Weekly Musing 6-30-13


Weekly Musing 6-30-13

Saul Anuzis


A Country Founded by Geniuses but Run by Idiots

(I’m sure he was talking primarily about Democrats…but not exclusively:)

 Attributed to Jeff Foxworthy:


 If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for entering and remaining in the country illegally — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.


 If you have to get your parents’ permission to go on a field trip or to take an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.


 If you MUST show your identification to board an airplane, cash a check, buy liquor, or check out a library book and rent a video, but not to vote for who runs the government — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.


 If the government wants to prevent stable, law-abiding citizens from owning gun magazines that hold more than ten rounds, but gives twenty F-16 fighter jets to the crazy new leaders in Egypt — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.


 If, in the nation’s largest city, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas, but not one 24-ounce soda, because 24-ounces of a sugary drink might make you fat — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.


 If an 80-year-old woman or a three-year-old girl who is confined to a wheelchair can be strip-searched by the TSA at the airport, but a woman in a burka or a hijab is only subject to having her neck and head searched — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.


 If your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.


 If a seven-year-old boy can be thrown out of school for saying his teacher is “cute,” but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.


 If hard work and success are met with higher taxes and more government regulation and intrusion, while not working is rewarded with Food Stamps, WIC checks, Medicaid benefits, subsidized housing, and free cell phones — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.


 If the government’s plan for getting people back to work is to provide incentives for not working, by granting 99 weeks of unemployment checks, without any requirement to prove that gainful employment was diligently sought, but couldn’t be found — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.


 If you pay your mortgage faithfully, denying yourself the newest big-screen TV, while your neighbor buys iPhones, time shares, a wall-sized do-it-all plasma screen TV and new cars, and the government forgives his debt when he defaults on his mortgage — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.


 If being stripped of your Constitutional right to defend yourself makes you more “safe” according to the government — you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.


 What a country!


 How about we give God a reason to continue blessing America!


Kill the Senate Immigration Bill – There are other options

I would suggest Senators and members of the House consider some form of “legalization” that does NOT include a “different” path to citizenship than everyone else has.


Secure the border and then you can register, document and legalize EVERY illegal immigrant who is here and grant them a permanent green card or some other documentation without rewarding them with citizenship in exchange for their willingness to break our laws.


See the proposal below, as a viable, simple solution!  I’m sure there are “other” ways without an amnesty program for one group of immigrants over others.  Stand strong!




(not perfect – but simple?) My immigration bill is ONE page, while Senate’s is 1200 pages?


With regard to our nation’s illegal immigration problem, the goal should be to SOLVE it, not WIN some political battle.


If you want to solve a problem, and not win some fight, it means no one will get everything he or she wants but will have to compromise (give up some things) but in the end we achieve a workable solution.


The solution, to work, must but be simple, not complex.  The more complex, the more problems that will arise from it.  Complex solutions are not solutions and a recipe for more fights and confusion.


So…I thought I would take a stab at a simple, not perfect, solution for illegal immigration.  I may be missing something (you will tell me) but I am trying to make this bare bones easy while achieving the goals of the nation.    Read the entire proposal below,  and tell me what you think.  DO NOT EXPECT MY PROPOSAL WILL BE 100 per cent of what YOU want — instead ask yourself if it is a giant step forward and addresses the issues in a simple and manageable way.





‘Comprehensive’ Immigration Reform? Just Say No

Sean Trende asks, in a thoughtful and data-heavy piece, whether the GOP has to pass immigration reform to be competitive in the future at the presidential level. The answer is no.


Meanwhile, with respect to the 2014 congressional elections, it’s increasingly clear that allowing any form or permutation of the Senate bill to become law would divide and demoralize potential Republican voters. So if Republicans want to win House and Senate seats in 2014, John Boehner should kill the Senate bill—first refusing to take it up in the House, and also by making clear the House will refuse to go to conference with it. The House can still pass specific bills to address particular immigration issues this session (which presumably the Senate won’t take up—but let Harry Reid explain his refusal to do so). But the key is for Boehner to kill “comprehensive” immigration “reform” in this session of Congress.


