Actually I’m fuming this morning. It’s bad enough that–like others here at Sky Dancing blog–I have a nasty cold; but what’s really making me mad as hell is that Charlie Baker, the Republican governor of Massachusetts, joined the hateful crew of governors who say they don’t want Syrian refugees in his state.
Curses on all the idiots who voted for this man! Shame on them! We could have had the first woman governor of this state, an intelligent and compassionate person–Martha Coakley. Instead we have Charlie fucking Baker, who doesn’t seem to understand that he can’t control who comes into this state. This is America. We don’t ask people to produce their papers at state borders. Anyway, as Dakinikat noted yesterday, the Constitution gives authority over immigration to the federal government.
I hope the Massachusetts cities that typically help immigrants and refugees–like Lowell and Cambridge, for example–will continue their good work to help desperate people who are trying to escape from terrorism and live normal productive lives and show our stupid governor what true humanity is all about. I hope my town will do the same.
I’m so angry right now that I think it’s actually clearing out my sinuses. Here’s the Boston Globe on Baker: Baker’s stance on refugees draws ire of immigration groups.
Governor Charlie Baker joined more than two dozen other governors Monday who said they did not want Syrian refugees to resettle in their states, citing security concerns after the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris.
“I would say no as of right now,” Baker told reporters at the State House, shortly before he attended a Thanksgiving luncheon honoring immigrants and refugees in Massachusetts. “No, I’m not interested in accepting refugees from Syria.”
What an asshole.
Baker’s remarks — a departure from Septemberwhen he signaled support for the refugees— earned swift rebuke from immigrant advocates. Lawyers said under the Refugee Act of 1980, governors cannot legally block refugees….
Since October 2011, the United States has admitted 2,159 Syrian refugees into the country, according to the State Department, including 72 in Massachusetts. After a year, refugees can obtain a green card after undergoing more background checks, and after five years they can apply for US citizenship.
Under federal law,the president, after consulting with Congress, sets the number of refugees admitted every yearand the government works with the United Nations and nonprofits to resettle refugees around the United States.
“Neither Massachusetts nor any other state can fence Syrian refugees out of the state,” said Laurence Tribe, a Harvard constitutional law scholar. “We are a union and must sink or swim together.”
So there, Baker. Now sit down and shut up.
From Slate, here’s a list of the governors who say they don’t want desperate human beings who are only trying to protect their families from terrorism:
- Republican Robert Bentley of Alabama
- Republican Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas
- Republican Rick Scott of Florida
- Republican Nathan Deal of Georgia
- Republican Mike Pence of Indiana
- Republican Bruce Rauner of Illinois
- Republican Bobby Jindal of Louisiana (who is the son of parents who emigrated to the U.S. from India’s troubled Punjab state in 1971)
- Republican Paul LePage of Maine
- Republican Charlie Baker of Massachusetts
- Republican Rick Snyder of Michigan
- Republican Phil Bryant of Mississippi
- Democrat Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire
- Republican Chris Christie of New Jersey
- Republican Pat McCrory of North Carolina
- Republican John Kasich of Ohio
- Republican Greg Abbott of Texas
- Republican Scott Walker of Wisconsin
More reactions to Baker’s ugly and ignorant statement and the actions of the rest of these hateful governors:
Worcester Telegram: Local Syrians decry Baker’s refugee stance.
Salah Asfoura understands Gov. Charles D Baker Jr.’s reluctance to accept Syrian refugees in Massachusetts aftr terrorist attacks in Beirut and Paris. But Mr. Asfoura said it was a difficult and personal issue to judge objectively: Mr. Asfoura’s brother and his family fled Syria and arrived in Worcester just a few weeks ago.
“I understand the worries after what’s happened in France and on the international level, I can understand the worries of having insurgents come in,” said Mr. Asfoura, president of the New England chapter of the American Syrian Forum, an organization to increase awareness of the Syrian crisis. “It depends on how you evaluate them … but then, you can’t say you can’t do it anymore, you can’t not accept any.” [….]
