Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Last Call For GOP Latino Outreach In Georgia

GOP Congressman Paul Broun continues the Republican tradition of outreach to Latinos in America.

Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) has a warning for the GOP: Democrats' only path to victory in the 2014 elections is through legalizing immigrants living in the country illegally. 
"It only helps the Democrats if we legalize all these illegal aliens in this country who the Democrats want to put on federal welfare programs – and actually, they are on federal welfare programs today," Broun said in an interview with Georgia Public Radio. "The Democrats want to make them all basically dependent on the federal government so they can continue their radical, big government agenda…." 
Democrats are hoping that Michelle Nunn, who is running for Senate, and state Sen. Jason Carter (D-GA), running for governor, will act as a vanguard to help shift the state from a Republican stronghold to a friendlier state for Democrats. Indeed, there's a case to be made that that's a possibility (albeit hardly a sure thing) that Democrats could shift the political makeup of the state. Broun went on to say though that Democrats only chance of wrenching the state from GOP hands is in legalizing immigrants living in the state illegally. 
"The only way Georgia is going to change is if we have all these illegal aliens in here in Georgia, [and] give them the right to vote," Broun continued. "It would be morally wrong, it would be illegal to do so, under our current law. Actually, all these illegal aliens are getting federal largesse and taking taxpayer’s dollars."

The notion that "all these illegal aliens" might actually be employed, working for often less than minimum wage and exploited as cheap labor without benefits or rights to redress grievances apparently hasn't occurred to Rep. Broun.  Like everyone else who doesn't look like him, to Paul Broun, they're just more inhuman parasites to be pushed aside.  And he's running for Senator to represent the people, you know.

"The only way that a Democrat has any possibility of winning this race—and frankly, I think it is very minor at that—is if we nominate a mamby-pamby, big-spender, big-government, big-earmarking Republican who is nothing but somebody who wants to build a bigger government, just like we’ve seen both parties build in Washington," Broun said. "That may give a Democrat the chance to win. But otherwise, when I’m nominated, I’ll be the most-electable candidate out of the whole Republican field that’s out there now in this race."

Well, white conservative people, anyway.  The rest of Georgia can apparently go to hell.

All Dried Up And No Place To Go

The once mighty Colorado River is nothing more than a muddy stream these days as millions of folks in southwestern states depend on it for drinking water.  But climate change and population growth have put a critical strain on the river, and water rights are turning into the next great battleground between the states.

The once broad and blue river has in many places dwindled to a murky brown trickle. Reservoirs have shrunk to less than half their capacities, the canyon walls around them ringed with white mineral deposits where water once lapped. Seeking to stretch their allotments of the river, regional water agencies are recycling sewage effluent, offering rebates to tear up grass lawns and subsidizing less thirsty appliances from dishwashers to shower heads. 
But many experts believe the current drought is only the harbinger of a new, drier era in which the Colorado’s flow will be substantially and permanently diminished. 
Faced with the shortage, federal authorities this year will for the first time decrease the amount of water that flows into Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir, from Lake Powell 180 miles upstream. That will reduce even more the level of Lake Mead, a crucial source of water for cities from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and for millions of acres of farmland.

Permanent water rationing by the end of the decade in states like California, Nevada, and Arizona seems inevitable.  That would affect tens of millions of Americans, and require millions, if not billions in new water infrastructure.  Think climate change might be expensive?

Reclamation officials say there is a 50-50 chance that by 2015, Lake Mead’s water will be rationed to states downstream. That, too, has never happened before.

If Lake Mead goes below elevation 1,000” — 1,000 feet above sea level — “we lose any capacity to pump water to serve the municipal needs of seven in 10 people in the state of Nevada,” said John Entsminger, the senior deputy general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

That seems like a problem, don't you think?  Water rights fights will be the interstate commerce of the future:

The labyrinthine rules by which the seven Colorado states share the river’s water are rife with potential points of conflict. And while some states have made huge strides in conserving water — and even reducing the amount they consume — they have yet to chart a united path through shortages that could last years or even decades.
“There is no planning for a continuation of the drought we’ve had,” said one expert on the Colorado’s woes, who asked not to be identified to preserve his relationship with state officials. “There’s always been within the current planning an embedded hope that somehow, things would return to something more like normal.”

Massive drought fueled by climate change is the new "normal".  Maybe when enough red states in the Mountain West and Midwest are suffering from crippling drought, the GOP legislatures that run them will do something, especially when food prices shoot up across the country as farmland bakes in the sun with no irrigation.

Of course by then, it will probably be far too late.

Should We Stay Or Should We Go

SCOTUSBlog's Lyle Denniston explains yesterday's Supreme Court decision to stop same-sex marriages in Utah pending the state's appeal in federal court.

The Supreme Court on Monday morning put on hold a federal judge’s decision striking down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage, thus stopping a wave of such marriages across the state. The Court’s order reinstates the state ban and will keep it intact until after a federal appeals court has ruled on it.
The order appeared to have the support of the full Court, since there were no noted dissents. The ruling can be interpreted as an indication that the Court wants to have further exploration in lower courts of the basic constitutional question of state power to limit marriage to a man and a woman. Had it refused the state’s request for delay, that would have left at least the impression that the Court was comfortable allowing same-sex marriages to go forward in the thirty-three states where they are still not permitted by state law.

The order, however, cannot be interpreted as a dependable indication of how the Court will rule on the issue when it finally decides to do so directly.

Several stays and holds were present in California, all the way up until the SCOTUS decision clearing the way for same-sex marriages in the state.  In other words, given the decision last June only pertaining to California, and then the DOMA decision,  the question of a right to same-sex marriage at the federal level covering all states still has to be answered.

As a result of the new order, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, based in Denver, will go forward with an expedited review of Judge Shelby’s decision. The appeals court has ordered briefing to begin on January 27 and to be completed by February 25. It has indicated it is not likely to grant any extensions of time to file those documents. It has not yet set a hearing date. 
With the Justices’ order in the case, it now appears almost certain that the question of state power to bar same-sex marriages will not be before the Justices during the current Term. A case on that issue would have to be granted this month to be reviewed before the Court is expected to finish this Term in late June. 
With the postponement in Utah, the total of states where gays and lesbians are now allowed to marry stands at seventeen. A variety of lawsuits are proceeding across the country, attempting to advance that cause in other states. There will also be efforts in some state legislatures to clear the way for such marriages.

In other words, it will be at least 2015 before we get an answer from SCOTUS.


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