In advance of the President’s speech

From The New York Times, via Donald Douglas:

Deportation Reprieve May Exclude Parents of Young Immigrants
By Julia Preston | November  19, 2014

WASHINGTON — Every time Berzabeth Valdez heads out to work from her mobile home on the outskirts of Houston, it crosses her mind that she might not come back.

Ms. Valdez, 48, is a Mexican immigrant who has been living in Texas for 11 years without legal papers, and so without a driver’s license. For her commute to her job as a restaurant manager, she keeps her taillights in working order and never speeds.

“We are terrified of the police,” Ms. Valdez said. “One traffic ticket could end in deportation. I could lose my whole life, everything I have gained for my family.”

One of Ms. Valdez’s daughters grew tired of living with those fears and joined an organization of young undocumented immigrants. The youths, who call themselves Dreamers, won protection from deportation from President Obama in 2012 and continued to press him to extend those measures to others in the country illegally.

More at the link. But let’s skip way down, to two more short paragraphs:

In October, Ms. Valdez recalled, her car was rammed in a rear fender while she was stopped at a red light. An apologetic American driver explained that she was wearing a new pair of high heels and had been unable to press the brake in time.

“Let’s just forget about it,” Ms. Valdez said, eyeing her crumpled fender, and she left to avoid calling the police…

This tells us a lot. Not only does Mrs Valdez not have a driver’s license, it has to be asked how she could have automobile insurance; if you don’t have a license, it is illegal for you to drive a car, and therefore any accident into which she gets is automatically her fault, since she shouldn’t have been on the road in the first place. Maybe a bumper thumper can be ignored, but what if she has an accident and someone’s car gets badly damaged, or someone is injured?

And there are other problems: if Mrs Valdez isn’t an American citizen or legal immigrant, how can she have a legitimate Social Security number and be paying her taxes? Is she being paid in cash, under the table? If so, it would seem to me that there’s a restaurant in the Houston area that is breaking the law. I am pleased that she is at least working, rather than being a welfare leech, but restaurant manager isn’t exactly the kind of job we think about when we consider the list of “jobs Americans won’t do.”

We have to realize something: when an illegal immigrant is living in the United States, the immigration laws aren’t the only laws being broken, and it’s unlikely that only the immigrants are the ones breaking the laws.

Well, I’ve got the answer!

A tweet from Donna Brazile:

The lovely Miss Brazile was the campaign manager for Al Gore in 2000, and is currently Vice Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee; she is not a stupid1 or uneducated woman. When Jonathan Gruber was helping to set up the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in such away as to deceive people about the costs, when he and the entire Obama Administration believed that the American people would swallow it because they thought us stupid, conservatives said, forthrightly and plainly, that there was no way to add thirty or forty million people who couldn’t previously afford health insurance to the insurance rolls, end the cost-cutting measures which insurance companies had in place concerning non-coverage of pre-existing conditions, and maintain the same quality and access for health care to which the American people are accustomed, and not greatly increase the costs.

Well, now Miss Brazile, who is less than a month short of her 55th birthday, gets to pay more money for her health insurance so that she can have that mandated contraception coverage! Maybe Miss Brazile needs her insurance provider to explain the increase in her premium costs to her, but we already know the answer.

Miss Brazile, we told you so! It’s small consolation that conservatives get to gloat about the fact that we were right all along about Obaminablecare, but I’ll take whatever consolation I can get.

  1. Well, maybe she is.

Why can’t Congress meet via Skype?

Representative Tammy Duckworth (D-IL-08)

OK, I don’t have much respect for Representative Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) for this action, but she did serve our country with the United States Army, in combat as a helicopter pilot, in Iraq, and I honor her for that. Her fellow Democrats? Not so much:

Tammy Duckworth refused proxy vote in Dem caucus
Posted @ 8:01 AM on November 14, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

I suppose part of the not-breaking news here is that Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (D – Illinois 8th) is pregnant. She is expecting in the near future, and her doctor has advised her not to travel in the final weeks of her pregnancy. Unfortunately, that meant that she would miss some key Democrat caucus votes as they settle on their new leadership for the next term. In order to get around this problem, she asked to be allowed to vote by proxy. As National Journal notes with great umbrage, the answer was no.

Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, who is expecting a baby in December, is being denied a request to vote by proxy in the House Democratic Caucus leadership and committee member elections next week—even though her doctor advises she can’t travel to Washington in the late stages of her pregnancy.

The Iraq War veteran, who lost both legs when her helicopter was shot down in 2004, made the request in a letter to fellow Democrats. Her letter was read during a closed-door Democratic Caucus meeting on Thursday. But objections were raised, and the request was denied, with opponents including Democratic Steering and Police Committee cochair Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Some are immediately suspicious about the motives for denying this request, particularly with all the maneuvering going on as key positions change hands. National Journal goes above and beyond the call – as other already have – to point out that she’s an injured Iraq veteran. Andshe’s a woman. And she’s going to have a baby. If there were any way possible to somehow blame the operations of the House Democratic Caucus on the Republicans we would have already seen more than a thousand claims regarding the War on Women.

More at the link. Now, try to imagine all of the #WarOnWomen screeches from the left had Mrs Duckworth been a Republican congresswoman!

Remember what this is: it is not an official congressional vote, but simply a vote in the Democratic Caucus, which can set its own rules without the consent of those wicked ol’ Republicans. And points were made about other congressmen then wanting waivers for proxy votes, for less serious reasons. I suppose that Nancy Pelosi is telling us, as only she can, that she’s just as stupid as public administrators who set forth without exception, zero tolerance policies, because they are deathly afraid that someone, somewhere, will call them to account for exercising judgement on something. And, in the case of the lovely Mrs Pelosi, I can see why her judgement should never be trusted!

But this case points out something I see as a larger issue: why must our senators and representatives spend so much time in Washington in the first place? Other than the Constitutional requirement that the Congress must assemble at least once per year, the power of each House to set its own rules for proceeding, there is nothing which would prohibit the Congress from conducting some of its business via Skype, or some other video conferencing format.

If we had a Congress which did significant business, including voting in committee and on the floor, via video conferencing, they could spend that much more time actually in their districts. Right now, only the few congressmen and senators who represent districts within reasonable commuting distance from the District of Columbia — meaning: parts of Maryland, Virginia and, as Joe Biden famously demonstrated, Delaware, — have the luxury of not maintaining separate lives in the District. Heck, part of Senator Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) problem is that she has no real residence in the Bayou State, claiming her parents’ home as her Louisiana residence, while listing her real residence as a $2.5 million mansion on Capitol Hill. If the Congress would allow some form of long-distance meeting, our senators and representatives could be closer, physically closer, to the people they have been elected to represent, and I can see that only as a good thing.

We already have a form of this in the Presidency. Camp David has long been set up so that Presidents can take a break from the White House, and still be “on duty” there. Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and the younger George Bush all conducted business from their own homes in California and Texas. The office of the President is, in effect, wherever the President happens to be, but even in the 1960s there was sufficient technology to allow that to work. The problem is different when it comes to a body of many members, but the technology now exists, and many corporations conduct some of their business in this manner.

There are only good things which could result from this:

  • Congressmen wouldn’t have to be separated from their families as often. Wouldn’t it be better for our senators and representatives to be living with their spouses and children, to maintain more normal family lives?
  • Lobbyists would have less access to congressmen; the crowd of lobbyists who can blend in in Washington DC would stand out like a sore thumb in the Somerset, Kentucky home of Representative Hal Rogers (R-KY 5th District)
  • Congressmen would be closer to the people who elected them, enabling their constituents to see and talk to their representatives more easily.
  • Congressmen might have to spend less of their own money on second residences in Washington, putting less financial pressure on them when unsavory characters ty to bribe them.
  • Congressmen would be more separated from their party leadership, increasing their independence from the leadership.
  • Congressmen would not be so separated from the way their constituents live. Spending too much time in Washington means not living in the same conditions as constituents in Hedrick, Iowa or Elko, Nevada. There is a lot of difference between life in Lexington and Ravenna, but at least Representative Andy Barr (R-KY 6th District), who lives in Lexington but represents both, would be a lot closer.

