Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Last Call

Just over the river in Butler County, north of Cincy, the Wingers are already demanding that Ohio pass Arizona's immigration law.  You know, because we're right on the border.  With Canada.
Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones and state House Rep. Courtney Combs have sent a letter to Ohio Governor Ted Strickland asking him to pass a law that "mirrors" the one in Arizona, reports WLWT channel 5 in Cincinnati.

“Our federal government has failed us when it comes to securing the border and stopping the flow of thousands of illegals entering this country on a daily basis," WLWT quoted Rep. Jones as saying. "If the federal government won’t do it, it is time that states take that responsibility upon themselves."

Arizona's law allows police to stop and question anyone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant, even if they don't suspect that person of any other wrongdoing. Critics say the bill will lead to racial profiling, and some commentators have even compared the measure to race-based laws in Nazi Germany.

For Sheriff Jones, the push to allow police greater powers to combat illegal immigration may be partly personal. Last week, his office paid $100,000 to settle a lawsuit brought against Jones by a man who said he was unconstitutionally detained by deputies during a 2007 illegal immigrant raid on a construction site.
Of course Arizona's law is going to spread to other states unless it's stopped by the courts or a national immigration reform law, or both.  If you don't think Republicans in the state where you live are planning their own Arizona-style immigration police state, think again.  You'd better believe that some of them are planning on passing a bill as tough or even tougher, too.

Like it or not, Republicans just made immigration one of the big issues of 2010 and 2012.  Democrats need to get on the ball and do more than talk, it's time to sic the DoJ's Civil Rights division on these slimeballs.

A Few Fries Short Of A Happy Meal

Steve M. FTMFW:
The right doesn't think the Arizona immigration law is jackbooted big government run amok. You know what the right does think is jackbooted big government run amok?


...Convinced that Happy Meals and other food promotions aimed at children could make kids fat as well as happy, county officials in Silicon Valley are poised to outlaw the little toys that often come with high-calorie offerings.

... the proposal would forbid the inclusion of a toy in any restaurant meal that has more than 485 calories, more than 600 mg of salt or high amounts of sugar or fat. In the case of McDonald's, the limits would include all of the chain's Happy Meals....

... The California Restaurant Assn. has taken out full-page newspaper advertisements against the proposed ordinance in local newspapers. One shows a little girl with her hands cuffed behind her back as she holds a stuffed animal.

Another opponent wrote in a YouTube posting, "I want to know when the pitchforks and torches and rope is going to come out.... We need to run these Frankenstein politician monsters the hell out of town!" ...

(Emphasis added.) 
If you think Arizona's immigration law is proof of how great America is, and you think banning toys from Happy Meals is worthy of an armed revolution, you need to get some f'ckin' perspective.

On second thought, don't get perspective.  This kind of unhinged stupidity makes you easily identifiable for everyone else's safety.

Second Verse, Same As The First

TPM is reporting today's revote to beat the GOP filibuster on financial reform regulation failed along the exact same lines as before, 57-41.

This includes Ben Nelson, who apparently is still just as much of an idiot as he was 24 hours ago.  As I said earlier today Harry Reid...what do you do when the Republicans continue to say no?  How and when do they pay a price and what will that price be?

He Said A Wordy Dird

For the record, Goldman Sachs called it a "shitty deal" first in their own e-mail. Also, for the record, Carl Levin is made of Awesome and Win.
Chairman Carl Levin, to the delight of the crowd at the hearing of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, continually repeated a descriptive, colorful word typically left out of family newspapers that was used by a top Goldman executive to describe a deal it made for clients.

The security, named Timberwolf I, a collateralized debt obligation of other CDOs that were based not on actual home mortgage bonds but instead on those bonds' movements, was referenced in a June 22, 2007, email from one Goldman senior executive, Tom Montag, to another, Dan Sparks. Sparks is testifying today before Levin's panel.

In his email, Montag remarked of the Timberwolf I deal, "[B]oy, that timeberwof [sic] was one shitty deal."

Levin used the word "shitty" 11 times -- eliciting multiple rounds of quiet giggles -- in questioning Sparks, the former head of Goldman's mortgage department, about why Montag would describe it as "shitty," how long they had known it was "shitty," and whether they knew the deal was "shitty" when they peddled it to clients.

C-SPAN3.  Because you never know what'll happen next.

In all seriousness, this one's classic.  Good for Levin calling them out with their own e-mail.

Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion


The Washington Examiner would of had to have been a real newspaper at some point in order to have jumped the shark with this headline.

