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What Obama's Immigration Action Does Print E-mail

What Obama's Immigration Action Does

Who will be helped by the president's plan, and who will not?

By Russell Berman

The broad executive action on immigration that President Obama announced on Thursday night could shield nearly half of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants now believed to be in the U.S. from deportation.

But the move is much bigger than that.

The president is also directing the government to fundamentally reshape its priorities for enforcing immigration laws by focusing more intensely on removing criminals rather than families, overhauling immigration courts, and making changes to the high-skilled visa system.

Under the plan, the bulk of the estimated 5 million people who could be protected from deportation would be parents of U.S. citizens or green card holders who have lived in the country for more than five years. According to an analysis by the Migration Policy Institute, as many as 3.7 million undocumented immigrants could fall into this category; beginning next spring, they could register with the government, undergo a background check, start paying taxes, and gain protected status for up to three years.

Another 290,000 immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children would also be newly protected under an expansion of Obama's original Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The administration is eliminating the age cutoff for DACA, which had been open only to people under 31, and it is allowing immigrants to apply if they have lived in the U.S. since 2010, not 2007 as before. The changes will increase the number of people eligible for that program to about 1.5 million, according to MPI. The White House says another 1 million immigrants would be newly protected from deportation under the other reforms in the president's directive. The policy institute estimates that the total number of undocumented immigrants now in the U.S. is 11.4 million people.

Legal but Still Poor: The Economic Consequences of Amnesty Print E-mail

Legal but Still Poor: The Economic Consequences of Amnesty

Expanding amnesty to undocumented immigrants without creating new jobs is a recipe for keeping new Americans poor and dependent on social services.

With his questionably Constitutional move to protect America’s vast undocumented population, President Obama has provided at least five million immigrants, and likely many more, with new hope for the future. But at the same time, his economic policies, and those of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, may guarantee that many of these newly legalized Americans will face huge obstacles trying to move up in a society creating too few opportunities already for its own citizens, much less millions of the largely ill-educated and unskilled newcomers.

Democratic Party operatives, and their media allies, no doubt see in the legalization move a step not only to address legitimate human needs, but their own political future. With the bulk of the country’s white population migrating rapidly to the GOP, arguably the best insurance for the Democrats is to accelerate the racial polarization of the electorate. It might be good politics but we need to ask: what is the fate awaiting these new, and prospective, Americans?

In previous waves of immigration, particularly during the early 20th Century, there were clear benefits for both newcomers and the economy. A nation rapidly industrializing needed labor, including the relatively unskilled, and, with the help of the New Deal and the growth of unions, many of these newcomers (including my own maternal grandparents) achieved a standard of living, which, if hardly affluent, was at least comfortable and moderately secure.

Demand for labor remained strong during the big immigrant wave of the 1980s until the Great Recession. The country was building houses at a rapid clip, which required a large amount of immigrant labor. Service industries, particularly before the onset of digital systems, such as ipads for ordering, that replace human staff in fast-food restaurants, tend to hotels and provide personal services, although often at low wages.

More recently, this wave of undocumented migration has diminished, as economic prospects, particularly for the low-skilled, have weakened. Yet the undocumented population remains upwards eleven million. Largely unskilled and undereducated, roughly half of adults 25 to 64 in this population have less than a high-school education compared to only 8 percent of the native born. Barely ten percent have any college, one third the national rate.

Russia, China plan war games, arms sales. Could alliance be in the cards? Print E-mail

Russia, China plan war games, arms sales. Could alliance be in the cards?

By Fred Weir

With Russia alienated by the West and China eager to buy high-end weaponry, a joint military pact – though still a long way off – looks increasingly seductive to both.

 Russia and China are planning to hold large-scale joint naval drills in the Mediterranean and Pacific next year, as deepening economic and political cooperation appear to be driving the two giants to at least discuss the idea of forming a military bloc.

Both countries are rapidly jacking up their military spending and modernizing their forces. China is set to spend an unprecedented $132 billion of defense this year. Meanwhile, Russia is in the midst of a sweeping five-year $700-billion rearmament program, and has lately begun restoring Soviet-era bomber patrols across much of the West's airspace. Russian officials say the upcoming naval drills are designed to demonstrate that Russian and Chinese fleets can operate together in bodies of water half a world apart.

It's still a far cry from the "NATO of the East" that some analysts have been predicting for years. But economic relations between them have taken a quantum leap, with two massive energy deals totaling almost $1 trillion signed in the past few months alone. As Russia digs in for what's beginning to look like a long-term standoff with the West, and China worries about protecting its back amid growing territorial disputes with US allies on its southern and eastern flanks, Russian officials are for the first time suggesting a permanent security alliance as a desirable goal.