There’s just no downside to this idea. And with the approval ratings of Congress somewhere in the septic tank, they might have a chance to give the public more confidence in them. Why not try it?

LTC Duckworth’s Awards Purple Heart BAR.svg Purple Heart
Meritorious Service ribbon.svg Meritorious Service Medal
RibbonAirMedal.PNG Air Medal
Army Commendation Medal ribbon.svg Army Commendation Medal with Oak leaf cluster
Army Reserve Achievement ribbon.svg Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with four Oak leaf clusters
Combat Action Badge.svg Combat Action Badge
Senior Army Aviator.jpg Senior Army Aviator Badge

Rule 5 Blogging: Sea Duty

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Alyssa Milano in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude. This week, American sailors, at sea! Click any photo to enlarge.

ARABIAN GULF (July 10, 2013) Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 2nd Class Kimberly O’Donnell, from Silverdale, Wash., operates advanced recovery controls at arresting gear engine four aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68). The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions for Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan R. McDonald/Released)

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: Sea Duty’ »

From Around the Blogroll

People seem puzzled that, other than Fox, the mainstream media, other than Fox, are barely, if at all, mentioning the Gruber story, but really, it’s simple: to them, the story that the Obama Administration had nothing but contempt for the intelligence of the American people, and of voters, is not news, not news in the slightest. Given that the voters actually elected Barack Hussein Obama to be President of the United States, and then, after witnessing his job performance for the first term, re-elected him, it’s difficult to disagree with the assessment that the voters are stupid. The 2014 election had decent results only because the less intelligent people stayed home.

The most Pyrrhic of victories

Our good friend Jason Scott of the Delaware Liberal is just aghast that Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) has stated that he will support the Senate bill by hopefully-outgoing Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) to get the Keystone XL pipeline project approved. Stan Merriman added this comment:

This support by Carper is an outrage. As a recent transplant here from Houston, we were painfully close to Cancer Alley where the refineries are that will process that sludge. This is harmful to the already harmed Houston environment, harmful to the landowners along the pipeline’s east Texas route and an environmental disaster. I’ve written Sen. Carper on this, not expecting he’ll reverse his support but I owe it to my Houston friends to try.

Mr Merriman posted another article stating that President Obama’s deal on carbon emissions with China is a BFD, which I assume stands for big f(ornicating) deal, and that opposition to it constitutes treason, so I feel that it’s somewhat safe to say that he is pretty intense on this subject. :)

It is my guess, at this point, that the Keystone XL pipeline will not be built. Even if approved, the left can be counted upon to file lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit to try to stop it, most certainly delaying it for years upon years. I believe that the left have already won on this issue. And what have they won? Nothing, nothing at all, other than to prevent the pipeline construction jobs from being created, because the oil that Keystone was supposed to pump to Gulf Coast refineries is still going to be used! From The Wall Street Journal:

U.S. Refiners Don’t Care if Keystone Gets Built
Railroads and Rival Pipeline Firms Are Making the Keystone Pipeline Less Necessary.
By Ben Lefebvre | Updated Sept. 5, 2013 5:28 p.m. ET

U.S. companies that refine oil increasingly doubt that the controversial Keystone XL pipeline expansion will ever be built, and now they don’t particularly care.

Railroads are carrying soaring amounts of crude from Canada down to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast, reducing the need for the TransCanada Corp. project, which is still awaiting approval from the U.S. government after two years of delays.

Meanwhile, a rival pipeline company, Enbridge Inc., is expanding existing pipes to carry Canadian crude south—and it doesn’t need federal permission because it’s using existing pipeline rights of way. In addition, so much oil is sloshing around the U.S. from its own wells that refiners don’t need lots more heavy crude from the north to keep busy.

Much more at the original. But we have previously noted another Journal article on the expanded use of railroads to ship crude oil. The oil is still getting shipped, the oil is still getting refined, and the oil is still getting used. Delaying and (probably) stopping the Keystone XL pipeline has not stopped any of that, because, the protests of the left notwithstanding, the country needs to use petroleum to power our modern civilization.

