Immigration re-formed

Yeah, I pretty much had the same reaction. Obama rarely makes a “bold” move unless he’s forced to by his own self-interest. Matt Stoller with a piece on Obama’s change on immigration reform. Go read the whole thing:

The only reason that Barack Obama will make policy moves in your direction is if he feels he can’t avoid it, or if you’re going to pay him or his administration off somehow. He’ll pawn you off as long as he can with PR and his own fake inspirational story; the contempt of Plouffe towards the public should show that these guys are entirely about PR. So if you immediately recognize that the only thing that matters is leverage instead of the stupid consistent appeals to the better angels of their nature or even worse, electoral advantage (as opposed to a real genuine threat from the Republicans), you’re one step up. It’s not a novel insight, but it’s worth bringing it up again when the administration reminds us so abrasively of the contempt they have for anyone paying attention to how they operate.

Mitt’s idea-free campaign

TPM’s reminder that Mitt Romney is running a campaign that’s unimaginative, cowardly and dishonest, adjectives that sum up the man as well as the campaign:

Mitt Romney’s campaign asked Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) to downplay his state’s job growth after several press releases from the governor’s campaign and messages from the Florida Chamber of Commerce trumpeted gains for the month of May, according to Bloomberg News.

Florida’s unemployment rate dropped from 8.7 percent in April to 8.6 percent in May, though still significantly above the national rate of 8.2 percent.

A Romney adviser reportedly requested that Scott’s office say that Florida’s unemployment rate could improve faster under a Romney presidency, unnamed sources told Bloomberg.

The development is perhaps one of the clearest examples of the messaging predicament the Romney campaign finds itself in. For the Republican presidential nominee, the election is largely a referendum on President Obama’s handling of jobs and the economy…

No wonder Romney quickly resorts to doubletalk when anyone asks him where he stands on an issue. All of his eggs are in the same basket — our ongoing economic disaster.

Plantation life, 2012

The slave trade in this country has been dead for more than a century and a half, right? Tell it to “guestworkers,” and to millions of American citizens who can’t find jobs that pay a living wage:

For most people in Louisiana, cracking the shell off a crawfish, sucking the head, and swallowing the tail meat is a joyous part of what it means to call this place home. But peeling crawfish is not so fun for guestworkers from Mexico, who allege that they are facing slave-like conditions in a Louisiana plant.

Eight striking guestworkers, who say they are sometimes forced to peel and boil crawfish for up to 24 hours straight without overtime pay, outlined the alleged abuses in a rally outside of a Sam’s Club in Metairie on Wednesday, June 6th. That same day, they filed complaints with the Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against their employer, C.J.’s Seafood of Breaux Bridge, La., on behalf of the forty guest workers employed there. C.J.’s Seafood sells an estimated 85% of its crawfish to Walmart, the largest retailer in the United States, and owner of Sam’s Club.

The workers cited abusive treatment from Michael Leblanc, the general manager of C.J.’s Seafood. Leblanc is also head of the Crawfish Processors Alliance, which is fighting the Department of Labor’s recent efforts to improve pay for H-2B guestworkers. Leblanc could not be reached for comment. reported that a Sam’s Club spokesperson said in an email that the company was investigating the allegations…

Campaign finance laws? Very funny.

No wonder Karl Rove is always smirking. The GOP’s monster of propaganda and dirty tricks knows that rules governing the use of Super PACs are, if not nonexistent, at least unenforceable:

This weekend, Mitt Romney and his campaign will host a retreat for top $100,000-and-up campaign bundlers and donors at a Park City, Utah resort. The event, dubbed the “First National Romney Victory Leadership Retreat,” will reportedly be an opportunity for “strategizing and fraternizing” between those bankrolling the campaign and those running it.

But one name has raised flags for campaign finance watchdogs. A Saturday panel on “media insight” will feature American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS co-founder Karl Rove. The Crossroads reportedly plan to spend a stunning $300 million to help Romney defeat President Barack Obama this November, but they are legally prohibited from coordinating this effort with Romney’s campaign…

Footnote regarding Nancy Pelosi’s “I could have arrested Karl Rove on any given day” comment to the press: OK, Nancy, maybe you could have arrested the Turd Blossom when he was lying and stonewalling for Dubya in 2007, but you didn’t. That’ll be the day a Congressional Democrat does anything that bold!

Interview 1.

What a waste of gas. It was a part-time job in a telemarketing boiler room.

“You knew I was only interested in a full-time job. Why did you bring me in?” I said to the owner.

