RCC Honors History Project

Archive for May, 2009

McDonald’s Bathroom Attendant

Posted by mcelynrh on May 30, 2009

Published

Featuring: Simmons, Todd, Kula, Balaban, Krafft, Skillman

Digital Photography: Agents Kula & Todd
DV Cam (hidden): Agent Kula

About a month ago, I was brainstorming a mission idea with a few friends called “Five Star Fast Food”. The idea was to deck out a fast food joint with all the trappings of a five star restaurant. There would be a Maitre D’ standing behind a podium asking for your reservation, a hostess to seat you, a waiter to take your order, and an attendant in the bathroom. The obvious problem with this idea is that it would very likely be shut down as soon as it begins. I decided to focus on the bathroom attendant aspect, figuring that we could last much longer in a secluded men’s room.

The next step was to pick the perfect restroom. The challenge here is that pretty much every fast food place in New York has a single occupancy bathroom, many of which require a key for entry. I needed to find a single-gender, multi-occupancy restroom. After spending about a week surveying various disgusting locations, I finally found what I needed in Times Square.


The Times Square McDonald’s

The Times Square McDonald’s is a sight to see. Its facade is made to look like a Broadway theatre; in fact, it’s adjacent to the Lion King. It’s three stories tall, has menus on flat-screen TVs, and movie projections on its walls. On the third floor in the very back corner, it has a very large men’s room with three urinals, two stalls, and four sinks.

The men’s room also conveniently had a “Diaper Changing Station” that would double as our amenities table.

The next step was to find our employee. My friend Todd Simmons worked as a professional bathroom attendant for three years in Manhattan. Obviously, he was the logical choice to play the part. His experience would enable him to be totally comfortable and natural throughout the mission. He knew all of the tricks of the trade.


Agent Simmons

I spent about $50 gathering supplies for the mission. I hit up K-Mart, Rite Aid, and various dollar stores for “travel-size” toiletries. Our attendant had it all: cologne, deodorant, mints, gum, dental floss, Tylenol, Advil, condoms, shaving cream, disposable razors, Q-tips, baby powder, Gold Bond, Band-Aids, cough drops, mouthwash, plastic cups, hair gel, Kleenex, and our crown jewel–a “Barbicide” canister filled with actual Barbicide and several combs. Our wares would be presented on two silver trays on top of a lace tablecloth.

We arrived at the McDonald’s at about 1:45 in the afternoon. We each ordered food and sat down at tables close to the bathrooms. There were two cops finishing up their meal just a few tables away. We figured the male cop would probably use the facilities before leaving, so we waited it out. We were correct; he took a quick trip to the men’s room and then left the scene. We sprang into action. Agent Simmons had a tuxedo concealed under his winter coat. Agent Todd carried a large K-Mart shopping bag with all of the supplies. Within two minutes our table was ready to go.


The Table
Barbicide

Agent Kula handled digital video and photography for this mission. He hid his DV camera inside a Kleenex box and pointed it towards the door. We were a little worried about the legal implications of covertly filming men of all ages in a bathroom. Agent Simmons carried a decoy tape in his pocket in case management discovered us and demanded our tape.


Our hidden camera is on the right
Agent Kula checks his camera
Agent Simmons prepares for his first customer

Agent Simmons stood in front of the automatic hand dryers, essentially blocking access to them. He was armed with a dispenser of antibacterial hand soap (much better than the pink industrial soap on the wall) and nice paper towels. If folks were going to wash their hands, they weren’t going to dry them without using our attendant.

Since our McDonald’s was located in Times Square, we received visitors from all over the world. Agent Simmons’ first customers were a group of British school boys, visiting the US on a school trip.


The first British boy

The first two boys to enter were terribly excited about the attendant. They cheerily washed their hands and both took peppermints on the way out


The boys dry their hands with our paper towels

Several IE Agents (Balaban, Krafft, Skillman, & Todd) were sitting just outside of the bathroom to observe the reactions of people as they left. The boys came running out of the bathroom anxious to report back to the rest of the group. “Heather!” one boy cried, “They’ve got a butler in the bathroom and he gave us sweets!”

The group’s chaperone made a trip to the bathroom to investigate the boys claims.


The chaperone

His accent was unbelievably thick, but it was clear he was delighted that there was someone in the room to “help the boys wash up”. He shook Agent Simmons’ hand, explaining “the kids are astonished because they don’t do this in England.”

Several more boys entered the bathroom to take part in the fun. The original boys returned twice to get more sweets, and then stood outside the door bragging to their female classmates.

Things quieted down for a bit after the British group left.

About ten minutes in to the mission, the first McDonald’s employee entered the room. His nametag read “Roman”, and he didn’t seem to speak very much English.


Roman

Agent Simmons’ approached Roman warmly. “Hey there. I’m Todd. I’m from Corporate McDonald’s. We’re trying out a new promotion today.” Roman quickly shuffled out of the bathroom with out speaking. He would return several times throughout the mission to sweep, ignoring Agent Simmons each time.

