border wall slowdown?

border-wall-segment-south-of-weslaco-texas-10-12-08

The pause on 14 miles by Homeland Security in Hidalgo and Starr counties not causing any slowdown elsewhere along the river. Image courtesy of Scott Nichol.

Here’s what I spilled to Queque this morning:

Sixty-something days. For some, it can’t come fast enough. By “some,” we mean those losing land, liberty, and fraternity on La Frontera.

In honor of the fall of the Berlin Wall on a rowdy November day almost 20 years ago, Queque joined members of the Southwest Workers’ Union outside the U.S. Federal Building last week to raise a stink over the newest Berlin variant now under construction in the lingering hours of Bush twilight. listen: border wall protest in san antonio

As it turned out, Homeland Security officials announced that same day they were suspending construction of 14 miles of Wall planned in Hidalgo and Starr counties over flooding concerns.

This does not affect other portions of Texas borderland, like nearby Cameron County, or El Paso County — where seven-day-a-week schedules have crews erecting miles of steel curtain in the desert even as Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff dusts off his resume.

As much as we’d like to think the Valley decision was a portrait of political acquiescence, wall construction could conceivably live on past Bush. Legal challenges have, to date, been swept aside by the U.S. Supreme Court. Obama was a “yea” vote on the 2006 Secure Fence Act that demanded the fence to begin with. And until there is sweeping immigration reform, the wall will likely continue to be the Interior’s fall-back plan.

However, many are reminding Queque of statements Obama made in the Valley months ago when the Dem Primary was still running hot: That he would “reverse that policy.” His appointment of University of Texas at Brownsville President Juliet V. Garcia to his transition team also has a glint to it, considering Garcia was the rock-n-roller that challenged Homeland over plans to put the Wall through her campus.

Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva is said to be busily rewriting his failed legislation for a new Congress to undo provisions of the Real ID Act that allowed Chertoff so-called “mega-waiver” authority to override dozens of federal laws to haul up the wall in a huff. Activists are planning two major gatherings: one this weekend at Friendship Park beneath San Diego, another in El Paso early next month, to plan their legislative assault to finally lay waste to the Border Wall.

What to do in the meantime, as our faltering economy continues to bleed $3 million-plus into each impervious steel mile?

Of all the conjecture floating around the Obamasphere these days (Houston Mayor Bill White at helm of the DOE? Handlers won’t call me back), there is little hard matter to process regarding the release of Michael Chertoff — likely because of these “period-of-transition” security fears.

From NPR on Monday:

Barack Obama will be the first new president since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. Both the incoming and outgoing administrations say they want a smooth transition because the country could be more vulnerable to a terrorist attack during the transfer of power.

The Homeland Security Department has been preparing for the change in administrations for the past 18 months. It has named career employees to fill the No. 2 or No. 3 spots in every division — such as the Transportation Security Administration, Customs and Border Protection and the Federal Emergency Management Agency — and prepared them to take over, if needed, during the transition. They’ll also be able to train incoming political appointees. “We want to be able to have in place experienced career people and substantial plans so that the new leadership that comes in is as well-positioned as possible to deal with any emergency,” Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told NPR.

VIDEO PLAYGROUND: I’ve also added a few YouTube clips recently, including Dia de los Muertos, images from the above-referenced Border Protest with a shorter audio clip, and a Tibetan Snow Lion Dance performed in South San over the weekend. Enjoy!

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