As for the Keystone pipeline construction jobs that won’t be created? Well, they’re probably a net wash, if not actually fewer jobs lost than were created when new rail terminals for handling the increased crude oil flow were started, and there are probably more jobs with the railroads for handling the increased rail traffic, and more jobs created as new oil tanker cars have to be built.

Of course, rail transportation requires more handling, and involves more workers, along with the diesel fuel to power the locomotives which pull the oil trains, and that means greater costs involved for transporting the oil, costs which are passed down to the end consumer, which means that the good, hard-working people that our friends at the Delaware Liberal tell us they support have to spend more for the fuel they use, making them poorer in real terms. The left tell us that they want to increase the minimum wage, but they continually support policies which eat away at people’s wages, policies which make them poorer. We’ve said it many times before: if liberals actually understood economics, they wouldn’t be liberals anymore.

Of course, while rail transportation is very safe, accidents do happen, and people get killed. Pipelines can also leak or break, but they have normally not involved anyone being killed. Pipelines are generally safer, and can be made safer still, but nothing is completely risk-free.

So, the left have wasted all of this time and effort to stop the dreaded Keystone XL pipeline, and have probably succeeded, but the oil they wanted to stop will still be used, and the oil that they wanted to stop will still be moved, albeit less safely, and the oil that they wanted to stop will still be needed, and bought, by consumers, though more expensively. I wonder: how Pyrrhic do they like their victories?

A Conspiracy Theory?

From The Washington Post:

Loser? Maybe not. (Timothy D. Easley/AP)

Wait, is the Kentucky Senate race over or not?
By Chris Cillizza, October 21, 2014

Just when you — and national Democrats, who stopped advertising in the state last week — thought the Kentucky Senate race was over, it’s pulling you back in! That’s because of the new Bluegrass Poll, sponsored by a conglomerate of Kentucky media outlets, that shows the race as a statistical dead heat between Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) at 47 percent and Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) at 46 percent.That poll led to tweets like this one from Joe Sonka, a liberal blogger who writes about Kentucky politics.

So, am I history’s greatest monster, as Sonka suggests? And just what is really going on in Kentucky?

And a little bit further down:

Doing that yields this conclusion: McConnell is ahead — probably by somewhere between three and five points. (The Real Clear Politics polling average gives McConnell a 4.4 percentage point edge.)  McConnell has led Grimes in 14 of the last 15 polls conducted in the race.  Even the Bluegrass Poll that is providing Kentucky Democrats such joy shows the race moving in the wrong direction; three weeks ago, Grimes led McConnell by two in the survey. (That early October poll is the only one to show the Democrat ahead since early June.)

Kentucky isn’t a blowout today, and it won’t be two weeks from today, either.  There is a scenario by which Grimes wins, but it is not the most likely scenario. (Of the three major election models that aim to predict outcomes, the best chance Grimes has is a 22 percent probability of winning in the FiveThirtyEight model.) If national Democrats believed Kentucky was one of their best chances of winning a Republican seat, they would not have stopped advertising in the state — and started advertising in South Dakota and, especially, the pricier Georgia. The Bluegrass Poll doesn’t change that fact.

There’s more at the link. Mr Cillizza said, “Kentucky isn’t a blowout today, and it won’t be two weeks from today, either.” Uhhh, yes, it was; Senator McConnell defeated Mrs Grimes by a landslide margin, 56.2% to 40.7%, and he carried some eastern Kentucky counties that he hadn’t carried in his five previous Senate races. And other than the sacrificial lamb candidate, Lois Combs Weinberg1 in 2002, Mrs Grimes lost by a bigger margin than and of Mr McConnell’s previous opponents.

But Kentucky’s Democrats still can’t believe it; a Facebook friend of mine forwarded this post to me:

Living Blue in Kentucky

Friends I’m still upset with the results of last Tuesday’s Senate election. No doubt mistakes were made but I still believe we got hosed and royally. I was happy when Alison had a 1 point lead with 3 weeks remaining and then the media playing the clip over and over with her refusing to say she voted for the President. And then Mitch McConnell mole making this commercial which sealed the deal for the Mitch McConnell! What is your opinion of Chuck Todd?