A man and his young child visited the bathroom. The father had to pick his son up so Agent Simmons could help him wash his hands. He tipped $1. Agent Simmons made it clear that tips were entirely optional and that his services were provided free of charge. He made small talk with everyone who entered the room, asking them where they were from, if they had seen a Broadway play, etc. He also peppered McDonald’s slogans in to his banter. “We’re lovin’ it today and we hope you are too.” “You deserve a break today.” “We like to see you smile, sir.”

The man pictured above was a tourist visiting from South Korea. He and Agent Simmons had a two minute conversation about the weather. “I always carry an umbrella because I hate rain,” the man said.


Two tourists from the land of New Jersey

The man above was seeking cold water, and was disappointed to hear that the faucets were only providing hot water today.

A second employee entered the bathroom, Rafael. He sweeps and leaves, giving Simmons a suspicious eye, but not responding to Simmons’ friendly banter.


Rafael

The man pictured about spent over five minutes in the bathroom, brushing his teeth (he brought his own toothbrush and tooth paste). He turned out to be the CFO of Hitachi visiting from Japan.

He had just seen the Broadway musical “Mama Mia!” and gave Agent Simmons a brief review. “It was so-so. The songs were very clever, but that’s all. I like the ABBA songs, but the plot is very simple.” He went on to say that you can “see good musicals in Japan, but in the United States–especially New York–they’re fantastic.”

The young man pictured above was very curious. He asked Agent Simmons’, “This is a good paying job?” He then revealed that his step-father used to be a bathroom attendant in Brooklyn. As Agent Simmons shared a smile with him, a third employee began shouting from the door.

It was a female employee dressed the same as Roman and Rafael. She didn’t speak very much English either, so Agent Simmons had a hard time communicating with her. “Only muchachos,” he tried to explain. She responded, “Nobody else? I go in?” She waited until all of the men had exited the room and then came in to get a closer look at Agent Simmons’ setup. He tried to calm her, “We work together. Te llamo Evelyn?” She quickly left.

Many folks were kind enough to tip throughout the day. Agent Simmons made a total of $6.92.

The international theme continued as the day went on. Agent Simmons’ was visted by a group of Germans, a Russian gentleman, and a couple of guys from Yonkers, NY.


Agent Simmons attends to a Russian man

A German man wanted to know if Agent Simmons worked for McDonald’s or by himself. Once Simmons explained to him that it was a McDonald’s promotion, he decided, “I like the idea. Sounds good.” The bathroom got quite crowded at certain points. All in all, Agent Simmons helped around fifty customers.


Men waiting in line for an open urinal

Evelyn, the female employee, must have alerted the management. A gentleman wearing a tie entered just as Simmons was explaining the McDonald’s philosophy to a customer, “We don’t want to be a part of the same fast food culture as everyone else. McDonald’s is the biggest, the best, and this is Broadway!”


The manager enters

The manager didn’t know how to respond. He stuttered for a moment and finally burst out with “Y-Y-You don’t have any authorization to do this.”

“Yes, I do,” Simmons responded. “I’m Todd. I’m from the corporate office.”

The Manager shook his head and gave his name, Ted. “This is part of a special promotion. They didn’t send you a memo or a fax?”

Manager: I’ll call. They didn’t tell me anything about this. Lemme call.
Agent Simmons: We started in Akron, Ohio and the Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon.
Manager: You’re sure you’re in the right McDonald’s?
Agent Simmons: I hope so. I sure hope so!
Manager: No problem.

Manager Ted left the bathroom to place a call to corporate. We captured this entire exchange with the manager Ted on our hidden camera.

After the manager left, Agent Kula quickly swooped in and grabbed our hidden camera. We couldn’t risk losing our footage at this point. Agent Simmons remained in the bathroom and continued doing his job. The manager returned about five minutes later.

Manager: My regional manager hasn’t heard anything either. I can’t get in touch with corporate right now because it’s a Sunday.
Agent Simmons: You know, I told them it was a bad idea to do it on a Sunday for that very reason. Why not a Friday or Saturday?
Manager: You’re sure you got the right place?
Agent Simmons: Are there other McDonald’s in the city?
Manager: (shocked) Yeah.
Agent Simmons: Oh.
Manager: Maybe you meant to go to 34th Street?
Agent Simmons: Could be. That definitely sounds familiar.
Manager: Ok. Well I have a message in with corporate. Let’s wait and see what they say when they call back.

Ted left the bathroom again and waited at the other corner of the building for his return call. In the meantime, IE Agents swooped in and disassembled our table. We tossed everything back into our shopping bag.

We quickly left the McDonald’s without being noticed by the manager. The only evidence of our fun was the plastic bowl of peppermints we left behind.

Agent Simmons gave excellent service for nearly an hour in the Times Square McDonald’s. Almost everyone he encountered enthusiastically used his services, and many folks were kind enough to leave a tip. No one questioned Agent Simmon’s story the entire time. Even the manager convinced himself that this wasn’t a prank, but a simple misunderstanding. Surely we were just at the wrong McDonald’s.

AGENT REPORTS

Agent Kula

It’s only in a camera-crazy tourist haven like New York that you can go into a public bathroom, snap photos of men standing at urinals, and not only will they NOT be angry, they’ll often take out their own camera and snap a pic of that same urinal, thinking, “Huh, this toilet must be famous.”