PS, Drudge has less overhead and more sirens, guys. Stop trying to compete.

PPS, Also, white guys really are outnumbered in America by everyone else who's not a white guy. That's just fact. Obama got elected because he appealed to women and minorities to vote in overwhelming numbers. He's doing so again in 2010 to help the Dems with that enthusiasm gap. That's just smart politics in 2010. You know, unless you think that over the next few years there's going to be fewer blacks, latinos, and women...

PPPS, you know like Arizona.

Methodology To The Madness

Nate Silver takes a look at the methods behind the recent Rasmussen poll on Arizona's new immigration law.  As usual, it depends on how you phrase those poll questions.
And here is how Rasmussen polled on the question:
Do you favor or oppose legislation that authorizes local police to stop and verify the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant?
Granted, there are some ambiguities about what the law actually does. And coming up with the appropriate poll wording for complex questions like these is never easy.

But Rasmussen's portrayal of the law is very gentle. There's no mention of the provisions that liberals and civil libertarians find most odious: that the law would charge legal immigrants with trespassing for failure to carry documentation papers (although -- note -- this is already required under federal law); that it would give law enforcement officers new powers of detention (rather than mere "verification"); that it would allow officers, without a warrant, to arrest people who they suspected might be guilty of offenses that could lead to deportation, and that it would prohibit certain types of work-for-hire involving moving vehicles.

The Rasmussen poll says that 60 percent of Americans (and 70 percent of Arizonans) favor the new law, but how would those numbers change if people were read a longer or more complete description of the measure? Since there's been no other polling on the subject, we have no idea. It wouldn't shock me if the law indeed proved to be popular, especially in Arizona, if a fuller description were read. (Liberals, who uniformly seem to think that the law will be unpopular with certain key demographic groups, are a bit too sanguine about this). But this poll is so simplistic as to provide very little informational value.

To their credit, Rasmussen later asked people whether they were concerned that "efforts to identify and deport illegal immigrants will also end up violating the civil rights of some U.S. citizens"; 58 percent said they were in fact somewhat or very concerned. But that finding did not get their lede, nor was that concern expressed relative to Arizona's law itself.
Simplistic. Yeah, that certainly describes Rasmussen's usual MO.  Taking a complicated issue and then drawing yellow smiley faces on it.  If that what this law did, allow cops to "stop and verify" that would be one thing.  But it forces them to do so.  Rasmussen is almost certainly trying to make the law seem innocuous as possible in order to gain support for it.

If the truth were told about the law being unconstitutional because it doesn't define criteria for what a reasonable suspicion of being illegal is, that it's effectively void for vagueness as a criminal statute because it doesn't specify what officers should do if they FIND someone who is illegal, and it almost certainly violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution on top of all of that, I doubt the law would gain 60% approval.

Has anyone thought all this out?  Mass arrests flooding the deportation infrastructure?  People suing police for violation of civil rights, and also for not checking people stringently enough for the most virulent anti-immigration Arizonans?  Possible violence?  Sweeps through communities?  Cops getting informants and anonymous tips that so-and-so is an illegal?  What about family members of those arrested?  Does this ONLY cover Mexicans in the country illegally?  What if the police bust a Canadian, German, Japanese or Russian in the country illegally?  What about checkpoints?

All of this is a legal nightmare.  Rasmussen is pretending it's just a peachy law with no problems.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Rachel Maddow breaks it down.

This is a hideous law from a legal standpoint, not just a moral one.

Game On For SCOTUS

The Supreme Court will take up the decision to overturn California's controversial video game law, a move that could decide a number of questions about video games, free speech, and depicted violence.
On Monday, the justices agreed to review a California law that a federal appeals court struck down last year on the grounds that even children and teenagers enjoy free speech rights that are protected by the First Amendment. The case will be heard late this year or in early 2011.

California is one of a string of states that have enacted similar laws restricting minors' rights to buy violent video games--legislation that has been uniformly rejected by the courts. Laws in Illinois and Michigan were blocked by federal judges on First Amendment grounds in 2005, and earlier laws in Indianapolis and Missouri's St. Louis County were also shot down.

The U.S. Supreme Court has not squarely addressed this topic, but it has said in other cases that even minors have some free-expression rights.

Although California's law doesn't target a specific game by name, government lawyers did single out Postal 2, which allows players to go on murderous rampages, by name. And the Federal Trade Commission has previously targeted the makers of "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" for having sexually-explicit content.

