Gotta Keep ‘Em Separated

Well gosh, that sure didn’t take long, did it?

A top Tennessee Republican lawmaker believes the time has come for the National Guard to round up any Syrian refugees who have recently settled in the state and to stop any additional Syrian refugees from entering Tennessee.

“We need to activate the Tennessee National Guard and stop them from coming in to the state by whatever means we can,” said House GOP Caucus Chairman Glen Casada, R-Franklin, referencing refugees.

“I’m not worried about what a bureaucrat in D.C. or an unelected judge thinks. … We need to gather (Syrian refugees) up and politely take them back to the ICE center and say, ‘They’re not coming to Tennessee, they’re yours.’ “

Hell, we might seriously get to “Round up all the Muslims!” before Thanksgiving at this rate.

Nothing has changed since 9/11.  Nothing.



Cruz, Controlled

Even the rest of the Senate GOP is sick of Ted Cruz at this point, and they promptly told him to screw off last night.

On Monday night, Cruz’s colleagues ignored his attempt to disrupt Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s efforts to fund the government without attacking Planned Parenthood. In an unusual rebuke, even fellow Republicans denied him a “sufficient second” that would have allowed him a roll call vote.

Then, his Republican colleagues loudly bellowed “no” when Cruz sought a voice vote, a second repudiation that showed how little support Cruz has: Just one other GOP senator — Utah’s Mike Lee — joined with Cruz as he was overruled by McConnell and his deputies.

It was the second time that Cruz had been denied a procedural courtesy that’s routinely granted to senators in both parties. The first came after he called McConnell a liar this summer.

Cruz was incredulous on Monday, calling it an “unprecedented procedural trick.”

“What does denying a second mean? Denying a recorded vote. Why is that important?” Cruz said. “When you are breaking the commitment you’ve made to the men and women who elected you, the most painful thing in the world is accountability.”

Indeed, denying Cruz a vote prevents the Texas senator from dredging up the roll call in the future and using it to attack his colleagues.

At this point it’s pretty clear the Ted Cruz moment is over, at least for now.  In December when the continuing resolution ends and the debt ceiling fight begins, well that might be a different story.  But right now at least the GOP doesn’t want to go to the mattresses on this, and Cruz is the bully without a gang.



A Peek At The Cards

Justice Thomas seems to think that SCOTUS has all but given up the game on the expected June ruling on same-sex marriage as a result of yesterday’s refusal by the high court to block marriage equality in Alabama.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday denied Alabama’s request to halt legal same-sex marriage in the state until the justices rule on the issue later this year, sparking a scathing dissent by two of the Court’s most conservative members.

The dissent by Thomas, joined by Justice Antonin Scalia, accused the other justices of failing to show “the people of Alabama the respect they deserve” by letting the lower court ruling stand while the case is pending before the Supreme Court. He argued that the order reveals the Court’s intention to rule for same-sex marriage.

“This acquiescence may well be seen as a signal of the Court’s intended resolution of that question,” Thomas wrote. “This is not the proper way to discharge our Article III responsibilities. And, it is indecorous for this Court to pretend that it is.”

“Today’s decision represents yet another example of this Court’s increasingly cavalier attitude toward the States,” he added.

The justices decided last month to take the case after the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld gay marriage bans in four states — Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. The circuit ruling broke with decisions by four other circuit courts to strike down same-sex marriage bans in the states they cover.

“What struck me about today’s dissent was Justice Thomas’s recognition that these stay orders signal what is likely coming on the merits: a constitutional right to same sex marriage,” Rick Hasen, a law professor at UC Irvine, wrote. “The tone was one of resignation of what is coming and a lament about the loss of the power of the states.”

Apparently, the dawning realization that this was going to happen all along makes Clarence a sad panda, because expanding civil rights of course requires lament and mourning.

Now, Thomas does have a point that since taking up the Sixth Circuit case in January that SCOTUS could have used the Alabama decision to signal a status quo freeze on the situation until the June ruling and saying that for now no additional states would be added on to the ones where same-sex marriage was allowed.

But the court didn’t do that, and that by itself seems to me to be a massive tell, that the court has found no good reason to stop people from getting married in all but the Sixth Circuit states.

We’ll see.  Usual IANAL stuff, but I’m thinking it’s all over except for the joint Scalia/Thomas tears in June.



Bibi’s Bailout Bonanza

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu is hoping that congressional Dems can get him out of the gaping chasm he put himself in over his plan to visit Congress, and so far his pleas are falling on deaf ears.

Mr. Netanyahu’s office confirmed Thursday that he had called Democrats and “other friends” in Congress in recent days, and that he “reiterated that the survival of Israel is not a partisan issue.”

Mr. Reid, a strong supporter of Israel, said in an interview that he had had a candid conversation with Mr. Netanyahu. He said he had advised the prime minister that the speech, scheduled for March, had become such a problem that some Democratic senators had backed off their support of the quick imposition of new sanctions on Iran.

“It’s hurting you,” Mr. Reid said he told Mr. Netanyahu. “I said: ‘You have to understand this. I’m not telling you what to do or what not to do, but you have to understand the background here from my perspective.’ ”

“It would have been wrong for me to say, ‘Don’t come,’ ” said Mr. Reid, who is recovering at his home in Washington from a serious exercise accident he sustained Jan. 1. “I wouldn’t do that.”

Ms. Pelosi said late Wednesday that when she spoke with the prime minister, she had stressed that the speech “could send the wrong message in terms of giving diplomacy a chance.”