Agent Simmons

When I was asked to perform this mission I was intrigued. It sounded like a significant challenge. I had done the work before (as a professional restroom-attendant) in high-end nightclubs and expensive restaurants and they tend to come with a certain type of client. I’d never had the pleasure of working with a fast-food clientele.

McDonalds has been a mega-power in the corporate world as long as I can remember. One that does it their way. With their formula. Their uniforms. Their speed. It works for them and although they’ve seemingly adjusted to societal trends, to some extent, they don’t seem eager to fiddle with the cash cow, as it were. I couldn’t imagine they’d feel very comfortable with outside agents setting up shop within their castle walls.

Having paid my bills for several years as an actual restroom attendant I was curious to see if I still had my chops. “Agent Todd” hoped that I was up to the challenge. I’d always been forced to deal with a wide range of characters in my lavatory work at night clubs and restaurants in NYC and felt that I’d handled the curve balls fairly efficiently. Since “retiring” from the business to pursue other projects, I’d begun work on a one-man show that would explore the life and times of working in the restroom and I felt that another run at it would refresh my memory on the details. I quickly agreed to join the mission. It would be my first mission as an “IE Agent”.

I was not overly concerned with the “civilians” we’d encounter in the McDonalds men’s room. I knew I was a veteran of the trade. I could handle their needs, be it mouthwash, clean combs, or directions to the subway. No. It was the NYPD and the McDonalds management staff that had me concerned. I KNEW we’d be discovered in the toilet with our table of goods happily distributed at no charge (donations would be humbly accepted but by no means required). I was certain that their corporate regiment would make us vulnerable to inevitable confrontation.

It was simply a matter of time.

Upon entering the scene of the mission we paid for some food and headed upstairs to position #1. We sat down to eat. And that’s when we noticed the policewoman. And her partner. And the McDonalds custodial staff busily making their rounds with pan and broom.

It wasn’t going to be a cake-walk.

When the first wave of authority moved along we pounced. The various “agents” sprung into action and together we rigged the restroom with a camera and set up all of our attendant tools and goods on the diaper-changing table. In 3 minutes we were up and running and “open for business”.

And the people came. And they kept coming. English, Russian, Japanese, Korean, and New Jersey. Senior citizens and pre-pubescent boys. This was a blend I’d not yet contended with. These people had special needs. We only had hot water flowing from the taps as I feverishly distributed soap and towels. The room was hot. No real circulation flow. It felt like 90 degrees. And I was wearing a wool tuxedo. I couldn’t stop the perspiration.

Employee #1 entered. His name was Roman. He looked bemused as he swept out one of the stalls. I explained that we worked together now. He shuffled back to the restaurant.

A gaggle of English school boys entered and helped themselves to mints. Followed by their chaperone who came to make sure that I wasn’t some toilet pervert. They quickly recognized how professional our “operation” was and they washed up and left satisfied.

A CFO from Hitachi in Japan entered gave me a review of the Broadway musical “Mama Mia”, brushed his teeth, tipped me and left. And on it went.

McDonald’s employee #2 entered. Rafael. I introduced myself. He swept and left. Various “agents” entered the room and sequestered themselves in a stall to take notes.

A boy came in and told me his step-father is a restroom attendant in Brooklyn. I gave him soap and a towel.

I began to accumulate gratuities. I made it clear that McDonalds wants our customers to have the finest service and tips weren’t necessary. “We’re Lovin’ it and we hope you are TOO!” I don’t need the tips. I was nevertheless forced to accept them. In the end these tips would total $6.92.

Employee #3 knocked. And knocked again. It was a woman. I could sense the urgency in her voice. She’d been alerted. By Roman? By Rafael? Who knows? But she was outside the men’s room door and she wanted to enter to inspect it. I told her there were “only men in here”.

She waited until it was free of clients and entered with her broom. Her face was flush with suspicion and fear. I could sense she was worried about taking the fall on this one. “There’s a man in the restroom in a tuxedo and he appears to have set up a small business” That’s what I imagined she was thinking when she slipped out in a hurry.

Less than a minute later the manager entered. “You have no authorization to be in here”.

I said, “Didn’t you get a fax or memo from corporate?” He hadn’t heard a thing from corporate but he’d go call his regional manager. I said “My name is Todd and I think that’s a good idea”.

Agent Kula quickly entered after the manager’s departure and removed the camera to preserve our research. The manager returned with word from the regional manager. He didn’t know a thing about any authorizing of a tuxedo-clad restroom-attendant either. “There must be some misunderstanding. I’m sorry about the confusion but corporate will be able to clear it up”. He told me corporate is out of the office on Sundays. He left the room.

Agent Todd entered and gave me the clear out signal. Less than 3 minutes later we were on the street. I was relieved to be back out in the chilly February air.

Mission Accomplished.

http://improveverywhere.com/2005/02/13/mcdonald%27s-bathroom-attendant/

Advertisements

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Proposition 187: Text of Proposed Law

Posted by dmcneal347 on May 30, 2009

1994 – California

This initiative measure is submitted to the people in accordance with the provisions of Article II, Section 8 of the Constitution.

