Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week’s address, the President discussed climate change and how the most ambitious climate agreement in history is creating private sector partnerships that are advancing the latest technologies in clean power.":

Hill: "President Obama will send a budget to Congress that increases the amount of funding toward clean energy research and development by about 20 percent, he said Saturday."

The Wires

White House Live Video
February 5

12:30 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

***********************************************

Public Service Announcement

New York Times (February 4): "Pregnant women whose male sexual partners have spent time in a country with confirmed transmissions of the Zika virus should either abstain from sex or use condoms during intercourse for the duration of their pregnancy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced.'

USA Today: "Women of childbearing age should avoid alcohol unless they're using contraception, federal health officials said Tuesday, in a move to reduce the number of babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome. 'Alcohol can permanently harm a developing baby before a woman knows she is pregnant,' said Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 'About half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and even if planned, most women won’t know they are pregnant for the first month or so, when they might still be drinking.'"

New York Times (January 14): "Federal health officials are debating whether to warn pregnant women against travel to Brazil and other Latin American and Caribbean countries where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in newborn babies. Officials say it could be the first time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises pregnant women to avoid a specific region during an outbreak." ...

     ... NYT Update (January 15): "Federal health officials on Friday advised pregnant women to postpone traveling to 13 Latin American or Caribbean countries and Puerto Rico where mosquitoes are spreading the Zika virus, which has been linked to brain damage in babies." ...

... The Washington Post reports on the crisis in Brazil.

Washington Post: "Media mogul Sumner Redstone has resigned as board chairman at CBS Corp. after a court battle raised questions about the 92-year-old executive’s mental competence. He was replaced by Leslie Moonves, the longtime CBS president and chief executive, CBS announced Wednesday. The transition took effect Tuesday when Redstone was appointed to the role of CBS chairman emeritus, CBS said."

... New York Timess: "A small 16th-century oil on panel largely kept in storage at a Kansas City, Mo., museum is a work by the Dutch Renaissance master Hieronymus Bosch, researchers [in the Netherlands] said on Monday, a finding that, if accepted by other scholars, would add to the tiny list of about 25 recognized Bosch paintings in the world. The painting, 'The Temptation of St. Anthony,' dated 1500-1510, had previously been attributed to the workshop of Bosch or to a follower of Bosch, known for his comic and surreal images of heaven and hell and the earthly moral purgatory in between."

Radio host Diane Rehm discusses her "retirement" plans with Karen Heller of the Washington Post.

Washington Post: "A lost story by famed British children’s author Beatrix Potter — the Tale of Kitty-in-Boots — has been discovered among her memorabilia and will be published this year more than a century after she wrote it. Jo Hanks, a publisher with Penguin Random House who made the discovery at London’s Victoria & Albert museum in 2013, called the story the biggest Potter discovery in generations and almost certainly the last, the London Times Newspaper reported Tuesday."

Boston Globe: "Late Night host (and New Hampshire native) Seth Meyers stars in this trailer for his fake movie, Boston Accent, which just laughs at all the devices used in every movie ever made in Boston":

Tim Egan's Confession: "I can no longer wait in a grocery store line, or linger for a traffic light, or even pause long enough to let a bagel pop from the toaster, without reflexively reaching for my smartphone."

Planet Nine. Caltech: "Caltech researchers have found evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on average than does Neptune (which orbits the sun at an average distance of 2.8 billion miles). In fact, it would take this new planet between 10,000 and 20,000 years to make just one full orbit around the sun. The researchers, Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, discovered the planet's existence through mathematical modeling and computer simulations but have not yet observed the object directly." ...

... CW: Planet Nine, my ass. I will never abandon Pluto! But this is a mighty thrilling development. ...

... UPDATE. Rachel Feltman of the Washington Post interviews Mike Brown, one of the discoverers of Planet Nine. It turns out, as certainly every astronomer knows, that Mike Brown was also the guy who killed Pluto! Even his daughter is mad at him for that.

New York Times: "Five planets will parade across the dawn sky early Wednesday[, January 20,] in a rare celestial spectacle set to repeat every morning until late next month. Headlining the planetary performance are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. It will be the first time in more than a decade that the fab five will be simultaneously visible to the naked eye, according to Jason Kendall, who is on the board of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York."

