Tornillo, TX March: Report from the Field

I am privileged to front page O. Felix Culpa’s trip to the Tornillo march this weekend. I’ll let her take it from here:

From O. Felix Culpa:

Trawling the internet over Saturday morning coffee, I chanced upon an announcement for a march on the new tent city in Tornillo, Texas, scheduled for the next day. I read the info to my wife and we said simultaneously, “Let’s go.” We abandoned our weekend gardening plans, packed a few things, dropped the dog off with a friend, and drove 300-plus miles southwest to El Paso, where we spent the night. The drive was pretty and uneventful, except for the plague of insects committing suicide on our windshield near Fort Bliss.

Early next morning we headed to the march’s starting point at the Tornillo-Guadalupe Toll Plaza on the US-Mexico border. It’s in a rural area, marked by orderly pecan groves interspersed with verdant alfalfa. But the land is brown and desolate where the fields end and the internment camp begins. Although set up for 400 children, capacity might be expanded to 4,000 according to the government.

Many other cars were turning off the highway ahead of us as we approached. Good! we thought. These people must be going to the march too and we can follow them. It seemed unlikely that so many people would be heading to this remote place on a Sunday morning for any other reason, and we were right.

There were already hundreds of cars parked along the roads when we arrived and more kept streaming in. All told, about 2,000 people came – more protestors than residents in Tornillo – extraordinary numbers for a Father’s Day event in an out-of-the-way location announced late Friday. Most were from El Paso, but folks hailed from all over Texas and as far away as Salt Lake City, Denver, and Santa Fe (us).

The crowd of families with young children, youth, and seniors – brown, black, and white – huddled for shade under the toll plaza cover, waiting for the march to start. The sun was already fierce at 9:30 a.m. – on the coolest day forecast for the week. Three guards stood at the entrance to the camp, watching. We couldn’t see the tents, which were somewhere behind the barbed wire, walls, and outbuildings. The organizers informed us they had not been able to secure permission to enter, so we marched out a short way, then back through the toll plaza to a gathering place as close to the camp as possible for the rally.

Beto O’Rourke was highly visible throughout, surrounded by supporters, cameras, and broadcast microphones. He’s tall, handsome, and an effective speaker. He notably avoided directly attacking Trump and the GOP (this is Texas, after all, and he’s running for Senator), but was clear about the immorality of the family separation policy: “This is inhumane. This is cruel. This is torture to take a child from that mother, from that father, who literally risked all, including their lives, to bring them to safety, fleeing horrific violence.” All true. Beto added, “People say this is not who we are. But it is who we are. We are doing this and we must stop it.” Also true.

A small commotion arose just behind me and I turned to see Joseph Kennedy III, carrot-haired with that pink-and-white Irish complexion and distinctive Kennedy good looks, working his way through the crowd to the speaker’s box. He too denounced the anti-immigrant policies: “We recognize that universal truth that humanity does not come with citizenship or with a green card,” and concluded by noting our American immigrant family names are “Jimenez…Martinez…O’Rourke [applause]…and Kennedy,. My family is Kennedy” [more applause].

Kennedy sped away in the requisite black SUV to seek entry into the camp. I don’t know if he got in. The crowd dispersed shortly afterward, some heading to Father’s Day brunches, while others, like us, drove home. I’m glad we went and we have more work to do to rescue these children and restore them to their families.

Me again. There are more photos below the fold.

Read more

Just Say No

This story got buried under the news of Andrew McCabe’s firing on Friday, but it’s important if we want to elect people who can bring about responsible government. That starts now, as we move toward November’s elections.

You know those cute little quizzes that are supposed to tell you something about who you are? Which movie star are you? Are you a cat or a dog person? What is your color? So much fun to compare with what you think of yourself and with your friends’ results. In fact, you could share on Facebook and urge your friends to see what their favorite color was. Those quizzes asked you to share most of your Facebook data before you could play.

You may have been contributing data to Cambridge Analytica’s work to help elect Donald Trump. Read more

Yes: You’re Crazy. What? You Want A Second Opinion? OK. You’re Ugly Too*

*Old shrink joke that applies with a depressingly tight fit to Trump’s Republican Party.

Update: I just noticed I bigfooted Anne Laurie below. Ordinarily, I’d delete this and reschedule it. But my reschedule function has been verklempt lately so I don’t trust that, and I’m about to pass out, so I’ll leave this here on the assumption that the jackals can multitask.


So here’s the thing.  I heard that the Trump-Pence folks were fundraising w. a push poll on immigration.

I decided to respond, as below:

    • is an astonishingly stupid idea that both won’t work and apes the worst of our adversaries in the Cold War. It’s unAmerican, and idiocy to boot.
  1. A truly responsible immigration bill is one that does not begin from a premise of ethnic cleansing. Hatred of folks who talk funny and don’t look like you is no way to go through life.

I’m not going to suggest that any jackals should swamp such a poll — and in fact, it’s pointless to do for this one, as it’s just another iteration of crappy digital age fundraising.  But if you want to tell some of the worst people on earthy how shitty they are, here’s the link.

File this one under completely futile gestures that are still, somehow satisfying.

And, more seriously, if anyone doubted that the Republicans are going all in as the party of ethnic cleansing, doubt no more.

This thread? It is open.

Image:  Pigsty and Latrines, earthenware, probably Henan Province, Han Dynasty, between 1st c. BCE. and 1st c. CE.

Thursday Morning Open Thread: Speaking Up

via commentor Rikyrah

The Media Village Idiot ‘let’s you and her fight’ spin is stupid, but Michelle Obama is a very smart lady. I’m really looking forward to seeing what she does next. Per the Boston Globe:

Former First Lady Michelle Obama criticized women who voted for President Donald Trump during a wide-ranging conversation in Boston Wednesday that addressed life in the White House, her forthcoming book, and the challenges of discrimination that women face together.

“Any woman who voted against Hillary Clinton voted against their own voice,” Obama told the audience during a question-and-answer session with author Roxane Gay at Inbound, a marketing conference that has attracted an assortment of famous speakers this week.

Obama maintained that she and her husband, former President Barack Obama, still support Trump and want him to be successful…

Obama said she doesn’t miss being in the White House, though she does miss the “people and the work.” The process taught her that she can do anything, she told the audience.

“It was like being shot out of a cannon…with a blindfold and the spotlight on you,” she said when asked what it was like as First Lady…

(Tim Eagan via

Monday Even Open Thread: At Least We’ll Die Fighting


Apart from that, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

For y’all to forward on social media…