The primary and indeed sufficient reason to do this is of course because the Senate legislation is such bad public policy. But it may be reassuring to elected officials that doing the right thing won’t hurt politically in 2014 or most likely 2016. And it’s also the case that Republican presidential candidates can set forth whatever proposals they think right in 2015 and 2016, so they’re not just saying no. But the House GOP, for the sake of party and country, should say no: No Capitulation, No “Comprehensive” Bill, No Conference.





Comprehensive Rejection  –  House Republicans give the Senate’s immigration bill short shrift.

Perhaps the one thing that’s certain about the House of Representatives and immigration is that the bill that just passed the Senate could never, ever pass the House. Indeed, it’s difficult to overstate how little regard Republicans there have for it, even with the border-security amendment added by Senators Bob Corker and John Hoeven.“Just like all the senators, I haven’t read it yet,” quips Representative Tim Huelskamp of Kansas. The House should “fold it up into a paper airplane and throw it out the window. Oh, is that not the right answer?” jokes Representative Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina. “The Senate is, at this point, irrelevant,” observes Representative Ted Poe of Texas, the chairman of the House immigration caucus.





GOP chief: ‘We need comprehensive immigration reform’

“We need comprehensive immigration reform,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus told CNN in an interview in his Capitol Hill office. “I don’t think we can continue to drift along with this mess of immigration laws that we have. And a mess that in many regards has been the results of our government not even enforcing the laws that are in place. There is plenty of blame to go around for why we are in this position, but I think it’s about time that we address it.”

The immigration overhaul would create a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants, raise the cap on visas for high-skilled workers, and boost security along the U.S.-Mexico border, was approved Thursday by a 68-32 vote, with 14 Republicans supporting the measure.





The “Latino vote” doesn’t exist. Not really.

“Is being Latino a matter of geography, as simple as where you or your ancestors came from? Is it the language you speak or how well you speak it? Is it some common culture? Or is it just a vaguely brown complexion and a last name ending in ‘a,’ ‘o’ or ‘z’? Politicians build Latino-voter-outreach operations, businesses launch marketing campaigns to attract Hispanic ‘super-consumers,’ yet depending on whom you ask — politicians, academics, journalists, activists, researchers or pollsters — contradictory definitions and interpretations emerge.”





Does GOP Have to Pass Immigration Reform

Now, there is a theoretical maximum for Republicans among whites; sooner or later you run into Madison, Wis., and Ann Arbor, Mich. But we tend to assume that it’s “natural” for Democrats to win huge portions of conservative Hispanics, and almost all conservative blacks. Against this backdrop, it seems a bit touchy to assume that Republicans will max out at around 60 percent of the white vote. This might be the case, but as we’ll discuss next time, it’s entirely possible that as our nation becomes more diverse, our political coalitions will increasingly fracture along racial/ethnic lines rather than ideological ones.




Republicans need not despair

Add Harry Enten to the list of those – including me and Sean Trende of Real Clear Politics – who think that Mitt Romney’s 51%-47% defeat and the Democrats’ 49%-48% plurality in the 2012 House popular vote signals that Republicans face challenges but not doom.


Enten is a not necessarily left-leaning psephologist (he assures me) writing on the clearly left-leaning (and well written and edited) Guardian UK website.  He makes similar points to Trende, who argues that Republicans will never do worse among black voters than in 2008 and 2012 and could well do better among whites.





The GOP Implodes

The Republican Party is imploding.


Collapsing in on itself as party leaders and corporatists find themselves doing battle with the party’s base over immigration. While yesterday’s Supreme Court decision on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) pitted ex-Bush Solicitor General Ted Olson and ex-RNC chair Ken Mehlman and GOP signers to a petition supporting gay marriage against others led by Virginia Attorney General and GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli. The gay marriage battle was joined by Justice Anthony Kennedy — a Reagan appointee — who portrayed those who genuinely believe gay marriage opens the door to the dissolution of marriage as nothing more than homophobic bigots, drawing an incensed rebuke from another Reagan appointee, Justice Antonin Scalia.  All this even as polygamists celebrate and press forward with the demand to legalize polygamy. And Colorado does the same with adultery.


The highly flammable combination threatening not just the GOP’s 2014 congressional elections but the 2016 presidential campaign — if not the party’s very existence.




Weak Economy Exposes Obama’s Upside-Down Priorities

After running for re-election vowing to make jobs and economic growth his top priority, President Obama has focused on everything but since winning. His misplaced priorities are costing plenty.