This initiative measure adds sections to various codes; therefore, new provisions proposed to be added are printed in {+ italic type +} to indicate that they are new.

PROPOSED LAW

SECTION 1. Findings and Declaration.

The People of California find and declare as follows:

That they have suffered and are suffering economic hardship caused by the presence of illegal aliens in this state.

That they have suffered and are suffering personal injury and damage caused by the criminal conduct of illegal aliens in this state.

That they have a right to the protection of their government from any person or persons entering this country unlawfully.

Therefore, the People of California declare their intention to provide for cooperation between their agencies of state and local government with the federal government, and to establish a system of required notification by and between such agencies to prevent illegal aliens in the United States from receiving benefits or public services in the State of California.

SECTION 2. Manufacture, Distribution or Sale of False Citizenship or Resident Alien Documents: Crime and Punishment.

Section 113 is added to the Penal Code, to read:

{+ 113. Any person who manufactures, distributes or sells false documents to conceal the true citizenship or resident alien status of another person is guilty of a felony, and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for five years or by a fine of seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000). +}

SECTION 3. Use of False Citizenship or Resident Alien Documents: Crime and Punishment.

Section 114 is added to the Penal Code, to read:

{+ 114. Any person who uses false documents to conceal his or her true citizenship or resident alien status is guilty of a felony, and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for five years or by a fine of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000). +}

SECTION 4. Law Enforcement Cooperation with INS.

Section 834b is added to the Penal Code, to read:

{+ 834b. (a) Every law enforcement agency in California shall fully cooperate with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding any person who is arrested if he or she is suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws. +}

{+ (b) With respect to any such person who is arrested, and suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws, every law enforcement agency shall do the following: +}

{+ (1) Attempt to verify the legal status of such person as a citizen of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident, an alien lawfully admitted for a temporary period of time or as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of immigration laws. The verification process may include, but shall not be limited to, questioning the person regarding his or her date and place of birth, and entry into the United States, and demanding documentation to indicate his or her legal status. +}

{+ (2) Notify the person of his or her apparent status as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws and inform him or her that, apart from any criminal justice proceedings, he or she must either obtain legal status or leave the United States. +}

{+ (3) Notify the Attorney General of California and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service of the apparent illegal status and provide any additional information that may be requested by any other public entity. +}

{+ (c) Any legislative, administrative, or other action by a city, county, or other legally authorized local governmental entity with jurisdictional boundaries, or by a law enforcement agency, to prevent or limit the cooperation required by subdivision (a) is expressly prohibited. +}

SECTION 5. Exclusion of Illegal Aliens from Public Social Services.

Section 10001.5 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

{+ 10001.5. (a) In order to carry out the intention of the People of California that only citizens of the United States and aliens lawfully admitted to the United States may receive the benefits of public social services and to ensure that all persons employed in the providing of those services shall diligently protect public funds from misuse, the provisions of this section are adopted. +}

{+ (b) A person shall not receive any public social services to which he or she may be otherwise entitled until the legal status of that person has been verified as one of the following: +}

{+ (1) A citizen of the United States. +}

{+ (2) An alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident. +}

{+ (3) An alien lawfully admitted for a temporary period of time. +}

{+ (c) If any public entity in this state to whom a person has applied for public social services determines or reasonably suspects, based upon the information provided to it, that the person is an alien in the United States in violation of federal law, the following procedures shall be followed by the public entity: +}

{+ (1) The entity shall not provide the person with benefits or services. +}

{+ (2) The entity shall, in writing, notify the person of his or her apparent illegal immigration status, and that the person must either obtain legal status or leave the United States. +}

{+ (3) The entity shall also notify the State Director of Social Services, the Attorney General of California, and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service of the apparent illegal status, and shall provide any additional information that may be requested by any other public entity. +}

SECTION 6. Exclusion of Illegal Aliens from Publicly Funded Health Care.

Chapter 1.3 (commencing with Section 130) is added to Part 1 of Division 1 of the Health and Safety Code, to read:

{+ Chapter 1.3. Publicly-Funded Health Care Services +}

{+ 130. (a) In order to carry out the intention of the People of California that, excepting emergency medical care as required by federal law, only citizens of the United States and aliens lawfully admitted to the United States may receive the benefits of publicly-funded health care, and to ensure that all persons employed in the providing of those services shall diligently protect public funds from misuse, the provisions of this section are adopted. +}

{+ (b) A person shall not receive any health care services from a publicly-funded health care facility, to which he or she is otherwise entitled until the legal status of that person has been verified as one of the following: +}

{+ (1) A citizen of the United States. +}

{+ (2) An alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident. +}

{+ (3) An alien lawfully admitted for a temporary period of time. +}

{+ (c) If any publicly-funded health care facility in this state from whom a person seeks health care services, other than emergency medical care as required by federal law, determines or reasonably suspects, based upon the information provided to it, that the person is an alien in the United States in violation of federal law, the following procedures shall be followed by the facility: +}

{+ (1) The facility shall not provide the person with services. +}

{+ (2) The facility shall, in writing, notify the person of his or her apparent illegal immigration status, and that the person must either obtain legal status or leave the United States. +}

{+ (3) The facility shall also notify the State Director of Health Services, the Attorney General of California, and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service of the apparent illegal status, and shall provide any additional information that may be requested by any other public entity. +}

{+ (d) For purposes of this section “publicly-funded health care facility” shall be defined as specified in Sections 1200 and 1250 of this code as of January 1, 1993. +}

SECTION 7. Exclusion of Illegal Aliens from Public Elementary and Secondary Schools.