Gosh, it’s almost like this too-clever-by half plan to “put Obama in his place” was such an overt insult that it blew up in Bibi’s face.  Doubly so since John Boehner is running as quickly as he can away from this so that Netanyahu and his ambassador to the US are the ones left holding the bag here, as Jeffrey Goldberg points out talking to Ambassador Dermer:

Goldberg: Democrats (including, and maybe especially, Jewish Democrats) believe that the prime minister is sometimes disrespectful to the president, and they worry that your government privileges its relations with the Republicans at their expense. Assuming you believe this is wrong, why is this wrong?

Dermer: The prime minister and the president have disagreed on issues, but the prime minister has never intentionally treated the president disrespectfully—and if that is what some people felt, it certainly was not the prime minister’s intention.

Nobody believes that.  There’s every indication that Bibi flat out despises President Obama and if Bibi going around him to speak to Congress as a foreign leader openly undermining the foreign policy of a sitting President isn’t intentional disrespect, there’s very little that does qualify.

And now the guy is scrambling to try to find some way to save his own ass, because he full well knows what the consequences are as the Palestinians decide to take their grievances to the International Criminal Court rather than the UN.  He knows he needs the United States, and right now nobody will give him the time of day.

Can’t say he doesn’t deserve it.



Just when I thought that things would get better

It’s probably not fair to whiny-ass titty babies to call Politico a bunch of whiny-ass titty babies:

Politico editor-in-chief John Harris and chief executive Jim VandeHei are expected to visit The Washington Post on Wednesday to discuss the paper’s recent scrutiny of chief White House correspondent Mike Allen and his influential Playbook newsletter, according to a source familiar with the meeting who is not authorized to discuss it.

The Politico higher-ups are scheduled to sit down with both editorial page editor Fred Hiatt and media critic Erik Wemple, who has aggressively covered Allen and recently suggested the Politico star writer rewards Playbook advertisers with favorable coverage. After digging through Playbook’s archives, Wemple concluded in November that “the special interests that pay for slots in the newsletter get adoring coverage elsewhere in the playing field of Playbook.”

[….]

“Erik’s posts about Playbook are false and insulting,” Allen wrote. “I haven’t responded because his obsessive, anti-Playbook agenda has been obvious for some

[….]

During an December appearance on WNYC, VandeHei said he thought Wemple’s “piece was nonsense, which is why we didn’t play ball with him on it.” On Fox News, Harris described Wemple’s report as “more of a suggestion, insinuation, innuendo in a really unfair way.” Playbook, Harris said, is “totally transparent.”

Check out this awesome Wemple piece (via) on Allen’s non-stop fluffing of Roger Ailes:

Copyright considerations prevent the Erik Wemple Blog from dropping the plenary glory of “FRIENDS PUSH AILES FOR PRESIDENT” into this blog post, yet a few excerpts hint at the genius behind its formulation. The lede: “Friends and associates are encouraging Fox News chief Roger Ailes to jump into the political arena for real by running for president in 2012, top sources tell POLITICO.” The flattery: “Ailes, 69, has an aggessive, winning personality that made Fox News a huge success — and a huge target for liberal critics.” The meat: “Talk of an Ailes run, which informed sources said is based on more than mere speculation, could escalate the White House war with Fox war in wildly unpredictable – and fun – ways.”

I wonder if Hiatt will shut Wemple down. If so, I hope the Times or HuffPo hires him.








Why we can’t have nice things

Citi Bike, New York City’s new bike-share program (you know, the one that represents creeping totalitarianism), while already very popular, is not without its problems. For some of the city’s wealthiest residents, for example, the issue is not so much the existence of the program but rather the fact that its bike-share stations have to be so, y’know, close.

From the Village Voice (because I’d rather not link to the NY Post), some examples:

In a New York Post exclusive, it was discovered that the DOT agreed to move at least 10 Citi Bike stations either right before or just after the program’s initiation–all of which are nearby a concentrated wealth epicenter. Ritzy spots include the IAC Building in West Chelsea, designed by Frank Gehry and housed by Newsweek/The Daily Beast; a loft on Spring Street; the Milan Condominium on East 55th; and a handful of other expensive locations.

A few of the angry 1 Percenters were represented by Manhattan attorney Steven Sladkus. As the stations push uptown, “you won’t see a Citi Bike station in front of Mayor Bloomberg’s town house,” he argued to the Post. “Maybe the same [courtesy] should have been given to all other property-owners in the city.” 

You see, this is really an issue of equality. If billionaire Mike Bloomberg can treat the entirety of NYC as his fiefdom, why can’t multimillionaires do the same within a few block radius of their home and/or place of work? This is America, dammit! Occupy Citi Bike!

Oh, it’s almost enough to drive one to drink. But since it’s still morning here, I’ll just recommend you read this recent interview between David Dayen and Chris Hayes. The focus of their discussion is, primarily, elite and institutional failure. Hayes’ point about inequality breeding social alienation strikes me as particularly relevant…








Are you so superior, are you in such pain?

Predictably enough, the martyrdom of Niall Ferguson has begun. This letter is WATB bingo — hurt fee-fees, “vituperative online critics”, “enemies of academic freedom” and best of all…the friendship with Gay Brother Number 1. I also like the “I’m apologizing but what I said was true” twist that is becoming so popular:

Not for one moment did I mean to suggest that Keynesian economics as a body of thought was simply a function of Keynes’ sexuality. But nor can it be true—as some of my critics apparently believe—that his sexuality is totally irrelevant to our historical understanding of the man. My very first book dealt with the German hyperinflation of 1923, a historical calamity in which Keynes played a minor but important role. In that particular context, Keynes’ sexual orientation did have historical significance. The strong attraction he felt for the German banker Carl Melchior undoubtedly played a part in shaping Keynes’ views on the Treaty of Versailles and its aftermath.

All we need is back to England with a GBCW piece, preferably one that appears in the National Review or Weekly Standard. (Daily Caller would be too much to ask for, right?)