Friday Reads: America Held Hostage Day 90Posted: April 21, 2017 Filed under: Afternoon Reads | Tags: Are all Republicans Corrupt? Asking for a friend., Hawaii, Jeff Sessions, Julian Assange, Mark Green, OReilly the bully, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, separation of church and state, The Daily Don 10 Comments
Good Morning Sky Dancers!
Today’s cartoons come from The.Daily.Don! Artist Jesse Duquette is the Daily Don: “Documenting this administration each day from the Inauguration to the Election.” They’re wonderful! Go look at his Instagram page! There’s one for every day we’ve been held hostage by Kremlin Caligula.
This compelling Op Ed written by retired Army officer Sheri Swokowski is another indication that Trump staffs every position with the wrong person. “Trump’s anti-LGBT Army secretary nominee thinks veterans like me have ‘a disease’”
Like Mark Green — President Trump’s nominee for secretary of the Army — I served my country in uniform. I was proud to be an infantry officer and retired honorably after 34 years. But as a transgender member of the military, I hid my authentic self for decades to continue serving the country I love. Unlike Green, I was forced to serve in silence the entire time, but I won’t be silent now.
I respect his Iraq War service as an Army flight surgeon, but the disrespect — the bigotry — he’s shown over and over toward the LGBT community, including LGBT service members, doesn’t reflect the spirit or direction of the military I know. Rather, his selection reflects poorly on the president and our armed forces. He’s the wrong choice to be Army secretary.
As a Tennessee state senator, Green has targeted the LGBT community. He introduced legislation that would enable businesses to discriminate against LGBT individuals. At a town hall meeting with his constituents, he expressed support for the idea of his state’s government defying the Supreme Court’s decision upholding marriage equality in all 50 states. He argued being transgender “is a disease.”
Now that he’s been nominated, Green says “politics will have nothing to do” with how he would do the job of Army secretary. Wrong. Leading the Army requires an appreciation for every individual, without exception, and Green wouldn’t have the confidence of the thousands of LGBT soldiers proudly and openly serving today. Every soldier needs to know that those at the top, uniformed and civilian, have their back. But based on the way he has used anti-LGBT politics to advance his career, that’s not him.
The You Tubes I put here will just give you a moment of zen and peace via Scotland. I’ve been listening to the haunting bagpipe music of my Gaelic ancestors for the last few days and finding some peace. I thought I’d share.
We’ve always known that Fox News was a basically a nuclear reactor of hate generation. Read this on Marie Claire.
After 15 years of providing legal protection and millions of dollars to his accusers, Fox News finally fired their marquis star, Bill O’Reilly, on Wednesday. In an age when a self-proclaimed “pussy-grabber” occupies the Oval Office, any public consequences for harassing women feel particularly significant. And this move was particularly satisfying for me—just a few years ago, O’Reilly sent a tidal wave of harassment my way.
On May 31, 2009, an anti-abortion zealot murdered abortion provider George Tiller. At the time, I was 21 years old and working as a counselor at an abortion clinic in Philadelphia. Dr. Tiller’s murder drove a hot spike of fear and anxiety through my entire body. I walked through anti-abortion protestors a few times a week to get to work; I found their gruesome signs annoying, but not threatening. But Dr. Tiller’s assassination forced me to confront the terrifying reality that my co-workers and I faced more than just screams. We could actually get killed for providing people with legal, safe, and compassionate medical care.
My boyfriend walked me to work the next day, a sweet but feeble attempt to shield me from the protestors. What could he actually do if one of them had a gun? Inside, my coworkers and I gathered to talk about how we felt. As I listened to each person share why they were still so committed to this work despite the danger, I wondered what it would be like for our stories and motivations to be shared in a bigger way. One colleague made a comment about all of us being Dr. Tiller now, and I texted my boyfriend—did he know how to make a website? And how much work would it take?
