ChrisWeigant.com

Friday Talking Points [122] -- Bikini Bottom Update

[ Posted Friday, May 7th, 2010 – 18:00 PDT ]

Since it's the Friday after month's-end, the new monthly unemployment numbers were released today. Which adds another bar to the "bikini bottom" chart. Now, the measure of how many people know exactly what this means is exactly the measure of how well Democrats are getting the "jobs" message out. Because, as I've said previously, this chart should be front and center in the Democrats' campaigns this year.

The chart to which I refer, of course, is the chart which shows jobs lost and gained since George Bush started his last year in office. It's pretty easy to understand, which is what makes it such a great chart, politically (more on the political aspects of the chart later, in the Friday Talking Points section). It is named for the shape the graph makes, which looks somewhat reminiscent (to those with overactive imaginations) of a bikini bottom. Here is this month's updated chart, from Organizing For America:

Bikini bottom jobs chart

But we're running into a problem, here. To put it simply, this chart needs a new name. Now, I have been a strong supporter of calling it the "bikini bottom" chart up until now, for three reasons: (1) it's suggestive without being overly salacious, (2) it has been descriptive of the slopes of the trendlines up until now (it's easy to understand the name, in other words -- just look at it!), and (3) for the gratuitous SpongeBob SquarePants reference. Sadly, though, (2) is becoming less and less true.

Now, some have tried to shorten the name already by merely calling it the "bikini" graph, but this is inaccurate (and we certainly don't want to confuse anybody). A true graph which looked like a bikini (top and bottom, in other words) would be a strange graph indeed, and likely some sort of non-linear equation to boot, if the midriff area were truly bare. Ahem. The only way to properly shorten the term (while keeping its self-referential qualities intact) would be to call it a "monokini" graph, but this would likely be confusing as well, since so few Americans have been exposed (pun intended) to the French "monokini" on their local beaches. A monokini, for those interested, is a "topless" bikini. Which, as I said, is why we don't see too many of them on American beaches, although they are common enough on the Côte d'Azur. I suppose you could call it a "panty" graph, but that (in my opinion) would cross over the boundaries of salaciousness, since bikini bottoms are assumably for public consumption (so to speak, viewing-wise), whereas panties quite simply are not. Also, if you called it anything other than a bikini bottom graph, you wouldn't get (3) in my list above, since Bikini Bottom (as everyone knows) is where SpongeBob SquarePants lives.

But now, alas, the graph is growing something next to the bikini bottom shape. Meaning that, as time goes on (and the jobs picture assumably improves), the graph is going to look less and less like a single bikini bottom. So, I'm open to suggestions as to what to rename this chart. "Valley deep, mountain high"? Well, that's not very good, I admit, which is why I'm throwing it open to suggestion. What to call the newly-shaped jobs chart? Let me know your ideas, in the comments.

Other, non-bikini, things were happening last week, as well. President Obama made some funny jokes at the annual White House Correspondents' yuk-fest, including one he probably regretted a few days later, about sending a Predator drone after the Jonas Brothers if they got any ideas about his daughters. OK, the joke got a laugh, but then days later a man tried to bomb Times Square and the media reported (although largely speculatively, from what I can tell) that his motivation was his opposition to such drone missile attacks in Pakistan. Like I said, not very funny at all.

The Brits held an election, and nobody's sure what it means. In America, the primary election season rolls along, with mixed results. I wrote about what it all means to the Tea Party folks and the Republican Party earlier this week, since I find such factionalism fascinating, but honesty dictates that factionalism is causing some problems on the Democratic side of things as well. A special election in Hawai'i has shaped up into a three-way race with two Democrats splitting the normally-reliably-Democratic vote there, meaning the Republican candidate may walk away with the House seat as a result (two Democrats are in the race because, being a special election, there was no primary election to weed the field down). Blue Dog Senator Blanche Lincoln is in a Democratic primary fight with a more progressive challenger in Arkansas. And Pennsylvania's Arlen Specter is now neck-and-neck in the polls with his Democratic primary challenger, who is running a very effective ad against Specter which accuses him (quite believably, since Specter did used to be a Republican, after all) of sheer political opportunism.

I also have to admit being massively wrong about predicting the imminent resignation of Rahm Emanuel a while back (in FTP [114]), although his top aide did just resign, so make of that what you will.

Another sanctimonious anti-gay-rights icon was found to have spent a vacation in Europe with a man he found on "Rentboy.com," proving once again that those most interested in regulating the behavior of their neighbors probably shouldn't be throwing quite so many stones when it comes to what they do in their own (glass) bedrooms.

To top it all off, this month is the fiftieth anniversary of both The Pill and the L.A.S.E.R. In honor of its golden anniversary, we present the acronym as it originally appeared, long before it just became an ordinary word (much like "scuba" did). Yes, the Lightwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation is 50 next week. Good thing they got rid of the minor letters in that, otherwise we'd be celebrating the anniversary of the "labseor," which just doesn't trip off the tongue quite so nicely. When the laser was invented, it was called "a solution in search of a problem," because the scientists couldn't really come up with any great ideas as to what to use the dang thing for, other than the most accurate measuring system ever. Nowadays, lasers are so common you can buy one for a few bucks and then go out and annoy people at the movies with it... after (of course) you pay for it at a cash register that uses another laser to read the bar code. Lasers are, indeed, everywhere nowadays.

Of course, the birth control pill (which, amusingly enough, went the opposite route linguistically as the laser, and is now more succinctly referred to in capital letters as just "The Pill") was a solution to an age-old problem, meaning there was no confusion about it at all.

But enough 50-year-old trivia, let's get back to the past week in politics instead, shall we?

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

The Senate has been debating the Wall Street reform bill all week, and we've had some action both ways on competing amendments. The Republicans, as expected, offered a "Let's water the whole thing down!" amendment, which was soundly defeated (with the help of two Republicans who broke party lines -- a good sign for the overall bill). However, a Democratic amendment which had been growing in popularity was also voted down (more on this in a minute). Next week, there may be a big bipartisan vote for an idea which Ron Paul initially pushed in the House -- auditing the Federal Reserve's TARP funds. What exactly did all that "bailout" money go for? Hey, let's find out! But since the amendment hasn't come up for a vote yet, we'll address it (and the tricky question of whether Bernie Sanders is eligible for a MIDOTW award, since he isn't really a Democrat) next time around.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid threatened the Senate with the one thing which truly terrifies Democrats and Republicans alike -- the possible loss of some of their vacation time in August. Laugh if you must, but this is the single most effective threat which leadership can use to get Congresscritters (especially those in the Senate) to act, instead of delaying things forever. Reid, by "showing some steel" on this issue early on has now put Republicans on notice -- if you do nothing but endlessly delay things, then we are just going to sit right here until you eat your vegetables, young man! So to speak. We'll see how this all plays out, but Reid deserves at least an Honorable Mention this week, for wielding this very powerful tool exactly how it is supposed to be used.

But, this week, the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award goes to Senators Sherrod Brown and Ted Kaufman. Their amendment to the Wall Street reform bill was indeed defeated, but it was a very easy answer to a problem everyone's been screaming about -- "too big to fail." The Brown-Kaufman idea was to say "if we don't allow the banks to get that big in the first place, then they'll never be too big to wreck the American economy if they fail." In other words, strike at the heart of the "too big" problem.

While, disappointingly, the Brown-Kaufman amendment failed by a vote of 61-33, for even getting the idea to the floor and getting as much support as it did (which included three Republican votes), Senator Sherrod Brown and Senator Ted Kaufman both deserve this week's Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award for their effort. Brown is a freshman senator, and Kaufman is a seat-warmer, holding Joe Biden's old Senate seat until November (for which he had to promise not to run, a decision that may have been somewhat hasty, since Republicans seem poised to win this seat this year).

