May 2010

Immigration Solution: Amnesty

It is only a little bit of time ago that all of our relatives were immigrants themselves, coming from far away lands to settle in this great country.  My great-grandfather at 16 years-old, packed a sack, put five dollars in his pocket, and began his journey to the United States from Sweden.  The stories are endless of similar circumstances and experiences.  The stories of the past, however, are comparable to those of today, but the willingness of acceptance of today is not what it was then.  A wealthy man I met abroad said his immigration status moved swiftly due to his wealth, and the possible wealth he could bring to the US, but a hard-working man or woman who picks vegetables in the fields has more than an uphill battle to gain citizenship.  It doesn't seem fair.

Beck Mocks Obama’s Daughter

Glen Beck is a douche. I’d like to think most of us have established that, but I’ve unfortunately seen that many acquaintances are still fans of this hate-spewing host (along with his cohorts, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter, and others). I’ve never understood the appeal; to me, it’s like people lining up to listen to the “wisdom” of skinheads or Hitler or doomsday cults; I’m not saying that these hosts are as bad as these people—though, if they are inciting as much hate as these people did, they are still inflicting much damage—but I am saying that those who actually listen to the sheer loathing coming from their mouths are either racist, brainwashed, or simply extremely susceptible to hate talk.

German President Horst Koehler Resigns

So let’s say you wake up today and the headlines have nothing to do with BP or the Wall Street crisis, but instead you see a picture of Joe Biden saying that because of some comments about world affairs he is going to resign. Or Secretary Clinton saying the same because some other officials are unhappy with her comments about Israel or something. Can you imagine that? Not me. But that’s exactly what is happening in Germany this morning.

Here’s the read from Reuters: “German President Horst Koehler unexpectedly resigned on Monday after a wave of criticism over his comments about military action abroad…”

Months of leaking oil

This morning news reports say the White House says, the oil could keep leaking, really gushing, into the Gulf for months. "After failure of 'top kill,' relief wells in August are seen as may be the best hope to stop the leaking oil.  A top adviser said, 'We are prepared for the worst.'

Well, what next Mr. President Obama?

Murder On The High Seas?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhu is scheduled to meet President Obama in Washington on Tuesday for talks on the Middle East peace process. I wonder how will the Israeli attack on a peace convoy this morning affect those talks and American politics.

Did Israeli forces deliberately commit murder? Israeli forces attacked a peace convoy in international waters that was carrying food aid to the people trapped by the Israeli blockade of Gaza. At least sixteen people were killed and hundreds were wounded. The peace activists say they will continue to try to bring food and medicine to the people of Gaza.

Euro groan...

France and Germany have both indicated that they will need to make some changes, France to keep their current AAA credit rating and Germany to stop their own budget deficit from rising.

"The objective of keeping the AAA rating is an objective that is a stretch, and it is an objective that, in fact, partly informs the economic policies we want to have. We must maintain our AAA rating, reduce our debt to avoid being too dependent on the markets, and we must do this for the long term,” said France’s Budget Minister Francois Baroin.

Later this year France says its debt will hit 8% of their GDP, though they say they will try to bring it down to 3%, the EU goal, by 2013.

Israel and Proliferation

Words like “flawed and hypocritical” get thrown around a lot in the Middle East, I feel like. One country calling another country hypocritical isn’t something surprising or even outrageous, so it isn’t a surprise to hear Israel reject a global anti-nuclear arms treaty as exactly that- flawed and hypocritical. The problem, though, is that this isn’t Middle East politics, it’s global. 189 countries have signed on to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and Israel has been specifically singled out and called on to sign the treaty- they haven't yet. Essentially it allows U.N. inspectors to monitor nuclear plants and operations, which Israel does not want to happen…

Let's Start Racial Profiling the Angry White Males

Since 9-11, racial  and religious profiling has been all the rage. If you are Muslim, look like you could possibly be Muslim, have dark skin or a deep sun-tan, hail from another country where the majority of the population is not white, or have brown hair and brown eyes, you have probably been under suspicion for something you did not do. The climate has changed since the early days after the attack and the newly-formed Tea Party members are threatening senators and other elected officials, spewing racial epitaphs, and carrying guns to political rallies just because they can.

Red Dawn: No More Soviet Threat

When I was a kid we used to play a lot of “army” in the backyard and the nearby construction sites. We often fashioned ourselves after the movie “Red Dawn,” a 1984 flick that showed a group of kids working a guerrilla resistance to a hypothetical Soviet invasion of the United States. Even their nickname, the Wolverines, turned out to be my high school mascot years later. It was the standard pastime for us, and our standard enemy in that standard pastime was the Russians, the Soviets. It was 1984, deep in the Regan era and there could be no bigger enemy imagined that the Red forces of the U.S.S.R.