We stayed up all night with him writing code and me writing content for IAmDrTiller.com. The next day, I told my coworkers to take photos with a sign that said “I Am Dr. Tiller,” and asked them to email me their own explanation of why they provide abortion care. My boss sent the website around to other abortion providers, and overnight I received dozens of submissions from abortion-clinic staff all over the country. Somehow, conservative media got wind of the website, and on June 10, Bill O’Reilly discussed the project on his show.
Read the story of how O’Reilly basically ginned up a group of crazy domestic terrorists to stalk, harass and haunt here. I’ve been at the receiving end of attacks from those freaks. They’re an ugly, mean, nasty, and hateful lot.
President Obama will be giving a speech in Chicago after spending a lot of time resting in the tropics. I’d personally like to hear why we didn’t get all this T-Russia information back last summer from him. I believe we’re owed an explanation but I will take a little bit of hope and a lot of change talk. I could use it.
Former President Barack Obama will return to Chicago on Monday to speak to young people at the University of Chicago, in what will be his first public event since leaving the White House.
Obama and young leaders will hold a conversation on civic engagement and discuss community organizing at the university’s Logan Center for the Arts, his office announced Friday.
Hundreds of people are expected to attend, chosen from area universities that were given tickets for distribution, said Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for the former president. About six young people will appear on stage with him for the 11 a.m. discussion, Lewis said.
The event will be a homecoming for Obama on multiple levels. He formerly taught constitutional law at the U. of C. and his family has a home nearby in the Kenwood neighborhood. It also lets the former president, who came to Chicago to work as a young community organizer, fulfill one of the commitments he set out for his post-presidential years: to engage and work with the country’s next generation of leaders, Lewis said.
One SCOTUS decision could do serious damage to the First Amendment. Will this SCOTUS destroy Church/State Seperation?
One of the many travesties endemic in a government controlled by Republicans is that the evangelical right now has the full weight and force of the federal government to institute a theocracy. Now that religious conservatives control the Supreme Court with Neil Gorsuch’s appointment to the bench, they have an instant ally to achieve the Dominionist movement’s highest priorities: tearing down any and all constitutional barriers between church and state.
Yesterday, in a case the High Court’s conservatives postponed for 15 months wishing and hoping for an evangelical majority, they heard oral arguments in a case very few Americans are aware of. The people should be terrified because a ruling for theocracy will effectively demolish church-state separation and completely neuter the First Amendment’s religious clauses. And it will force every taxpayer to fund religious organizations; like it or not.
This one case will have far reaching effects on every American, and every facet of government, that will make the Hobby Lobby, Voting Rights, and Citizens United rulings seem petty and insignificant in comparison. Sadly, due to the media, including the cowards in the liberal media, and their resistance to reporting the rash of evangelical legislation they claim are simply born of “conservative ideology,” most Americans are clueless as to what is awaiting them; a High Court ruling establishing a veritable evangelical theocracy.
The case, “Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer,” is about forcing Missouri taxpayers to fund upgrading a church school’s playground despite a state and federal prohibition against it. Even though there is a long-standing Constitutional statute against using taxpayer money to fund religious organizations, Missouri is one several states that enshrined the same prohibition in its state Constitution. Still, the “churches” cried foul and claimed that if taxpayers fund public schools, then they damn sure better start funding religious schools and organizations.
One might think that churches earning well-over $82.5 billion annually (in 2013) from taxpayers subsidizing religious non-profits (churches) was enough welfare for the “charitable Christians.” Add to that staggering annual figure the $41.7 billion in annual payments (in 2004) in welfare from Bush’s “faith-based initiative” programs. Money well spent according to W. Bush who wanted the taxpayer’s money to “save one soul at a time.” Still, even that unconstitutional abomination didn’t satisfy their greed for more taxpayer money and more control over government. And, the sad truth is that tearing down the barrier between church and state will set a Constitutional precedent allowing evangelicals to do so much more than just force taxpayers to support their “ministries.”
Since before America was a nation, the Founding Fathers were preparing, and went to great lengths, to keep religion out of government. The concept of not funding, or legislating according to evangelicalism, is not a new idea.