In the first half of 2013, Obama made dozens of speeches on gun control, immigration and global warming, with the latter culminating in Tuesday’s declaration about how imperative it is to act now to combat climate change.


But aside from a little “jobs tour” and one big speech back in February, Obama has been virtually silent on the economy.



How 31,385 people fund national elections

Thanks to the amazing Sunlight Foundation, we now know that just 31,385 people — one tenth of one percent of the overall U.S. population — are responsible for nearly 30 percent of the $6 billion (yes, billion with a “b”) contributed to federal campaigns and committees in the 2012 election.


“The nation’s biggest campaign donors have little in common with average Americans. They hail predominantly from big cities, such as New York and Washington. They work for blue-chip corporations, such as Goldman Sachs and Microsoft. One in five works in the finance, insurance and real estate sector. One in 10 works in law or lobbying. The median contribution from this group of elite donors? $26,584. That’s a little more than half the median family income in the United States.”




Detroit, A lesson in Obamanomics:  Lenders take it on the chin in Orr’s plan

Detroit is just getting there sooner, a municipal canary forced into the coalmine largely of its own making. Its predicament is the cost of one-party rule for 50 years; a political culture obsessed with power, control and self-dealing; a city budget whose priorities too often reflected the demands of employees and their union leaders, not the needs of taxpaying residents or the responsibility to adequately maintain public infrastructure.




As goes Detroit

URBAN AMERICA has a much-needed new truth-teller, and his name is Kevyn Orr.


Mr. Orr is emergency manager for Detroit — a Democrat tasked by Michigan’s Republican governor, Rick Snyder, with arresting the financial death spiral in that state’s largest city. On June 14, Mr. Orr issued a 128-page report that cut through years of official obfuscation and delivered the grim facts about the city’s plight. Drained of resources by unemployment, debt service, high public-employee benefit costs, a declining population and inefficient tax collection, among other ills, the once-proud Motor City is now quite simply “insolvent,” Mr. Orr affirmed.





The Senate GOP’s Primary Problem

As both parties gear up for 2014, primaries again threaten Republicans’ ability to win a majority. This is true even though many factors are working in the GOP’s favor. First, 2014 is a “six-year itch” cycle, in which the party that has been in the White House for six years tends to lose seats in Congress. This has happened in five of the last six such elections since 1958. The average loss in the Senate was six seats, exactly the number Republicans need for a majority. Overall losses ranged from four seats in both 1966 and 1974 to 13 seats in 1958. The second advantage for Republicans is that for the second consecutive cycle, Democrats are defending more seats than the Republicans, 20 versus 14. As important, some of the Democrats’ most vulnerable seats are in states GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried in 2012. This includes Alaska (where Romney won by 14 points), Arkansas (24 points), Louisiana (17 points), Montana (14 points), South Dakota (18 points), and West Virginia (27 points). Even 17 months before Election Day, these races are already competitive. By contrast, only one GOP-held seat—Maine—is in a state President Obama carried easily; he won the Pine Tree State by 15 points.

Democrats also have to defend more open seats than Republicans. So far, they have five open seats: Iowa, Michigan, Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia. Romney carried three of the five states. Today, the Republicans have just two open seats: Georgia and Nebraska. Romney won both easily.





Divided Supreme Court strikes down key voting rights provision

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that states can no longer be judged by voting discrimination that went on decades ago, in a decision that marks the end of a major civil-rights era reform.


The 5-4 ruling rewrites a key tool of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which for five decades has given the federal government unprecedented say in everything from how some states draw their congressional maps                         to where they place polling locations.


But the justices said after five decades, the law has had a dramatic effect in ending discrimination in voting, and said Congress must now come up with new ways of deciding who still needs federal oversight.


Beneath the legal ruling is a broader social statement, with the justices saying that a state cannot be perpetually held responsible for past discrimination if there’s no evidence that it still exists.


“Congress —if it is to divide the states — must identify those jurisdictions to be singled out on a basis that makes sense in light of current conditions. It cannot rely simply on the past,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority.





President’s election commission heads to four states – Swing States of America

A White House commission tasked with making voting improvements after lengthy wait times were reported in the 2012 election is hitting the road.