Brown and Kaufman managed to put on record who is for and against the simple idea of not letting banks get too big, and for that they deserve recognition this week. Keep fighting the good fight, guys!

[Congratulate Senator Sherrod Brown on his Senate contact page, and Senator Ted Kaufman on his Senate contact page, to let them know you appreciate their efforts.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

Up for a (Dis-)Honorable Mention this week are the twenty-seven Senate Democrats who just voted against the Brown-Kaufman amendment. Here is a convenient list of them, for easy reference. However, because we aren't made of money here, we simply can't afford to send them all individual Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week statuettes, so you'll have to pass the message on for us. I invite you to scan the list, see if your senator is on it, and then give their office a call and let them know what you think of their vote.

We're also going to rule that Joe Lieberman is eligible for this week's MDDOTW award, because he has so richly deserved it this week. You see, Joe wants to strip American citizenship of anyone he doesn't like. Perhaps those kids, there, walking across his lawn. Because of the ongoing terror, Lieberman wants Congress to pass a blatantly unconstitutional law. The terror, that is, not from actual terrorists, but rather the terror conservatives seem to have of our legal system. The Miranda warnings, in particular. Lieberman introduced his provacatively-titled "T.E.A. Act," which would strip the American citizenship from anyone the Executive Branch decided was a terrorist -- without benefit of due process, or any of that namby-pamby "rule of law" nonsense (otherwise known as "The U.S. Constitution"). Chuck Schumer immediately jumped on board (well, he is from New York, where Times Square is located), before coming to his senses and backing hastily away from Joe. The White House also immediately distanced itself from Joe's idea.

Voters of Connecticut, the rest of America is begging you -- please, please do not re-elect this clown to the Senate, next chance you get. I mean, what were you thinking? You really think Ned Lamont would be proposing such things?

[Contact Senator Joe Lieberman on his Senate contact page, to let him know what you think of his actions.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 122 (5/7/10)

Kind of a mixed bag of Friday Talking Points, this week, ranging all the way from bikini bottoms to chickens (and all points in between).

As always, these are provided for the suggested use of Democrats everywhere, and most especially those who hold office and find themselves in a media interview this weekend.

 

1
   Embracing the bikini bottom

OK, I have to admit, I just had to use that subheading. Snerk.

Sorry, won't happen again. Well, it might....

Ahem. Seriously, though, I've been pounding this point for a few months now -- Democrats, use this chart! Make a big blowup of it, and hang it behind you, in preparation for any media interview. Project a giant image of it at any campaign rally you attend. This chart is easy to understand and it makes your strongest case for you, so it is in your best interests to point it out to everyone.

"When President Obama took office, we were losing three-quarters of a million jobs every single month. Last month, the American economy added over two hundred thousand jobs. In a little over a year, Democrats have improved job creation to the tune of one million jobs per month. That's right -- from where we were then, to where we are now, is the difference of a cool million jobs in one month's time. The stimulus has worked, and is continuing to work. Republicans said it wouldn't, but I don't notice any of them explaining what else this chart could possibly show. [Point to chart] Here's what happened under Bush -- job creation falling off a cliff. Here's what happened under Obama, with the help of Democrats in Congress -- job creation recovering, up to last month, which showed the best job numbers in four years. That's why we want to send Democrats to Washington, to continue improving our economy from the mess we inherited."

 

2
   Making love to Wall Street

Harry Reid got a good line off the other day, which needs repeating often by Democrats in the upcoming week.

"So far, on Wall Street reform, the only idea Republicans have come up with is to water everything down so it can't change any of Wall Street's behavior in any way. As Majority Leader Harry Reid put it the other day, 'the Republicans are having difficulty determining how they're going to continue making love to Wall Street.' His spokesman later phrased it even better, saying 'Republicans are making love to Wall Street, while the people on Main Street are getting screwed.' I think the Majority Leader speaks for a lot of American voters on this one, personally."

 

3
   Stand with the American people

OK, that was a bit snarky, even I'll admit. For something a bit more serious on the subject (but which says pretty much exactly the same thing Reid did), we turn to President Obama, last week:

Unfortunately, throughout this debate, there have been partisan attempts to obstruct progress and weaken reform. Today, the Senate is considering a Republican amendment that will gut consumer protections and is worse than the status quo. I will not allow amendments like this one written by Wall Street’s lobbyists to pass for reform. This amendment will significantly weaken consumer protection oversight, includes dangerous carve outs for payday lenders, debt collectors, and other financial services operations, and hurts the ability of community and local banks to compete by creating an unlevel playing field with their non-bank competitors.

As I have said throughout this process, I want to continue to work with Democrats and Republicans because protecting the American people should not be a partisan issue. But we must work together in good faith. Alternatives that gut consumer protections and do nothing to empower the American people by cracking down on unfair and predatory practices are unacceptable, and I urge the Senate to vote no on weakening consumer protections and instead stand with the American people.

 

4
   What "deregulation" actually means

This is a philosophical battle where Democrats rarely even try to defend their own view of government, which I think is a shame (and a big mistake). The Republicans have done such a good job demonizing "big government" for so long, that Democrats don't even bother to make their own case for why sometimes some government might actually be a good idea. Even when the issue is delivered to them on a silver platter.

"Republicans always say they're against 'big government' and for deregulation of industry. Well, you know what that leads to? That leads to regulatory agencies which don't have the power to enforce safety regulations in mines. That leads to allowing oil companies to gut safety regulations because it would cost a little more money to drill offshore. Safety regulations are there for a reason -- to save lives, and to save America from industrial disasters. And then when those disasters happen, not to allow companies to have laughably low liability limits when it comes time to pay for the damage. BP's liability for the drilling disaster was set by law at $75 million, when it is going to likely take billions to clean it up and compensate those affected. Our mine safety agency doesn't have the power to subpoena mine owners, and doesn't have the power to do more than charge them with a misdemeanor. That, my friends, is the result of deregulation and the mania for 'small government.' Sometimes government is the only answer to keep the free market safe for everyone, because we all know the companies involved aren't going to spend money on safety out of the goodness of their own hearts."

 

5
   Tea Party wedgies

I think it's time to exploit the wedge in the Republican Party that the Tea Party movement represents. Because the fact that establishment Republican candidates are winning most Republican primaries (as happened earlier this week, in three states' primaries) may prove to be more divisive than anyone in Washington now thinks, come November (especially if several three-way races develop, as has already happened in Florida). Taunting the Tea Partiers with "Oh, you're just Republicans, right?" is the way to go, here, as it might just enrage them to the point of supporting such third-party bids. Or, as Sarah Palin might say, "How's that wedgie thing workin' out for ya?"

"The Tea Party folks all say they're not just dupes for the Republican Party to manipulate, and that they're independent of any party. But Sarah Palin seems to think differently, since she's now endorsed candidates in two Republican primary races who are facing Tea Party challengers, in Arizona and now California. Seems Palin's more interested in getting the Tea Partiers to line up as good little Republicans than she is about any of their professed principles. Is she right? Will the Tea Partiers just fall into line behind establishment Republican candidates this November, or do they have the courage of their own convictions to not be led around by the nose by the GOP political machine?"

 

6
   So, Marco, would you have sent your parents back?

Speaking of Florida's Senate race, we have Marco Rubio performing an absolute beaut of a flip-flop this week. Rubio originally (and bravely, considering he's now the official Republican Party nominee) came out against Arizona's new immigration law. He is, after all, not only Latino himself, but he's also the son of immigrants. But then Rubio, likely after receiving a few phone calls, decided to get on board. His actual quote: "There are going to be stories of very young kids that were brought to this country at a very young age who don't even speak Spanish [sic] that are going to be sent back to Nicaragua or some other place. And it's gonna feel weird and I understand that." He probably meant to say "don't even speak English," to be fair. But his blatant hypocrisy should be pointed out, in the form of a scathing question.