Los Angeles Times: "The backlash against this year's Academy Award nominations escalated Monday with announcements by director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith that they would boycott the Feb. 28 Oscars ceremony, citing the absence of people of color in all four acting categories for the second year in a row. If other prominent entertainment industry figures join the boycott, it has the potential to spoil Hollywood's annual showcase event."

Donald Trump playing Donald Trump in movies & on teevee shows:

New York Times: "#OscarsSoWhite, that damning hashtag that made the rounds last year, can again, unhappily, be revived for this year’s Oscar nominations, which were announced Thursday morning.... The only Academy nods for two of the year’s biggest films about African-American characters went to white people.... In all the lead categories — best director, picture, and all four acting categories — only Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the Mexican auteur who won best director and picture last year, for 'Birdman,' adds a note of diversity. This year he was nominated for 'The Revenant.'”

Los Angeles Times: "Nominations for the 88th Academy Awards have been announced, and 'The Revenant' is leading with 12, including for best picture. Other nominees for best picture are 'The Big Short,' 'Bridge of Spies,' 'Brooklyn,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road,' 'The Martian,' 'Room,' and 'Spotlight.' All the snubs, surprises and reactions from nominees coming below." Full coverage via the linked page.

Christian Science Monitor: "... thanks to researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Purdue University, the lowly incandescent bulb is getting a jolt of new life. The six-researcher team says it has found a way to boost the bulb's efficiency twenty-fold, which would leave today's favored compact fluorescents (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in the dust, according to a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Nanotechnology." ...

     ... CW: If these bulbs go into production, it should make Rand Paul very, very happy. If only MIT could do something about his big-shit problem. Science does have its limits.

Los Angeles Times: "A 21-year odyssey came to an end Tuesday when National Football League owners voted to allow the St. Louis Rams to move to Los Angeles for the 2016 season and gave the San Diego Chargers an option to join the Rams in Inglewood."

** Washington Post: "In a paper published in the open-access journal eLife this week, researchers say they have pinpointed what may well be one of evolution’s greatest copy mess-ups yet: the mutation that allowed our ancient protozoa predecessors to evolve into complex, multi-cellular organisms.... Incredibly, in the world of evolutionary biology, all it took was one tiny tweak, one gene, and complex life as we know it was born." The paper is here. ...

... CW: Sorry, fundies, this is a lot more exciting than a trip to the Noah's ark amusement park or whatever it is.

The Los Angeles Times' Golden Globe coverage is here.

New Yorker: More Pluto!

New York: "Lumosity is one of these 'brain training' programs, and yet, according to the Federal Trade Commission, many of those claims aren’t backed up by science. On Tuesday, Lumos Labs — the company behind Lumosity — agreed to settle with the Federal Trade Commission for $2 million for misleading consumers on claims that playing these mental games would help with cognitive performance and prevent mental decline as we age. 'Lumosity preyed on consumers’ fears about age-related cognitive decline, suggesting their games could stave off memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease,' Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. 'But Lumosity simply did not have the science to back up its ads.'”

New York Times: "Twitter is experimenting with introducing a longer form of tweet, according to two people familiar with the company’s plans, in what would be another gradual move away from the simplistic design sensibility that the service was originally founded upon. The project, which internally has been referred to as 'beyond 140,' is still in its testing phase and is not set to be introduced until at least March...."

Washington Post: "Four newly discovered elements managed to squeak their way in[to the periodic table] just before the end of 2015, filling up the table's seventh row and marking the first additions since 2011." CW: Since I know squat about chemistry, let me say here -- in the fullness of my ignorance -- that the periodic table should stick with elements that occur in nature. If chemists want a "sub-periodic table" to show off their lab-created, unstable elements, let 'em have it. I don't see how an "element" can be artificial. Anyone who knows what s/he's talking about is free to set me straight.

TPM: "Twitter announced Thursday it's bringing back Politwoops, the popular gaffe-tracking transparency tool that tracked politicians' deleted tweets, after unceremoniously killing off the service earlier this year.... Twitter revoked developer API access for the project, a venture of The Sunlight Foundation and The Open State Foundation, in August 2015."

If you are interested in what George Lucas thinks about the "Star Wars" series & other stuff, you can find out here, presuming Charlie Rose doesn't monopolize the conversation (okay, silly presumption). ...

... Later Lucas said he was sorry he said some of those nasty things.

