United States, and especially among the immigrant-origin communities, so Asian Americans and Latinos are much more likely to be independent,” García Bedolla told me. “In a weird way, you know, the support for the Democratic Party is more, well, they [Republicans] hate us. So I guess we have to go over here.”
This dynamic seems to be what DeSantis is setting up. Florida is not California, but cruelty is cruelty and repellent everywhere. Inflicting moral injury has not ended well for Republicans.