Oil and Television Have Ruined My Life

This BP oil spill thing just won't go away. I mean, what more can I do? I'm not the president of BP, I'm the president of America. It's not like I can just give an executive order to the oil to stop leaking into the water. I can't order the secret service to escort the oil back into the ground. Hell, even if I could deploy the army to execute a police action against the oil for its assault on American waters, my troops are spread too thin overseas for it to be effective. My degree is in law, not physics or chemistry. There's nothing I can do about the spill.

Why Obama Doesn't Hate BP

The offshore oil fiasco could not have come at a worse time for Obama. His approval numbers aren’t great, but they’re not bad, and he could easily have coasted into the Fall election season on health care and financial reform legislative victories, framing the fall elections to a certain point as a referendum by the nation on the Congressional fate of the climate change bill. But, alas, he’s stuck in the crossfire of the BP disaster. And when I say crossfire, I mean crossfire.

Facebook's Privacy Concerns No Private Matter

I spend a lot of time on Facebook, though little of it is as myself. I do it for companies, I do it for research, and I do it as a blogger trying to get my work out into the web. But for most people, Facebook is an escape and a distraction, a welcome one that offers community, games and an interesting diversion from whatever else is going on that day in their lives. People have found it compelling enough to make it more populated than the United States.

But now the gigantic social network is facing both a user backlash and government questions about its privacy policies and options.

Arizona Police Chiefs Say Immigration Law Harmful

The Associated Press reports today, May 26, that police chiefs from across Arizona met in Washington, at the Justice Department, with Attorney General Eric Holder, and after the meeting expressed their opposition to the new Arizona law, that requires police officers to question people who they think could be in the country illegally. See Video.

What these chiefs said to the press can be summed up as: When law enforcement becomes political, justice suffers, and law enforcement suffers too. The work of policemen becomes more difficult

Memo to Congress: BP Ignored Safety Warnings

This morning the New York Times, citing  a memorandum released last night, Tuesday, addressed to members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, reports, BP had strong warning signs that something was terribly wrong with their Gulf well oil rig, hours before it exploded last month, killing eleven human beings and releasing a gushing oil spill, which is killing many fish and wildlife. and is polluting the waters of the Gulf.

Poll Finds American Dream Fading

CBS News released a poll yesterday, May 25th, that indicates the majority of Americans feel the American dream is fading, and the country is heading in the wrong direction, and that the leaders in Washington, Republicans and Democrats, have their growing disapproval. See the video.

The American dream has always been just an idea, a goal for working class and middle class families to thrive to achieve. The poll indicates America's growing disillusionment.

Troops to the Border

Yesterday, Tuesday, President Obama asked Congress for $500 million for border security and announced that he will send up to 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexican border.

Reuters reported that, "The troops will provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support, intelligence analysis, immediate support to counter-narcotics enforcement and training capacity until the Customs and Border Patrol agency can recruit and train more border officers." Of course the Republican response is that this isn't enough. Arizona's two U.S. senators, John McCain and Jon Kyl, have introduced a Senate amendment to force Mr. Obama to deploy 6,000 National Guard troops to the border.

The Derivatives Game

And then there were twelve. If they are disciples, I know not what of, and if they are apostles who knows what message they will bring. If they are the zodiac, we know not what future they bring, and if they are the days of Christmas, what gifts will we be left with when they are done. But what we do know for sure is that the Senate has nominated 12 “conferees” to sit down and hammer out a version of the financial reform bill that will work for both the Senate and the House.

Since both have different versions of the legislation, they need to be meshed, and the traditional way to do that is to bring together a dozen lawmakers from each the Senate and the House. The Senate, for once, is out in front of the House on this one, having announced their members.

Does EU mean Extreme Urgency?

Most of the time when I talk about politics being money, it’s about politicians getting more of it for doing the things their lobbyists want them to do, or about campaign trails, or about backroom deals that I figure go one to make this or that legislation happen. But right now, the politics of money isn’t making anybody rich- right now, the politics of money is all about what’s going on with the euro. More rightly, what’s not going on with the euro. It’s not recovering like it should be when governments invent money to keep their currencies alive.

Washington is getting worried about euro troubles, that they are going to slow down the global recovery. I would say so. The Spanish banks are getting a bailout. EU officials are calling Germany out on not being so collegial.

Wall Street Relieved

The New York Times says that executives on Wall Street are privately relieved. The financial-regulatory reform bill the Senate passed last week will not fundamentally change how the financial industry does business.

Quote from the New York Times -- "Despite the outcry from lobbyists and warnings from conservative Republicans that the legislation will choke economic growth, bankers and many analysts think that the bill approved by the Senate last week will reduce Wall Street’s profits but leave its size and power largely intact."