Blogger Censorship in Tucson? The Three Sonorans Pulled from a Gannett “Independent” Site

Let's just start by saying this: we are an independent media company, we own our URL, we pay for our own hosting, we don't get into any formal partnerships, distribution, or content deals. If you want to find us, you find us here. If you want us to write for your news page, you hire us but we own the content. Independence is critical to how a company can grow its online presence, and once you rely on third parties to help you, eventually something unfavorable will happen.

Today, that is what happened to The Three Sonorans blog out of Tucson, run by Latino blogger DA Morales. (Hey, you can still like them on Facebook.)

Screen Grab: TucsonCitizen.com

The Sonorans were dropped from TucconCitizen.com, a site that looks "independent" but is in fact owned by Gannett, one of the country's largest media companies and the owner of USA TODAY and other news properties. How do we know? Well the picture below from Gannett's page is proof enough, but also have you ever read TucsonCitizen's terms of services? How many lawyers did you need to write that? Talk about paranoid media.

Screen Grab: http://www.gannett.com/section/WHOWEARE06

So yes, an independent blogger who submits content to a site that looks like an "independent site" but is in fact part of a larger corporate media entity was dropped by the "independent" site because what the independent blogger was writing about pissed off an Arizona politician, who then went to Gannett. That is sad.

In the end, the Sonorans were handed a deck of corporate media mierda. But here is what they need to know: THEY DON'T NEED CORPORATE MEDIA. The Sonorans are truth-tellers and truth-seekers. In the age of new media, their message and vision will not be stopped.

The site, which has gained over 1.6 million pageviews since its inception in 2010 (add the Rebels to its loyal readership), has been a fantastic source of unfiltered news regarding Arizona politics. In fact, many would say that the Sonorans have actually done more to shed light on what is really going on in Arizona that the vast majority of Arizona's mainstream media outlets. Quite frankly, TucsonCitizen.com is just an old media distribution channel that provides bloggers with an outlet and nothing more. Sure, it has the web traffic and really annoying ads, but their web traffic is because of the CONTENT they were publishing. The Three Sonorans are one of  those content providers. The Sonorans have the loyal following and were the only reason we actually went to TucsonCitizen.com in the first place. DA could publish from Mars, and we would still read him.

In the end, by dropping a popular blogger because a politician threatened someone with a lawsuit is lame and just shows how some politicians would rather let their egos get in the way ("I am so offended! Do you know who I am?") than actually facing their problems head on. We thought TucsonCitzen.com had cojones, but it appears that they don't. Eventually, we would think their very strong traffic will begin to decrease and the readership will go away. You lost your one of your Jordan, guys, and it looks like MJ will be fine, since from what we heard, there are plenty of websites (including this site) who would publish the Sonorans in a heartbeat. And we don't worry, because we have good lawyers too.

There is a difference between being offended and being libeled. TusconCitizen.com just saw this veiled threat and buckled. Here's to the true independent journalists, because they don't need no stinkin' distributors. They will write the stories themselves, and they will get the truth out to the world.

Want proof? We offer you our site as proof positive. These Rebeldes like to do their own thing. And we are glad we made that decision.

44 Years Later, José Feliciano Now Cheered in Miami for Singing National Anthem

Tonight in Miami, during the Opening Day ceremonies between the Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals, José Feliciano sang a rendition of the national anthem that was greeted by cheers at the ballpark.

In 1968, a similar rendition at the World Series in Detroit was roundly criticized by many Americans, almost ending Feliciano's career as a singer. Our take on tonight's performance? Miami cheered you, José, and so do we. And yes, Feliciano's version tonight, given the historical context, won us over for its symbolism, as opposed to what The Fray sang this week at the NCAA Championship.

Here is a YouTube video of tonight's performance in Miami. Feliciano appears about one minute into the broadcast.

Others on Twitter were not so kind. They focused on how the song should only be sung one way and some Puerto Rican accounts called out Feliciano for singing the US anthem. Screw the haters. We loved the version because we know our baseball history and the history of why Feliciano got a second chance tonight in Miami.


The Librotraficante Manifesto

Orginally Published at Librotraficante.com

THE LIBROTRAFICANTE MANIFESTO

by Tony Diaz, El Librotraficante

"It now falls on us, the Children of The American Dream, to defend the Civil Rights of all Americans, because that is what is on the line."

Tony Diaz (Credit: Cody Duty/Chronicle)

Arizona Legislators, THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING.