Military cooperation between Russia and China has "visibly expanded and gained a systemic character" recently, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told journalists during a visit to Beijing this week.  Both sides are increasingly concerned "over US attempts to strengthen its military and political clout in the Asia-Pacific region," he said. Hence, "we believe that the main goal of pooling our efforts is to shape a collective regional security system."

Should it ever be created, such a bloc would dominate the Eurasian landmass, with naval bases from the Baltic, to the Arctic, to the Pacific, to the South China Sea. A union between Russia's cutting-edge weaponry and China's vast population and industrial base might spawn an armed juggernaut that could eventually rival NATO.

Blake Griffin soars for monster one-handed alley oop slam Print E-mail

CP3 sets up Blake Griffin for one-handed alley oop

Rape allegations hurt Bill Cosby but sail past Bill Clinton Print E-mail

Recent rape allegations against actor-comedian Bill Cosby have affected his career.

Rape allegations hurt Bill Cosby but sail past Bill Clinton

By Joan Vennochi

Bill Cosby’s career as a beloved comedian is in shambles in the wake of decades-old accusations of rape and sexual assault. In the past week alone — as more and more women come forward with allegations — NBC has called off a proposed new Cosby comedy, Netflix has canceled a 77th Cosby birthday celebration, and the cable network TV Land has pulled reruns of “The Cosby Show.

Yet, amid this media uproar, Bill Clinton’s career as revered statesman soars.

Clinton — who has himself faced down a number of accusations of sexual assault and harassment over the past quarter-century — has spent the week courting an admiring press at the 10th anniversary celebration of his presidential library.

During festivities in Little Rock, Ark. last weekend, Clinton confided his bucket list to Politico’s Mike Allen. Among his wishes: “I would like to ride a horse across the Gobi Desert to the place where people think Genghis Khan is buried in Mongolia.” The former president also urged the current one not to act like a lame-duck even if he is one: “I never bought this whole lame-duck deal. I just didn’t. I think it’s a mind-set.”

The “taboo subject” in Little Rock, reported the Washington Post, was Hillary Clinton’s shadow campaign — not some musty, old sexual assault allegations against her husband.

Media hunts down Bill Cosby, celebrates Bill Clinton,”observed, offering up thumbnail reminders of those now decades-old incidents involving the ex-president:

Juanita Broaddrick, a Clinton campaign volunteer from the early Arkansas days, accused Clinton in 1998 of raping her when he was attorney general. Clinton eventually settled a sexual harassment lawsuit filed in 1994 by Paula Jones, relating to incidents she said happened when he was governor of Arkansas and she was a low-level state employee. Kathleen Willey, a White House volunteer who worked on Clinton’s 1992 campaign, accused him of groping her in the White House in 1993.

Then, of course, there was Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky. While consensual, the details showcased the huge power differential between a president and a White House intern, and the deniability Clinton believed it gave him. “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky,” he famously declared.

Power — who has it, who doesn’t, and how it can for years insulate the holder of it — is the common thread between Cosby, Clinton, and their accusers. Asked why she didn’t go to police, one of Cosby’s accusers said she didn’t think anyone would take the word of a 19-year-old woman over a celebrity father figure like Cosby. As she put it, “Mr. America; Mr. Jello, as I called him.”

If Cosby is paying the price today for long-ago alleged transgressions, you can argue that Clinton paid a price for his at the height of his power; his political enemies made sure of that. Yet, as my colleague Jeff Jacoby has — along with other conservative commentators — pointed out over the years, liberals and feminists ardently defend Clinton, arguing that his public policies were more important than his personal principles. Meanwhile, the Clinton spin machine did its best to portray his accusers as “nuts or sluts,” employing the classic defense lawyer strategy against women who dare to hold men accountable for their actions.

Lewinsky, who has been trying to rehabilitate herself, is still a punch line. But Clinton needs no redemption. His favorability ratings are high, and according to national polling, he and George H.W. Bush are the most popular living ex-presidents. Unlike Obama, Democrats want Clinton on the campaign trail.

In fact, the former president is so well-regarded, it feels petty to even bring up those tawdry accusations from the past.

The right will argue it’s all about ideology. Liberals like Clinton get a break that conservatives do not. According to, race also factors in. There is more sympathy for a white southerner like Clinton than a black comic like Cosby.

Maybe we expect more from a sitcom fantasy figure like Cosby’s Dr. Huxtable than we do from real-life politicians.

Or maybe, while Bill is off the hook, Hillary isn’t. The next two years will certainly tell us whether his long-ago activities are the shadow campaign issue for his wife.

No, Reagan Did Not Offer An Amnesty By Lawless Executive Order Print E-mail

No, Reagan Did Not Offer An Amnesty By Lawless Executive Order

No, Reagan Did Not Offer An Amnesty By Lawless Executive Order

By Gabriel Malor

Today is the big day, and the Progressive media is in full spin to mitigate the anger Americans are expressing about President Obama’s decision to offer legal status to millions of people who broke the law. That spin has taken many forms, including the novel arguments that the executive branch is empowered to act whenever the legislative branch declines and that the executive branch’s enforcement discretion includes the affirmative grant of benefits not otherwise authorized by law. Most recently, however, Progressive columnists have settled on an old favorite tactic: justify Democratic misbehavior by claiming (falsely, as you will see) that a Republican did it first.

Democrats across print, web, and cable media have been repeating the claim that Obama is doing nothing more than what Presidents Reagan and Bush 41 did first. They point to executive actions taken in 1987 and 1989 that deferred the removal of certain aliens. But, as usual for Progressive commentators, they elide the crucial facts that distinguish those actions from Obama’s. The sign that you’re being swindled isn’t so much what the con artist tells you, but what he does not tell you. What the Progressive commentariat is not telling you is that the Reagan and Bush immigration orders looked nothing like Obama’s creation of a new, open-ended form of immigration relief.

Legally, illegal immigration is dealt with in two steps. First, the Department of Homeland Security (in Reagan and Bush 41′s time, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, or INS) has to show that an alien is removable (deportable, in Reagan and Bush 41′s lingo) from the United States. Then the alien gets a chance to show that they are eligible for some form of relief from removal or deportation. Ordinarily, those forms of relief are created by Congress. There is asylum and adjustment and cancellation of removal, and so on and so forth, all set down in statute by Congress over the decades (more than a century in the case of certain waivers) in an overlapping mess of eligibilities and disqualifiers and discretionary decisions.

With some regularity, however, the existing forms of immigration relief have been overtaken by circumstances. When that has happened, Congress steps in. In 1986, faced with a large and growing population of illegal aliens, Congress created a new, time-limited form of immigration relief for certain aliens who, among other things, had to have come to the United States more than six years previously. This is the much ballyhooed Reagan amnesty. It was, unfortunately, riddled with fraud in its execution, the uncovering of which is still roiling the immigrant community. But even setting that aside it left President Reagan with a moral dilemma. Congress’ amnesty was large—just shy of 3 million people—and it had the unanticipated effect of splitting up freshly-legalized parents from their illegally-present minor children who did not qualify for relief.

So Reagan, seeing this family unity problem that Congress had not anticipated or addressed when it granted amnesty to millions of parents, issued an executive order to defer the removal of children of the people who had applied for immigration amnesty under Congress’ new law. He allowed those children to remain in the United States while their parents’ applications for amnesty were pending. A few years later, Bush 41 extended this bit of administrative grace to these same children plus certain spouses of the aliens who had actually been granted immigration amnesty under Congress’ new law.

Congress, though it had desired to grant amnesty, had not considered and not included the spouses and children. Importantly, nor had it excluded them. So Presidents Reagan and Bush 41 filled that statutory gap. “What do we do with spouses and children?” INS asked. “Well,” the executive branch leaders said, “defer their deportation. Decline to exercise your lawful authority for the particular cases that are related to those Congress has offered amnesty.”

These Reagan and Bush 41 executive actions were obviously different than what Obama is doing now. They were trying to implement a complicated amnesty that Congress had already passed. Congress’ action was a form of immigration relief that obviously fit within our constitutional system. Moreover, Congress left a gap when it came to immediate family members, including minor children, of individuals who qualified for the amnesty. Presidents Reagan and Bush 41 forbore from deporting people in that select group.


Obama is clearly contravening both ordinary practice and the wishes of Congress—as expressed in statute—by declaring an amnesty himself. This is nothing like Reagan’s or Bush’s attempts to implement Congress’ amnesty

Why Did Obama Flip-Flop on Immigration? Print E-mail

Why Did Obama Flip-Flop on Immigration?

For years the president has insisted he was no ‘emperor’ and couldn’t unilaterally enact the immigration measures he announced Thursday night. So what changed between then and now?

On several occasions over the past few years, President Obama has claimed he didn’t have the legal authority to do pretty much exactly what he told the nation Thursday night he’s going to do on immigration law and policy.

Indeed, when pressed on why the administration wasn’t enacting the law enforcement policies he now has announced the federal government will pursue, he responded that to do so would require him to act like an emperor or king rather than a mere executive faithfully carrying out the laws passed by Congress.

“The problem is that, you know, I’m the president of the United States. I’m not the emperor of the United States,” he said. “My job is to execute laws that are passed, and Congress right now has not changed what I consider to be a broken immigration system. And what that means is that we have certain obligations to enforce the laws that are in place, even if we think that in many cases the results may be tragic.”

So does Obama have the legal authority to direct the federal government to enact the immigration law policies he now says the government will pursue? And if the answer to that question is yes, why was Obama claiming otherwise until quite recently?

The answers to these questions are “almost certainly yes” and “the dysfunctional nature of the American political system regularly requires presidents to say things they know aren’t true.”

It’s inevitable in a legal system such as ours, in which lawmaking is technically confined to one branch of government while the execution of those laws is placed in another, that a certain amount of informal lawmaking is going to end up happening in the latter area.

The secret of how size two Food Network chef Giada de Laurentiis stays so slim Print E-mail

Food Network chef Giada de Laurentiis stays thin by secretly spitting out the food she cooks while filming into a 'dump bucket', a source on the program has claimed

The secret of how size two Food Network chef Giada de Laurentiis stays so slim: She 'spits her own food into a bucket while filming'

By Steve Hopkins for MailOnline

Food Network chef Giada de Laurentiis stays thin by secretly spitting out the food she cooks while filming into a 'dump bucket'.

The TV host, 'Today' show contributor and cookbook author has always insisted she maintains her size 2 figure by eating everything in moderation. 

 And recently said exactly how she stays thin, is the question she is most often asked by fans. 

She told 'I eat a little bit of everything and not a lot of anything. Everything in moderation. 

'I know that's really hard for people to understand, but I grew up in an Italian family where we didn't overdo anything. We ate pasta, yes, but not a lot of it. Pasta doesn't make you fat. How much pasta you eat makes you fat.'

But a source on her show told the New York Post's PageSix that while filming Ms de Laurentiis 'never eats'.

The source said: 'When she is making drinks and food that she has to drink or eat, they have a dump bucket that is brought out the second they cut.' 

Ms de Laurentiis is then said to spit out the food, before filming resumes.

The source explained that sometimes an assistant was used to 'take the bite' of food if something needed to look like she had tried it, saying 'she does not eat at all while filming' 

Stephen Huvane, who represents Ms de Laurentiis, called the claims 'absurd and completely false'.

He said the chef 'absolutely' eats her own food while filming but because scenes were often shot multiple times 'she doesn't always eat and swallow every time'.

Mr Huvane said if his client ate everything she cooked 'that would be like eating six to eight meals a day'. 

4 Stupid Conservative Arguments Against Net Neutrality, Debunked Print E-mail

4 Stupid Conservative Arguments Against Net Neutrality, Debunked

Guys like Ted Cruz and Darrell Issa apparently don't know jack about the internet.

By Josh Harkinson

3) Letting big companies hog bandwidth will encourage cable companies to create more bandwidth

The reality: America ranks 31st in the world (behind Estonia) in its average download speeds. But that's not because we're preventing Comcast from cutting deals. Quite the opposite: Deregulation of the telecommunications industry has allowed Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner, and AT&T to divide up markets and put themselves in positions where they face no competition.

How Players at MIT Engineered a Football Team Print E-mail

The offensive line and tight ends on MIT’s first club football team in 1978 pose for a team photo.

How Players at MIT Engineered a Football Team

By Ben Cohen

This season, the football team of Massachusetts Institute of Technology is undefeated and will make its first appearance in the NCAA’s Division III playoffs. The team traces its roots to a decades-old student experiment.

In the 1970s, on this campus known for scientific innovation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology students engineered a rather unlikely experiment: a football team.

MIT had no intercollegiate football squad at the time. The student body in 1901 voted 119-117 to discontinue it. So one day in 1978, a group of MIT students huddled and created a team that would play its first game that fall. No one else at the school had any clue.

There were times when fielding a football team at MIT seemed like rocket science. The students wore uniforms that once belonged to another college. They borrowed their playbook from a local high school. They were known as both the Beavers and the Engineers. Either way, they lost every game they played that year, and even one they didn’t play.

But these football forefathers, who are nowhere to be found in MIT’s record books, are now taking their victory lap. The student club they created eventually became a university-run varsity team. This season, 36 years after winning no games, the Engineers are undefeated and will make their first appearance in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division III playoffs on Saturday.

Art Aaron enrolled at MIT when the only competitive football there was played in an intramural league. The games were flag football, but the fraternity members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Lambda Chi Alpha would beat each other up when they took the field.

“It’s a bit of an oxymoron,” said Mr. Aaron, a defensive end on the 1978 team, “but we were two of the jock fraternities at MIT.”

MIT's first club football team also inspired a makeshift marching band that played during the team's first home game in 1978.

The school built football uprights atop its soccer nets. The team printed a program with advertisements, including one from a fraternity that promised a postgame party with 14 kegs. According to people who were at the game, and accounts in the student newspaper, cheerleaders led a standing-room-only crowd in spelling out “Massachusetts Institute of Technology.” The marching band, despite rumors it would consist of kazoos, blared the national anthem and chanted:

“Cosine, secant, tangent, sine

3 point 14159!

Integral, radical, mu, DV

Slip stick, slide rule, M-I-T!”

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