Local Syrian-Americans, a recent refugee and others were disappointed in the news.
“I believe that this decision is wrong, because we cannot judge the victims for the crime of the terrorists,” said Bashar, a recent refugee to this country. Bashar, who arrived here with his family about 1½ years ago after his business and property were destroyed in Syria, asked that his last name not be used because family members remain in the country and may be targeted by terrorists.
His immediate family is applying for political asylum, he said. “Those who killed the people in France killed people in Syria. It was ISIS, and now (governors) are punishing the victims.” [….]
“There are tens and tens of thousands of terrorists who came from all over the world to my country to kill my people, and those terrorists are managed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia,” Bashar said. “I wish the U.S. put the utmost pressure on those governments – Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Jordan – to stop funding, training and facilitating the passage of terrorists through the borders into my country.”
The Anti-Defamation League said it is “deeply disappointed” with GOP governors, including Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, for refusing to accept Syrian refugees after Friday’sISIS attacks that killed 129 people and injured more than 430 others in Paris.
“This country must not give into fear or bias by turning its back on our nation’s fundamental commitment to refugee protection and human rights,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said Monday, urging governors to keep their doors open during the humanitarian crisis.
“Now is precisely the time to stand up for our core values, including that we are a proud nation of immigrants,” Greenblatt said. “To do otherwise signals to the terrorists that they are winning the battle against democracy and freedom.”
Now here’s an assessment from ultimate Villager Chris Cillizza: You might not like Republicans calling for a ban on refugees. But it’s smart politics.
Think what you will, but one thing is clear: The political upside for Republican politicians pushing an immigration ban on Syrians and/or Muslims as a broader response to the threat posed by the Islamic State sure looks like a political winner.
The Pew Research Center did an in-depth poll looking into Americans’ view on Islamic extremism in the the fall of 2014 — and its findings suggest that politicians like Cruz have virtually nothing to lose in this fight over how best to respond to ISIS’s latest act of violence.
More than 7 in 10 Republican voters said they were “very concerned” about the rise of Islamic extremism in the United States. That’s almost double the amount of Democrats (46 percent) who said the same and 30 percentage points higher than independents who expressed great concern about Islamic extremism in America.
That marked concern with the threat of Islamic extremism is accentuated by a deep lack of confidence among Republicans with the Obama administration’s ability to handle what they perceive to be a growing threat.
For people like Cillizza, there is no right and wrong. There is only political expediency. These people turn my stomach.
What do you think? Please post your thoughts and comments on any topic in the thread below.
I don’t know if this has anything to do with “Romneycare,” but the news came out yesterday that the average life expectancy in Massachusetts is nearly 81 years!
Life expectancy for people in Massachusetts hit an all-time high in 2009, as the rate of deaths from major killers, such as heart disease and cancer, declined, according to a report released Wednesday by the state Department of Public Health.
Overall life expectancy from birth was 80.7 years in 2009, the most recent year for which data are available, compared with 78.5 years nationally. Since 2000, death rates in the state from stroke, heart disease, all cancers combined, and diabetes have continued to drop.
Deaths from HIV and AIDS have dropped dramatically in recent years. Nearly 1,000 people died in both 1994 and 1995, during the peak of the epidemic. In 2009, there were 124 deaths from HIV and AIDS. The decline, the authors write, is the result of advances in treatment and a reduction in the infection rate.
Life expectancy varied by location. Check this out: in Brookline it was 87 years!
From the Sydney Morning Herald, Melinda Gates tells “How I convinced Bill to give away his millions.”
Imagine for a moment that you are married to one of the richest men on the planet. You have three beautiful children and a $125 million home, complete with an indoor swimming pool boasting underwater speakers and a home cinema. How would you choose to spend your days? Shopping? Lunching? Ah yes, travelling – but to the dirt-poor villages of Bangladesh? The wretched slums of India? To TB wards and Aids clinics to sit with the dying and the ostracised?