The president’s Commission on Election Administration, which met for the first time on Friday, announced it will hold upcoming hearings in four states: Florida, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Ohio.





Can Democrats Win Back the Deep South?

It may be less far-fetched than you think, at least according to a new crop of activists who are trying to turn back the Republican tide in America’s reddest region.


A handful of local elections in Mississippi is hardly a blue wave. But Democrats across the South hope what just happened there is the start of something big — the first ripple of a Democratic comeback in the Deep South. They’ve formed at least three new regional political groups to try to make that happen, including one called South Forward that assisted in four winning mayoral campaigns, providing direct mail, radio ads, get-out-the-vote calls, and staff support.





Infographic: The Literal Meaning Of Every State Name In The U.S.

The New Navel of the Moon. It’s so poetic, isn’t it? (And sure, maybe a bit anatomically confusing.) That’s the real meaning behind the state name New Mexico, and it’s one of many etymological gems uncovered by cartographers Stephan Hormes and Silke Peust while they were creating this U.S. map depicting the original, literal meanings behind the states and cities we know today.


“The inspiration was my interest in etymology and my profession as a cartographer,” Hormes tells Co.Design. “I started to exchange real names for rue names and the world became a strange romantic continent. It’s obvious to me that after five years of changing names on maps, I must do it. No map is safe.”





GOP insiders vote against, well, a GOP insider vote

The Republican Party’s state committee resoundingly voted on Saturday against studying a move away from summer primary votes and toward letting a convention of party devotees tap the party’s candidates.


To most of the more than 100 Republican State Committee members who gathered in Milledgeville, though, even studying a change is a bridge too far. Doug Deal, a Cobb County committee member, echoed many in the room when he said that a nominating convention would end up “eliminating the grassroots” from the voting process.





Evolution of the Voter File

From handwritten lists to online databases—how voter files became the ‘big data’ of modern campaigns





Down-ballot campaigns are going digital

Digital politics used to be perceived as a game for the big campaigns, but not any longer.





Supreme Court doesn’t resolve wrongs of affirmative action

In 2008, Abigail Fisher, who is white, was denied admission to the University of Texas under a baroque process the university has evolved in an attempt to make taking some account of race compatible with court rulings regarding racial preferences. These rulings have said, among much else, that race or ethnicity must not be the “defining feature” of a student’s application.


The Supreme Court said on Monday that the Fifth Circuit was too deferential to the university: The lower court did not properly apply strict scrutiny to judging whether the university’s use of race was sufficiently narrowly tailored. This clarified the fact that clarity is incompatible with the Supreme Court’s prior decisions carving out a higher education exemption from the Constitution’s marvelously clear guarantee of equal protection of the laws.


In an opinion concurring with the majority’s conclusion that strict scrutiny was required but not applied to Texas’s use of race, Justice Clarence Thomas says of “racial engineering”: There is no compelling governmental interest in whatever educational benefits supposedly flow from racial diversity that must be achieved by racial discrimination. Thomas should tell the chief justice that the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop pretending that strict scrutiny of such discrimination somehow makes it something other than what it is.





12 Little-Known Facts About the Declaration of Independence (Part 1)

Being about a week away from Independence Day, I was doing a little reflecting upon the history surrounding the Declaration of Independence. And I thought it would be of equal interest to many of my readers to look at some often-overlooked aspects of the declaration’s production and legacy.

Several historical websites hold some fascinating facts about this national treasure — including the National Archives and Records Administration’s site, at http://www.archives.gov. In addition, on History’s website, the article “9 Things You May Not Know About the Declaration of Independence,” by Elizabeth Harrison, has some intriguing notes. Let me elaborate on some of those and convey a few others I’ve discovered.




Why America Hates Washington

There is a disconnect. It is not everywhere nor with everyone in the NYC-DC corridor. There are people who and places that anchor themselves to the values outside what more and more people are calling the “ruling elite,” but there is a disconnect that I think explains both Congress and the President’s falling approval ratings (not that Congress can get much lower).


The rest of America is nervous about where their next meal and paycheck are coming from, how they are going to afford to bail their kids out of crumbling schools, and the price of a gallon of milk and loaf of bread that keep going up though Ben Bernanke tells them there is no inflation.





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