Friday, June 15, 2012

Last Call

So yes, it turns out that President Obama can do something about deportation, the DREAM act, and undocumented students.

President Obama will announce a new immigration policy this morning that will allow some undocumented students to avoid deportation and receive work authorization. 
Under the president’s “deferred action” executive order, students in the U.S. who are already in deportation proceedings or those who qualify for the DREAM Act and have yet to come forward to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials, will not be deported and will be allowed to work in the United States.
An estimated 1 million young people could benefit from the deferral. To be eligible, applicants have to be between 15 and 30 years old, live in the U.S. for five years, and maintain continuous U.S. residency. People who have one felony, one serious misdemeanor, or three minor misdemeanors will be ineligible to apply. “Deferred action” will last for two years and can be renewed.

The Associated Press is already using terms like “immunity” and “amnesty”.  Republicans are expected to explode in 5…4…3…  Yep, Malkin and Co. throwing a fit according to Memeorandum.  And yes, the downside of executive branch action?  This program dies screaming the instant Mitt Romney should take office.  Might want to keep this in mind.

More on the announcement from MSNBC:

The Department of Homeland Security said that, effective immediately, the government would no longer seek the deportation of illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, and would allow them to apply for work permits if they meet certain criteria.
“Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in a statement Friday.
A senior administration official said in a conference call with reporters that as many as 800,000 undocumented immigrants stand to benefit from this change. Napolitano said that the shift represented neither immunity nor amnesty—buzzwords for conservatives who oppose illegal immigration—but instead represented an instance of “prosecutorial discretion” in which the government had re-evaluated its priorities in enforcing the law.

Echoing the comments of several today, “Your move, Mittens”.

In Which Zandar Answers Your Burning Questions

Austin Frakt over at Political Animal points out:

On Tuesday, in Florida, Mitt Romney said,
Well right now, most people get their insurance through their employer and the reason they do that is because their employer gets a tax deduction when they buy insurance for you. But if you’re a very small-business person—let’s say a one-person business—you don’t get a tax deduction for buying insurance. And if you’re an individual that’s not employed, you don’t get a tax deduction for buying your own insurance.
Right. And, so, most economists and many policy wonks, as well as deficit hawks, advocate eliminating or phasing out the tax deductibility of employer-sponsored health insurance. Doing so would increase tax revenue by about $250 billion per year (pdf). It would also discourage overly generous health care benefits. Seems like a good idea to dump this tax subsidy. But, it looks like Romney is leaning the other way, because his next sentence was:
What I would do is level the playing field and say individuals can buy insurance on the same tax advantage basis that businesses can buy insurance. [Emphasis added.]

He then asks the following:

Can anyone tell me why Romney wants to expand the tax preferred status of health insurance? Doesn’t he believe we overspend on health care? Doesn’t he believe in the incentive effects of taxation? Isn’t he interested in reducing the deficit and/or cutting marginal tax rates? Why, then, would he want to create an even bigger tax expenditure?
Short answer?  Because Mitt Romney doesn't care about reducing the deficit, he wants to get elected.

In order to get elected, he's trying to sell the employer tax deduction phase-out as a (lightning, scary organ music) MASSIVE TAX INCREASE ON SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS.  What he wants is to sell the same tax subsidy to individuals so that people will vote for him.  It's a moronic plan with no real application in a broader picture of responsible health-care cost controlling in America.  It sounds neat in a 10 second sound bite however.

Mitt Romney, if you haven't noticed, lies so much that everyone is suffering from obfuscation fatigue.  He's already said that he'll repeal Obamacare on "Day One" of his Presidency.

A Little Chin Music In This Slate Pitch

Matt Yglesias goes there on the latest Gallup poll on who gets the blame for the economy right now, Bush or Obama.  68% find Dubya to be at fault, wholly or partially, compared to 52% for President Obama, and Yggy haz a sad.

George W Bush was a bad president and I hate to defend him, but the fact that when asked 68 percent of the American public say he bears responsibility for the bad economy (compared to 52 percent for Barack Obama) is a bit puzzling to me.

Wait for it...

Blaming Obama is, I think, simplistic. The 111th Congress didn't do as much fiscal stimulus as he wanted. The 112th Congress has done basically nothing that he wanted. The GOP blocked confirmation of Obama's appointee to the Federal Housing Finance Administration, undermining his ability to direct national housing policy. They stymied appointments to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Guys like the heads of the Minneapolis, Dallas, and Richmond Federal Reserve banks have influenced policy in a way that was beyond Obama's control. Which is just to say that in terms of people who've been directing American public policy since 2009 there's plenty of blame to go around and no reason to just pin it all on Obama.

I said wait for it goddammit.

But not only did Bush face many of the same constraints on his authority (particularly in 2007-2008) but he hasn't been in office in years.

Consummation! Exeunt.