I hold this near and dear as the descendant of Hugenot French who fled the Alsace Lorraine/Rhinelands area as Jews and Protestants being forcefully removed and slaughtered at the behest of the Roman Catholic Church. The parts of my family who signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution made a refuge for folks suffering from state-sanctioned religious persecution. I’d hate to see us dump on this most important right.
Speaking of Judges, have you ever heard an AG attack one plus show his geography ignorance simultaneously? I’m willing to bet I can find second and third graders that know Hawaii is a state and is composed of quite a few islands too. Isn’t this a MaCaCa moment?
The ability of federal judges to strike down actions taken by Congress or the executive branch if they’re deemed unconstitutional is a hallmark of the American system of government. It’s an important part of the system of checks and balances, ensuring that the president and legislators don’t acquire too much power.
But to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the nation’s top law enforcement officer, it’s “amazing” — and he means that in a bad way.
“I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the president of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and constitutional power,” Sessions told conservative radio host Mark Levin during an interview Tuesday (as reported by CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski on Thursday). “The judges don’t get to psychoanalyze the president to see if the order he issues is lawful. It’s either lawful or it’s not.”
The “judge sitting on an island in the Pacific” in question is District of Hawaii judge Derrick Watson, who ruled in March against the Trump administration’s attempt to temporarily ban residents of six majority-Muslim countries and nearly all refugees from entering the US. (Watson’s ruling is just a temporary injunction while the lawsuit against the ban, brought by states including Hawaii, gets a full hearing in court; the Trump administration is appealing Watson’s ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and appealing a separate ruling against the ban, issued in Maryland, to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.)
Sessions’s remark has gotten a lot of attention as an attack on the state of Hawaii (not least because it fits a little too easily in a long tradition of racist dog-whistling about the “foreignness” of nonwhite and specifically Pacific Islander Americans), but it’s part of a broader attack from Republicans on the “liberal Ninth Circuit” as a whole — and the first indication that not only President Trump, but his chief law enforcement officer, is uneasy with the idea of judicial review itself.
But Sessions has decided to place the spying blame Julian Assange and flutter his little hands and air his squeaky little Tennessee Crackcer voice to keep the attention off his boss and off all those meetings with Russians of his own.
The arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is now a “priority” for the US, the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has said.
Hours later it was reported by CNN that authorities have prepared charges against Assange, who is currently holed up at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Donald Trump lavished praise on the anti-secrecy website during the presidential election campaign – “I love WikiLeaks,” he once told a rally – but his administration has struck a different tone.
Asked whether it was a priority for the justice department to arrest Assange “once and for all”, Sessions told a press conference in El Paso, Texas, on Thursday: “We are going to step up our effort and already are stepping up our efforts on all leaks. This is a matter that’s gone beyond anything I’m aware of. We have professionals that have been in the security business of the United States for many years that are shocked by the number of leaks and some of them are quite serious.”
He added: “So yes, it is a priority. We’ve already begun to step up our efforts and whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail.”
Citing unnamed officials, CNN reported that prosecutors have struggled with whether the Australian is protected from prosecution by the first amendment, but now believe they have found a path forward. A spokesman for the justice department declined to comment.
Barry Pollack, Assange’s lawyer, denied any knowledge of imminent prosecution. “We’ve had no communication with the Department of Justice and they have not indicated to me that they have brought any charges against Mr Assange,” he told CNN. “They’ve been unwilling to have any discussion at all, despite our repeated requests, that they let us know what Mr Assange’s status is in any pending investigations. There’s no reason why WikiLeaks should be treated differently from any other publisher.”
We’re all still wondering why Jason Chaffetz is exiting stage left with intense speed. What’s he running from exactly?
Jason Chaffetz is so ambitious that his last name is a verb.
In the political world, to Chaffetz means to throw a former mentor under the bus in order to get ahead, and various prominent Republicans, from former Utah governor and presidential candidate Jon Huntsman Jr. to House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, have experienced what it’s like to get Chaffetzed. But the five-term Utah Republican and powerful chairman of the House oversight committee shocked Washington on Wednesday when he announced he would not seek reelection in 2018 or run for any other political office that year in order to spend more time with his family.