"I noticed Marco Rubio's recent flip-flop on the Arizona immigration law with some amusement, I must say. I wonder, if Rubio's parents hadn't been from Cuba, if he would feel any differently about the subject. Because, as we all know, Cubans don't need any sort of immigration papers when they arrive here illegally. They are automatically given green cards, and a path to citizenship. Perhaps, if his family had been from another country in this hemisphere he might see the issue a wee bit differently. I'm not sure if anyone's asked Rubio if he still supports giving one country this automatic free pass on illegal immigration -- or whether he agrees that his own parents should have been rounded up and sent back to Cuba. Either he's for shipping Mom and Dad back to Cuba, or he's just a hypocrite on the issue because his parents were given automatic amnesty."

 

7
   Chickenmania!

Over in Nevada, the chickens have come home to roost, as it were. Sue Lowden, who leads in the polls heading into the Republican primary race to unseat Harry Reid, said something really, really stupid a few weeks back. And it has proved to be the gift that just keeps right on giving. Instead of realizing she looked like an idiot and immediately apologizing (or, at the least, walking her comments back), she instead chose to defend her idea that it'd all be great if we started bargaining with our doctors with chickens. Not only did the Democrats start up a "Chickens for Checkups" site immediately, but now they've got a guy in a chicken suit following Lowden around at public appearances. Nevada Republicans, from what I've heard, are becoming less and less supportive of Lowden as a result of this metaphorical egg she laid. But you can't make an omelette without cracking a few eggs, as they say...

"It sure looks like Sue Lowden's 'chickens for checkups' idea has come home to roost. I guess the Republican Party motto should now read 'proudly taking America back to the eighteenth century!' Seriously, somebody really needs to tell Sue what millennium it now is."

 

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Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground

Cross-posted at: The Huffington Post

 

-- Chris Weigant

 

47 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [122] -- Bikini Bottom Update”

  1. [1] 
    ChicagoMolly wrote:

    I hope Holy Joe and Cosmo Brown realize that when even Glenn Beck and John Boehner say their bill sucks, it badwording sucks! In the frightening event it were to pass, though, I'm just kinda wondering if any Americans of Irish ancestry would suddenly find they've lost their citizenship because back in the '80s they gave money to some 'Northern Ireland Widows & Orphans Fund' that turned out to be a pipeline to the IRA. That could count as an 'affiliation'. It didn't take much more than that to nail people as ComSymps back in the '50s.

  2. [2] 
    Michale wrote:

    You see, Joe wants to strip American citizenship of anyone he doesn't like.

    "Mr President, that is not ENTIRELY accurate."
    -Secretary Nimzicki, INDEPENDENCE DAY

    Actually, the law that is proposing is that American citizenship be stripped away from any American who associates with known terrorist groups.

    I actually DO have a problem with this, but not the one you think.. And there is ample precedence to support that the law is perfectly constitutional.

    If an American citizen joins the military of a country that is at war or in hostilities with the United States than said American citizen automagically renounces their American citizenship.

    My problem with Leiberman's idea is that it would prevent the US from charging the scumbag with treason and then taking them out and shooting them...

    without benefit of due process, or any of that namby-pamby "rule of law" nonsense (otherwise known as "The U.S. Constitution").

    Oh come on.. The Democrats have trampled on the US Constitution to high heaven and back with their CrapCare crap... Like Congressional Democrats really care about the US Constitution...

    Coddling terrorists and treating them like dime-store criminals is NOT the way to safeguard this country..

    "When President Obama took office, we were losing three-quarters of a million jobs every single month. Last month, the American economy added over two hundred thousand jobs.

    Yet unemployment has risen from 9.7% to 9.9%. And, according to all the Kings Men, this is going to be the "new norm"...

    So much for Obama's claim that JOBS is his number one priority, eh? Maybe Obama should have told us the truth and said:

    "JOBS?? Well, it SHOULD be our number one priority, but my pet baby CRAP CARE is numero uno.. Oh, and Scheme & Ream is number two.. And my crass and uber-political machination of Amnesty For Illegals is number 3. Oh and readying the cruise missiles to send after the Jonas boys, just in case, is number 4.. Number 5, of course is begging the politicians for civil discourse while using a sexual slur against my political opponents.. So, I have to be honest with ya'all and say that JOBS is probably priority #6, but will probably move further down on the list because, as you know, we DO have this terrorism problem that I just can't seem to get right, so I will probably ignore it for a bit longer .."

    THAT would have been the proper statement had Obama actually been honest with the American people..

    Making love to Wall Street

    However, the facts show different..

    Who are Wall Streets biggest recipients of donations??

    Democratic Party, Helped by Wall Street, Outraising Republicans
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601070&sid=ax3gLHhi7ONs

    Democrats are darlings of Wall St.
    articles.latimes.com/2008/mar/21/nation/na-wallstdems21

    Wall Street Steps Up Political Donations, Lobbying
    online.wsj.com/article/SB125616828727300265.html

    Wall Street Political Donations Flowing to Democrats’ Coffers
    http://www.buzzle.com/articles/wall-street-political-donations-flowing-to-democrats-coffers.html

    So, while it may be true that the GOP is "making love" to Wall Street, it is clear that the Democrats are sneaking in the back door for a noon'er, while the Republicans are at work...

    Once again, someone please remind me as to the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans??

    I'll have to get to the rest later...

    Michale.....

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    I'm just kinda wondering if any Americans of Irish ancestry would suddenly find they've lost their citizenship because back in the '80s they gave money to some 'Northern Ireland Widows & Orphans Fund' that turned out to be a pipeline to the IRA.

    The bill wouldn't apply retro-actively..

    The Irish-Americans are safe...

    Hopefully it will make Americans in the here and now a little more careful about who they associate with or send money to.

    But, CW, it does add an interesting correlation to your "torturing terrorists" issue.. :D

    Michale.....

  4. [4] 
    LewDan wrote:

    Michale,

    Considering the attitude of the FBI in the '60s, had there been a no-fly list Dr. M. L. King would definitely have been on it, as would any of the other "domestic terrorists" who supported civil rights.

    Aside from the not insignificant fact that in the history of U.S. it has never shown that it could be trusted to determine who should be denied their rights in the interests of "security." While Salem witch hunts, native American genocide, Jim Crow, Japanese-American internments, and "The Red Scare," to name a few, give ample historical evidence that it cannot.

    I'd also suggest you ponder the significance of the fact that congress has ignored the constitution so often recently that they no longer consider constitutional amendments necessary to rewrite the thing.

    And Chris,

    Just how would breaking up the "too big to fail" banks have changed anything when every financial institution was engaged in the same behavior, large and small? All breaking them up would have accomplished is to make it impossible to restore some semblance of confidence by bailing out a handful of them.

    What Brown-Kaufman really does is typical of Washington. It does nothing to address the problem while firmly promoting a public misconception that congress and government weren't responsible.

    The problem wasn't that the banks were too big to fail it was that the government at the insistence of congress and the president let securities fraud, accounting fraud and lending fraud go uninvestigated, unregulated, unreported and unpunished.

    The failure of Brown-Kaufman to successfully ignore the constitution, yet again, to seize control of privately held assets and sell them without even of hint of criminality and due process as justification is hardly worthy of condemnation.

    Doesn't anyone get it? None of us have any rights. Because the constitution is no longer viewed by congress or the courts as even a suggestion of how federal government should behave much less a constraint on federal power.

    And you think this is the most impressive thing done this week?!

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    as would any of the other "domestic terrorists" who supported civil rights.

    That would seem to me to be a contradiction.

    But your point is taken and well made, as usual..

    Michale.....

  6. [6] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Lew Dan,

    I couldn't agree with you more about the 'too-big-to-fail amendment by Brown-Kaufman.

    The problem here has much less to do with size than with risky behavior. For examply, Canada has a disproportionate number (4, I believe) of the worlds 10 biggest banks and none of our banks failed during this financial crisis - better regulation and less risky behavior.

