Shorter Question Everything
• President Obama Speaks on Comprehensive Immigration Reform
When we talk about that in the abstract, it’s easy sometimes for the discussion to take on a feeling of “us” versus “them.” And when that happens, a lot of folks forget that most of “us” used to be “them.” We forget that.
It’s really important for us to remember our history. Unless you’re one of the first Americans, a Native American, you came from someplace else. Somebody brought you.
Ken Salazar, he’s of Mexican American descent, but he points that his family has been living where he lives for 400 years, so he didn’t immigrate anywhere.
The Irish who left behind a land of famine. The Germans who fled persecution. The Scandinavians who arrived eager to pioneer out west. The Polish. The Russians. The Italians. The Chinese. The Japanese. The West Indians. The huddled masses who came through Ellis Island on one coast and Angel Island on the other. (Applause.) All those folks, before they were “us,” they were “them.”
Sect of State John Kerry
• The Senate voted overwhelmingly to confirm Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) as the nation’s next secretary of state on Tuesday. The vote was 94 to 3. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Jim Inhofe (R-OH) voted against confirmation. Kerry himself voted present.
• Brass: Cruz expressed skepticism that Kerry and Hagel hold the U.S. military in the high regard necessary for such Cabinet posts. “We’ve got two pending nominations, John Kerry and Chuck Hagel. Both of whom are very prominently…less than ardent fans of the U.S. military,” Cruz said, perhaps referring to both men’s history of speaking out against wasteful Pentagon spending and the unnecessary use of U.S. troops. Still, John Kerry and Chuck Hagel aren’t fans of the armed forces? There’s a pile of evidence to contradict that assertion. Between the two of them, Kerry and Hagel have five Purple Hearts for injuries sustained during their voluntary service in the Vietnam War. Hagel still carries the effects of a 1968 mine explosion in Saigon; shrapnel remains lodged in his chest. Senator Cruz has no military experience.
Stealing an election
• The prospects of a proposal to rig Michigan’s electoral votes in favor of Republicans took a nosedive on Tuesday as Gov. Rick Snyder (R) came out against the plan this year. In an interview with Bloomberg, Snyder backed off, saying he was “very skeptical” of the idea, noting it would “change the playing field so it’s an unfair advantage.” He finished by saying, “I don’t think this is the appropriate time to look at it.”
• ProgressVirginia reported Tuesday afternoon that the Virginia Senate’s Privileges and Elections Committee killed Sen. Charles “Bill” Carrico Sr.’s electoral college-rigging bill, despite an offer by Carrico to amend the bill to award electors in proportion to the state’s popular vote. The vote was 11-4 against the bill, although it will not be official until the close of the committee meeting.
Right wing asshats
• Tennessee Republican State Sen. Stacey Campfield defended controversial legislation that would tether welfare payments to a child’s performance in school, even calling the proposal a potential national model to break families out of “generations of poverty.” The proposal would reduce temporary financial assistance payments to qualifying families by 30% if children fail to achieve certain academic standards. Bashir repeatedly asked the Republican lawmaker to justify the logic behind a plan that would place a family’s well-being on the shoulders of a child already at a socioeconomic disadvantage. “How is a child of age five supposed to carry that burden for the family’s finances when the child has no control over the circumstances in which it’s living?”
• Heckling the father of a boy who’d been killed with semi-automatic weapon fire by evoking the 2nd Amendment is more than uncivil. It’s indecent. So yeah, civility is a problem. But so is the gun culture that makes it impossible for adherents to understand that their right to own certain kinds of guns is coming into direct conflict with an innocent little boy’s right not to be mowed down in the middle of his first grade classroom. I would think that any human being with some basic empathy would at least be decent enough to be silent as his mourning father was testifying.
• Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), appearing on Fox News last night, Graham made clear that he was unsatisfied with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s testimony last week, saying, “I haven’t forgotten about Benghazi. Hillary Clinton got away with murder, in my view.” Graham’s quest for the truth has now led him to current Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
• Dick Cheney may have accidentally shot a man in the face while he was vice president, but that didn’t stop Fox News from flying to Nevada to get his advice on recently-proposed gun control laws.
• Israel has admitted for the first time that it has been giving Ethiopian Jewish immigrants birth-control injections, often without their knowledge or consent. The drug in question is thought to be Depo-Provera, which is injected every three months and is considered to be a highly effective, long-lasting contraceptive.