Melinda Gates, wife of the Microsoft magnate Bill, flew in from a field visit to Niger and Senegal on Tuesday, and will have risen by 4.30 yesterday morning to conduct meetings and interviews before the real working day begins.
In her capacity as co-chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, she will then join Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development, in hosting a family-planning summit for global leaders in London. Together, they will launch a $4 billion fund-raising effort that would deliver safe contraception to 120 million women and girls in developing countries.
The article doesn’t really say how she convinced her husband to become a philanthropist, but there’s some information about Melinda’s early life.
Gates’s conscience was cultivated from an early age. Unlike her Harvard drop-out husband, who was born into a privileged Seattle background, she is one of four children brought up in modest circumstances in Texas, where education was regarded as the holy grail. Her housewife mother regretted not attending college. Her engineer father set up a cleaning business on the side to raise the cash for his children’s education, and as a teenager Gates scrubbed floors to help out.
It’s nice to know that there are some wealthy people who actually want to use their money to help others instead of collecting homes and cars and horses like certain presidential candidates.
Moving from the sublime to the ridiculous, Dick Cheney is holding a fundraiser for Mitt Romney today in his home in Wyoming.
Romney officials have said little publicly about the event, expected to be a high-dollar but low-publicity evening that will give top donors the chance to dine with Messrs. Cheney and Romney.
But the campaign trumpeted the reception and private dinner in an email to potential attendees, telling them that “Jackson Hole is a beautiful summer destination and this will be a memorable event.”
The dinner offers an opportunity to continue a string of fundraisers that have given Mr. Romney an advantage in the money race with President Barack Obama in the past two months.
“The past two months” are the operative words in that last sentence. Despite all the talk of Mitt Romney besting President Obama in the money race, Obama is still far ahead of the presumptive Republican nominee in terms of money collected since the two announced their candidacies. At HuffPo, Paul Blumenthal writes:
According to a report from the Sunlight Foundation, Mitt Romney will need to outraise President Barack Obama by $158 million over the next four months if he wants to take the lead in overall fundraising. This punctures a bit of the new narrative of Romney having passed Obama in fundraising. Sunlight’s Bill Allison: “For Mitt Romney, the magic number is $158 million. That’s how much he’ll have to outraise President Barack Obama over the last four months of the campaign to surpass the president, the record holder for campaign fundraising. Obama’s advantage has been lost in media reports highighting the Republican nominee’s $106 million June haul.
Romney’s June number doesn’t even put him on track to out-raise Obama.
For that to happen, Romney would have to best Obama by $39.5 million a month for each of the last four months of the campaign, which is $5 million more than the advantage Romney had in June.
The Obama campaign seems to be keeping this quiet so they can play the underdog. Interesting, huh?
Perhaps in an effort to even the score, Romney is planning fundraisers in foreign countries. We’ve already talked about the events that are being organized for him in London at the time of the Olympics. USA Today reports that he is also planning a fundraiser in Israel.
Mitt Romney is reportedly planning a fundraiser in Jerusalem during his visit to Israel later this month.
The Jerusalem Post reports that donors will be charged “$60,000 or more per plate” at the event. Romney is jointly raising money with the Republican National Committee, and $75,000 is the maximum donation to the Romney Victory Fund.
Romney is scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, among others, during his trip. The Israel visit will come after Romney attends the Summer Olympics in London.
I’ve been posting in comments for the past couple of days about the mysterious disappearance of Jesse Jackson, Jr. He took a medical leave on June 10, but no one would say where he was. Rumors spread that he was in rehab for drugs or alcohol. Finally today, the news came in a statement from Jackson’s chief of staff that Jackson is in an inpatient facility being treated for a “mood disorder.”
The statement quoted the unnamed Jackson doctor saying: “The congressman is receiving intensive medical treatment at a residential treatment facility for a mood disorder. He is responding positively to treatment.”
Earlier today, Ald. Sandi Jackson, said she is hopeful physicians will release details soon about her husband.
