Weekly Address

The President's Weekly Address

White House: "In this week’s address, the President reflected on the significant progress made by this country in 2014, and in the nearly six years since he took office":

The Ledes

Saturday, December 20, 2014.

Reuters: "Dozens of protesters were arrested on Friday in Milwaukee when they blocked rush-hour traffic on a major highway to protest the killing of an unarmed black man who was fatally shot by a white police officer this year. The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department took at least 73 adults and one minor into custody during the protest that blocked Interstate 43, which runs through the city, according to the department's Twitter feed."

The Wires

The Ledes

Friday, December 19, 2014.

Los Angeles Times: "Lowell Steward, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen who flew more than 100 missions during World War II, died Wednesday, according to Ron Brewington, former national public relations officer for the Tuskegee Airmen. Steward was 95."

NBC News: "The Army has concluded its lengthy investigation into the disappearance of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl in eastern Afghanistan and must now decide whether Bergdahl should face criminal charges. Bergdahl reportedly walked away from his base into the hands of the Taliban and was held hostage for five years. Based on the investigation, the Army must now decide whether Bergdahl should be charged with desertion or a lesser charge of being 'absent without leave,' AWOL."

New York Times: "The Pakistani military said on Friday that it had killed 62 militants in clashes near the border with Afghanistan, stepping up operations against insurgents after the Pakistani Taliban carried out an attack at a school that left 148 students and staff members dead."

New York Times: "Mandy Rice-Davies, a nightclub dancer and model who achieved notoriety in 1963 in one of Britain’s most spectacular Cold War sex scandals, died on Thursday after a short battle with cancer, her publicist said on Friday. She was 70."

Denver Post: "James Holmes, the man who killed 12 people inside an Aurora movie theater two years ago, is 'a human being gripped by a severe mental illness,' his parents write in a letter that pleads for him to be spared from execution.'" The letter is here.

Public Service Announcement

Surprise! December 19: Dr. Oz is a quack.

Washington Post, November 21: Learn how to use your thermostat & save $$$.

New York Times, November 17: "For the first time since statins have been regularly used, a large study has found that another type of cholesterol-lowering drug can protect people from heart attacks and strokes."

White House Live Video
December 19

1:30 pm ET: President Obama holds a press briefing

If you don't see the livefeed here, go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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

A former resident of Somerville, Massachusetts, calls into outgoing Gov. Deval Patrick's last regular monthly radio call-in show:

Sixteen times Stephen Colbert broke character on his show. With videos. ...

... Winger John Hinderaker of Powerline has never seen Colbert's show, but he's pretty sure it was an hour-long ad for the Democratic party. "I am not in favor of restricting anyone’s right to free speech, but if federal law is going to bar a businessman from contributing enough to buy more than a minimal amount of television time on behalf of his party or his candidates, why shouldn’t Stephen Colbert and Comedy Central be prohibited from airing millions of dollars worth of pro-Democratic Party propaganda?" CW: Evidently, Hinderaker has not heard of Fox "News."

Los Angeles Times: "A hashtag about asking police officers questions for a CNN panel turned extremely negative almost as soon as it was posted Tuesday. #AskACop was meant to be used by viewers who wanted to tweet questions to officers for the town hall segment "Cops Under Fire,” hosted by Don Lemon. There was an overwhelming response -- most of which were criticisms toward police." CW: Apparently CNN had no idea people were pissed at the police.

Bill Carter of the New York Times: "For nine years, Stephen Colbert has relentlessly maintained his pompous, deeply ridiculous but consistently appealing conservative blowhard character on his late-night show, 'The Colbert Report' — so much so that when he puts the character to rest for good on Thursday night, he may have to resort to comicide. The Grim Reaper is his last guest."

New York Times: "Life on Mars? Today? The notion may not be so far-fetched after all. A year after reporting that NASA’s Curiosity rover had found no evidence of methane gas on Mars, all but dashing hopes that organisms might be living there now, scientists reversed themselves on Tuesday. Curiosity has now recorded a burst of methane that lasted at least two months. For now, scientists have just two possible explanations for the methane. One is that it is the waste product of certain living microbes.... It could have been created by a geological process known as serpentinization, which requires both heat and liquid water. Or it could be a product of life in the form of microbes known as methanogens, which release methane as a waste product.... The scientists also reported that for the first time, they had confirmed the presence of carbon-based organic molecules in a rock sample. The so-called organics are not direct signs of life, past or present, but they lend weight to the possibility that Mars had the ingredients required for life, and may even still have them."

"Oh, God, It's Mom." Kelly Faircloth of Jezebel: "Oh my Lord, shut it down, here is the greatest moment in the history of C-SPAN: A (very Southern) mama called into one of their shows to yell at the guests. Not because she disagrees, but because the guests are brothers and both her sons and she is sick and tired of their shit":


Escape from Alcatraz. Live Science: "... on the night of June 11, 1962, three inmates left Alcatraz in one of the most mysterious prison breaks in American history. John Anglin, his brother Clarence Anglin and Frank Morris tucked dummy heads into their bed sheets and snuck into an unused utility corridor through holes they had crudely drilled through their cells. Then, from the prison roof, they shimmied down the bakery smoke stack and climbed over the fence. From the northeast shore of the island, they floated away from the prison on a small raft made from more than 50 stolen raincoats that were inflated with a musical instrument that was converted into a pump. Even the FBI still calls the plan 'ingenious' on its website. After a 17-year investigation, federal authorities concluded that the men most likely drowned during the escape...."