“I am healthy. I am confident I would continue to be re-elected by large margins,” he said in a statement. “I have the full support of Speaker [Paul] Ryan to continue as Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. That said, I have made a personal decision to return to the private sector.”
His surprise announcement has fueled speculation of a possible scandal, though Chaffetz told Politico there’s nothing to the rumors about a skeleton in his closet: “I’ve been given more enemas by more people over the last eight years than you can possibly imagine… If they had something really scandalous, it would’ve come out a long, long time ago.”
Louise Mensch thinks the Russians have Kompromat. Twitter rumors say that he’s been having multiple affairs. (Who would fuck a man with a face like that?)
Okay, so I’m still thinking of planning an escape somewhere but meanwhile I’m here in the swamp with the Bagpipes wailing. I’m thinking I should get a set and practice at odd hours of the morning in front of the Air BnBs and the owners of my local nuisance bar. I’d be as unskilled as any of the musicians they hire for pennies there and at least as bad. One thing is certain that Scotland may look better than France if Marie LePen wins.
Have a great weekend! What’s on your reading and blogging list today? The music above is beautiful. Give it an ear or two.
Live Blog: Returns of the NightPosted: March 8, 2016 Filed under: 2016 elections, Live, Live Blog | Tags: Clinton, Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan primaries, Mississippi, Trump 195 Comments
Tonight we’re waiting for the returns from the state of Michigan even though there are three other states voting. Hawaii, Idaho, and Mississippi are also voting although several of these are Republican voting events only.
The biggest prize is Michigan where the front-runners – Donald Trump for the Republicans and Hillary Clinton for the Democrats – will seek to consolidate leads over their respective rivals.
Both parties are also holding primaries in Mississippi on Tuesday.
In addition, the Republicans are voting in Idaho and Hawaii.
Billionaire businessman Mr Trump is well ahead in the all-important delegate count, but a poor debate performance and some recent losses to Texas Senator Ted Cruz have raised questions about the solidity of his lead.
It’s an important day for Republicans, in which 6 percent of the party’s delegates are at stake. And by the time the dust has settled tonight or (more likely) tomorrow, about 43 percent of the party’s delegates will be allotted overall.
But really, today is a prelude to the far more consequential contests taking place in one week. That’s because today’s delegates are allocated mostly proportionally, making it tough for any candidate to pick up a huge lead. Next week, though, Florida and Ohio will vote winner-take-all, and the outcomes there could have major implications for the future of the race, since Donald Trump has led recent polls of both states. If he wins those two, he could amass a delegate lead that will be very difficult for any of his rivals to surmount.
So expect Republicans to interpret tonight’s results mainly in terms of what they might mean for next week. Does Trump look mortal, as he did on Saturday, or will he rebound with a dominant performance? Is Marco Rubio truly in free fall, as some recent polls have indicated? Is the anti-Trump vote consolidating around Ted Cruz, or will it remain split?
As for Democrats, Hillary Clinton is up big in polls of both states voting today. A win in Mississippi tonight wouldn’t be a surprise, since she’s romped in the South so far, but it would let her continue to pad her lead in pledged delegates, which is already sizable. But if Sanders gets blown out in Michigan, that may indicate that Clinton is likely to win several other primaries in large, delegate-rich states outside the South — making analready tough delegate math challenge for Sanders even tougher.
Michigan is a state that’s undergone a vast change. It used to be the center of a great post-War industrial automobile industry but most of its lucrative union jobs are gone. The auto industry is on the mend but no where as powerful as it used to be in the country. It is perhaps a great test of the power of establishment vs. outsider revolution.
While Sanders has made awkward attempts to court African American voters, Hillary Clinton has deep ties to the community. She was the first presidential candidate to visit Flint, Michigan, a predominately African American city with toxic water.
