Friday, April 4, 2014

Last Call For Deportation Nation

Greg Sargent makes this catch on a major shift in strategy from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on immigration:  they will demand that President Obama take executive action on deportations, or face the consequences.

In a new memo to the Obama administration, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has laid out a list of specific demands it wants the president to follow in order to unilaterally ease the pace of deportations — suggesting the pressure on Obama to act may soon become overwhelming.

The memo — which hasn’t yet been released and will be presented to Department of Homeland Security officials on April 9th — calls on Obama to do whatever possible to ease deportations of all those who would be impacted by the Senate-passed immigration bill, and as such, represents a significant escalation of pressure on Obama from Dem lawmakers.

The memo’s basic aims are not new. They were previously developed by the CHC, which then led the President to call a private meeting with Hispanic lawmakers and urge them to hold off on pressuring him publicly, while the Department of Homeland Security reviews options for making deportation policy "more humane.”

Apparently the time for that review period has ended, and the public pressure stage of the strategy is now in full swing.

The memo insists Obama has the power to expand the same prosecutorial discretion it used to suspend deportations under DACA to parents and siblings of DACA recipients. It argues that they, too, are “low priority” deportations, and points to thousands of children who are in foster care because parents have been deported. It also argues that the administration can expand “parole in place” to temporarily protect immediate relatives of U.S. citizens — such as spouses, children, and parents — from deportation, claiming family unity is a “significant public benefit.”

These steps do not constitute unilaterally legalizing anyone, but judging by the Obama administration’s public statements, officials may not believe he has the legal right to take them. Some experts have said he has more legal leeway than the administration has admitted, though the legal debate remains convoluted.

Here's my question:  how good of a strategy is it for members of Congress, who know they can't pass legislation because of Republicans like Marco Rubio, to go after the President then and threaten him, but not the GOP?

That of course would mean an admission that the CHC has no leverage over the GOP, but does over the person they think they can hurt, Obama and the Democrats.

So when President Obama does go to bat for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, will they stand with him during the inevitable GOP counter-attack?

I'm not sure that will happen.

The Latest CEO Victim Or Something

The wingers have taken up the battle standard for former Silicon Valley web browser company Mozilla CEO Brenden Eich, who resigned from the company after it was revealed he gave $1,000 to support California's unconstitutional Prop 8 anti-gay ballot measure.

Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it. We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves.

We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better.

Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO. He’s made this decision for Mozilla and our community.

Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard.

Our organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness. We welcome contributions from everyone regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation, geographical location and religious views. Mozilla supports equality for all.

Needless to say, the right is going bonkers with this latest example of "liberal fascism" or whatever the hell.  Allahpundit over at Hot Air wonders if Eich was deliberately targeted for removal by mysterious forces (probably Obama).

I’d forgotten about it, but friends reminded me that the LA Times obtained a list of people who gave, for and against, to the fight over the Prop 8 referendum in 2008. They put the whole database online and made it searchable. Search it today and, sure enough, there’s Eich with a $1,000 donation in favor. Under California law, that disclosure is perfectly legal: The state is authorized to provide certain personal information about anyone who donates more than $100 to a ballot measure. Why the state is allowed to do that, I’m not sure. The reason you want transparency when donating to a candidate is to prevent an elected official, who’s supposed to serve the public interest, from being secretly coopted by huge sums of money provided by a special interest. In a ballot measure, though, the money being spent is designed to influence the public itself. They’re the final arbiter of the public interest, no?

He then goes on to accuse liberals of forcing Eich "out of the company upon conviction of a thoughtcrime" which is odd, because what this actually turns out to be is "an employee is subject to the company's beliefs."

You know, the Hobby Lobby argument.

Which is beside the point that Prop 8 was found to be unconstitutional in the first place.

Which is beside the point that civil rights aren't up for a vote, otherwise they're not rights.

Which is beside the point that just last week, anti-gay bigots were demanding that the President of Christian charity World Vision International immediately resign because of his comments that hiring people in same-sex marriages was acceptable.  Behold the fascist thugs for Christ, right?

Funny how all that works.

Misery Loves Company

Gallup has compiled its annual list of America's Most Miserable Cities, and surprise, the overwhelming majority are in red states. 

To determine the well-being of Americans, Gallup-Healthways surveyed hundreds of thousands of Americans in 189 metropolitan areas in the U.S. in 2012 and 2013. The survey recorded the physical and emotional health of the residents, as well as financial, employment, and social indicators, among others. The resulting Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index allows for comparisons between places and over time.

In America’s most miserable cities, residents were less likely to be in good physical health and far more likely to report unhealthy behaviors. Residents in all of the nation’s 10 most miserable areas were more likely to smoke than the average American. In the second most miserable area, Charleston, West Virginia, slightly over 35% of people said they smoked — the worst rate in the nation.

While income wasn’t a direct measure in the index, differences in income were quite prominent between America’s most content and miserable areas. In each of the 10 cities with the lowest well-being scores, incomes were lower than the typical American household. In three of these metro areas -- including the worst-off metro area, the so-called Tri-State region of Huntington-Ashland, comprising parts of West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio -- median household income was less than $40,000 in 2012.

The list:

10. Evansville, Ind.
9. Mobile, Ala.
8. Shreveport-Bossier City, La.
7. Columbus, Ga.
6. Beaumont-Port Arthur, Tex.
5. Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC
4. Spartanburg, SC
3. Redding, Ca.
2. Charleston, WV

and America's Most Miserable City is:

1)  Huntington-Ashland, WV

Having grown up in #5 up there, I'm not surprised to see it on the list.  Hickory was one of many textile and manufacturing towns in the Carolinas to get utterly screwed by NAFTA, and when the city tried to put itself back together again in the 90's with fiber optic cable plants, the dot com bust came along and wiped that out too, it's one of the major reasons I moved away.

Roughly 51% of residents in the Hickory region of North Carolina were considered to be struggling, based on self-evaluations of their current lives and futures, compared to just 44% of Americans. Residents were less optimistic about their futures than respondents in all but seven other cities. About 19% said they did not have enough energy to keep pace with their daily lives within the previous 24 hours, which was close to last nationwide. Additionally, only 77.4% said they had not been sad within the past 24 hours, among the lowest rates in the nation. Possibly adding to the unhappiness of residents was the area’s economy. The median household income was just $37,364 in 2012, among the lowest in the country.

So yeah, northern Kentucky was a step up from where I came from, one of the poorest metro areas in the country.  The area is also most of NC 10th Congressional District and The Odious Patrick McHenry, one of the reddest districts in the entire country (and 88% white.) Our most famous local hero is NASCAR driver Dale Jarrett for crying out loud.

I'm glad I moved out when I did, I've lived in several places since, and seen a lot of things. that just made me shake my head when I think about how right-wing back home was and still is.


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