HOUSTON (April 4, 2012)

The 2012 Librotraficante Caravan to Tucson was intended to smuggle books back into the hands of our youth, after they were boxed up and carted out of classrooms during class time, in order to comply with Arizona House Bill 2281. This law was created to prohibit courses in high schools in all of Arizona. However, the only course, for now, those administrators saw fit to prohibit was the innovative and brilliant K through 12th grade Mexican American Studies program in place at the Tucson Unified School District. 

This led to the prohibition of all the courses that fell under this curriculum and the confiscation and boxing up of all the books, more than 80, that were taught in those courses.

I had time to re-read some of these important texts on the bus during our caravan. Yes, books help me step into the mind of our greatest thinkers and help me see history differently, in three dimensions – in 6, even 7 even more dimensions. As we convened with our brothers and sisters in the Southwest from Houston, to San Antonio, to El Paso, Texas; to Mesilla, to Albuquerque, New Mexico, then Tucson, Arizona; with the Madrinos and Padrinos of our literature – Sandra Cisneros, Carmen Tafolla, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Denise Chavez, Rudolfo Anaya and Dagoberto Gilb – it became clear that our magic bus of mind-altering prose was marking the launch of the new Latino Renaissance.

As we walked hand-in-hand with our brothers and sisters across the Southwest, after having joined with our brothers and sisters in New York just a few weeks prior, our extended family fed us, loved us, gave us books to take to our people and helped us start Underground Libraries. It was clear that we were walking in a special moment in history.

We need only to re-read some of the now sacred texts confiscated from classrooms in Tucson. We need only re-read the texts of our deepest and greatest thinkers to see that we are reliving the Civil Rights movement archived in the book CHICANO by Arturo Rosales. We are all like the members of the Raza Unida party, and thus, we must like they did in Crystal City, begin to win elections.

The Aztecs, creators of the Sun Stone, the greatest work of art in North America, believed that every 50 or 60 years the world must be recreated. Well, here we are, about 50 or 60 years later – reliving the Civil Rights Movement. This is the beginning of the new world that the Maya were predicting.

It is now the duty of our people to unite, and to struggle on behalf of all Americans, to preserve the most essential of American values, Freedom of Speech. We must defy censorship.

It now falls on us, the Children of The American Dream, to defend the Civil Rights of all Americans, because that is what is on the line.

And thus, with this great mission, I urge all of us to assume our full power and vision and step boldly into this historical charge. For this, I offer up as did my predecessor Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzalez with the writings in his confiscated book MESSAGE TO AZTLAN, I, Tony Diaz, El Librotraficante, offer to history, the Librotraficante Manifesto.

THE LIBROTRAFICANTE MANIFESTO

  1. Arizona House Bill 2281, created to prohibit courses in Arizona high schools must be repealed. The powers that be would like to make it seem as if it was designed to target only Mexican American Studies, however, as with the anti-immigrant legislation that Arizona created, this template will spread to other states and be used to eliminate all other Ethnic Studies programs.
  2. The brilliant and innovative Kindergarten to 12th grade Mexican American Studies program, which the Tucson Unified School District prohibited to comply with AZ HB 2281, must be re-instated.
  3. Sean Arce, former director of MAS in the Tucson Unified School District must be reinstated.
  4. We must laud and support, as heroes, all the students leading teach-ins, protests, and championing our culture; the Tucson 11; the teachers who lead the MAS courses; and the 3 the young students who are locked in legal battle suing the state of Arizona to defend their Freedom of Speech and thus all our first amendment rights. 
  5. We profess Quantum Demographics, which embraces deep links between cultures that seem disparate at first glance. We want and need to study our own history so that we can then study other histories more fully. We do not strive to exclude others from our history or to deny others their history. We strive for the day when we all know our own stories to such an extent that we can see the links and bridges to the stories of others.
  6. Every state of the Union must incorporate Ethnic Studies programs that not only provide a global perspective but that value and archive the local history of their own people, so that scholars, writers and artists can be inspired to archive the many facets of American history and the many local stories that are our national story.
  7. We must organize in every city to elect school board members with great minds and big hearts, who truly care about our youth, and who will answer to the people of a community. Under Quantum Demographics, it should be obvious that we do not suggest that we would vote for only Mexican American candidates. In fact, there are some Latinos that we must vote out of office. 
  8. The architects of AZ HB 2281 have been quoted as having their sights set on prohibiting Mexican American studies at the University level as well. We must never tolerate impositions on Freedom of Speech at our school of higher learning, ever. 
  9. We must create and maintain Librotraficante Underground Libraries throughout the nation, so that our histories and our cultures are never at the whim of an administration ever again.
  10. We owe it to future generations to create networks and leave in our wake community resources that will last for decades and beyond. As such, we must recognize that we, like our best fields of study, must be multi-disciplinary, as must our institutions, and must be the make up of all our groups and alliances. We must employ Quantum Demographics in our activism as well, thus, writers must advocate justice, but must also be entrepreneurs. Only then will businessmen and women become poets. We all must respect and become teachers. We must proceed with the knowledge that we are not simply paving the way for our youth, but we are teaching them how lead.