Section 48215 is added to the Education Code, to read:

{+ 48215. (a) No public elementary or secondary school shall admit, or permit the attendance of, any child who is not a citizen of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident, or a person who is otherwise authorized under federal law to be present in the United States. +}

{+ (b) Commencing January 1, 1995, each school district shall verify the legal status of each child enrolling in the school district for the first time in order to ensure the enrollment or attendance only of citizens, aliens lawfully admitted as permanent residents, or persons who are otherwise authorized to be present in the United States. +}

{+ (c) By January 1, 1996, each school district shall have verified the legal status of each child already enrolled and in attendance in the school district in order to ensure the enrollment or attendance only of citizens, aliens lawfully admitted as permanent residents, or persons who are otherwise authorized under federal law to be present in the United States. +}

{+ (d) By January 1, 1996, each school district shall also have verified the legal status of each parent or guardian of each child referred to in subdivisions (b) and (c), to determine whether such parent or guardian is one of the following: +}

{+ (1) A citizen of the United States. +}

{+ (2) An alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident. +}

{+ (3) An alien admitted lawfully for a temporary period of time. +}

{+ (e) Each school district shall provide information to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Attorney General of California, and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding any enrollee or pupil, or parent or guardian, attending a public elementary or secondary school in the school district determined or reasonably suspected to be in violation of federal immigration laws within forty-five days after becoming aware of an apparent violation. The notice shall also be provided to the parent or legal guardian of the enrollee or pupil, and shall state that an existing pupil may not continue to attend the school after ninety calendar days from the date of the notice, unless legal status is established. +}

{+ (f) For each child who cannot establish legal status in the United States, each school district shall continue to provide education for a period of ninety days from the date of the notice. Such ninety day period shall be utilized to accomplish an orderly transition to a school in the child’s country of origin. Each school district shall fully cooperate in this transition effort to ensure that the educational needs of the child are best served for that period of time. +}

SECTION 8. Exclusion of Illegal Aliens from Public Postsecondary Educational Institutions.

Section 66010.8 is added to the Education Code, to read:

{+ 66010.8. (a) No public institution of postsecondary education shall admit, enroll, or permit the attendance of any person who is not a citizen of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident in the United States, or a person who is otherwise authorized under federal law to be present in the United States. +}

{+ (b) Commencing with the first term or semester that begins after January 1, 1995, and at the commencement of each term or semester thereafter, each public postsecondary educational institution shall verify the status of each person enrolled or in attendance at that institution in order to ensure the enrollment or attendance only of United States citizens, aliens lawfully admitted as permanent residents in the United States, and persons who are otherwise authorized under federal law to be present in the United States. +}

{+ (c) No later than 45 days after the admissions officer of a public postsecondary educational institution becomes aware of the application, enrollment, or attendance of a person determined to be, or who is under reasonable suspicion of being, in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws, that officer shall provide that information to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Attorney General of California, and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service. The information shall also be provided to the applicant, enrollee, or person admitted. +}

SECTION 9. Attorney General Cooperation with the INS.

Section 53069.65 is added to the Government Code, to read:

{+ 53069.65. Whenever the state or a city, or a county, or any other legally authorized local governmental entity with jurisdictional boundaries reports the presence of a person who is suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws to the Attorney General of California, that report shall be transmitted to the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service. The Attorney General shall be responsible for maintaining on-going and accurate records of such reports, and shall provide any additional information that may be requested by any other government entity. +}

SECTION 10. Amendment and Severability.

The statutory provisions contained in this measure may not be amended by the Legislature except to further its purposes by statute passed in each house by rollcall vote entered in the journal, two-thirds of the membership concurring, or by a statute that becomes effective only when approved by the voters.

In the event that any portion of this act or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect any other provision or application of the act, which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to that end the provisions of this act are severable.

http://www.americanpatrol.com/REFERENCE/prop187text.html

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Vast US illegal drug market fuels Mexican cartels

Posted by dmcneal347 on May 30, 2009

By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

05-26) 13:37 PDT NEW YORK, (AP) —

The Mexican drug cartels battling viciously to expand and survive have a powerful financial incentive: Across the border to the north is a market for illegal drugs unsurpassed for its wealth, diversity and voraciousness.

Homeless heroin addicts in big cities, “meth heads’ in Midwest trailer parks, pop culture and sports stars, teens smoking marijuana with their Baby Boomer parents in Vermont — in all, 46 percent of Americans 12 and older have indulged in the often destructive national pastime of illicit drug use.