Clinton hopes to appeal to people like Lawrence White, a 43-year-old state employee and owner of a small security firm who feels betrayed by every level of government and by both parties. “I’m not just singling out Governor [Rick] Snyder,” the African American Democrat told me in January. “All the politicians including the EPA are playing tit-for-tat, playing games at our expense. It’s everybody. It’s Republicans. It’s Democrats. It’s a globalization of not caring for the people of Flint.”
Just north of Detroit, in the suburbs of Oakland and Macomb counties, live the children and grandchildren of Reagan Democrats, white working-class voters who defected their party to support Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.
I grew up among Reagan Democrats; their racial and economic grievances were the soundtrack of my childhood. For people like Benson Brundage, a Macomb County contractor who told me in 2012 that welfare is racial “subsidization,” Donald Trump gives voice to their fears.
Mitt Romney dog-whistled at them in 2012. Now the former GOP nominee issuggesting that Trump is a bigot.
Polls show that all the midwestern industrial states favor Trump and Clinton. Here’s a list of the latest polls from RCP. It’s bound to be a dismal day for Marco Rubio. That’s pretty obvious. Is Kasich rising since these states should be favorable to him?
Ohio Gov. John Kasich has actually jumped ahead of Rubio for third place in Michigan, and is rising quickly, a Monmouth University poll out Monday showed. He appears to have worn well in last week’s Republican presidential debate, when he stayed out of the Trump-Rubio-Cruz scrum.
So imagine this scenario: Kasich beats Rubio in Michigan. Then, on March 15, Kasich wins his 66-delegate, winner-take-all home state of Ohio, and Rubio loses his 99-delegate, winner-take-all home state of Florida.
Find your presidential match with CNN’s 2016 Candidate Matchmaker
Suddenly, Kasich would become the leading moderate, establishment-type Republican in the race — and Rubio would lack a path forward.
There are a lot of “ifs” for that to happen. But for Kasich to stand any chance of turning what’s been a smaller-scale campaign that’s been much choosier about where he tries to compete into one with a real shot at quickly racking up delegates, Michigan is where it has to start.
Join us tonight for the returns! I’ve put up a picture from each of the states. As you can see, there couldn’t be a better example of the diversity in Americans and geography in the states voting tonight.
Mississippi returns will come in first at 8 pm est so get ready!!!
Friday Morning ReadsPosted: September 13, 2013 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Economy, U.S. Politics | Tags: Bobby Jindal, David Vitter, drug testing pregnant women, Eric Cantor, food stamps, Greg Zoeller, Hawaii, Indiana, molasses spill, sequester, SNAP 41 Comments
Syria is again dominating the headlines. Here’s a few things that might be slipping under the rug.
If Congressional Republicans have their way, SNAP recipients will only get $3.37 a day for meals.
In July, House Republicans decoupled SNAP from the rest of the farm bill. Now, led by Majority Leader Eric Cantor, they are working on a food-stamp provision that could cut as much as $40 billion over 10 years, according to reports. Legislative language for the Cantor proposal is not yet available.
The conservative case goes like this: The food-stamp program is abused by recipients who are not meeting eligibility requirements. In particular, conservatives want to tighten loopholes that they contend allow able-bodied adults without dependents to receive assistance; they want to limit coverage for the able-bodied adults to three months within a 36-month period.
“Currently, working middle-class families struggling to make ends meet themselves are footing a bill for a program that has gone well beyond the safety net for children, seniors, the disabled, and families who desperately need the assistance,” said Cantor spokesman Rory Cooper.
Antihunger advocates say House Republicans’ proposed cuts would hit some of the neediest Americans hard, and they argue that the law already contains adequate restrictions against abuse.
At the Capital Area Food Bank, a 100,000-square-foot warehouse facility — a kind of Sam’s Club for food pantries in the metro Washington area — officials say food-stamp funds typically last recipients two and a half weeks. After the benefits run out, many go to food pantries to help make ends meet, according to the Food Bank’s Brian Banks.