    I’ve been thinking about the whole concept of "too-big-to-fail" and how it should go the way of the dinosaur.

    The more apt phrase should be ... "couldn’t possibly be too big to fail!" Conventional wisdom seems to be that "too big to fail" is primarily a function of the size of financial institutions.

    But, I think what is really needed here are new rules of the road and a muscular regulatory regime that would prevent financial institutions - no matter how big they are - from engaging in behavior deemed too risky for the stability of the system as a whole and an effective resolution authority that would give government the proper tools to wind down failing institutions - no matter how big they are - in an orderly manner and simply allow them to fail.

    We can be thankful that Secretary Geithner is on top of all this and intimately understands what will be necessary to prevent a similar crisis from ever happening again and to mitigate other future crises, limiting the damage to the system as a whole and the cost to the taxpayers.

  7. [7] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    the bikini chart may be a nice graphic, but i'd personally like to know WHICH jobs have been gained. I can practically guarantee that the graph doesn't reflect job statistics in the teaching profession. i think i've established my belief that the president deserves the benefit of the doubt, but there is a very strong groundswell against him, ranging far across the political spectrum, not just on the right wing. in the wake of the uproar over healthcare and banking, federal education policy has flown a bit under the radar, and based on a conversation i had this afternoon, i can only conclude that the news is not good.

    i called my mom today for mother's day, and in-between words of affection I got a stinging earful about "race to the top" under obama and education secretary duncan. a fairly well-respected researcher and professor in second language education, my mom considers herself a pragmatic liberal democrat. although she's firmly on the left, she is a party adherent, and frequently supports compromise when it comes to policy decisions, so in theory she should be among the strongest segments of obama's base. this is why it shocked me to hear her overall opinion on the president. she's not just disappointed, she's outraged. she sees "race to the top" as a betrayal of our country's teachers, and says we might have even been better off under mccain. considering the teacher firings and state legislation that has resulted from "race to the top," she might be right, but for anyone who knows my mom's politics, that's still a pretty shocking thing to hear.

    furthermore, her opinion on education has impacted her views on health-care and banking as well. she sees him not as the pragmatist she voted for, but as a privatizing, union-busting, tool of the mega-corporations. she says she may stay home or vote independent in 2012. if such a firmly partisan member the democratic base sees the president this way, perhaps all those wacky tea-baggers really are just the tip of the iceberg.

    Happy Mothers' Day!
    ~joshua

  8. [8] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    nypoet22

    If your mom truely sees Obama as "a privitizing, union-busting, tool of the mega-corporations", then I must say that she is obviously, and sadly, misguided.

    Could you be a little more specific about why your mom feels that "race to the top" is such a betrayal of American teachers?

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    she sees him not as the pragmatist she voted for, but as a privatizing, union-busting, tool of the mega-corporations.

    Another case of buyer's remorse with regards to Obama... You can bet that for everyone of me or NYPoet's mom, there are millions of others who feel the same....

    This is the exact feeling that will keep Democrats home in droves this mid-term election...

    When you have millions of people claiming Obama has failed them, that is more than just "mis-guided"...

    When you have millions of Democrats planning on staying home this election, that is more than just "mis-guided"...

    Perhaps those who believe that Obama is actually being an effective leader are the ones that are "mis-guided", eh???

    Perhaps the See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil mentality is actually what is "mis-guided"...

    Just mentioning the possibility...

    Michale.....

  10. [10] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    The number of misguided voters - anywhere in the world - knows no limits.

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    So, Marco, would you have sent your parents back?

    If they were here illegally, Damn Skippy!!!

    Why is it that people believe that it's perfectly OK to disobey the law if you are an immigrant???

    And where does such a belief end??

    "Oh, he's an illegal immigrant. It's perfectly OK that he stole a car..."

    "Oh, she's an illegal immigrant. No big deal she is dealing drugs.."

    What part of ***ILLEGAL*** immigrant do people not understand???

    If people are not in this country legally, they are STEALING from all legal residents of this country...

    It's THAT simple...

    Tell ya what.. Let's make it real simple for people..

    For those of you who believe that Arizona's law is "mis-guided" why don't ya'all sign up to pay directly for the room, board and medical expenses of a hundred illegal immigrants, all at your own expense...

    Let's see how much ya'all would would support illegal immigration then, eh??

    I bet not many of you would??

    So, why would ya'all support illegal immigrants otherwise???

    Michale.....

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    The number of misguided voters - anywhere in the world - knows no limits.

    I would agree with this sentiment..

    But the problem is, it might be the mis-guided ones who think OTHERS are the mis-guided ones..

    Food for thought, no?? :D

    Michale....

  13. [13] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Oh, I'm sure they do. :)

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    In other words, those who think they know everything are very annoying to those of us who actually do! :D

    hehehehehehehe

    Michale.....

  15. [15] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Absolutely, positively, unequivocally!

  16. [16] 
    LewDan wrote:

    If those outraged over illegal aliens breaking the law were as outraged over the AZ government's breaking the law in arresting, jailing, denying council and potentially deporting any Hispanic-American who fails to provide "sufficient" proof of citizenship on demand, without the benefit of constitutionally mandated probable cause, grand jury review, trial by their peers or even the remotest government offering of proof of guilt.

    But you seem to think its just fine to ignore the law when it gives you the result you want while loudly lamenting others ignoring the law when just because it serves their interests. Gross hypocrisy, however, does not instill either a moral or legal authority.

    When this nation actually starts observing the rule of law it will have a right to demand that everyone else do so.

  17. [17] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Liz,

    as i stated, i'm a bit more willing to extend the president the benefit of the doubt than is my mom, but the fact of the matter is that there has been a nationwide spate of teacher firings and anti-teacher legislation, many directly tied to federal policy. in practice, states are promoting even more high-stakes standardized testing than the bush administration, more for-profit charter schools, and more discrimination against low SES school districts, all directly tied to the policies of duncan and obama.

    Here are the main points of the president's policies, and criticisms of them:

    http://usliberals.about.com/od/education/a/RaceToTheTop.htm

    here is a synopsis from firedoglake of obama's reaction to the rhode island district that fired the entire school:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/01/AR2010030103560.html

    and another:

    http://workinprogress.firedoglake.com/2010/03/03/obama-applauds-mass-firing-of-teachers-just-like-when-he-applauded-the-mass-firing-of-banksters-oh-wait/

    what the president and secretary duncan have done on education have not worked out very well so far, and his words on the subject are at least a cause for concern. i am reserving judgment until the events play out a little more, but i have to tell you that it's looking more and more like we have been the misguided ones.

  18. [18] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    and another:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/diane-ravitch/first-lets-fire-all-the-t_b_483074.html

    many of us here in florida have been horrified by the senate bill on teacher retention, which thankfully was vetoed. it would be easy to blame it all on partisanship in the republican-controlled state legislature, but ultimately it came about because it fit with the federal rewards being offered under the obama-duncan policy.

  19. [19] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    and the new york times has probably some of the most apt quotes regarding the rhode island issue:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/07/education/07educ.html

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    without the benefit of constitutionally mandated probable cause,

    The AZ law specifically states that "lawful contact" with a subject is sufficient grounds to require proof of citizenship or legal right to be in the US.

    What part of the US Constitution forbids such inquiries??

    If, in the course of "LAWFUL CONTACT", it is determined that the subject is in possession of a CCW, then it is NOT unconstitutional to ask if said subject is armed.

    How is this any different??

    Non US Citizens are REQUIRED by law to carry proof of legality with them at all times..

    Further, why is it Constitutional for the FEDERAL Government to inquire as to legal status, but it is NOT Constitutional for the STATE Government to inquire same??

    Finally, ALL of this would not be necessary if the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT would forgo political correctness and agendas and simply DO THEIR JOB in enforcing the law...

    I asked before and, not so surprisingly, no one had an answer.