“I’m hopeful that my husband’s doctors will be able to release something soon,” she told the Tribune. “I’m in constant talks with them about Jesse’s condition and his medical prognosis going forward.”
Rep. Jesse Jackson, 47, a Chicago Democrat, has been on a medical leave since June 10, but his aides and family have declined to disclose the nature of his medical problem, where he is being treated or when he may return to work.
A mood disorder could mean major depression or bipolar disorder. Whatever is wrong, I hope Jackson will recover and be able to return to the House of Representatives. At present, he isn’t expected to return until after Labor Day, if then.
I couldn’t help noticing this NYT article about a 12-year-old boy who died tragically and unexpectedly of septic shock: An Infection, Unnoticed, Turns Unstoppable.
For a moment, an emergency room doctor stepped away from the scrum of people working on Rory Staunton, 12, and spoke to his parents.
“Your son is seriously ill,” the doctor said.
“How seriously?” Rory’s mother, Orlaith Staunton, asked.
The doctor paused.
“Gravely ill,” he said.
How could that be?
Two days earlier, diving for a basketball at his school gym, Rory had cut his arm. He arrived at his pediatrician’s office the next day, Thursday, March 29, vomiting, feverish and with pain in his leg. He was sent to the emergency room at NYU Langone Medical Center. The doctors agreed: He was suffering from an upset stomach and dehydration. He was given fluids, told to take Tylenol, and sent home.
But Rory was already in grave danger.
Bacteria had gotten into his blood, probably through the cut on his arm. He was sliding into a septic crisis, an avalanche of immune responses to infection from which he would not escape. On April 1, three nights after he was sent home from the emergency room, he died in the intensive care unit. The cause was severe septic shock brought on by the infection, hospital records say.
I hope everyone will read this very sad article. An overwhelming infection that began with strep killed my graduate school mentor–the same infection that killed young Rory. One day he began vomiting and thought he had a stomach virus. The next day he was dead. This happened a few months after I earned my Ph.D. with his help and support. As you can probably imagine, this was a terrible shock to me and I’m really still grieving–I have tears in my eyes as I write this. Everyone should be aware that sepsis is “a leading cause of death in hospitals, can at first look like less serious ailments…”
Moments after an emergency room doctor ordered Rory’s discharge believing fluids had made him better, his vital signs, recorded while still at the hospital, suggested that he could be seriously ill. Even more pointed signals emerged three hours later, when the Stauntons were at home: the hospital’s laboratory reported that Rory was producing vast quantities of cells that combat bacterial infection, a warning that sepsis could be on the horizon.
The Stauntons knew nothing of his weak vital signs or abnormal lab results.
This is starting to turn into a health care post, so I’ll return to politics before I wrap up. Yesterday everyone was talking about Mitt Romney’s speech to the NAACP. He was booed when he talked about repealing Obamacare and at a few other points. So why did he go? Surely he doesn’t expect to win over many African American voters. I thought this piece by Jamelle Boule provided a possible answer: Mitt Romney’s Successful Speech to the NAACP
As an attempt to persuade, Mitt Romney’s speech to the NAACP this morning was an exercise in futility. African Americans are loyal Democratic voters, and aren’t particularly interested in an agenda of tax cuts for the rich and spending cuts for everyone else. But that wasn’t the point. Romney almost certainly knows that he’ll only win a tiny percentage of black voters in November—at best, he’ll match John McCain’s performance in 2008. If current opinion surveys are any indication, it’s more likely that he’ll win fewer African American voters than any Republican in recent history.
The point of this address to the NAACP was to send a signal to right-leaning, suburban white voters—that Mitt Romney is tolerant, and won’t represent the bigots in his party. But there’s a sense in which Romney had it both ways: Not only did he reassure hesitant whites, but by pledging to repeal Obamacare—and being booed by the audience—he likely increased his standing with those who do resent African Americans. By going to an audience of black professionals and sticking with his stump speech, there’s a sense in which Romney might receive credit for refusing to “pander.”