Conservatives, meanwhile, argue that food-stamp funding has been rising too quickly. The program cost about $78.4 billion to help feed roughly 47 million participants in 2012, according to the Agriculture Department. That’s up from about $17 billion from 2000, when 17 million Americans participated.
“The national debt has now topped $16 trillion and will continue to grow rapidly for the foreseeable future. To preserve the economy, government spending, including welfare spending, must be put on a more prudent course,” wrote the Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector and Katherine Bradley in a white paper.
Anti-hunger advocates, though, point to a spike in the number of Americans who are “food insecure,” a term used by the government, that correlates to the recession. According to USDA, the number has recently stayed at roughly 15 percent, with 17.6 million households classified as such in 2012, according to a newly released report. With 59 percent of food-insecure households using food stamps, advocates argue that it’s important not to slash SNAP.
Now that Congress has returned, the farm bill and the food-stamp program will compete for scarce legislative time with the situation in Syria, appropriations bills, and a debate over the debt-ceiling limit, which the government is expected to reach sometime this fall. Among antihunger organizations, optimism is in short supply.
Indiania seems to hate its pregnant women. They’re at it again. This time they want to drug test all pregnant women even if there is no probable cause to believe they might be ingesting something harmful.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is calling on the legislature to help reduce the number of babies being exposed to narcotics while still in the womb.
It is called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, or NAS, newborns exposed to addictive illegal or prescription drugs before they are born.
Attorney General Greg Zoeller says treating NAS at Indiana hospitals cost an estimated $30 million in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, and he says that’s with limited tracking because hospitals are not required to report the condition.
Zoeller says one solution is requiring pregnant women take drug tests to identify the problem and start treatment before birth.
“You can reduce the length of stay for the newly born baby from six weeks to two weeks, the better health of the baby as well as the costs,” he say.s
State Senator Pat Miller, R-Indianapolis, says the legislature is exploring different options because of concerns about mandatory drug tests.
“Verbal screening as opposed to the kind of blood or urine analysis that might drive women away from getting prenatal care,” she says, adding that a definitive answer has not been reached and a legislative panel will continue to investigate the issue leading up to next session.
Republicans are gearing up for the fight over the sequester in October.
On Tuesday, House Republicans unveiled their proposal to keep the government running past September 30, when the law that currently funds federal operations expires. It would last through December, at which point the parties would have to come up with yet another extension. As expected, the proposal more or less “locks in” funding levels from budget sequestration—in effect, it keeps the cuts that have been reducing Head Start slots, weakening the economy recovery, and generally wreaking havoc. As you may recall, sequestration cuts were never supposed to happen: They were supposed to be so crude and unpleasant, to conservatives and liberals alike, that the two parties would agree on an alternative way of reducing the deficit. But that hasn’t happened, so the cuts have taken effect this year. And if this new House Republican proposal passes, they will stay in place for at least a little while longer.
The House proposal also includes a provision to withhold funds for implementing Obamacare. Again, this is not a surprise. And, like some previous efforts, this one is mostly an effort of political theater. By design, the Senate could strip out the Obamacare defunding and approve everything else in the House leadership proposal. That would leave a “clean” government-funding bill, as House Republican leaders call it, for President Obama to sign. But House Republican leaders have assured anxious conservatives that a real effort to undermine Obamacare will come soon—proabably sometime in early October, when the federal treasury nears its official borrowing limit. At that point, the leaders say, they will refuse to authorize more borrowing unless Obama and the Democrats agree to certain concessions. The demands will include some kind of effort at defunding or delaying Obamacare—quite possibly, by insisting that the Obama administration postpones the individual mandate (the requirement that everybody get health insurance) by one year.
Senate Democrats have had all they can take from David Vitter and his fixation on Obamacare — and they’re dredging up his past prostitution scandal to hit back.
Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, has infuriated Democrats this week by commandeering the Senate floor, demanding a vote on his amendment repealing federal contributions to help pay for lawmakers’ health care coverage.