... Hank Stuever of the Washington Post: The "final episodes of 'Downton Abbey' are among the show’s best since the first season — and they’ll reassure those hoping for the happiest possible endings for nearly every character."

BBC News: "A monument from a temple in the ancient city of Palmyra destroyed by so-called Islamic State (IS) is to be recreated in London's Trafalgar Square. The 2,000-year-old arch is all that remains of the Temple of Bel, part of the Syrian Unesco World Heritage site, captured by militants in May. It will be recreated from photographs, using a 3D printer. The institute behind the project hopes the arch will draw attention to the importance of cultural heritage." ...

... John Brennan & Sarah Knapton of the (Irish) Independent: "Ireland's saints and scholars were descended from farmers and bronze metalworkers from the Middle East and modern-day Ukraine, scientists have found. Researchers have sequenced ancient Irish human genomes for the first time. They discovered mass migrations to Ireland thousands of years ago resulted in huge changes to the ancient Irish genetic make-up. A team of geneticists from Trinity College Dublin and archaeologists from Queen's University Belfast made the findings, which show a massive shift in our genetic mix over the course of just 1,000 years. They believe the genetic influxes brought cultural change such as moving to settled farmsteads, bronze metalworking - and may have even been the origin of western Celtic language." ...

... CW: One trouble with denigrating certain ethnic groups: we're all cousins. Sorry, "white" people.

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Sunday
Sep302012

The Commentariat -- October 1, 2012

Reader Creag H. points out this remark which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made last week when speaking before the Clinton Global Initiative. You can watch her full speech here:

... one of the issues that I have been preaching about around the world is collecting taxes in an equitable manner, especially from the elites in every country. You know I'm out of American politics, but it is a fact that around the world, the elites of every country are making money. There are rich people everywhere. And yet they do not contribute to the growth of their own countries. They don't invest in public schools, in public hospitals, in other kinds of development internally. And so it means for leaders telling powerful people things they don't want to hear.

Richard Hasen in Slate: at issue in "an appeal being argued today by telephone, SEIU v. Husted..., at issue are potentially thousands of Ohio ballots that the state will not count solely because of poll worker error.... A numberof the state's polling places, especially in cities, cover more than one voting precinct, and in order to cast a valid vote, a voter has to be given the correct precinct ballot. Poll workers, however, often hand voters the wrong precinct ballot mistakenly."

GOP voter suppression & voter fraud notwithstanding, these stars think voting is a good idea:

Paul Krugman is planning President Obama's second term, & he is warning him off Simpson-Bowles -- "a really bad plan.... This election is ... shaping up as a referendum on our social insurance system, and it looks as if Mr. Obama will emerge with a clear mandate for preserving and extending that system. It would be a terrible mistake, both politically and for the nation’s future, for him to let himself to be talked into snatching defeat from the jaws of victory" by agreeing to a Catfood Commission-style "Grand Bargain." ...

... Matt Yglesias of Slate: "The looming payroll tax hike ... is entirely pointless. Neither progressive ideology nor conservative ideology in any sense mandates that we implement a big regressive tax increase amidst a period of sky-high unemployment. Doing so is only going to stall the household deleveraging process, make it harder for businesses to get customers, and immiserate stretched American families. We really need to stop this."

** This you gotta read. And many thanks to Calyban for catching it, because I missed it. J. D. Kleinke, a fellow of the righty-right-wing American Enterprise Institute & an specialist of health care, writing in Sunday's New York Times, makes the case for ObamaCare. Kleinke lists element after element of ObamaCare & explains why these features are conservative. "The real problem with the health care plan -- for Mr. Romney and the Republicans in general -- is that political credit for it goes to Mr. Obama. Now, Mr. Romney is in a terrible fix trying to spin his way out of this paradox and tear down something he knows is right -- something for which he ought to be taking great political credit of his own." CW: I hope Obama is taking note.

Chrystia Freeland in the New Yorker: "... Hostility toward the President is particularly strident among the ultra-rich." When you read the excuses & rationalizations billionaire Leon Cooperman comes up with to justify himself & his disdain for Obama, you may laugh out loud (he didn't send a thank-you note when I gave him a self-published book of poetry my granddaughter wrote) or feel like throwing something -- Obama never worked a day in his life. This isn't Right Wing World; it's Rich Wing World. These people, who think so much of themselves, are ignorant myth-peddlers; for instance, this should sound familiar:

Our problem, frankly, is as long as the President remains anti-wealth, anti-business, anti-energy, anti-private-aviation, he will never get the business community behind him. The problem and the complication is the forty or fifty per cent of the country on the dole that support him. -- Leon Cooperman

Ernesto Londoño and Abigail Hauslohner of the Washington Post write an interesting account of the lax security in Benghazi, Libya, before terrorists there killed four Americans, including the ambassador.

Gerardo Reyes & Santiago Wills of ABC News: Univision uncovers new details about "Fast & Furious": "Univision News identified a total of 57 more previously unreported firearms that were bought by straw purchasers monitored by ATF during Operation Fast and Furious, and then recovered in Mexico in sites related to murders, kidnappings, and at least one other massacre. As part of Operation Fast and Furious, ATF allowed 1,961 guns to 'walk' out of the U.S. in an effort to identify the high profile cartel leaders who received them."

Presidential Race

This whole race is going to be turned upside down come Thursday morning. -- Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.), predicting Mitt Romney will win the presidential debate Wednesday ...

Mitt Romney has had a lot more time to debate, the president has not debated in the past four years in terms, of a campaign debate. I think the president will hold his own, but he's not known for sound bites. And these are 60 second, 90 second responses. -- Brad Woodhouse of the Democratic National Committee, predicting Mitt Romney will win the presidential debate Wednesday

Alex Pareene of Salon thinks Mitt may find his inner Dick Cheney during the debates & advocate for torture.

Flim-Flam Man Zips His Lips. Steve Stromberg of the Washington Post: "On Fox News Sunday, Rep. Paul Ryan claimed that Americans don’t know enough about what a Romney-Ryan presidency would do, which explains the campaign's current troubles. But when Chris Wallace pressed Ryan to discuss the specifics of the Romney-Ryan tax plan, the mathematics of which have confounded non-partisan experts, he refused even to say how much the tax cuts the ticket has proposed would cost." With video. ...

... Romney has promised $5 trillion in tax cuts skewed toward millionaires and billionaires, but refused to say how he'd pay for them without raising taxes on the middle class or exploding the deficit. He's promised to repeal ObamaCare, but refused to say what he'd replace it with to protect the 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. He's promised to repeal Wall Street reform, but refused to say what he'd replace it with so that big banks aren't writing their own rules again. -- Obama Campaign

David Carr of the New York Times: the conservative claim that the liberal mainstream media have rigged coverage of the presidential election -- and poll results -- is bogus. "Even if legacy media still maintained some kind of death grip on American consciousness, it would be hard to claim that the biggest players in those industries are peddling liberal theology." Carr cites the Wall Street Journal, the paper with the highest U.S. circulation & Fox "News," the cable news channel with the highest ratings, plus radio showmen Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc. to argue that "the growing hegemony of conservative voices makes manufacturing a partisan conspiracy a practical impossibility."

Paul Krugman on the short memories of political pundits. Funny line: "The only [GOP primary] contender who even looked on paper like a real alternative, Rick Perry, turned out to have three major liabilities: he was inarticulate, he was slow on his feet, and I can't remember the third (sorry, couldn't help myself)."

Michael Shear of the New York Times suggests five possible sources of an October Surprise that would shake up the presidential election.

AND for those readers who took Roger Simon seriously last week when he wrote that Paul Ryan called Willard "The Stench," you've got a lot of company. Also, it's one of those stories you just want to believe.

Local News

More GOP Voter Fraud. Patrick McGreevy of the Los Angeles Times: "Formal complaints filed with the state [of California] by at least 133 residents of a state Senate district [in Riverside] say they were added to GOP rolls without their knowledge, calling into question the party's boast that Republican membership has rocketed 23% in the battleground area." CW: the trick was to tell people they were signing a petition for some liberal thing, then telling them they also had to fill out a voter registration form. Apparently, if the signer didn't fill in the party affiliation, the recruiter checked the Republican box.

Erik Eckholm of the New York Times: "California has become the first state to ban the use for minors of disputed therapies to overcome' homosexuality, a step hailed by gay rights groups across the country that say the therapies have caused dangerous emotional harm to gay and lesbian teenagers. 'This bill bans nonscientific 'therapies' that have driven young people to depression and suicide,' Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement on Saturday after he signed the bill into law. 'These practices have no basis in science or medicine, and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery.'" ...