That makes a lot of sense to me. Here’s another piece I found interesting about Romney’s efforts to woo Evangelical Christians:
Several years ago, when Mitt Romney was merely a multi-millionaire Massachusetts politician, he couldn’t locate the conservative Christian evangelical movement with a GPS or MapQuest. Over the past few years however, Romney and his team have been holding a series of meet-ups – whose pace has been recently accelerated – with conservative Christian leaders to assure them of Romney’s fealty to their issues.
When Romney heads off to Israel later this summer, he hopes to accomplish at least three objectives: renew his longtime friendship with Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu; convince Jewish donors and voters that he is more Israel-friendly than President Barack Obama; and, send a message to conservative Christian evangelicals that he can be trusted.
Right win Christians are hoping Romney picks a VP from one of their own
“Acceptable nominees could be Tim Pawlenty, Mike Huckabee, Bob McDonnell, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, and Marco Rubio.”
Please let it be Rick Santorum! That would be the kiss of death for Romney’s chances.
Those are my suggested reads for today. What are you reading and blogging about?
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick appeared on Meet the Press this morning. I haven’t seen the whole program; but from what I’ve read about it along with what Patrick has said about Mitt Romney in other interviews, I think he’s getting it just right. Here’s what he said on MTP, according to The Boston Globe:
Patrick, a co-chairman of Obama’s reelection campaign, said the presumptive Republican presidential nominee had a poor record of job growth as governor, repeating the familiar statistic that Massachusetts ranked 47th in the nation in that category when Romney was in office.
But, Patrick said, that “doesn’t mean he was a failure as governor.”
Really? What specifically did Romney do well as governor? Why he signed the nation’s first universal health care law and pushed for the individual mandate that citizens must purchase health insurance. Patrick knows full well that Romney doesn’t want to be praised for that accomplishment. Every Obama surrogate should hammering health care achievement home, again and again. Back to the Globe article:
Host David Gregory asked the governor to respond to former President Bill Clinton’s statement Thursday that “there’s no question that in terms of getting up and going to the office and basically performing the essential functions of the office, the man who has been governor and had a sterling business career crosses the qualification threshold.”
Gregory suggested Clinton’s remarks undercut one of Obama’s major arguments.
“It undercuts the spin on the argument that the president has made,” Patrick replied. “The president has never attacked Bain. It’s not about Bain. It’s never been. Bain’s a fine company.”
Really? What’s it about then?
“He had a terrific career creating wealth,” Patrick said. “There is very little evidence that, either in the public or the private sector, he’s had a terrific career creating jobs.”
The corporate media is comparing Patrick’s approach to what Cory Booker said previously on MTP. But I think they’re wrong. More Obama surrogates should follow Patrick’s lead. Sure, Bain is a terrific company and Romney deserves credit for his role in building the business. But at Bain and as governor, Romney didn’t create jobs. But, hey…he led the way to socialized medicine in Massicusetts! Isn’t that great?
Here’s an opinion piece that Patrick wrote for CNN a couple of days ago. In it he spells out a very clear argument against Romney as POTUS. Of course he leads with Romney’s failure to create jobs in the state. Everyone knows by now that Massachusetts ranked 47th among the states in job creation.
and that was in relatively good economic times. Real wages declined (while rising across the nation). Instead of helping workers and small businesses adjust to changes in the global economy, Romney cut critical work force training programs and millions in economic development funds. Instead of promoting Massachusetts to attract jobs, he used the state as a punchline on the national Republican political circuit.
When Patrick took office he had to clean up Romney’s messes.
He left behind a bureaucracy whose work force grew during his term, an unsustainable public pension system and a culture of poor accountability throughout state government.
Young people and jobs were leaving our state. Our roads and bridges were crumbling, and his Republican predecessors’ poor oversight of the infamous Big Dig project in downtown Boston resulted in billions of dollars of cost overruns, substandard workmanship and debilitating debt that he made no effort to remedy.