... BUT ...

... The linked story above has a better video, but it's not embeddable.

Rolling Stone: "David Letterman will retire from late-night television on Wednesday, May 20th. The Late Show host's production company Worldwide Pants announced the news, according to Deadline, with CBS Corp. President and CEO Leslie Moonves praising Letterman’s 'remarkable legacy of achievement and creative brilliance [which] will never be forgotten.'"

Washington Post: "New information from NASA's Curiosity Rover suggests that Mars may once have had large, long-lasting lakes above ground. That would challenge the more popular theory that water on the planet was only underground, or only appeared in a few areas for a short amount of time. The key to this latest theory is Mount Sharp, which stands 3 miles tall and sits in the red planet's Gale Crater. But Mount Sharp is a curious formation: The layered mountain is made of different kinds of sediment. Some layers were probably deposited by a surrounding lake bed, and other seem more likely to be the result of river or wind deposits." CW: Yeah, there was probably once a really well-developed life on Mars with flora & fauna & -- eventually -- little green men who didn't believe in climate change.

New York Times: "After weeks of planning, New York City welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Sunday for a three-day visit, greeting Prince William and his wife, Catherine, with the blend of enthusiasm, sarcasm and bemusing antagonism that tends to tail the urban celebrity tourist."

The Wrap: "Longtime CNN political anchor Candy Crowley is leaving the network."

December 6: Max Fisher of Vox: So two white guys -- guys who will have no trouble finding other jobs -- get fired, & half the New Republic staff walks out in protest. Where was the outrage when Marty Peretz was editor & writing racist screeds? The contrasting reactions speak "to a larger problem of how we think about racism in American society and particularly in the elite media institutions that have badly lagged in employing people of color." ...

... Scott Lemieux in LG&M: "For all its sins [of the past], I don’t see how turning the magazine into another traffic-chaser under the aegis of a CEO who speaks Meaningless Buzzword and apparently lacks the attention span to read more than 500 words at a time is a good thing." ...

... Charles Pierce: "... contra Chait, and even though the magazine unquestionably has regained a lot of its lost quality, especially in its actual reporting, I think the notion that The New Republic is 'an essential foundation of American progressive thought' is a ship that sailed a long time ago." ...

... Zandar in Balloon Juice: " The number of damns I give about TNR as a going concern at this point equals approximately the number of black voices writing for the magazine, which is to say zero, but YMMV."

... December 4 & 5: Dylan Byers of Politico: "Franklin Foer and Leon Wieseltier, the top two editors at The New Republic, quit on Thursday amid a shakeup that will relocate the Washington-based magazine to New York City, sources there told Politico on Thursday. Gabriel Snyder, a Bloomberg Media editor who previously served at The Atlantic Wire, has been tapped to replace Foer as editor. The magazine will also reduce its print schedule to 10 issues a year, down from 20." ...

     ... New York Times Update: "More than two dozen members of the staff of The New Republic, including several contributing editors, resigned on Friday morning, angered by an abrupt change of editors and what they saw as a series of management missteps. The resignations include the senior editors Alec MacGillis, Julia Ioffe and Isaac Chotiner, and the contributing editors Sean Wilentz and William Deresiewicz, according to several staff members who are leaving. A list compiling the names of those resigning was obtained by The New York Times." ...

     ... AND more from Jessica Roy of New York. ...

... Jonathan Chait: The New Republic has lost its way. ...

... Ezra Klein: "It's a bit early, I think, to write The New Republic's eulogy. Gabriel Snyder, the magazine's new editor, is a smart and web-savvy guy." ...

... Leah Finnegan of Gawker: "Indeed, an entire magazine is now doomed to fail because a white man has been fired and — gasp — an internet-savvy white man has been brought in to replace him! In TNR's 100-year history, I never would have imagined such a triage of injustice. It's clear that the new leadership of the magazine—with all their greasy Facebook money—is dead set on ruining a (historically racist) publication no one ever read in the first place, and was on the slow road to Irrelevance City. What will Chris Hughes do next? Perhaps the publication might even become interesting. Scream!"

Charles Pierce is completely taken with Ed Snowden. He's brave, credible & intelligent, blah-blah, & the film "Citizenfour" is bee-youtiful. For an antidote to starry-eyed Charles, see this review by Fred Kaplan of Slate.

This is quite cool:

 

Washington Post: "Scientists are 99.999 percent sure, in their most conservative estimate, that remains found in 2012 really do belong to King Richard III. These results, published Tuesday in Nature Communications, put a 529-year-old cold case to rest -- all thanks to some intense genetic detective work." CW: Let's hope one of the expert detectives wasn't Shaun Parcells. You may weigh in, Dr. Schwalb. ...

Welcome to Gramercy Park! -- "one of the most forbidden places in Manhattan." New York Times: Woody Allen couldn't get in to film, Robert De Niro couldn't get in, but Shawn Christopher, who was honeymooning in Manhattan, borrowed a key and "took three 360-degree panoramas using Photo Sphere, a Google app, and then uploaded them to the company’s ubiquitous Maps site. He had gotten into the park using another of his favorite technologies, Airbnb, where the room he rented included not only fresh linens and Wi-Fi but also one of the 383 coveted keys to the park. Mr. Christopher was unaware at the time that guests had to be accompanied by key holders on their visits and that commercial photography was prohibited." So take an insider's view of the park.

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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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