This array of consumers is providing a vast, recession-proof, apparently unending market for the Mexican gangs locked in a drug war that has killed more than 10,780 people since December 2006. No matter how much law enforcement or financial help the U.S. government provides Mexico, the basics of supply and demand prevent it from doing much good.

“The damage done by our insatiable demand for drugs is truly astounding,” said Lloyd Johnston, a University of Michigan researcher who oversees annual drug-use surveys.

The latest federal figures show that 114 million Americans have used illegal drugs at some point — and 20 million are current users.

Marijuana is by far the No. 1 drug, sampled by 100 million Americans, including nearly half of high school seniors. But more than 35 million Americans have used cocaine at some point and 34 million have taken LSD or other hallucinogens.

“It’s a drug dealer’s dream — sell it in a place where he can make the most money for the risk taken,” said Dr. H. Westley Clark, director of the federal Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.

“There’s a tremendous amount of denial until you’re face to face with it,” Clark added. “A substance abuser can be anybody. Everybody is at risk.”

___

The Mexican cartels are eager to feed this ravenous appetite. Once used mostly to transship drugs from South America, Mexico is now a major producer and distributor; its gangs control cocaine networks in many U.S. cities and covertly grow marijuana on U.S. public lands.

For now, the Mexican government is fighting the cartels and working with U.S. authorities who have promised to stop the southbound flow of weapons and cash — but all parties are aware of the role played by the U.S. market.

“When the U.S. government turns up the pressure a lot, then is when you see a return to the old formula of saying (to Americans), ‘You also have corruption, you consume the drugs, you’re the biggest drug consumer in the world,'” said Jose Luis Pineyro, a sociologist at Mexico’s Autonomous Metropolitan University.

Gil Kerlikowske, a former Seattle police chief recently appointed by President Barack Obama as the U.S. drug czar, said the Mexicans “make an excellent point.”

“Our drug abuse causes problems elsewhere — our per capita consumption is very high,” said Kerlikowske, who argues that reducing demand through education and treatment is as vital as border interdictions in quelling Mexico’s drug violence.

___

Country of origin didn’t matter much to David Hart.

Now 49, Hart said he started using drugs at 14 and didn’t stop until he entered a one-year recovery program in January at the Springs Rescue Mission in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The son of an alcoholic father, Hart moved from Arizona to Colorado in 1993. A promised construction job didn’t materialize, and since then he’s mixed part-time work with stints of homelessness, panhandling to pay for hits of crack, marijuana and speed.

“When you’re depressed about your lot in life, and angry about the way you’ve been treated, drugs are a perfect way out. You smoke that crack and your problems just go away. You know they’re going to come back, but for that brief moment you don’t have to deal with it.”

He’s grateful to his supporters at the recovery program, but unsure what lies ahead.

“It’s been a part of my life for so long,” he said. “It’s going to be a challenge for the rest of my life to stay clean.”

Yet Hart is, in some respects, lucky. Federal figures indicate that roughly 7.5 million Americans needed treatment for illegal drug abuse in 2007, and only about 1.3 million received it.

The Rescue Mission’s CEO, the Rev. Joe Vazquez, said Hart is part of a wave of drug-abusing transients who’ve settled into the netherworld of an outwardly prosperous region.

“There’s this whole segment of our community living well below what their creator created them for — these men coming with a toolbelt and backpack, living in little rundown motels, struggling with addiction,” Vazquez said.

___

Federal surveys reveal cyclical trends in drug abuse — but the number of lifetime users keeps growing. Overall abuse rates were highest in the 1970s, declined through the early ’90s, went back up and now seem to have stabilized over the past six years.

Studies of youth drug use in Western Europe show a few countries with serious problems, but overall a far lower portion of young people there are abusing drugs than in America. Elsewhere around the world, drug use also is widespread, though data is generally not as thorough as in the U.S.

“There’s no escaping the fact that we have the highest drug rates in the world,” said Craig Reinarman, a sociologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

U.S. authorities were encouraged that drug use among 12-to-17-year-olds declined by about 25 percent between 2002 and 2007. But Johnston, the University of Michigan researcher, says his latest student survey suggests the decline halted in 2008, and he is concerned by data showing that fewer students view smoking marijuana as a serious risk.

There was no similar recent drop-off of drug abuse among the biggest demographic category — young adults aged 18-25. Illicit drug use also has surged among those aged 55 to 59 — baby boomers whose young adulthood coincided with the drug culture’s heyday. And there is deep concern about increasing abuse of prescription medicines among all age groups.

Survey after survey shows the vast scope of illegal drug use — deep-rooted in all regions, among all races and socio-economic groups. Big cities indeed have severe problems, but the states with the highest overall abuse rates include Rhode Island, Vermont, Montana and Alaska.

“There’s this assumption that drug abuse is more common in racial minorities, especially blacks,” said Dr. Wilson Compton, a division director at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “It’s not true. Either the rates are lower or at least no higher.”

Reinarman reflected on the recent methamphetamine outbreak across the American heartland — Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and elsewhere.