The California law slaps anyone who sells or rents a "violent video game" to a minor with a $1,000 fine. That was defined as a game in which the player has the option of "killing, maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being" in offensive ways. Parents or guardians are still permitted to buy those games for minors.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown said on Monday that the state should be able to place "reasonable restrictions on the distribution of extremely violent material to children."

The Entertainment Software Association, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group that filed many of the lawsuits, on Monday said it thought the justices would agree with the lower courts.

"Courts throughout the country have ruled consistently that content-based regulation of computer and video games is unconstitutional," the ESA said. "Research shows that the public agrees, video games should be provided the same protections as books, movies, and music."

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the video game law in October 2005, but a federal judge blocked (PDF) it from taking effect a few months later. The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision. 
Are video games free speech?  Do they deserve protections?  What about the rights of minors to purchase these games?  Who decides if games are too violent for children?  There are actually a lot of really big questions out there that could be answered by a Supreme Court decision.  Having said that, a court that upheld the free speech rights of corporations and that campaign commercials were protected free speech, and then just recently determined that people could sell animal cruelty videos as free speech may not hold the same view of video games as such, especially since this case revolves around minors.

We'll see.

The Walkin' Dude

Back home in NC, I see Tom Tancredo's speech at UNC Chapel Hill last night didn't go over so well.
At least 100 protesters walked out on former congressman Tom Tancredo as he spoke Monday night on the values of Western culture at UNC-Chapel Hill.

The group stood in unison, yelling, "No human is illegal," before moving outside the Student Union and into the Pit, a concrete courtyard at the center of campus activity.

Kevin Deanna, founder of Youth for Civilization, the national group that sponsored Tancredo's speech, laughed loudly at the group's statement.

As the demonstrators filed out of the union auditorium, Tancredo said fear of debate was driving them away.
"No one here is afraid of you," one yelled.

But most were silent.

"They're welcome [to leave], but there's nothing democratic about this," Tancredo said. "Believe me, this is a lot better than last time."

Of the fewer than 100 left behind, most shared Tancredo's pro-Western perspective. But when he suggested that conservative student activists never behave as badly as those who broke a window and disrupted his speech last spring, another protester shouted, "No, you lynched people."

"I'm glad that they showed what they really do believe in, and that's censorship," Tancredo went on.
There's nothing democratic about believing an entire class of people are criminals until proven innocent, either. But that's what Arizona has done.  Even Tancredo was shocked by that and thinks it goes too far.

He still supports the law.

That's all you really need to know about the man, frankly.

Harry Goes To Plan B

The good news, Harry Reid got all the Republicans on record as against financial reform.  The bad news, so is Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson.  So now, what's Plan B there, Harry?
Sen. Harry Reid will force Republicans to vote repeatedly against Wall Street reform to put pressure GOP centrists.

A senior Democratic aide said Reid would schedule votes to end a Republican filibuster of the reform bill on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. 

“We need to keep the pressure up to get a deal,” said the Democratic aide. 

Reid held a live quorum call on Monday evening to bring senators to the floor, interrupting their schedules and sending a message to lawmakers who voted to block debate of Wall Street reform. 

Thirty-nine Republicans and Sen. Ben Nelson, a conservative Democrat from Nebraska, voted against a motion to begin debate.

Reid also voted against the motion because of a procedural technicality that will allow him to bring up for reconsideration. 

Democratic aides said Reid would call senators to reconsider the motion to begin debate of the reform bill on Tuesday.
Seems like a good plan, but what happens if by Wednesday you've not cracked anyone on the GOP side...oh, and Ben Nelson, who's throwing a hissy fit over derivatives and his Omaha buddy Warren Buffett?

This is a good Plan B, but it's going to require a Plan C as well.  What happens when this fails too?  Call me a pessimist, but after Senate Republicans voting no on everything moderately important to Obama, I simply just don't buy this whole "70 yes votes by Memorial Day" crap.

What I do see happening is Harry Reid dropping both the bank funded emergency fund as well as all of Blanche Lincoln's derivatives stuff, and Mitch McConnell then saying "This bill still needs to go back to the drawing board.  We will filibuster it until we get what the American people need.  We've proven we can."

So again, what's Harry Reid's Plan C to get this bill passed?  Hoping to get the Republicans to come around sure isn't much of one.  Because right now I still do not see this bill passing the Senate without being heavily neutered...if at all.

Plan C, whatever it is, better involve some pretty ruthless and brutal attacks on the GOP for blocking debate on the bill.  Otherwise, the GOP will simply continue to block it like they will everything else.  What price are you going to make them pay, Harry?


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