... Don Thompson of the AP: Brown also "signed SB9, by Democratic Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco. It would let the inmates [who were sentenced to life imprisonment as juveniles] ask judges to reconsider their sentences after they serve at least 15 years in prison."

Jonathan Capehart: DNA evidence does little to back up George Zimmerman's story that he killed Trayvon Martin in self-defense.

News Ledes

Reuters: "U.S. manufacturing unexpectedly expanded in September for the first time since May as new orders and employment picked up, but the pace of growth showed the economy was still stuck in a slow recovery."

New York Times: "An apprentice elevator mechanic whose murder conviction was overturned after he had spent nearly 11 years in prison has been paid $2 million by New York State to settle a wrongful conviction lawsuit he filed." CW: one of many "it could happen to you or me" stories.

New York Times: "The federal mortgage task force that was formed in January by the Justice Department filed its first complaint against a big bank on Monday, citing a broad pattern of misconduct in the packaging and sale of mortgage securities during the housing boom. The civil suit against Bear Stearns & Company, now a unit of JPMorgan Chase, was brought in New York State Supreme Court by Eric T. Schneiderman, the attorney general who is also a co-chairman of the task force, known as the Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group." CW: Look, Ma, no criminal charges.

Washington Post: "Protesters affiliated with last year's Occupy demonstrations in Washington are planning a series of events to mark the one-year anniversary of the protests. Occupy D.C. participants say they plan to 'shut down K Street' Monday morning, and they say traffic disruptions are possible."

AP: "A lawyer for a cameraman who was accompanying Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the U.S. for the United Nations General Assembly in New York says his client has defected. Paul O'Dwyer, a New York City-based lawyer who is representing Hassan Gol Khanban, confirmed Sunday that his client is seeking asylum in the U.S. He provided no other details."

Guardian: "A Moscow court has delayed an appeal hearing by jailed anti-Kremlin punk band until 10 October over procedural concerns."

Reader Comments (12)

Oh, boy...this is a must see movie!
Couldn't sleep, logged on to see if anything new happened since 10 Pm...and found this:

Waaahooooo! Love the savvy women who came up with the idea. See the New York Times story by John Anderson for the background "A Mockumentary Pulls In Real Players"

http://janeanefromdesmoines.com/

Delicious!

October 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMAG

The GOP steal the vote schemes are making me a little crazy. First, I'm thinking that all the evidence of wrongdoing on the part of that evil little schmuck Nathan Sproul is only the tip of the iceberg.

He cannot be the only one out there doing this if it's so widespread already. There must be other, much more sophisticated, operations at work. Second, although there have been a number of reports of GOP hypocrisy and illegal manipulations of the process, there's been nothing close to the furor in the MSM over ACORN four years ago. Nothing.

And, leave us not overlook the fact that those who are writing about it (that's mostly all it is so far; nothing to speak of on television) are comparing what Sproul's several dirty tricks teams have been doing to exactly what ACORN did, which is not true. ACORN's sins were purely of the voter registration kind. This was not voting fraud.

But registering Democrats as Republicans or throwing their registrations away IS voting fraud. You show up at the polls trying to exercise your franchise and find that your name is either on the wrong page or not there at all. This is NOT what ACORN did.

But no one seems to care about this very big difference.

So I don't believe that a sharper like Rove would be stupid enough to pin all his hopes on a filthy little lizard like Sproul who had already been bagged a number of times for his ham-handed schemes to fuck with Democrats. Not to mention the Teabagger thugs sharpening their knives and preparing their caveman bludgeons for election day.

There's a lot more going on.

October 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Turning to other news, it appears that the Boy Scouts of America, that upstanding right-wing organization of irrational homophobes (I know, they're the same thing), has been forced by court order to release secret files they've been keeping on pedophiles who either tried to join the ranks of the BSA or actually made it in and raped scouts, in some cases, for years. I'm guessing they took a page out of the Vatican's playbook in protecting their own asses rather than the young victims who were attacked under the cover and protection of those upstanding leaders of the Boy Scouts.

http://thetandd.com/news/national/boy-scouts-to-report-pedophiles-missed-previously/article_e620b2f1-ae0d-5a63-999b-e9df6f4a09a1.html

The psychiatrist hired by the BSA to fudge the data on their secret files has stated that abuse of children done under the protection of the Scouts has been "very low". Over a 20 year period beginning in 1965 there were "only" 1,302 cases that can be verified. I'm pretty sure those 1,302 kids are pleased to hear that.