If you are on Facebook and read the posting, the true blue Kentucky Democrats are blaming Chuck Todd for Mrs Grimes’ loss. I’d say that Mrs Grimes’ policies and rotten campaign are the reasons she lost, not one reporter’s (very apt) comment.

Let’s tell the truth here: the pre-election polling in 2014 was terrible. Republicans supposedly in close races won by large margins, while there were several Democrats who were expected to win handily who wound up in very close races. Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) was expected to win narrowly; she lost. Michelle Nunn was supposedly slightly leading or very narrowly trailing in the Georgia Senate race, with a run-off election anticipated; the Republican candidate, David Perdue, won outright, defeating Miss Nunn by 8 percentage points. Were I a conspiracy theorist, I’d suspect that the pollsters were deliberately overstating Democratic strength, just to encourage Democrats to get out and vote.2

There are plenty of stories out there — here’s one — in which we’ve been told that, despite the very off-target publicly published polls, the candidates’ internal polling was pretty close to the eventual results. Those stories are almost all about how the winning Republican candidates’ internal pollsters indicated victories, but when I note that the Democrats pulled funding from Mrs Grimes after the published polls showed her very close to Senator McConnell, I have to think that they, too, knew that her candidacy was simply a lost cause.

Well, your Editor won’t subscribe to his suggested conspiracy theory just yet, but there are really only two options: either the suggested conspiracy theory really is true, or a whole bunch of supposedly scientific polling procedures and companies were really, really bad. Regardless, this points out what we have always said at The First Street Journal: the only poll that actually counts for anything is the one held on election day!

  1. Mrs Weinberg is the daughter of former Governor Bert T Combs (D-KY).
  2. There probably are some conspiracy theorists who are claiming fraud, but the Bluegrass State is pretty heavily controlled by the moderate Democrats who hold so many of the local offices. And Secretary of State Grimes is the Chairman of the State Board of Elections.

What’s left

Interestingly enough, the far-left site Daily Kos is a good place to find information about the election results, and what few races remain undecided:

  • Arizona 2nd District: Republican Martha McSally has unseated Democratic Rep. Ron Barber. McSally currently leads Barber by 133 votes, with only about 200 to 250 ballots remaining countywide. There will be an automatic recount.
  • California 7th District: Democratic Rep. Ami Bera currently trails Republican Doug Ose by 530 votes
  • California 16th District: Democratic Rep. Jim Costa is down 741 ballots to Republican Johnny Tacherra
  • California 26th District: Democratic Rep. Julia Brownley is up 1,030 votes on Republican Jeff Gorell
  • New York 25th District: Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter leads Republican Republican Mark Assini by 582 votes

The Louisiana Senate race will be decided in a run-off election on December 6th.

The good news? Every one of those remaining seats is currently held by a Democrat, which means that every Republican victory is a net gain.

Number 53

From Fox News:

GOP adds another Senate seat as Sullivan wins Alaska
Published November 12, 2014

Republican candidate Dan Sullivan defeated Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Begich in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race Wednesday.

The win gives the GOP eight Senate pickups in the midterm elections. The party is also seeking a ninth seat in Louisiana’s runoff in December.

Sullivan ran a confident campaign, ignoring the debate schedule Begich established and setting his own terms.

He pledged to fight federal overreach, talked about energy independence and at seemingly every opportunity, sought to tie Begich to President Barack Obama and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, who are unpopular in Alaska.

Begich complained that Sullivan offered little in the way of proposals for what he would do as senator.

Earlier Tuesday, election workers began counting absentee ballots and early indications were Sullivan maintained an 8,100 vote advantage over Begich. It proved to be true later that night.

This was pretty much expected, but Alaska is a huge state with a lot of rural, off-the-grid voters, and getting election results out of the state can sometimes take a long time.

Now all on which we have to wait is the December 6th run-off election in Louisiana.