Daily Archives: May 16, 2008

Friday Mailbag — Postville Raid

My column on the Postville immigration raid drew quite a bit of mail. Most agreed with me that congressional paralysis on both immigration reform and on reining in the excesses of the nation’s meatpacking industry made Postville’s trauma possible.

I received lots of mail, but the most poignant paragraph came from Roger Engstrom of Postville, a Vietnam vet who said he has worked at Agriprocessors for a decade.

The Monday morning the Federal Officers burst (best word available) into my office at Agri, my first, very first, thoughts were of raids on South Vietnam villages 37 plus years ago.

And then I was at the same church you were at here in Postville and I saw the same fear in the eyes of the people there that I had seen in the villagers. The children’s eyes in that church had this 57 year old fat white guy crying his eyes out in guilt and shame of past acts, and in frustration of current situations.

Richard Lenth, who said he grew up in Postville and still has familiy in the community, argued in an e-mail that the government ignored warnings of what was happening at the plant.

Early pleas for help from the people of Postville were generally met with caustic responses that they were racist bigots. To hear state and federal government officials now claiming they had no idea that there were any problems is an absolute denial of the truth. I will forever believe that had pleas for help from the people of Postville been properly addressed as they arose we would never have reached this point.

Several writers had sympathy for the plight of the workers and their families, even though many came to our country illegally. Nanci Young was among them:

The people in Postville seeking a better life are not that far removed from our ancestors who came to the US seeking a better life. They are human beings who inherently deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. I don’t have a solution to the problem of illegal immigration. But I sure as heck know that the answer is NOT to devastate a town and several families, children, couples, and in general, people.

Martha Zipsie wrote to express her admiration for the legal immigrants she’s worked with at Kirkwood:

For over 25 years I’ve been a volunteer tutor in the ESL program for Kirkwood, and while I’ve never known an illegal immigrant, I’ve known plenty of legal ones and seen how hard they work(2, 2 and 4 jobs) to make a better life for their families. I always tell them how much I admire their courage and determination. I would never make it in their countries.

But Scott Welty was not sympathetic.

Now let me get this straight, I’m suppose to feel sorry for what happened to the people that were in this country illegally? I don’t think so! Ain’t gonna happen! No way, no how.

A couple of readers also, rightly, took me to task for my grammar. Bev Amoroso, a former Kirkwood instructor, was one with an eagle eye:

“Myself” is a reflective pronoun when one wishes to place emphasis; for instance, “I, myself, will do it.” Many people confuse the correct usage of “myself” and “me,” perhaps thinking that it is in some way self-promoting when, in fact, it is incorrect grammar.

In your column today you stated “. . . woman told Gazette video journalist Mike Barnes and myself to leave, pronto.” The correct usage should be as follows: “. . . woman told Gazette video journalist Mike barnes and ‘me’ to leave, pronto.”

Keep up the good work but do use correct grammar!

Keep those e-mails, comments and grammar lessons coming.



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Pierogi Persecution

Let this be a cautionary tale for our local local pierogi peddlers, or any dancing kolaches.

From the St. Petersburg Times:

CLEARWATER – Goodness knows there are plenty of baddies roaming the streets of this city.

Drug dealers.



You name it.

But Clearwater is now safe from one brazen – or should we say braised? – outlaw.

Pierogi Guy.

Yes, it’s true. Officials have cracked down on the dancing dumpling who, until last week, waved a saute pan in front of the Pierogi Grill on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard.

 The employer of Pierogi Guy, alias Frank Dippz, 25, had been admonished before.

Clearwater sign inspector Mary Jo Weaver said the city sent a warning on April 11 to Marek Pietryniak, president of Piramida Grill & Steak House, the restaurant’s owner.

As a human sign, Pierogi Guy violated the city’s sign code. Comply by April 18, the city warned, or be fined.

But the restaurant apparently thumbed a potholder hand at authorities, perhaps thinking the law had bigger dumplings to fry.

Weaver said officials continued to get calls about how Pierogi Guy beckoned traffic later in the evenings when inspectors – who are required to witness and take pictures of violations in order to cite someone – were off duty.

That changed May 3, when a sign inspector caught the 5-foot, 8-inch pasta bite while working a weekend shift. The business at 1535 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd. was then issued a citation for violating the “signs carried and waved on the public right of ways” ordinance. The restaurant has until June 26 to pay the $138 fine or contest it in Pinellas County Court.

 Someone really should start a pierogi defamation league, or maybe a dumpling defense fund.


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Gov. Sexy?

From Radio Iowa:

Iowa’s 42-year-old chief executive is ranked near the top of a list of the nation’s “sexiest” governors. The ranking was done a panel of strippers, organized by Playboy Radio.

The strippers were asked which U.S. governors were most “doable” — a conversation sparked by former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s resignation after Spitzer admitted he’d paid to have sex with a prostitute.

The list includes both current governors as well as those who have recently left office. The strippers ranked Arnold Schwarzenegger as the governor they’d most like to have sex with and they ranked Spitzer number 18. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush — the president’s brother — was ranked in the number two spot. Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm was number three and Iowa’s Chet Culver was number four on the list.

I have absolutely nothing to add.


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