Since 1945 the BSA has compiled a list of over 5,000 sexual predators they knew about.

And never warned anyone.

Nice. Whatever happened to "Always Prepared"? Always prepared to toss kids overboard in order to protect themselves.

But, hey, at least they're keeping out all those gay kids. "Okay boys, no gays as scouts or scout leaders, but molesters are fine."

October 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

I've missed you guys. Too much work!

Anyway, a couple of things:

First, I expect Bill O'Reilly to explain to me shortly why Obama cost us the Ryder Cup.

Second, Romney will shortly unveil his new campaign slogan as a part of Reboot 17.453:

Romney/Ryan: Harvest America!

Have a sane October.

Jack

October 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJack Mahoney

I'm bringing forward this comment from @cakers which was made recently but wound up in yesterday's Comments section:

RE: Illegal immigrants,
Sorry Marie, but I disagree with you on this. IMO, "undocumented residents" is just a euphemism for illegal immigrants, much like "death taxes" is used by conservatives to describe estate taxes. They ARE here illegally. As a liberal Democrat who lives in a small rural farming community, I am well acquainted with this issue. I see, everyday, the impact on the community, on the schools and on the public services such as police and health care. I know people who have had their social security numbers stolen, jeopardizing their social security and their credit. I have had license plates and registration stickers stolen so that illegal immigrants can obtain "legal documentation". The large number of uninsured drivers in our county means that our insurance premiums are higher. So to me, "undocumented" does not make it sound better, because the lack of those documents makes it harder for everyone else as well. As a social liberal, however, I do have compassion for their situation and do not necessarily want them deported (unless they've been convicted of drunk driving, and then I want them OUT), I want a solution to the immigration issue in this country. Do you have one?
I want them to be able to obtain their immigration status and the documentation they need LEGALLY, not ILLEGALLY by stealing mine. I have worked and played side by side with illegal immigrants for 30 years and they are neither all good, nor all bad. We should be debating how to the solve the problem, not what we call them.

October 1, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Delicious little crazy nugget for the day.

Mitt Romney's getting advice from all sides before Wednesday's big presidential debate in Denver, including from prominent Romney supporter and birther conspiracy theorist-in-chief Donald Trump.

@realDonaldTrump
In debate, @MittRomney should ask Obama why autobiography states "born in Kenya, raised in Indonesia."

I am writing to ask the Tooth Fairy--dare we hope for this?

October 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate Madison

@cakers. I live in Southwest Florida, so -- like you -- I am well-acquainted with the difficulties under which undocumented workers get by in the community as well as the difficulties they present to permanent residents.

First, here in S.W. Florida, & probably where you live, too -- there are at least two categories of undocumented workers: (1) those who come here, usually with their families, or with their families not far behind, who intend to stay; & (2) those who are here to earn what they can, send most of it back home, & go home themselves.

The ultimate solution is two- or three-fold. Obviously, the best way to keep people from sneaking into this country from poor countries is to work toward economic parity. This is particularly important with Mexico & with some other Central American countries. The recession has caused a steep decline in the number of short-time undocumented residents here; there's not a great reason to come. I used to have to lock my car to go to the grocery story to prevent men from jumping into the car -- as has happened. Yeah, it's a little scary to suddenly have 4 men jump into your car at once. This isn't happening any more, but if our economy picks up, I suppose it will again.

We also need to have better relationships with Central American countries in particular. Several years back -- during the Bush administration, as I recall -- the Mexican government was planning to provide "safe maps" to Mexicans who wanted to find the surest route across the Rio Grande.

But, more important, ask yourself why undocumented workers are working in your community. Obviously, people -- perhaps farmers, where you live, are hiring them, no questions asked. There is a Manpower storefront a few blocks from me, but that never stopped rich people from driving to my corner grocery store trolling for day laborers whom they could pay next to nothing & wouldn't have to pay Social Security for, etc. I would make a big deal of writing down the license numbers of their Escalantes or whatever, then yell at them (the rich people) that I was turning them in to the INS. Of course, I never bothered, but a few of them left, bracero-less.