    Due to lack of balls by the Federal Government, what would you have State Governments do?? Just let their citizens be brutally murdered and victimized and have their economy totally decimated by illegals???

    Michale.....

  21. [21] 
    LewDan wrote:

    Michale,

    "Lawful contact" is not probable cause. Asking a police officer for directions is a "lawful contact."

    The constitution is clear that the government may not deprive anyone of their liberty without probable cause to presume they have committed an offense against the law. It goes even further to stipulate that civilian review of all charges, in the form of grand juries, is required before even the mandatory trial before a jury of peers.

    All of which makes it crystal clear that under the constitution the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; it is not the responsibility of the accused to prove their innocence.

    And, for the record, the constitution is a constraint on federal power. It says nothing about being applicable only to citizens. It defines what the government may and may not do?to anyone.

    I remind you that the constitution is the highest law in the land. That all other governmental authority flows from the constitution. That laws which violate the constitution are therefor invalid and illegal.

    I am demanding that the government do their job and enforce the law. You are the one insisting on "political correctness," having the government ignore the law to do what white border-residents want instead.

    If the government were doing its job and obeying the law the ones you want enforced wouldn't exist, we might be enforcing more reasonable ones and immigrants might be much more willing to comply with them. But the fact that they find our "do as I say, not as I do" hypocritical arrogance unpersuasive should surprise no one.

    If you insist on using force to persecute a minority stop the dishonest breast-beating about it being the law. No one is fooled.

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    The constitution is clear that the government may not deprive anyone of their liberty without probable cause to presume they have committed an offense against the law. It goes even further to stipulate that civilian review of all charges, in the form of grand juries, is required before even the mandatory trial before a jury of peers.

    This is unwieldy to the point of being absurd. Enforcing this standard on police means that they would never be able to STOP any crime in progress..

    Can you picture the ludicrous scenario??

    Cops respond to a domestic but, before they can enter the residence, they have to wait for a Grand Jury to convene and issue a review of all possible charges..

    Ridiculous...

    All of which makes it crystal clear that under the constitution the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; it is not the responsibility of the accused to prove their innocence.

    Once arrested, the government WILL prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

    What you seem to be saying is that the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt BEFORE they can even investigate.

    That is, once again, ridiculous..

    I remind you that the constitution is the highest law in the land. That all other governmental authority flows from the constitution. That laws which violate the constitution are therefor invalid and illegal.

    And inquiring as to whether or not a citizen or non-citizen is obeying the law is NOT a violation of the US Constitution.

    If you insist on using force to persecute a minority stop the dishonest breast-beating about it being the law. No one is fooled.

    Once again, I have to ask..

    How is enforcing the law "persecuting" a minority??

    If, in the course of "lawful contact", a Caucasian person can and will be asked if they are a citizen. If they are not, then they will be asked if they have immigration papers that prove they are in this country legally. If they don't have said papers, then they will be arrested.

    How is this persecution of a minority???

    The new AZ law is color-blind, AS IT SHOULD BE...

    Michale.....

  23. [23] 
    LewDan wrote:

    Michale,

    Lest you actually believe there is nothing else that could be done...

    How about government actually creating jobs for Hispanics on the border? If there were jobs there for them they'd need go no further and they'd help defend our border to ensure they didn't lose those jobs. Instead of throwing away billions building and patrolling a fence we could turn a profit and produce things we need. We could use those profits to pay for education, medical care, social security, reducing business costs and improving the labor pool creating more jobs and improving the economy for everyone...

    But, I know--NO AMNESTY--yada yada yada.

    And legalizing--and taxing--drugs so there's no profit in drug crime?!

    Conservatives are nothing if not determined to prove Einstein's definition of insanity. No matter how often or for how long their strategies fail they will accept no other approach. Insistent that the same failed strategies be employed until they work.

    Well, since they never have, and since you think we have a right to do whatever it takes, legal or not, to ensure our own security, what makes you think some poor Mexican doesn't have the right, legal or not, to do whatever he has to to ensure his family's security?

    I suggest, however, that our authoritarian strategies never will work. Ideology is not going to trump reality and necessity matter how many times, or how hard, we try. If we want to solve our problems we need to start looking for, and implementing, solutions, not take everything off the table except the same failed strategies that have never worked before--because they ain't gonna work this time either, no matter what authoritarian fantasies conservatives may cherish.

  24. [24] 
    LewDan wrote:

    Michale,

    If the constitution is "unwieldy" it can be amended.
    Ignoring the law as "unwieldy" and insisting that unconstitutional statutes are the law does not make them the law.

    And The constitution doesn't say the police cannot take action before a grand jury indictment, it says the police cannot take action without probable cause and must then obtain an indictments.

    In other words it prohibits exactly the kind of fishing expeditions you champion. And jailing people who do not provide evidence of their innocence to your satisfaction is not inquiring about their citizenship, its presuming guilt and non-citizenship unless they can prove otherwise.

    And while legal aliens are required to have papers citizens are not. And since their are about ten times as many Hispanic citizens in AZ than immigrants, legal or not, about ten of every eleven such demands would be unconstitutional, and illegal, on that alone.

    Don't care how many times you repeat it or how many ways you try to justify it unconstitutional "laws" are illegal, and no one is required to be subjected to them.

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    How about government actually creating jobs for Hispanics on the border?

    That's a good idea...

    But nothing will work unless the border is secured first..

    The problem is that the Left doesn't want to do the PROPER things in the proper order. They want to immediately skip to giving away unearned entitlements

    I don't have a problem with what you propose. But the border must be secured first..

    Conservatives are nothing if not determined to prove Einstein's definition of insanity. No matter how often or for how long their strategies fail they will accept no other approach. Insistent that the same failed strategies be employed until they work.

    The same could be said for Liberals as well. Capitulation and surrender never work... Never has, never will...

    Well, since they never have, and since you think we have a right to do whatever it takes, legal or not, to ensure our own security, what makes you think some poor Mexican doesn't have the right, legal or not, to do whatever he has to to ensure his family's security?

    The difference is, the law IS legal.. That has already been established.

    The "poor" Mexican's rights ends where the US's nose begins...

    If that "poor" Mexican wants to ensure his family's security, let him or her do it in their own country..

    The Left decries the US's role as the world's policeman, yet the Left expects the US to take care of every Tom, Dick or Harry that demands entitlements...

    I suggest, however, that our authoritarian strategies never will work. Ideology is not going to trump reality and necessity matter how many times, or how hard, we try. If we want to solve our problems we need to start looking for, and implementing, solutions, not take everything off the table except the same failed strategies that have never worked before--because they ain't gonna work this time either, no matter what authoritarian fantasies conservatives may cherish.

    If history has shown ANYTHING, it is that appeasement does not work either...

    If the constitution is "unwieldy" it can be amended.
    Ignoring the law as "unwieldy" and insisting that unconstitutional statutes are the law does not make them the law.

    Sounds like a good argument against legalization of drugs.. :D

    But, in the case of the AZ law, you have yet to come up with any facts regarding it being unconstitutional..

    If you are driving a vehicle, law enforcement has the right to ask for your drivers license. Such a request is NOT unconstitutional. If said officer suspects you of being drunk, he has the right to ask you to perform a FST. Such a request is NOT unconstitutional. It's called 'implied consent' and has been upheld in MANY courts.

    If you are in this country and you are not a citizen, then law enforcement in AZ now has the right to ask you to produce documentation stating you are in this country legally..

    It's the law that non-citizens must carry such documentation with them at all times..

    I honestly fail to see what all the hysteria is about..

    It has nothing to with race or ethnicity.. It has EVERYTHING to do with simply enforcing the law.

    And while legal aliens are required to have papers citizens are not. And since their are about ten times as many Hispanic citizens in AZ than immigrants, legal or not, about ten of every eleven such demands would be unconstitutional, and illegal, on that alone.