But Democratic senators are preparing a legislative response targeting a sordid Vitter episode. If Vitter continues to insist on a vote on his proposal, Democrats could counter with one of their own: Lawmakers will be denied those government contributions if there is “probable cause” they solicited prostitutes.
According to draft legislation obtained by POLITICO, Democrats are weighing whether to force a Senate vote on a plan that would effectively resurrect Vitter’s past if the conservative Republican continues to press forward with his Obamacare-bashing proposal.
It is now much easier to make the case that Gov. Bobby Jindal knows his chances of winning the presidency in the 2016 election are securely in his past. In fact, given the record he is now so feverishly and self-destructively building, it is difficult imagining the governor winning another — any — statewide election in Louisiana. In making that case, Exhibits No. 1 through No. 50, at least, are on display in Jindal’s bafflingly deliberate and long-running defiance of orders issued by Baton Rouge state district court Judge Janice Clark in a key public records case.
Over five months ago, on April 25, Judge Clark emphatically ruled in favor of plaintiff newspapers, the Advocate and NOLA.com | Times-Picayune, and ordered the LSU Board of Supervisors to “immediately produce” the documents identifying all those who sought the combined job of LSU president and chancellor. F. King Alexander was selected for the job, and Jindal does not want citizens to know who the other candidates were. Thus he directed his go-to lawyer, Jimmy Faircloth, to burn a trainload of taxpayer money by stiffing the citizenry and the judge … repeatedly … and proudly.
The rarity of observing such a months-long political train wreck was underscored by Lori Mince, the attorney representing the two Louisiana newspapers, in a Sept. 10article by Mike Hasten of Gannett News. Ms. Mince noted, “This is the first public records case I’ve had when the public body refused to comply.” No one else with whom I have spoken or emailed can remember another such instance, either. Such makes sense because once a public records case goes all the way to court, and a judge orders the documents produced, public officials have every reason and need to, well, produce the documents. That is precisely what happened when a group of us in Shreveport sued the highway department for documents, went up against Jindal / Faircloth’s initial opposition, and headed to Clark’s court. When our hearing came up, the requested documents appeared as Faircloth did the opposite.
To grasp how bizarrely foolish the Jindal / Faircloth / Board of Supervisors argument is, it began with Faircloth arguing that the only word in the related law which mattered was “applicant,” and that there was only one of those — the winner, F. King Alexander. Note that Faircloth made this argument to Clark even though Blake Chatelain, the LSU board member who led the search committee, said in his subject court deposition that he and his committee began their work with about 100 prospects, cut that to 35 keepers, then down to “six or seven,” before picking Alexander. All of this was managed via a web portal belonging to a Dallas consultant hired for such purpose, a reported key in the Jindal plan to maintain secrecy throughout the process. (Thanks to Gordon Russell, then writing for the NOLA.com | Times-Picayune, for his April report.)
It is anyone’s guess as to what Jindal is hiding: Was/is Alexander qualified? Was he the best candidate? Who did Jindal really want, and why didn’t that person get the job? Those of us who have been down this road with the man and his team, especially Faircloth, know that the explanation may be much simpler: Jindal has never believed the rules and law and constitution apply to him.
It seems a molasses spill in Hawaii is killing fish.
Officials responding to a spill of 1,400 tons of molasses in Hawaii waters plan to let nature clean things up, with boat crews collecting thousands of dead fish to determine the extent of environmental damage.
The crews already have collected about 2,000 dead fish from waters near Honolulu Harbor, and they expect to see more in the coming days and possibly weeks, said Gary Gill, deputy director of the Hawaii Department of Health.
“Our best advice as of this morning is to let nature take its course,” Gill told reporters at a news conference at the harbor, where commercial ships passed through discolored, empty-looking waters.
So, that’s a little this and that! What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Hillary in Hawaii Open ThreadPosted: November 15, 2011 Filed under: just because, U.S. Politics | Tags: Hawaii, Hillary Clinton, photo ops 7 Comments
I thought we could use another pick-me-up, so here’s a great anecdote about Hillary from The New York Daily News.