“Here they live in crummy little houses, in towns that are dying … and along comes a drug that provides a great rush,” he said. “You can’t separate drug problems from the broader matrix of social and personal problems. You can’t have a drug policy that works unless it’s part of a much broader social policy.”

___

For those concerned about marijuana, Vermont is an active front line, with the nation’s highest rates of pot usage. It’s one of several regions where joints may now be more prevalent among teens than cigarettes.

“People say, ‘It’s easier for me to get pot than to buy a beer,'” said Barbara Cimaglio, deputy commissioner of the state Health Department’s Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs.

Annie Ramniceanu, clinical director at Spectrum Youth and Family Services in Burlington, Vt., says many of the 350 youths her agency counsels annually started smoking pot before their teens.

“They just get high all the time,” she said. “They never learned how to have fun without smoking pot, never learned how to deal with conflict, how to focus on anything.”

In both blue-collar and affluent families, she sees multigenerational problems.

“It’s become the cultural norm for these families, where drug use is absolutely no big deal,” she said. “The kids smoke with their parents, or know their parents use other drugs.”

Another drug counselor, Yolanda Morales of New York City, is cautiously upbeat about the attitudes she observes among young people.

Now 55, Morales lapsed into a cocaine habit and a 15-year addiction while trying to juggle graduate school and a job. She spent five years in federal prison for trafficking, got out in 2003, and now works for the Fortune Society in New York, counseling other ex-offenders.

She has shared her story candidly with her college-bound daughter.

“When I was in school in New York, people stood on the corner selling drugs — no one gave a damn,” Morales said. “The consequences of that era has the younger generation a little more scared. I don’t see them doing the hard drugs like we were. They’re more informed — there’s more wariness about trying different stuff.”

But other Fortune Society staff members see worrisome signs.

Damien Cabezas, vice president for clinical services, says New York teens are starting to use cheap heroin arriving from Afghanistan.

Kerlikowske, as he takes over the Office of National Drug Control Policy, would like to beef up treatment programs and divert more drug offenders to them instead of prison. It’s an issue with personal overtones — the drug czar’s own stepson has faced drug charges.

Eliminating drug abuse is not a realistic goal, Kerlikowske cautions. “But we can reduce the harm, the dangers, the drain on our economy.”

___

Associated Press writer Mark Stevenson in Mexico City contributed to this report.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2009/05/26/national/a121653D99.DTL&feed=rss.business

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Major Mexican drug cartel suspects arrested, officials say

Posted by dmcneal347 on May 30, 2009

updated 11:11 a.m. EDT, Wed May 20, 2009

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (CNN) — A top Mexican drug cartel suspect has been arrested along with 12 accomplices, including five women, federal authorities said.

Police guard suspected members of the Beltran Leyva cartel after they were arrested in a 2008 raid.

Rodolfo Lopez Ibarra, known as El Nito and believed to be a top lieutenant in the Beltran Leyva cartel, was arrested Monday at an airport in Nuevo Leon state, said the Mexican National Defense secretary.

Along with the suspects, officials said they also confiscated a Cessna 550 airplane, two cars, a large quantity of drugs and cash, firearms and a hand grenade.

Soldiers acting on an anonymous tip arrested the eight men and five women, including one minor, National Defense said in a release Tuesday.

Authorities said they confiscated 40,680 pesos (U.S. $3,150), $29,385 (379,507 pesos), 13 packages of marijuana weighing 13 kilograms (29 pounds), three computers and 28 cell phones.

The Beltran Leyva cartel is one of the top drug organizations in Mexico, allied with the Gulf cartel in its battle against the Sinaloa organized crime syndicate. The Beltran Leyva group was formerly allied with the Sinaloa cartel, considered the largest drug-trafficking organization in the nation. The two other major drug organizations in Mexico are the Juarez and Tijuana cartels.

According to media reports, someone alerted authorities when a tipster noticed heavily armed men waiting at the airport in northern Mexico. Ibarra was on a flight back from a baptism in Acapulco at which drug cartel chief Arturo Beltran Leyva had anointed him with the top post in Nuevo Leon, the news reports said.

A published photo of Ibarra after his arrest shows him wearing a long-sleeved printed shirt and blue jeans, a forlorn look on his face as he gazes off to the side.

Ibarra, 33, was the second top suspect from the Beltran Leyva cartel arrested in recent weeks. In March, authorities announced the arrest of Hector Huerta Rios, also known as “La Burra” or “El Junior.”

Like Ibarra, he was arrested in the city of San Pedro Garza Garcia in Nuevo Leon state, along Mexico’s border with the United States.

Mexican officials also have recently announced the arrests of several other high-ranking cartel suspects as President Felipe Calderon wages a battle against a drug trade he says killed 6,500 people last year. About 2,000 more Mexicans are believed to have been killed this year.

In April, authorities announced the arrest of Vicente Carrillo Leyva, a suspected leader of the Carrillo Fuentes drug cartel.

A couple of weeks earlier, officials said they had arrested Sigifredo Najera Talamantes, a drug-trafficking suspect accused of attacking a U.S. consulate and killing Mexican soldiers.