“Well, you said you were interested,” he said.

What a jerk. And they all wore matching golf shirts and visors. I haven’t seen a get-up like that since I was 15 and worked in fast food.

Imperial presidency seems here to stay

President Dwight Eisenhower’s foreign-policy record was far from perfect (Exhibit A: Iran), but would he have allowed America to become mired in the disastrous Iraq and Afghanistan wars? Not blody likely. The man who was commander-in-chief of the Allied forces that landed in Normandy, unlike other post-WWII presidents, knew there is a big difference between being a president and a five-star general. It’s a distinction that George W. Bush, Barack Obama and others don’t seem to appreciate:

The Eisenhower portrayed by [Jim] Newton is more of a devotee of brinkmanship than a peacemaker. But because of a long military career, particularly his wartime experience, he could see danger posed by the generals, admirals and intelligence community and their allies in the arms industry. He saw through them.
In his farewell address, Eisenhower warned that this combination reached into “every city, every statehouse, and every office of the federal government.” Then in the most memorable passage of the speech, he said, “In the councils of government we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist…

Better living through chemistry?

All you really good mommies, listen up! That antibacterial soap and preservatives in many personal hygiene products may be causing more harm than good for your very young offspring. Using products with these ingredients may be linked to more allergies for your kids.

Researchers say that the antibacterial agents and preservatives do not, themselves, cause the allergies. Studies conducted by researchers at John Hopkins released a study that stated that the use of antibacterial soaps and products may play a role in immune system development. In turn, this can cause children developing allergies.

“We saw a link between level of exposure, measured by the amount of antimicrobial agents in the urine, and allergy risk, indicated by circulating antibodies to specific allergens,” said lead investigator Jessica Savage, M.D., M.H.S., an allergy and immunology fellow at Hopkins.

The study involved children 6 to 18. Their urine was tested for levels of triclosan, found in antibacterial soap, and parabens that a found in common personal hygiene products. Then, the levels of these ingredients were compared to levels of antibodies found in persons with environmental allergies.

“In the study, those with the highest urine levels of triclosan — an antibacterial agent used in soaps, mouthwash and toothpaste — had the highest levels of food IgE antibodies, and therefore the highest allergy risk, compared with children with the lowest triclosan levels. Children with the highest urinary levels of parabens — preservatives with antimicrobial properties used in cosmetics, food and medications — were more likely to have detectable levels of IgE antibodies to environmental allergens like pollen and pet dander, compared with those with low paraben levels.”

So, germaphobia is not the best thing for your kid’s immune system. Good old fashioned hand washing is fine and exposure to Mother Nature’s dirt may be the best. Yes, it’s OK for kids to be a little dirty and lick their pets.

But, I still don’t believe in the “three second rule.”

Go negative now!

From Frank Rich, for anyone who hasn’t read much about the history of presidential campaigns, a group that seems to include all the talking heads and editorial writers who tut-tut about negative ads:

The serious questions raised by the early Obama ads are not whether they were too much but too little: Was waiting until May behind the curve? Are the ads vicious enough to inflict lasting damage? Is there a nuclear option in Obama’s advertising arsenal that can blow Romney out of the water as LBJ’s immortal mushroom-cloud “Daisy” ad did Barry Goldwater on Labor Day in 1964? Given the anemic employment numbers and the pack of billionaire GOP sugar daddies smelling blood after their Wisconsin victory, a reboot of hope and change would truly be the reelection campaign’s most self-destructive option

Asylum or U.S. ‘justice’? Easy call

Glenn Greenwald on Julian Assange:

For several reasons, Assange has long feared that the US would be able to coerce Sweden into handing him over far more easily than if he were in Britain. For one, smaller countries such as Sweden are generally more susceptible to American pressure and bullying.

For another, that country has a disturbing history of lawlessly handing over suspects to the US. A 2006 UN ruling found Sweden in violation of the global ban on torture for helping the CIA render two suspected terrorists to Egypt, where they were brutally tortured (both individuals, asylum-seekers in Sweden, were ultimately found to be innocent of any connection to terrorism and received a monetary settlement from the Swedish government).

Perhaps most disturbingly of all, Swedish law permits extreme levels of secrecy in judicial proceedings and oppressive pre-trial conditions, enabling any Swedish-US transactions concerning Assange to be conducted beyond public scrutiny. Ironically, even the US State Department condemned Sweden’s “restrictive conditions for prisoners held in pretrial custody”, including severe restrictions on their communications with the outside world…

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