You know, it's entirely possible that if Bush hadn't had those constraints on the economy then we'd be even worse off then we are right now.  The minimum wage would still be $5.15, for instance, because the GOP sure as hell wouldn't have touched it.  And let's remember Bush spent the last two years bypassing Nancy Pelosi in the House and going through the "plenary executive" anyway, so this argument is about as hollow as they come.

Blaming Obama really is simplistic, he's right about that.  It;s equally simplistic to give Bush a pass.

Looking Out For Kids: Doing It Right

Without the concern and action of witnesses, this couple could have driven away with their two youngest children bound and blindfolded.  Yes, you read that right.

Police in Lawrence, Kan., arrested a suburban Chicago couple after two of their five children were found blindfolded and bound in a Walmart parking lot, according to news reports.
Adolfo Gomez Jr., 52, and Deborah Martha Gomez, 43, of Northlake, Ill., were due in court this afternoon on charges of child abuse and endangerment. Aldofo Gomez is also charged with obstruction after an officer said he used a Taser to subdue Gomez in the lot Wednesday morning.
An officer found a blindfolded 5-year-old boy sitting on the ground beside an older Chevrolet Suburban with his hands tied behind his back and his legs bound. Inside, he saw a 7-year-old girl also bound and blindfolded.
A woman notified police of what she saw, and could have saved lives in the process.  Anyone who would do such a thing cannot be trusted.  Their judgment, ethics and intelligence are all in question.  All kids are in protective custody while authorities sort this out.  The cops admit at this time they still don't know the reason for restraining the kids.  If they tell us, I'll follow up.  My curiosity will make me check.

Woman Robs Store Three Times In 24 Hours

It's hard to feel sorry for someone who robs a business three times in a 24-hour period.  That's exactly what this woman did.  The police were surprised when the second robbery took place, and pulled all the stops when the third one was reported.

Not to mention she has a prior.  For robbing the same damn store in April.

Latasha Singletary, 30, is charged with two counts of armed robbery and one count of robbery while masked. And Singletary was on pre-trial probation involving an armed robbery in April 2011 at the same store
Investigators say that Singletary went inside Anna's Liquors at 4 p.m. Tuesday with a knife and T-shirt pulled over her head and demanded that the 52-year-old clerk give her money. 
Police were unable to find her after a search. 
Singletary then returned the next day at 10 a.m. to rob the store again, police said. This time in addition to money, cigarettes, lottery tickets and liquor bottles were also taken. While police were typing up the incident report for the morning robbery, they received a call at 2 p.m. that Singletary was robbing the store again.

London Calling To The Imitation Zone

More and more, Britain is looking for the exits from the European Union roller coaster.

Half of Britons want an immediate say on the country's relationship with the European Union, while 81 percent believe a vote should be held "in the next few years", according to a poll published Monday.

Economic woes within the eurozone have recently brought Britain's EU membership into focus, and 49 percent of those polled for the Populus survey said an immediate referendum was needed.

The poll, taken on behalf of the Times newspaper, found that a third of Britons wanted to be part of a single market in a wider European community, with 40 percent opposed.

Only 13 percent said a vote was not necessary "in the foreseeable future".

Considering Britain is now already fully in a recession and Spain/Italy/Greece hasn't crashed yet, you can see why they don't feel the particular urge to mill smartly about in the center of the impact zone when this elevator hits the bottom floor after the cables are cut.   The British are bailing out...of the EU.

Now things get interesting.  PM David Cameron won't be able to hold off the back-benchers for long over this.

He Was A Good Fella

Henry Hill, the man behind one of Hollywood's most famous mobsters, has passed at age 69.

Henry Hill, a former member of the Lucchese family of mobsters, died Tuesday in a Los Angeles hospital, according to a statement on his website.

Hill passed away one day after his 69th birthday. The cause of Hill's death has not yet been released.
The self-proclaimed mobster first came onto the media scene in the nonfiction book "Wiseguy," by journalist Nicholas Pileggi, detailing the "never-before-revealed day-to-day life of a working mobster -- his violence, his wild spending sprees, his wife, his mistresses, his code of honor," according to the book's back cover.

The 1990 film, "Goodfellas," depicted the rock-n-roll lifestyle of New York City mobsters -- everything from wealth and women to drugs and death.

"You never rat on your friends and you always keep your mouth shut," Hill's character, played by Ray Liotta, was told in the movie.

However, when Hill became worried his mob associates were out to kill him he became a police informant and "ratted out" scores of other gangsters.

As the New York Times reported, the largest crime in which Hill participated was a theft at New York's Kennedy International Airport, when the clan stole $5 million in cash and another $1 million in jewels from a Lufthansa cargo terminal.

Hill testified against his compatriots and was not prosecuted for the crime.

Cops haven't released the cause of death yet as you can see, so I have to wonder.  I think "death by cement overcoat" would have been kind of obvious, but as they say, there are old mobsters and bold mobsters, but very few old, bold mobsters.

Only in America, right?


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