Talamantes, also known as “El Canicon,” also is suspected in attacks on a television station in Monterrey in Nuevo Leon, the state-run Notimex agency said.

That same week, the Mexican military also arrested the son of a top drug cartel lieutenant.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/americas/05/20/mexico.narco.arrest/index.html?section=cnn_latest

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Original El País newspaper article

Posted by amissi on May 30, 2009

Original El País newspaper article, issue June 22, 1911, in which Zapata announces his retirement

http://www.emersonkent.com/historic_documents/el_pais_19110622.htm

Translation in english:

The General Zapata goes for Cuernavaca.  It left absolutely contradicted the charges of the enemy newspapers of the Mexican town.  The southern leader Emiliano Zapata that came á this capital one llarnado by the Mister Beam so that was justified of the very serious charges that did certain faithful newspapers á its program of engañer to the public, by scarce fortune, that reads them, returned yesterday á Cuernavaca.

Zapata and the members that compose their Greater State, and that had come with him to Mexico, they did the trip in two magnificent cars, therefore when they arrived at the station the train had parted already and the travelers did not want to be stopped the day of today by considering necessary their presence among the forces that command.

In the station, the General Zapata conversed with several of the people that responded to say good-bye declaring them that if he was affiliated to the revolutionary party he was not guided by the idea of the gain, but by patriotism.  “Of me he cannot be told, he affirmed the General one Zapata, that you be launched me to the fields of battle pushed by the misery, therefore in Cuernavaca I have my lands of work, and a stable, product, not of political bells, but of long anuses of honest work and that produce me the sufficient thing to live with my family comfortably.

The hatred shown toward my by the landed morelenses, me do not I explain it, as be not because snatch to the exploitation that on the part of them they were you kill the laborers that enriched with the fruit of its blood and of its sweat, they will understand that to be certain the accusations that were directed me not hubriera come like I have done it, to present me the Mister Beam.  Now I am going to work in the discharge of the men that helped me, for later withdraw me to the private life and to dedicate me again to the cultivation of my fields, therefore the unique thing that longed for when me laneé to the revolution, was to oust the dictatorial state and this has been obtained.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

An Interview with Camilo Guevara, Son of El Che, in Belgium

Posted by amissi on May 30, 2009

http://www.thechestore.com/Che-Guevara-interview-Camilo.php

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Nazi may have helped in murder of Che

Posted by amissi on May 30, 2009

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10484032&pnum=0

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

MEXICAN GOVERNMENT SEEKS TO DISABLE TIJUANA DRUG CARTEL.

Posted by amissi on May 30, 2009

http://www.allbusiness.com/north-america/mexico/541690-1.html

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Schumer seeks consensus on immigration reform

Posted by dmcneal347 on May 30, 2009

BY TOM BRUNE | tom.brune@newsday.com
10:13 PM EDT, May 20, 2009

WASHINGTON – Citing new figures showing arrests for illegal border crossings down 27 percent since October, Sen. Charles Schumer on Wednesday argued that the federal government is fulfilling its promise to secure the nation’s borders, so now it’s time for “immigration reform.”

Declines in the arrests indicate fewer people are trying to enter illegally, border patrol officials said Wednesday, whether because of tougher enforcement or the bad economy.

With such testimony in the second Senate hearing this year on an ambitious overhaul of immigration laws, Schumer, a New York Democrat and chairman of the Senate’s immigration subcommittee, sought to address the issue he says sank previous legislation.

“The reason the bill failed is that the American people didn’t have faith that there wouldn’t be a future wave of illegal immigrants if we passed that bill,” Schumer said.

Schumer is attempting to forge a consensus on the hot-button issue of immigration, a politically difficult task in a year with a jammed agenda. But he has backing from President Barack Obama to move forward.

Obama will host a White House meeting on immigration with key members of Congress on June 8, a White House official said.

Schumer and officials from immigration enforcement and the border patrol touted tougher measures on the border as contributing to the decline.

But even Schumer had to agree with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who Wednesday said the number of those trying to cross the border went down “because of the decline in the labor market.”

Still, arrests for illegal crossings have dropped steadily in a trend that began before the economic crash. The border patrol recorded 876,704 arrests in fiscal year 2007, down 20 percent from 2006, and 723,825 arrests in 2008, down 17 percent.

The 27 percent decline is for the seven months since fiscal year 2008 ended on Sept. 30, 2008, compared with the comparable figure a year before.

Some of the experts testifying Wednesday gave the efforts of immigration and border patrol officials a mixed review.

J.D. Hayworth, a former Arizona congressman, complained that current laws are not being adequately enforced and decried efforts to grant amnesty, or legalization of illegal immigrants already here in this country.

Sociologist Douglas Massey argued against a buildup of patrols and fences, calling it a “militarization” of the border whose main effect has been to keep undocumented workers who came here to work from returning home.

“I agree that progress has been made,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who opposed comprehensive reform bills. “The question is: Will we continue [toughening enforcement] as the number of illegal entrants go down?”

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

A couple of Photos- Border and Caution sign near the border

Posted by dmcneal347 on May 30, 2009

The Mexican Border

Caution- Illegal Immigrants crossing

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »