The Ledes

Thursday, May 21, 2015.

Washington Post: "California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Santa Barbara County late Wednesday after an onshore pipeline burst, spewing thousands of gallons of crude oil into the Pacific Ocean — blackening beaches and endangering West Coast wildlife. The area, a popular camping spot some 20 miles from Santa Barbara, known for its palm tree-lined seashore and pristine surf, has been “closed indefinitely.” The extent of the damage is not known."

New York Times: "Islamic State militants on Thursday solidified their rout of Syrian government forces in the historic desert city of Palmyra, moving to the outskirts to seize its airport and the notorious Tadmur Prison, according to residents and statements from the group. It was the first time that the ISIS militants seized an entire city from Syrian government forces; it won control of its first major city, Raqqa, from Syrian insurgents and the Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front after the two became rivals."

The Wires

The Ledes

Wednesday, May 20, 2015.

Washington Post: "Nearly 34 million cars and trucks nationwide were declared defective Tuesday because of deadly air bags made by auto-parts giant Takata, in what is expected to be the biggest recall of any consumer product in U.S. history. The expanded recall doubled the number of vehicles believed to have the air bags, which can blast out sharp metal shrapnel when deployed, a flaw that has been linked to six deaths and more than 100 injuries." ...

... The Post has a partial list of the vehicle makes that may have the dangerous air bags. "But neither automakers nor the government has made it easy to find out whether your car is included — and how it should be fixed.... Consumers reported Tuesday that they got conflicting answers or no answers at all when they called dealerships about the recall. Meanwhile, car manufacturers said people should continue to drive their vehicles — even those with the deadly defect — until the parts arrive at their local dealerships." CW: Comforting. You can still get to work, but do watch for flying shapnel.

ABC News: "Vice President Joe Biden's son, Beau Biden, is undergoing treatment at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the Office of the Vice President told ABC News."

Guardian: "Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has cancelled a pilot scheme banning Palestinian workers from Israeli buses in the occupied territories – denounced as tantamount to apartheid – only hours after it was announced. The plan had been approved by Netanyahu’s defence minister, Moshe Ya’alon, but was cancelled amid fierce criticism from Israeli opposition figures, human rights groups and a former minister in Netanyahu’s own party, who said it was a 'stain on the face of Israel' that would damage its international image."

Public Service Announcement

Reuters: "Scientists believe they may have found a new weapon in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease – not in the form of a drug but in focused beams of ultrasound. While the approach has only been tested in mice, researchers said on Wednesday it proved surprisingly good at clearing tangles of plaques linked to Alzheimer’s in the animals’ brains and improving their memory, as measured by tests such as navigating a maze."

White House Live Video
May 21

1:00 pm ET: Josh Earnest's press briefing

1:00 pm ET: White House Mapathon

Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

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

Emily Nussbaum of the New Yorker: "Now that [David] Letterman’s a flinty codger, an establishment figure, it’s become difficult to recall just how revolutionary his style of meta-comedy once felt. But back when I was sixteen, trapped in the snoozy early eighties and desperate for something rude and wild, Letterman seemed like an anarchist."

     ... Here's the Realtor.com page for the property.

AP: "The suburban New York home where F Scott Fitzgerald is believed to have written The Great Gatsby is for sale. A spokeswoman for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage said on Wednesday that the asking price for the manor home on Long Island was just over US$3.8m (A$4.8m).... The home is in the village of Great Neck Estates, about 20 miles (32km) from Manhattan.

After years of signing "-BO" at the end of @BarackObama to signal the tweets he crafted himself from an account operated by the Organizing for Action staff, the President now has his very own handle @POTUS, tweeting for the first time: 'Hello, Twitter! It's Barack. Really! Six years in, they're finally giving me my own account.'... Per a statement from the White House, the @POTUS handle 'will serve as a new way for President Obama to engage directly with the American people, with tweets coming exclusively from him.'"

The $5MM Ankle. New York Post: "Shakedown artist Al Sharpton’s eldest child wants $5 million from city taxpayers after she fell in the street and sprained her ankle, court rec­ords show. Dominique Sharpton, 28, says she was 'severely injured, bruised and wounded' when she stumbled over uneven pavement at the corner of Broome Street and Broadway downtown last year, according to a lawsuit."

My friend Jan C. sent me a list of actual complaints made by dissatisfied travelers who had gone on excursions organized by the British Thomas Cook Vacations. An example: "It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair."

New York Times: "The most striking geographical pattern on marriage, as with so many other issues today, is the partisan divide. Spending childhood nearly anywhere in blue America — especially liberal bastions like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Washington — makes people about 10 percentage points less likely to marry relative to the rest of the country. And no place encourages marriage quite like the conservative Mountain West, especially the heavily Mormon areas of Utah, southern Idaho and parts of Colorado." ...

Matt Seitz in New York notes that the pilot for "Mad Men" repeatedly points to the series' conclusion. ...

Gabriel Sherman of New York: "Tomorrow morning [Wednesday, May 13], in what marks a tectonic shift in the publishing industry, the New York Times is expected to officially begin a long-awaited partnership with Facebook to publish articles directly to the social media giant.... According to people familiar with the negotiations, the Times will begin publishing select articles directly into Facebook's news feed. Buzzfeed, NBC News and NatGeo are said to be also joining the roll out, among others. The deal raises all sorts of knotty questions for the Times." ...

... New York Times Update: "— Facebook’s long-rumored plan to directly host articles from news organizations will start on Wednesday, concluding months of delicate negotiations between the Internet giant and publishers that covet its huge audience but fear its growing power. Nine media companies, including NBC News and The New York Times, have agreed to the deal, despite concerns that their participation could eventually undermine their own businesses. The program will begin with a few articles but is expected to expand quickly.... Most important for impatient smartphone users, the company says, the so-called instant articles will load up to 10 times faster than they normally would since readers stay on Facebook rather than follow a link to another site." ...

.... Here's Facebook's announcement.

Nell Scovell in New York: Dave Letterman' former writers reminisce about jokes they wrote & pitched but which Letterman rejected. Letterman comments.

Vermeil placecard holders, a favorite "souvenir" of White House guests.... Washington Post: Petty thieves show up at White House state dinner -- all the time. Many guests at state dinners & other functions just can't resist taking home mementos, some of them pricey. "While the chief usher’s office monitors exactly what goes out with each place setting when the first family entertains, there is no formal accounting of how much taxpayers must pay each year to replace items that are gone by the end of the night."

Washington Post: The law finally catches up with Frank Freshwater, who escaped from prison in 1959.

Washington Post: Tesla plans to market a home battery system that draws power from solar panels or the power grid to use during outages. It holds up to 10 kw-hours, about 1/3 of what it takes to power an average home for a day. Tesla plans to make the system avalable by the end of this summer.

Conan O'Brien in Entertainment Weekly: "Not one single writer/performer in the last 35 years has had Dave [Letterman]’s seismic impact on comedy.... In today’s’ world of 30 late night programs, it’s tempting now to take Dave for granted. Do not. Dave was a true revolution.... Like all revolutions, it was such a seismic shift that it was disorienting and a bit messy at first, and it has taken us time to realize the sheer magnitude of the shift."

White House: "For a new state china service, First Lady Michelle Obama wanted it to have modern elements, but also for it to be practical, in the sense that it would be complementary to the preceding historic state services. The Obama State China Service consists of eleven-piece place settings for 320":

Timothy Simon of "Veep" gets ready to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, which is Saturday, April 25:

... Cecily Strong of “Saturday Night Live will headline the event.

MOOCS! Washington Post: For $45, anyone can become a freshman at Arizona State University. "Students can take classes online for a fee, then decide whether to pay reduced tuition for the credits."

The Sex Life of David Brooks is apparently intensely interesting to Villagers who do not participate in it.

Washington Post: "Gaioz Nigalidze’s rise through the ranks of professional chess began in 2007, the year the first iPhone was released. In hindsight, the timing might not be coincidental." During a competition in Dubai, the Georgian grandmaster allegedly hid an iPhone in the bathroom, then consulted a chess app during play.

CBS News: "'Face the Nation' Host Bob Schieffer announced Sunday that CBS News political director John Dickerson will become the new host of 'Face the Nation' this summer when he retires." CW: So "Face the Nation" is going to become even worse. Follows the well-established pattern of Sunday morning "news" shows.

New York Times: "Bob Schieffer, a television anchor who has worked at CBS for nearly half a century and interviewed every sitting president since Richard Nixon, announced Wednesday night that he was retiring this summer. Mr. Schieffer, 78, made the announcement while giving an address at Texas Christian University, his alma mater." CW: This will be a great disappointment to Charles Pierce, as regular readers of Pierce's posts will recognize.

I believe we are going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth in the next decade and definitive evidence in the next 10 to 20 years.... We know where to look, we know how to look, and in most cases we have the technology.... We are not talking about little green men, Stofan said. "We are talking about little microbes. -- Ellen Stofan, chief scientist for NASA

It's definitely not an if, it's a when. -- Jeffery Newmark of NASA

... The L.A. Times story, from which the above citations come, is fascinating.

Washington Post: "The quote on the stamp originated with [Joan Walsh] Anglund.... 'Yes, that’s my quote,' Anglund said Monday night from her Connecticut home. It appears on page 15 of her book of poems 'A Cup of Sun,' published in 1967. Only the pronouns and punctuation are changed, from 'he' in Anglund’s original to 'it' on the stamp." CW: These are forever stamps. Maybe you should rush to the Post Office & buy a pane.

Guardian: "Allegations that a 17-year-old was forced to have sex with Britain’s Prince Andrew, which prompted a crisis at Buckingham Palace earlier this year, have been removed from a federal court case by a judge in the US. Judge Kenneth Marra ordered Virginia Roberts’s accusations about Andrew, the Duke of York, to be struck from the record and denied her attempt to join a lawsuit against Jeffrey Epstein, a friend of the prince and a convicted sex offender. 'At this juncture in the proceedings, these lurid details are unnecessary,' Marra wrote in his order, issued at the US district court in southern Florida on Tuesday morning.... Andrew and Buckingham Palace vehemently deny Roberts’s allegations."

Washington Monthly: "Today [April 7] marks the centennial of Billie Holliday’s birth."

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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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