In the face of budget challenges, what did Romney do? He raised nearly every fee and surcharge that didn’t bear the title “tax” and cut funding for the schools. In a state where education is our calling card, Romney was responsible for the second largest per pupil cut in education funding in America during his second year in office.
Sure Romney’s a nice guy, Patrick says, and he was very successful in business. But in his only time in office Romney failed to create jobs or stimulate the economy. Why did this happen?
Romney sincerely believes that people are better off on their own: on their own to deal with their unemployment; with under-resourced public schools and no way to pay for college; with neglected infrastructure; with a job market that needs skills they didn’t have. He does not fundamentally believe that government should help people help themselves. And he has a record as governor of Massachusetts to demonstrate how much damage his leadership does to people, their families and our future.
Finally, here’s a recent interview that Patrick did with John King in which he makes similar arguments.
I think the Obama campaign should have their other surrogates emulate Deval Patrick’s approach–call it hitting Romney with a velvet glove that has a steel lining. You don’t have to yell and scream to get your message across. Patrick is calm, cool, and collected. He’s not “nauseated” by attacks on Bain or private equity, like Corey Booker. He doesn’t call Romney’s career at Bain “sterling,” like Bill Clinton did. He explains why Romney’s career at Bain is irrelevant to job creation, while his time as Governor is. And he strongly praises the one achievement Romney doesn’t want to talk about: health care reform.
I don’t know if this can all be boiled down to a 30-second sound byte, but Deval Patrick is coming pretty close with this:
“He had a terrific career creating wealth,” Patrick said. “There is very little evidence that, either in the public or the private sector, he’s had a terrific career creating jobs.”
The Obama campaign should keep Patrick front and center, hammering home the message that Romney knows nothing about job creation–and in fact really doesn’t care about it–but he sure deserves all the credit in the world for leading his state to universal health care.
A video has emerged of Elizabeth Warren being called a “socialist whore” by an unemployed tea party activist who also manages to get in a birther meme at the same time. Ms. Warren stayed classy.
Moments into a speech before volunteers here Wednesday evening, Elizabeth Warren was interrupted by a Tea Party supporter who hurled a gender-based epithet at the Senate candidate. The man, who said he’d been unemployed since February 2010, objected to Warren’s expressed affiliation with the frustrations of Occupy Wall Street, and argued that the Tea Party has been protesting Wall Street excess for longer than the nascent global movement.
The crowd tried to shout the man down, but Warren told her supporters to let him speak. “No, no, it’s alright. Let me say two things,” she said. “I’m very sorry that you’ve been out of work. I’m also very sorry that the recent jobs bill that would’ve brought 22,000 jobs to Massachusetts did not pass in the Senate.”
Speaking in a packed VFW hall, Warren went on to address his question about her association with Occupy Wall Street. “I’ve been protesting what’s been going on on Wall Street for a very long time,” she said, but added that the movement has its own independent agenda and will proceed along its own course.
“Yeah, so has the Tea Party,” the man said, before losing his cool.
“Well, if you’re the intellectual creator of that so-called party,” he said, “you’re a socialist whore. I don’t want anything to do with you.” The crowd shouted him down as he added that Warren’s “boss,” presumably referring to the president, was “foreign-born.” He then attempted to storm out through a side door. Finding it locked, he retreated out the back of the VFW hall instead.
In April, before President Obama released his “long form” birth certificate, 43 percent of Republicans said that the president was either definitely or probably born in a foreign country, according to a Gallup survey. After he released the birth certificate, the number dropped, but still held at roughly one in four when polled in May.
Warren took the challenge in stride. “So, we are here to do work, and I think we have a reminder that we have a lot of work to do,” she said as the heckler struggled with the door.
You can watch the video over at HuffPost. Warren sympathized with the man’s unemployment situation and talks about her efforts to restrain Wall Street before he goes off on her. The meeting was held in Brockton, Mass and was supposed to be for volunteers. It was obviously an ambush.