From: Alberto Marrero Salas (e-mail him)
Here's why: I joined Merrill Lynch in 1978 as a stock and commodity trainee working out of its Los Angeles branch. Soon after I joined the firm, I was sent to New York to study for and take the Series 7 test.
My manager approached me and told me that Merrill had a "special program" for minorities. Being Cuban American, I qualified. Merrill was under pressure to hire minority brokers as the firm was underwriting bonds for the state of California and the city of Los Angeles.
At that time there were over 100 brokers, but not one Latino or Black among them.
The "special program" allowed minority trainees to take the test as many times as needed until we passed. The regular policy was you failed the test once and you were gone.
I was insulted by the offer. I did not want an asterisk on my license. I asked myself: why did my manager offered me this watered-down opportunity?
As it turned out, I didn't need multiple chances. I passed the series 7, 5 and 3 (futures) with flying colors.
I have never claimed discrimination.
Anyone stupid enough to discriminate against me suffers the consequence of not making my acquaintance. I am a human being worthy of knowing…not for my benefit but for yours.
Salas describes himself as "Cuban by birth, American by choice." He has written two important articles about the real estate crash Real Estate Armageddon and Real Estate Armageddon, the Sequel. In the former, Salas recounts the story of his client who, on a reported income of $12,000 from selling vegetables off a truck, purchased a $300,000 home.
From: R. Ellis (e-mail her)
I had to sit through my share of diversity training at my former place of business.
All it did was make matters worse. It created victims where no victims existed. I fail to understand why more people aren't speaking out.
The quieter we remain, the more certain we are to be overwhelmed by diversity.
For example, a little-publicized fact (except in Indian newspapers) is that over the next five years, 60,000 Bhutanese unemployable but eligible for welfare refugees will be coming to the U.S. Read the details in the Nepal Monitor here.
Don't forget—chain migration will allow the Bhutanese to bring all their relatives.
I'm 67 years old and I hate to think what the future will be like for my four grandchildren!
From: Warren O'Leary (e-mail him)
I too have felt Guzzardi's "diversity- pain-stress" My sympathies go out to him.
The day this happens is the day that Marxist diversity training ends.O' Leary taught public school for 27 years for the Bayonne School District in New Jersey, the last ten as an instructor of college prep biology.
From: Maria Vecchi
Re: Today's Letter: A New York Reader Says His Polling Place Is A Chop Suey Of Languages
I usually work at the polling place on Election Day, but was told that there weren't enough spots this year. When I went to vote, I found an immigrant employee sleeping when he should have been directing people to the booth.
As I was leaving, I woke him up to say I wish I had a job like that. He thought it was funny. I don't. Immigrants made money on Election Day; I did not.
It's now a case of "No Americans need apply!" at the Board of Elections.
Send Vecchi mail c/o email@example.com
I packed up and headed to Miami. That turned out to be Latin America and the Caribbean.
After being trapped for many years in southern Florida, finances forced me to move again, this time to north central Florida which is, thankfully, still recognizable as America.
But the demographics are shifting here, too.
I'm now looking to relocate to another country. If that doesn't work out, I'll have to consider leaving the planet.
Send "Awakened" mail c/o firstname.lastname@example.org
From: Randy Smith (e-mail him)
Re: Randall Burns' Blog: Swiss Democracy and Immigration
I totally agree with Burns that democracy only works at the local level. That's why all the wealthy folks like to make countries as big as possible.
American style "democracy" is a rich man's dream come true.
Here is some interesting research that shows the truth of that theory: Toward An American Revolution: Exposing the Constitution and Other Illusions; An Excess of Democracy—Or A Shortage? The Crisis That Led To The Constitution.
Add this quote from John Quincy Adams: "The Constitution was designed to increase the power and wealth of those who have any already."
Smith is a computer scientist who works in the Houston area.
Randall Burns adds: US political institutions are at a certain level vulnerable. Just the fact that someone as radical in his own way as Ron Paul has an 8 percent chance of the Republican nomination suggests that some significant change is underway. I expect America's uber-rich will sooner or later be forced to face this reality more directly than they have in recent years.
From: G. Romero Wendorf (e-mail him)
Re: Joe Guzzardi's Column: Why So Few Iraq War Protest Songs?
The reason more anti-Iraq War protests or more songs written about the war is because there's no draft, and we've spiraled down into a society that says: "Hey, if it doesn't affect me, it ain't worth thinking about." That's why Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan are such newsmakers.
Here's an interesting tidbit though. Not one rock 'n roller from the 1960s was ever drafted—at least as far as I can tell.
Muhammad Ali got drafted, of course, but he was the heavyweight champion.
And In the 1950s, Elvis was drafted and so were some lesser personalities. But during the Vietnam era, the government intentionally exempted rock and rollers quietly and discreetly because they knew to draft any would simply stir up the anti-war movement to an even higher pitch.
So, funny as it is to say, rock and roll was the safest place to be to stay out of Vietnam…unless you were politically connected.
With his wife, Wendorf manages a website in south Texas that publishes hard copy weekly. Read it here.
From: Stan Thomas
Re: Today's Letter: An Illinois Reader Reminds Us There Is More Than One MM
"MM" best stands for the incomparable Mickey Mantle.