Migrants and asylum seekers in Tijuana, Mexico, 2019.

U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-El Paso) criticized the “rhetoric of fear and hatred” used Monday March 15, 2021, by GOP House members at a media event at the southern border in El Paso.

Rep. Escobar said during a virtual press conference that she had invited House minority leader Kevin McCarthy’s delegation to meet with local leaders and advocates to gain a more complete perspective on the challenges at the border, but the offer was not accepted.

“He obviously only wanted a very narrow perspective,” Escobar said. …

The calling cards of a U.S. Census enumerator.

Yesterday I ended my six-week stint as an enumerator with the U.S. Census Bureau, going door-to-door as part of the constitutionally mandated decennial effort to track our population.

Despite some frustrations with the technology and with ongoing uncertainty over the timetable of our work (as it’s yet another democratic institution weaponized by this administration), I found it very rewarding.

How can constant rejection from strangers be enjoyable, you ask? Here’s how . . .

I had dozens of pleasant conversations with strangers, a rare treat during the pandemic, even though I had to wear a face mask the entire time…

A neighbor, middle, opposing a Black Lives Matter protest in front of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Center in Fayetteville, N.Y., engaged protesters in a heated argument on June 19. Police were called. Photo © Michelle Gabel


The summer of 2020 was one of violence.

More violence — and deaths — seem inevitable with the approach of the Nov. 3 elections, widely viewed as a referendum on the current administration and its policies.

Anxiety and tension have risen with more videotaped incidents involving police officers and Black men, threats of voting fraud, warnings of armed conflict and inflammatory statements and lies by those with a public forum.

But violence — and deaths — in the streets can be avoided.

A June 19 incident at a Black Lives Matter protest in Fayetteville, N.Y., provides insight…

In the two weeks since a white Minneapolis police officer — knowing he was being videotaped — took the life of African-American George Floyd, protests have erupted around the world and in my white town, my white neighborhood.

‘Black Lives Matter’ protesters in Fayetteville, New York, June 4, 2020. Photo © Michelle Gabel.

I wanted to share some of the more noteworthy reactions from people who look like me (that is, white). These encounters took place in two settings — during protests along a busy road a few blocks from our house, and in our front yard, where we’ve placed a “Black Lives Matter” sign near the street.

Heavily traveled road, afternoon rush hour


Jamal Johnson has been in Minneapolis, Minn. the past three days during protests over the death of George Floyd, an African-American who died Monday after a white police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. Floyd’s hands were cuffed behind his back. Minneapolis police were investigating the use of a counterfeit $20 bill at a nearby store.

Protests throughout the country have turned violent, especially in Minneapolis. The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder. Three other Minneapolis police officers at the scene have been fired.

I met Jamal last September, when we were among…

The Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia, NY.

After the first reported death from COVID-19 of a detainee in ICE custody in California, immigration advocates fear there will be many more.

Almost half of the detainees tested for COVID-19 in ICE detention centers in the U.S. have the potentially fatal virus — 705 positives out of 1,460 tests.

The 48-percent positive rate is well above the desired 10 percent rate recommended by the World Health Organization. Higher positive results could mean that only the most symptomatic people in a particular community are being tested, and others in that community could have the virus.

Advocates for detainees in the…

Front page of The Post-Standard, Syracuse, NY, May 4, 1990.

Thirty years ago today, The Post-Standard in Syracuse, NY, published a series of articles I wrote about a Syracuse native, Tom Grace, who was one of the nine students wounded by Ohio National Guardsmen at Kent State University on May 4, 1970.

Four students were killed, of course, during the anti-war protest.

Now here we are, 50 years after that horrific day. Grace was a 20-year-old history major when a bullet struck him in the foot, requiring multiple surgeries and rehab.

In early 1990, I interviewed Grace several times by phone, and many others, including student activist Alan Canfora, photographer…

The Coronavirus pandemic has taken many things from us.

The ultimate loss, of course, is that of a loved one, and the heartbreak is compounded by an inability to mourn together.

Many of our friends, neighbors and family members are going through an incredibly tough time, financially or otherwise.

I certainly don’t mean to minimize any of that by saying this:

In some cases, what has been taken from us isn’t necessarily a loss. Sometimes a loss comes with a gain that may not be readily apparent — a positive that emerges, slowly, from a negative.

I tend toward negativity…

The right-handed author going to his left in 1986. Photo © Hal Slate.

There’s this guy I know.

You might know him.

He’s unhappy at work and at home, frustrated by life’s perceived slights, angry at the gradual loss of whatever athletic ability he may have had. His diminished self-esteem is locked up airtight in his two hours a week of pickup games and “adult rec” leagues.

He’s the guy who throws an unnecessary elbow going for a rebound, slides into home with spikes up, gives an extra shove in what was supposed to be a friendly game of touch football.

But there’s one sport he hasn’t ruined. I’ll get to that.


Public art, Imperial Beach, CA.

While I’m lining up interviews with a few people I have in mind who can offer insights on this space about the pandemic, I thought I would conduct a quick Q&A with myself. Here are excerpts of Jim McKeever interviewing Jim McKeever. It got a little heated toward the end, but we’re fine now.

Q. Who do you rely on for factual information and guidance about the Coronavirus and COVID-19?

A. Every day I read “Letters from an American” from esteemed historian Heather Cox Richardson and I pay attention to medical experts, public health officials, dedicated journalists and legitimate news…

Jim McKeever

Semi-retired, thoroughly disgusted progressive grandfather.

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