    Ahhh, I see your argument now...

    Your argument is, because the AZ law gives the IMPRESSION of being racist, by virtue of the predominantly Hispanic population, then that means the law is unconstitutional..

    Using your reasoning, law enforcement cannot make drug arrests in slum areas because it would give the IMPRESSION of being racist, by virtue of the predominantly black population.

    Your argument might have had some merit, except for one small fact. ALL non-citizens are
    treated identically under the law whether they be hispanic, black, white, red, green or purple...

    An AZ LEO makes a traffic stop on a carload of hispanics or black people and asks if they are US citizens. If they are not, then said LEO asks if they have legal immigrant documentation..

    An AZ LEO makes a traffic stop on a carload of blond haired blue eyed girls and asks if they are US citizens. If they are not, then said LEO asks if they have legal immigrant documentation..

    An AZ LEO makes a traffic stop on a carload of spoonheaded Cardassians and asks if they are US citizens. If they are not, then said LEO asks if they have legal immigrant documentation..

    THIS is how the law works...

    The fact that there is a predominantly hispanic community is immaterial and totally irrelevant to the creation and enforcement of the law.

    Don't care how many times you repeat it or how many ways you try to justify it unconstitutional "laws" are illegal, and no one is required to be subjected to them.

    And, as we have established, there is nothing un-constitutional about the AZ law.

    The ONLY thing that you have brought up to support your claim is that the AZ could, I repeat, COULD give the APPEARANCE of being racist and is, therefore, unconstitutional..

    Appearances are irrelevant and immaterial. It's the law that matters.

    And there is NOTHING in the AZ anti-illegal-immigration law that singles out hispanics, blacks, whites, indians, vulcans or klingons..

    The ONLY group that is singled out are non-US citizens that are in this country illegally.

    PERIOD..

    Anything else is just liberal spin...

    Michale.....

  26. [26] 
    Michale wrote:

    Grrrrr..

    Every phrase of "the AZ" SHOULD read "the AZ law"..

    Sometimes my fingers don't listen to my brain...

    MIchale....

  27. [27] 
    LewDan wrote:

    Michale, your fanciful recitation of how you think the AZ law will work was amusing, at least.

    If, however, AZ intended for police to demand proof of citizenship of everyone involved in every lawful encounter with police I've no doubt their law would have said so.

    And I would have been more than content to grab a bowl of popcorn sit back and enjoy the spectacle of retired eighty-year-old "patriots" being turned over to ICE for processing and deportation because they forgot their wallets that mourning.

    It still wouldn't be remotely constitutional but at least it would no longer be racist. Of course, that's never gonna happen.

    As for your absurd claims that somehow only illegals are affected...If the police have probable cause that someone is illegal they have the authority to act.--All of them. Not just AZ police. And if they know they are legal aliens they likewise have the authority, under current law, to demand to see green cards, though why would they need to?

    The only reason the AZ law exists is to provide a pretext for officers to demand that people they do not have probable cause to believe have committed a crime prove that they haven't committed a crime. And that is unconstitutional. Because it requires that you prove you are innocent without probable cause to believe you're guilty, that failing to do so will result in your arrest without probable cause and because it will be directed almost exclusively at Hispanics and not eighty-year-old white retirees.

    You are making the same arguments used to "justify" Jim Crow laws for a century. While its quite true they hypothetically might not be racist or unconstitutional a hundred years of history says they will be. And apparently unlike some, I live on planet Earth.

    As for securing the border before addressing any other immigration strategy--good luck with that. We've been trying it since at least Reagan--But I've already given my opinion of those who insist that only the strategies that have never worked before can be used--until they do work.

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    If, however, AZ intended for police to demand proof of citizenship of everyone involved in every lawful encounter with police I've no doubt their law would have said so.

    It DOES say so...


    20 B. FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR AGENCY
    21 OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS
    22 STATE WHERE REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN WHO IS
    23 UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES, A REASONABLE ATTEMPT SHALL BE MADE,
    24 WHEN PRACTICABLE, TO DETERMINE THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF THE PERSON. THE
    25 PERSON'S IMMIGRATION STATUS SHALL BE VERIFIED WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
    26 PURSUANT TO 8 UNITED STATES CODE SECTION 1373(c).

    Read for yourself..

    http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/49leg/2r/bills/sb1070s.pdf

    Do you see ANYWHERE in the entirety of the law that singles out any racial or ethnic group??

    No, you do not...

    And I would have been more than content to grab a bowl of popcorn sit back and enjoy the spectacle of retired eighty-year-old "patriots" being turned over to ICE for processing and deportation because they forgot their wallets that mourning.

    Once again, you fail to read the text of the law..

    A REASONABLE ATTEMPT SHALL BE MADE,
    24 WHEN PRACTICABLE, TO DETERMINE THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF THE PERSON.

    If you have an 80yr old "patriot" who happened to forget their wallet that morning, then any LEO would consider a "reasonable" effort to be the issuing of a PC citation...

    Like CW is found of saying, "I'm surprised I have to explain this stuff.."

    While its quite true they hypothetically might not be racist or unconstitutional a hundred years of history says they will be. And apparently unlike some, I live on planet Earth.

    The problem you have with this AZ law is not what is says or not what it does. This is obvious by the fact that you haven't read the law..

    Your problem appears to be what MIGHT happen, what COULD happen.

    You claim that it's "hypothetically" not racist, but actually the opposite is true.

    Your argument is that it is "hypothetically" racist...

    You simply ignore the text of the law and concentrate on the APPEARANCES of the law...

    If you were to actually read the law, you would see that there is absolutely nothing unconstitutional about it...

    The text of the law reads as simple as a thousand other laws on the books that have passed constitutional muster...

    Please point to ANY part of the law, USING THE TEXT OF THE LAW, that you believe is unconstitutional..

    THAT will settle this debate quicker than anything because you won't be able to find anything..

    As for securing the border before addressing any other immigration strategy--good luck with that. We've been trying it since at least Reagan--But I've already given my opinion of those who insist that only the strategies that have never worked before can be used--until they do work.

    Appeasement and surrender never solve any problem. It simply creates larger problems...

    If one were to ignore political and politically correct issues, securing the border is quite easy to accomplish...

    A leader only has to have the balls to do the right thing and enforce the laws....

    Apparently President Obama doesn't have the balls..

    Michale.....

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    GRRRRR Forgot to close that first 'B'....

    Apologies...

    Michale.....

  30. [30] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    That's OK - it's easier to see that way, anyway. :)

    Yes ... I did read the whole thing.

    And, I don't think this new law is necessary, nor will it be very effective. In fact, when all is said and done, this new law will undoubtedly be very counterproductive and make enforcement of immigration laws more difficult. Which is why you should be strongly opposed to it.

  31. [31] 
    Michale wrote:

    Yes ... I did read the whole thing.

    Kudos...

    And, I don't think this new law is necessary,

    But you don't live in Arizona... :D

    nor will it be very effective.

    That depends...

    If the intent was to embarrass the Federal Government into getting off their political oriented asses and pay attention to the issue, then I would say it's been very effective...

    Time will tell how effective it is in actually stemming the tide of illegal aliens..

    But it HAS been effective in showing the incompetence of the Obama Administration..

    In fact, when all is said and done, this new law will undoubtedly be very counterproductive and make enforcement of immigration laws more difficult.

    How so???

    Michale......

  32. [32] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    How so???

    How so? You mean we have to provide explanations with cogent type arguments? Who knew?

    But, you do make a good point about the new Arizona law being a kind of catalyst - perhaps - in terms of getting the new administration to press on with immigration reform. Good luck to them with that, by the way.

    Back to the counter-productive nature of the new law ... that has more to do with how the citizens of Arizona react to it. We'll have to see how it all shakes out.