Tony Diaz, El Librotraficante

www.librotraficante.com

www.nuestrapalabra.org

C/S, con safos

And also 

Librotraficante™

Please forward far and wide, but also please respect that we mean business.

WEBSITES:  www.Librotraficante.com and www.NuestraPalabra.org

ORGANIZERS: Tony DiazLiana LopezBryan ParrasLupe Mendez & Laura Acosta

While TUSD and Michael Hicks Stay Silent, Reaction to Bizarre Daily Show Piece Gathering Steam

Looks like the reaction to The Daily Show appearance from Tucson Unified School District school board member Michael Hicks has started to take a life of its own, as several Arizona outlets have begun to cover the reaction to what was a bizarre and perplexing appearance by Hicks and his explanation as to why TUSD decided to ban the district's academically successful Mexican American Studies (MAS) program.

Fellow TUSD school board member Adelita Grijalva told local Tucson TV that Hicks' interview was irresponsible. She also said: "You know when you Google the Daily Show it says there, comedy show, not a real news show."

After the Rebels got Hicks to email us a statement to us around 12:15 EST, Hicks began to use that statement as his official response to the appearance. We did follow up twice with Hicks for follow-up questions, but he has not responded. The same goes for TUSD leadership, whose spokesperson issued a brief statement to us yesterday afternoon around 2:30 EST. We have left a phone message and an follow up email to Cara Rene, TUSD's Director of Communications and Media Relations, but as of this posting, we have received no reply.

We have also contacted Comedy Central's media office, looking for a comment, but have not heard back from them. Once we do, we will publish a response.

In the meantime, TUSD today decided to not renew the contract of Sean Arce, who is the co-founder of the MAS program. As reported by DA Morales out of Tucson:

However, early today Sean Arce, the sole remaining MAS domino that had yet to be toppled, received notice of non-renewal of his contract; ie. his job with TUSD is over at the end of this semester.

And that's it folks!

No more MAS to see here!

Public discussion on this matter may be available at next Tuesday’s meeting since there will be a call to the audience, but keep in mind that this is John Pedicone’s decision, and all he needs is the vote to approve his decision to fire Sean Arce, who was just awarded the Myles Horton Award from the Zinn Education Project.

New ESPN Deportes “Esto es Sportscenter” Ad Is Brilliant, Just Brilliant

Our friends at Hispanic New York blogged about it and we say GRACIAS for doing so.

This latest ESPN Deportes ad with Robinson Canó of the Yankees is EXACTLY the type of advertising we love when it comes to the Latino market. Funny, authentic, and clever. And nothing LATINIZED at all. Just sports guys talking about their brand.

“Early Morning, April 4, Shots Ring Out in the Memphis Sky”

Today is the 44th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Kudos to our family at Pa'lante Latino for sharing the following video, which was Dr. King's last speech, the day before he was gunned down in Memphis.

Like one member said on our Facebook wall today: "Look at him: he knew."

Credit: http://www.truthmove.org/content/mlk/

Maybe Dr. King did know that his time on the physical Earth would be short, and maybe his words will inspire us to continue to carry the dream of this country's quest to reach the promised land. Are we there yet? Sadly, no. But we will never forget Dr. King's words, and even though one more went "down in the name of love," we are as Americans should continue to love and to work together. There are many moments when we don't, but in the end, as long as we are treating each other with respect and compassion, there is hope.

Hit it, Bono.

The Fray’s National Anthem Rendition Reminds Us of 1968

Let's just be honest here: The Fray's rendition of the national anthem at Monday's NCAA Men's Basketball Championship Game sucked.

And it looks like many others in the US agree. For a second, we thought that The Fray would not be called out on their version, which still pains us every time we hear it.

 

As we struggled during that rendition, our minds instantly turned to 1968, when Puerto Rican singer José Feliciano was roundly criticized (and unjustly, in our opinion) for his version of the anthem during the World Series. It took years for Feliciano to recover from the backlash he got, yet we think his version was way cooler than The Frays.

Here is the full version. Compare it to The Fray's. Feliciano's version kicked culo, but in the end, his artistic choice had consequences.

As for us? Hey, the following is the BEST rendition we have ever heard. Hire this kid (yeah, we know, it's our boss' brother, but damn, this kid can sing!)