Achy Obejas

writer & translator


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Rubio vs. Cruz on immigration

(AP/File)Ted Cruz may end up being a determining factor on immigration reform.

(AP/File)Ted Cruz may end up being a determining factor on immigration reform.

The Boston bombing is casting a long shadow over the immigration bill penned by the bipartisan Gang of Eight, but that — the idea that border procedures need to be tightened to keep out the likes of the immigrant bombers (who were 8 and 15 when they arrived here) — is the least of the bill’s problems.

The first is that the only political team that needs this bill is the GOP. And because the Republicans have such a nasty recent history on immigration (self-deportation, anyone?) and are so split on the issue, the Democrats don’t really have to do much of anything to benefit. When it comes to the largest voter bloc invested in the immigration bill — Latinos — there are so many other issues that push them away from the GOP (the umpteenth attempt to repeal Obamacare, positions on education and taxes), that Democrats can just stand by and whistle. If the bill passes, it will be a victory for them and the crossover Republicans, but if it dies, it’ll be the Republicans’ fault. So no need to break a sweat.

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Bostonians open their homes in midst of tragedy

Here are just a few of the hundreds of messages from a public spreadsheet created within hours of the tragedy by Bostonians offering space in their homes to those in need after the Boston Marathon bombing

My place has two beds, one air mattress, and a couch. A few blocks from the finish line. My place is small but open to any one that cannot get to their hotels tonight. I’m a local dentist, and I want to contribute.

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I am so sorry we all have to deal with this. My thoughts are with all people who got hurt. I have a guest room with a double bed. I am right on the orange line 5 stops away from Back Bay station. I used to host marathon runners in my house in the South End, steps away from Copley. I will give you a safe place to stay.

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If you’re traveling with children, we have 2 Pack-n-Play’s, toddler tub, diapering needs, etc. Our apt is rather small, but we do have a queen size inflatable mattress, a couch, and a day bed where people can sleep.

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The Gay Old Party

On March 27 in Washington, D.C., same-sex marriage supporters rally outside the Supreme Court as the Defense of Marriage Act case is heard.

On March 27 in Washington, D.C., same-sex marriage supporters rally outside the Supreme Court as the Defense of Marriage Act case is heard.

How far has same-sex marriage come this year?

Just consider that Karl Rove, the man who allegedly masterminded the 2004 Republican strategy to churn out anti-gay state referendums as a “wedge” to stoke evangelical turnout and propel George W. Bush to a second term, told ABC’s This Week on March 24 that he could see a 2016 GOP presidential candidate supporting same-sex marriage.

Sure, Rove is seemingly on the ropes—under attack by his own right-wing forces for not producing during the last election cycle—but this is the man who must have looked Vice President Dick Cheney in the eye (Cheney, who has an openly lesbian daughter and who has publicly supported same-sex marriage since long before 2004) and pretty much told him his daughter was collateral damage in their White House quest.

How big of a switcheroo is this? Well, just last summer the Republican party platformproclaimed: “We applaud the citizens of the majority of states which have enshrined in their constitutions the traditional concept of marriage, and we support the campaigns under way in several other states to do so.”

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Venezuela’s incredibly sad elections

This is likely Henrique Capriles's last shot at being president of Venezuela

This is likely Henrique Capriles’s last shot at being president of Venezuela

Henrique Capriles’ suicide mission will likely come to an end Sunday, when Venezuelans go to the polls and elect Nicolás Maduro, Hugo Chávez’s handpicked successor, in a nasty, rigged campaign. If Capriles should somehow win — an improbability by almost any measure — it is, frankly, unlikely the Maduro forces don’t have a Plan B to hold on to power, such as an appeal to the Venezuelan Supreme Court — handpicked by Chávez and a vital player in these last few months in the drama of Chávez’s death, Maduro’s presidential succession and the laying out of the campaign frame work.

The brief 30-day campaign has favored Maduro not simply because of his association with Chávez and because Chávez’s last public words were an endorsement of him as heir — though this alone is a mighty reason for many Venezuelans to support him.

Maduro’s incumbency, however controversial, has  meant the full weight and credit of the Venezuelan government media machine going all out, blacking out Capriles (who’s been reduced to campaigning on one TV station and social media while Maduro campaigns on 7 channels whenever he wants and travels on the government’s dime) and constant attacks of the dirtiest kind. So far, Maduro has strongly implied Capriles is gay and outright called him an “heir to Hitler,” a particularly ironic and stinging barb considering Capriles’ grandparents were Holocaust survivors. On the final day, Maduro warned that anyone who didn’t vote for him would awaken a 100 year-old curse.

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