Hillary Clinton’s trip to Hawaii took a hilarious turn when a half-naked man interrupted her photo op and streaked in the background with nothing but a flaming torch and loin cloth.
Video of the incident, which surfaced Tuesday, shows the Secretary of State busting out a hearty laugh and clapping her hands when she spots the man zooming by.
“Th[at] was great!” Clinton exclaimed to the media. “I hope you all captured that.”
Clinton had been posing for photos with Donald Tsang, Hong Kong’s chief executive on Saturday as the man appeared in the shot.
Barely containing herself, she then patted Tsang on the shoulder and joked “People will wonder what the chief executive is doing.”
Here’s the video:
Barack Obama’s Father Planned to Give Him Up for AdoptionPosted: July 7, 2011 Filed under: Barack Obama, U.S. Politics | Tags: adoption, Ann Dunham, Barack Obama Sr, bigamy, Boston Globe, Harvard, Hawaii, immigration, INS, polygamy, President Barack Obama, Robert Gibbs, Sally Jacobs, Salvation Army 12 Comments
The dreams of President Barack Obama’s father apparently included turning him over to the Salvation Army to be adopted, according to a new book by Boston Globe reporter Sally Jacobs. Jacobs found records showing that in 1961, before his son was born, Barack Obama Sr.,
a sophomore at the University of Hawaii, had come under scrutiny by federal immigration officials who were concerned that he had more than one wife. When he was questioned by the school’s foreign student adviser, the 24-year-old Obama insisted that he had divorced his wife in his native Kenya. Although his new wife, Ann Dunham, was five months pregnant with their child – who would be called Barack Obama II – Obama declared that they intended to put their child up for adoption.
“Subject got his USC wife ‘Hapai’ [Hawaiian for pregnant] and although they were married they do not live together and Miss Dunham is making arrangements with the Salvation Army to give the baby away,’’ according to a memo describing the conversation with Obama written by Lyle H. Dahling, an administrator in the Honolulu office of what was then called the US Immigration and Naturalization Service. Wondering how to get a permanent residency in the U.S.? Immigrant Investor Visa Program which is also known as the EB5 Visa is the answer. For more details, visit inc.com.
Obviously this never happened, but we do know that Obama’s father eventually went off to grad school at Harvard, abandoning his wife and child. According to Jacobs,
…his statement provides a unique glimpse into the relationship between the president’s parents and the fragility of his connection to the father whom he would little know.
Dahling’s memo, dated April 12, 1961, is one of dozens of documents in the elder Obama’s “alien’’ file released by the Department of Homeland Security in response to a Freedom of Information Act request made in the course of research on a biography of Obama’s father. Obama was visiting the United States on a foreign student visa which required him to apply for an annual extension of his stay during the five years he was attending US colleges.
The memo advised that officials should continue to monitor the senior Obama’s personal life, and raised concerns about his behavior, noting that the previous summer he had been warned about his “playboy ways.’’
Former WH press secretary Robert Gibbs told Jacobs that President Obama had no knowledge of his father’s discussions with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) or of the INS memo. Gibbs said the White House had not contacted the Salvation Army to see whether Obama’s mother had spoken to them about adoption. But Jacob notes that Obama had speculated in his book Dreams of My Father that his parents might have considered giving him up for adoption because their was a mixed race marriage in a time when that could lead to social ostracism.
Jacobs writes that Immigration officials also considered charging Barack Obama Sr with bigamy or polygamy:
Noting that Obama appeared to have a wife in Kenya and another in Hawaii, Dahling raised the possibility in his memo of charging Obama with polygamy or bigamy in order to get a deportation order against him. In the end, he suggested they keep an eye on him.
“Recommend that Subject be closely questioned before another extension is granted – and denial be considered,’’ Dahling concluded. “If his USC wife tries to petition for him, make sure an investigation is conducted as to the bona fide of the marriage.’’
But the senior Obama soon moved on to Harvard, leaving his wife and child to fend for themselves.