I hope, BTW, you read Tim Egan's column -- the one I linked in reply to some guy who thinks "they" are "raping" "his" country. This brings to mind what you should also realize -- "those people" are contributing to your community's economy, too, whether they're doing the farm work U.S. citizens seem incapable of doing, or whether they're doing some other work. If we sent 11 million undocumented Americans back to whatever their country of origin is, our economy would go into free-fall. Particularly at a time when birthrates are low in the U.S., we need an influx of young people to keep the economy going. So some of what you see as a "problem" is actually a boon to our economy.

I am troubled by workers who come here to send money back home, & who have no intention of staying. Money from Mexicans working in the U.S. is one of the biggest boons to the Mexican economy, so no wonder the Mexican government wanted to scoot people up here. Frankly, if we made the U.S. more attractive to immigrants, more would stay -- and that would be a good thing. The problems you outline: no insurance, more need for police, etc., are problems associated with poor people. If immigrants had better wages & higher living standards, many of those problems would go away. For the most part, people who come to this country at great personal cost to themselves & under tenuous circumstances, are really motivated to work. My neighbors who are undocumented are the hardest workers I've ever seen. And they keep their house & grounds in beautiful condition. They also pay property taxes at a rate twice what I pay because they don't qualify for homestead exemption. Oh, they're contributing.

I've had my identity stolen twice in recent years. I have no reason to think it was undocumented people who stole it.

Hope that helps. I'm sure other people have more & better ideas.

Marie

October 1, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

Thank you, Marie. I've work and lived with Mexican immigrants both in California and Florida for a big part of my adult life. You describe the situation very well.

October 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Singer

Just a little psychological analysis on Paul Ryan's Faux interview where time was too short to spell out the math on their economic budget that doesn't actually exist.

Go back and look at the video a little more closely. When he's asked how much the 20% across-the-board tax cuts will add to the deficit, Paul replies that it's revenue neutral and notice what he does next.

He flashes out a shit-eating grin like he just pulled a fast one and only he knows it. One of those mischievous grins like the kid who releases a silent fart in class and knows the damage can't be traced back to him.

Like his little peanut brain, in that millisecond, just visualized all the red lines gutting welfare, food stamps and social security in their attempt to balance the budget "conservatively". Giggling to himself about what's coming for all of those welfare queens and government teat-suckers.

That fucking douchebag embodies that little mole who tunnels out your yard all day long and then when you come home and search him out he's nowhere to be found. Day in and day out he's slowly uprooting everything you've worked for until the day you get really tired of his shit. That day you mix up your routine, come home a little early when he's not expecting you, and you stick a large, sharp pole through his neck.

Please excuse my violent metaphor I'm actually an animal lover. But I certainly don't enjoy my fellow species when they are ideologically-diseased and get all giggly on national teevee from taking away food stamps from young minorities so rich fucks can import more salty fucking caviar from Iran.

October 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersafari

Interesting exchange between Marie and Cakers. I live in an area where the only (non-documented) immigrants we come across are those that work for lawn services, roofing, sealing, carpenters, etc. The workers we have hired we have gotten to know and most have been here in the states for years with families. A very different experience than what Marie and Cakers present which is complicated and problematic and certainly needs addressing.

@Mag: Couldn't access your link so couldn't have anything delicious.

@Safari: The poor mole that may get that large, sharp pole through his neck better count his days numbered cuz you is one mad ombre and if he looks anything like Ryan, than honey, he is gonna be one dead sucker.

October 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPD Pepe

Just for the record, the account of the supperrich depicted by Chrystia Freeland made me want to puke.
I do have to admit she did an admirable job of trying to explain the motivations of the Obama-haters of Wall Street. At the end of the day, though, I'm still puzzled. And appalled.

October 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D.

@Marie, I really can't find a single word in your response that I disagree with. My post was never meant to be any sort of diatribe against illegal immigrants, rather that what we call them is beside the point.
Your assessment about the ones who come here with their families and intend to stay versus the ones who only come here to send money back to Mexico was also spot on, as the latter are also the ones that trouble me.
Whenever I hear "locals" complaining about the illegal immigrants I tell them there is a very simple solution: Raise the minimum wage to at least $15 per hour and more Americans might be willing to do the back breaking work in the fields that they do.

Just as an aside, I have a once-a-week housekeeper who is Hispanic, and while my impression is that her family is here permanently and legally, I have never asked her for proof of status, because a) I don't deduct what I pay her and b) I wouldn't ask a white person. And BTW, I pay her appx. $20/hour, well above minimum wage.

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercakers
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