  33. [33] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    hi liz,

    in case you didn't read my earlier response, i have yet another link for you:

    http://www.correntewire.com/obamas_great_big_union_busting_education_policy_leads_mass_firings_ri

    misguided or not, it's not a good sign for 2012.

  34. [34] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Hey nypoet!

    Yeah, I read your links. Sorry I didn't respond.

    I don't know enough about Obama's education policy and how it affects teachers to comment on any of that.

    But, I do know enough about the Obama-Biden administration (with emphasis on Biden) to know that resorting to descriptions of President Obama - and, by implication, Vice President Biden - as "a privitizing, union-busting, tool of the mega-corporations" is misguided in the extreme. And, that's being very polite.

    And, I'm not a big fan of media links as I find the majority of them to be wholly unreliable. I certainly don't use them to understand a subject I know little about.

  35. [35] 
    LewDan wrote:

    Michale,

    I find your faith in LE amazing. The law is an open invitation to discriminate. No the law does not say "you will discriminate," only a few affirmative action laws have been able to get away with that since the Civil War.

    The fact that AZ legislators are bigots not morons doesn't mean the intent isn't discriminatory. There is nothing in that law that places any restraints on LE while its wording deliberately removes all restraint.

    LE can initiate a lawful contact with anyone they choose at any time simply by asking to see identification. You have repeatedly refused to address the obvious fact that it allows citizens to be arrested and turned over to ICE for deportation at LE discretion unless they prove their innocence.

    Your disingenuous insistence that a law targeting illegal Mexican immigration will not disproportionately affect Hispanic-Americans is beneath you. Your acceptance of laws so broad and vague that LE has unfettered discretion with the burden of proof placed wholly on the "suspect" is yet another example of your disdain for the rule of law. And if you think targeting a minority is an acceptable way to send a message to Washington I can only conclude you have equal disdain for democracy. We have elections, representatives and senators, the democratic process does not include extortion; "give me what I want or I'll kill the Hispanics?"

    I too have read the bill, difference is I read it without prejudice. I don't really care what AZ intends, I'm not interested in making excuses for them, I'm talking about what they have done. You may be comfortable with a police state due to your boundless faith in the powers that be to do no wrong; me, I put my faith in the law not wishful thinking.

    The law has never proven much protection but wishful thinking has never proven any protection.

  36. [36] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    Back to the counter-productive nature of the new law ... that has more to do with how the citizens of Arizona react to it. We'll have to see how it all shakes out.

    So far, in Arizona, it's running 4-1 in favor of the new law. Nationwide, it's 3-1..

    I just find it funny that those can sit on the sidelines and castigate AZ when they are living in BooDunk, South Dakota or New York City or BumFuq, Egypt..

    It's Arizona's right to do what Arizona feels is necessary to protect Arizona citizens.. And NO ONE who doesn't live in Arizona has the right to condemn Arizona for doing it's duty...

    LD,

    I find your faith in LE amazing.

    That's because I have Been There and Done That.


    The law is an open invitation to discriminate.

    Any enforcement action is an "open invitation" to discriminate.... It's the nature of the beast. All we can do is put the best people we can in the job and hope they do the right thing all the time..

    No the law does not say "you will discriminate,"

    Exactly my point. You were claiming that the law itself is discriminatory when in actuality, it MIGHT lead to discrimination if enforced improperly.

    So, you don't have a problem with the law, you have a problem with how it MIGHT be enforced... How it COULD be misused or misapplied..

    Your more concerned with the WHAT IF than with the WHAT IS...

    Is it a reasonable concern?

    Maybe...

    Only time will tell..

    But, short of appeasement and complete surrender of our southern border, I don't see any alternative. And, as I told Liz above, no one has the right to condemn Arizona unless they live in Arizona and have experienced first hand the terror and horror of brutal murders, horrific rapes and other crimes committed by illegal aliens...

    The fact that AZ legislators are bigots

    Assumes facts not in evidence.

    There is nothing in that law that places any restraints on LE while its wording deliberately removes all restraint.

    Can you point to specific examples??

    LE can initiate a lawful contact with anyone they choose at any time simply by asking to see identification.

    But as you so clearly stated, they must have a good reason to do so.. Simply because they see a hot blonde and want to know her name is not sufficient probable cause to seek identification..

    So, asking someone for identification because they are black or hispanic is NOT "lawful contact".. Ergo, it would be a violation of the law.

    Once again I must point out. The law, AS IT IS WRITTEN is perfectly fair and constitutional.

    If it's not followed, then that can (and I am sure WILL) be addressed..

    But the law itself is not the problem.

    Your disingenuous insistence that a law targeting illegal Mexican immigration will not disproportionately affect Hispanic-Americans is beneath you.

    Once again, assumes facts not in evidence..

    The AZ Law is targeting one group and one group only.

    ILLEGAL ALIENS

    The fact that the majority of ILLEGAL ALIENS in Arizona are hispanic is completely irrelevant and immaterial to the law..

    The law works in ANY state, simply by virtue of the fact that it is completely non-racial, non-ethnic and non-discriminatory.

    The ONLY group targeted are ILLEGAL ALIENS.... Whether they be hispanic, black, white or whatever...

    I too have read the bill, difference is I read it without prejudice.

    With respect, your prejudice is not only obvious, it's admitted. I believe you have said on many occasions how you are prejudiced against Republicans.. I think we can add Law Enforcement to that list as well.. :D

    You read the law with the assumption that it will be ignored or violated by Law Enforcement.

    If you were to read it with a truly objective eye, you would see that nothing IN THE LAW ITSELF is discriminatory against ANY group, save one.

    ILLEGAL ALIENS.

    I don't really care what AZ intends, I'm not interested in making excuses for them, I'm talking about what they have done.

    And all that Arizona has done is to try and make things safer for it's LEGAL citizens. Which is not only Arizona's RIGHT, it is Arizona's DUTY to do...

    Will it work??

    Time will tell...

    But the legality of what Arizona has done is indisputable. The Constitutionality of what Arizona has done is also indisputable..

    Michale.....

  37. [37] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    I don't know enough about Obama's education policy and how it affects teachers to comment on any of that.

    but you just did!

    the gist of the criticism is, secretary duncan's policy explicitly encourages the closing of schools labeled "failing," and the wholesale firing of teachers. this might sound like common sense, but when it actually happened in rhode island, it was in direct response to difficult union negotiations, not because the school's students weren't doing well, and certainly not because the teachers weren't teaching. in practice, this amounts to union-busting, and the president vocally supported it.

    another part of the policy that may sound good in theory but could pose a real problem is the expansion of for-profit charter schools, and changing "failing" public schools to charter schools. i understand that some shake-ups may be needed, but the vast majority of research shows that charter schools on average don't teach any better than public schools, and have fewer labor protections. operating on a large scale, this amounts to both privatizing (this part should be self-evident) and a weakening of teacher unions, who have no standing to negotiate labor contracts for charter schools.

    the third scary thing that has happened in direct response to duncan's policy is that many states, including florida and colorado, have proposed legislation mandating the expanded the use of high-stakes standardized testing to measure the "merit" of teachers or schools, and to base the hiring and firing of teachers upon these scores. this was a disaster under bush, and is doubly so under obama, because in practice it blames teachers for a host of problems over which they have no control. it also effectively mandates a "test-prep" curriculum, reducing the time available for teachers to do any real teaching.

    But, I do know enough about the Obama-Biden administration

    is there such a thing as an ad-hominem defense? he's a good person so he must be right? maybe you don't know enough about education, and maybe the president doesn't either. i may not agree with my mother's overall assessment, but she has reasoned support for her position on education policy. teachers and teacher unions were big supporters of obama's election, and now they feel betrayed. you can address this issue substantively, but a blanket denial doesn't work without facts to back it up.

  38. [38] 
    Michale wrote:

    nypoet,

    the gist of the criticism is, secretary duncan's policy explicitly encourages the closing of schools labeled "failing," and the wholesale firing of teachers. this might sound like common sense, but when it actually happened in rhode island, it was in direct response to difficult union negotiations, not because the school's students weren't doing well, and certainly not because the teachers weren't teaching. in practice, this amounts to union-busting, and the president vocally supported it.

    So these teachers were fired en-masse, not because of any incompetence, but rather because they held firm in a contract dispute??

    It's amazing that Labor Unions still support Obama...

    the third scary thing that has happened in direct response to duncan's policy is that many states, including florida and colorado, have proposed legislation mandating the expanded the use of high-stakes standardized testing to measure the "merit" of teachers or schools, and to base the hiring and firing of teachers upon these scores. this was a disaster under bush, and is doubly so under obama, because in practice it blames teachers for a host of problems over which they have no control. it also effectively mandates a "test-prep" curriculum, reducing the time available for teachers to do any real teaching.

    So, if I understand you correctly, Obama's educational policies state, among other things, that if students don't do well in high-power testings, that the teachers are fired?? Even though it's possible (even likely) that the teachers' actions have nothing to do with the failure??

    Is that an accurate assessment??

    If so, that really stinks and I can see why your mother has such a problem with the administration.

    This information, coupled with the bizarre speech that Obama gave at a commencement a couple days ago seems to support the belief that Obama is trying to create a dependent society...

    Can't say it surprises me..

    Michale....

  39. [39] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    nypoet,

    I don't know enough about Obama's education policy and how it affects teachers to comment on any of that.

    but you just did!

    Actually, I most certainly did not comment on Obama's education policy and how it affects teachers. You might want to take another look at comments #8 and #34 for what I did say. Which had nothing to do with teachers or Obama's education policy.

    I am also not engaged in blanket denials. Your mother made specific comments, if we are to believe what you said she said, about Obama - and his administration by implication - that are wholly unsubstantiated and utterly false. Which I simply pointed out.

    And, that's all I'm gonna say about that! :)

  40. [40] 
    Michale wrote:

    “Fannie Mae said on Monday it would need an additional $8.4bn in aid, as the US government-controlled mortgage finance company continued to suffer heavy losses on its bad loans…Fannie Mae’s appeal for help comes on the heels of a similar plea last week by smaller rival Freddie Mac, which asked for an additional $10.6bn cash infusion. The latest requests for aid bring the total amount of taxpayer dollars drawn down by these companies to $148bn since the 2008 government-led bail-out.

    http://gopleader.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=184989

    So, who is actually supporting Wall Street over Main Street????

    It certainly is not JUST the Republicans...

    Michale.....

  41. [41] 
    Michale wrote:

    Does anyone, ANYONE, here agree with President Obama that "too much information" is a bad thing???

    Anyone at all???

    Michale.....

  42. [42] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    liz,

    Your mother made specific comments, if we are to believe what you said she said, about Obama - and his administration by implication - that are wholly unsubstantiated and utterly false.

    much as i wish that were the case, it is not. In post 37, I gave three concrete examples to "substantiate" why those perceptions exist. in prior posts i gave links to explanations of each.

    concrete example #1 - supported mass firings of teachers in a rhode island labor dispute.

    concrete example #2 - Based federal funding on criteria that encourage states to expand bush-era standardized testing of students, then use it as a basis for teacher pay, hiring and firing.

    concrete example #3 - Based federal funding on an increase in privatization of public schools.

    As I mentioned above, states including Florida and Colorado have already begun to implement these policies. These are not just perceptions, they are facts. If there were any rational way to dispute these facts, as a long-time supporter of the president i would already have done so. since my own belief is that obama's heart is in the right place, i can only conclude that he doesn't know his arse from his elbow when it comes to public education.

    Michale,
    So these teachers were fired en-masse, not because of any incompetence, but rather because they held firm in a contract dispute??

    correctamundo. and the president supported the district for doing so, since it was a "failing school."

    So, if I understand you correctly, Obama's educational policies state, among other things, that if students don't do well in high-power testings, that the teachers are fired?? Even though it's possible (even likely) that the teachers' actions have nothing to do with the failure??

    Is that an accurate assessment??

    Essentially, yes. I can't surmise as to whether that was how the policy was intended to function, but that is how the states are interpreting it, and the president hasn't indicated otherwise.

  43. [43] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    nypoet,

    Am I not making myself clear?

    I am NOT talking about education policy or the teachers. As I have said, I know NOTHING about that.

    Here is the pertinent passage from your original comment that I have been referring to:

    furthermore, her opinion on education has impacted her views on health-care and banking as well. she sees him not as the pragmatist she voted for, but as a privatizing, union-busting, tool of the mega-corporations. she says she may stay home or vote independent in 2012.

    You see, it is your mother's views on the Obama administration as related to healthcare and, specifically, banking (something I know a fair amount about with respect to how this administration has acted to stabilize the financial system) that I have characterized as wholly inaccurate and misguided in the extreme.

    I hope that clears everything up!

  44. [44] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    liz,

    now i understand what you meant; thank you for clarifying. what i initially meant when i wrote that was that obama's education policy could potentially cast a different light on his other priorities, such as healthcare and banking. I did not mean to say there was unimpeachable evidence in those other arenas. however, if i may play devil's advocate for a moment, there is enough compromise and ambiguity there to at least make one wonder whether the education policy is an outlier or part of the larger pattern.

    On healthcare, for example, it's not exactly a stretch to think that mandating the purchase of health coverage when there's no public option is a gift to big healthcare corporations. And even on banking, one might for example wonder why the president gave lots of money right away to the banks that were foreclosing on people's houses, but has still done next to nothing to help any of the people still trying to find a way to live in the houses and pay their mortgages.

    just sayin'...

  45. [45] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    nypoet,

    Well, I'm going to stick to what I know something about ... banking! ... funnily enough. Talk about LOL! I guess when one’s retirement savings plan loses 40% of its value in record time, one is forced to find out what the heck is going on and why! :)

    One might very well wonder what would have happened to the folks on Main Street if a lot of money hadn't been injected into those failing financial institutions and auto companies. The ramifications of a failure to inject this capital would have made the last year and half on Main Street look like the proverbial walk in the park with candy floss, in comparison.

    And, it should also be noted that, thanks to the decisive actions and solid leadership of one Timothy Geithner, the rescue of these financial institutions, and the stabilization of the financial system as a whole, has been done at a much lower cost to the taxpayers than anyone could have predicted.

    And so, when it comes to banking and stabilizing the financial system, the only thing one should be wondering about is why the American people don't get down on their hands and knees - en masse - and thank their lucky stars for Secretary Geithner! I mean that sincerely ... I'm not trying to be facetious here.

    Finally, if one surmises that this administration has done next to nothing to help any of the people still trying to find a way to live in their houses and pay for their mortgages, then one would really be stretching reality, not to mention diminishing their own credibility.

    So, that was both barrels, as they say. But, as you know, my bark is worse than my bite ... so to speak. :)

  46. [46] 
    Michale wrote:

    Finally, if one surmises that this administration has done next to nothing to help any of the people still trying to find a way to live in their houses and pay for their mortgages, then one would really be stretching reality, not to mention diminishing their own credibility.

    How so??

    With foreclosures at an all time high and rising faster, how can anyone claim that the Obama administration has actually done anything to help Main Street over Wall Street??

    Fanny and Freddy get another 8 billion to cover their criminal activity so they can foreclose on millions of more houses...

    What does Main Street get??

    Lie after lie and lie. Platitude after platitude after platitude...

    Where is the hope?? Where is the change??

    Michale.....

  47. [47] 
    Michale wrote:

    Really we should not be surprised at the callousness of Obama's Secretary Of Education...

    After all, this is the guy who said, "Katrina was the best thing to happen to the New Orlean schools."

    Imagine if a Republican administration had said that??

    The Left will simply go ballistic...

    Michale.....

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