Archive for the ‘reform’ Category

Obama Believers Thought They’d Hear More On Immigration By Now

March 23, 2009

Obama is willing to spend.  He’s working on the econoy.  And in every second breathe he mentions health care, education, energy and climate change.

What happened to immigration reform?


Gregory Rodriguez
Los Angeles Times
March 23, 2009

Ithought U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. was a little over the top last month when he called us “a nation of cowards” for our collective failure to adequately discuss our troubled racial past.

Less than a month later, officials at his Justice Department are believed to have pulled the plug on the nomination of Thomas Saenz, chief counsel to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, to head the department’s civil rights division. Why? Apparently because of Saenz’s past advocacy on behalf of immigrant rights.

You read that correctly. Saenz’s past professional civil rights activism has evidently disqualified him from being the nation’s top civil rights enforcer. If it’s true, it’s a decision that may be a troubling sign for those hoping President Obama is committed to comprehensive immigration reform.

Don’t go looking for public griping from Latino members of Congress on the Saenz incident. On Wednesday, in what from all accounts was a love-fest between Obama and the entire Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the president reaffirmed his commitment to … comprehensive immigration reform. In a breathless news release, Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles) cooed that “the American people are fortunate to have a president ready and willing to tackle the big issues of the day.” In a telephone media briefing, leaders from some of the nation’s most prominent immigrant rights organizations practically held hands and sang “Our Guy.”

But just below the buzz of news releases and sound bites, some officials and advocates who care most about immigration reform are worried. True to form, irascible Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina was the only high-profile elected official to speak out. She was quoted as saying Saenz had been offered the nomination and accepted it. That the administration canceled the deal, she told the blog of the Legal Times, “speaks volumes of the lack of courage of the administration.” Ouch. Several other activists expressed their own concerns to me off the record.

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 Immigration embers could turn into political fire for Obama

La Raza has a new best friend at Justice


41% Say U.S. Focus on Economy Raises Risk of Terrorist Attack

March 12, 2009

“He who defends everything, defends nothing,” said Frederick II (1712-1786).

President Barack Obama is defending everything: the economy, earmarks, his health care plan, environmental plan, energy plan, education reform, government spending, bigger government, the rights to free and open seas (re: China), a stronger U.N., an encircled North Korea, the Muslim world, the power of negotiations (with Syria, Iran, and others), the ramp up of troops in Afghanistan, etc.

You get the idea.

In many ways I see this president as going the right things.  But then again he is doing everything.

He is pro-immigration and today he said he’d send troops to our border with Mexico, maybe.

Michelle doubts that.

But then again: doesn’t everything depend upon the economy; followed closely by national security and stoppong terrorists?

But terrorists and terrorism are gone from our public discussion….deleted from the Obama lexicon.



From Rasmussen Reports
Forty-one percent (41%) of U.S. voters worry that America’s preoccupation with the ongoing economic crisis will make us more vulnerable to a terrorist attack, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

But 43% disagree and say it’s not a concern while 16% are not sure.

Forty percent (40%) also say America has more enemies than friends among the nations of the world, although 44% say we have more friends.

Voters are closely divided, too, over whether the current worldwide economic crisis is more likely to create tension between the United States and other nations or more likely to foster cooperation. Forty-four percent (44%) see more tension to come, while 43% expect greater cooperation between America and other countries.

Confidence in how America is doing in the War on Terror dropped dramatically in late February, but it is not yet clear whether the numbers are a statistical blip or a reflection of recent news developments.

Iran continues to be the country the plurality of voters (35%) expect to be the first to seriously test the Obama Administration. Nineteen percent (19%) say North Korea will be the new president’s first major threat, while 12% predict China. Eight percent (8%) say Russia will be the first serious challenger, but one-out-of-four voters (25%) are not sure which country is the greater threat.

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Obama Fritters Away “Hope,” Promises — Opportunity Lost

February 3, 2009

The new Obama administration could use a rewind button. Hit it and we’d go back to those wonderful days of a couple of weeks ago when history was made, change was in the air and all of Washington tingled with anticipation. Now, though, we have one Cabinet nominee who did not pay all of his taxes and another Cabinet pick already confirmed who did something similar — and a stimulus package that offers mountains of cash but only molehills of reform. Can we go back a bit?

By Richard Cohen
The Washington Post
Taken individually, the tax problems of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and the health and human services secretary-designate, Tom Daschle, don’t amount to much. Together, though, they amount to a message: If you are beloved by this administration, you don’t necessarily have to play by the rules. Both Geithner and Daschle are good men, but their appointments send the message that Washington’s new broom sweeps a bit like the old one.

Former Senator Tom Daschle testifies before the Senate Health, ...

That message is only compounded by the stimulus package. The need for at least $1 trillion in economic stimulus is beyond argument, and the GOP’s obsession with tax cuts — What if taxpayers don’t spend enough? — is just a version of what Samuel Johnson said about second marriages: “The triumph of hope over experience.” (The most recent tax rebate proved to be a relative bust.) But what’s lacking in the package is precisely what Barack Obama campaigned on: change. The stimulus is mostly more of the same.

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Obama Needs to Run to the Center, the Transparent Ethical Center

Obama “Sad,” “Sober” At Illinois Corruption: Frankly I am Furious

December 10, 2008

PRESIDENT-ELECT Barack Obama was “saddened and sobered” that his old political ally, disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, was arrested yesterday on charges he tried to sell Obama’s old Senate seat to the highest bidder.
Saddened? Sobered? Is he kidding?

This, from the guy who championed himself as the very face of ethical reform in Washington?

This, from the great orator who once opined that the rising seas would recede after his election?

This, from the guy who promises to kick the lobbyists out the door and down the street?

By Charles Hurt
The New York Post

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama talks to the media in his ... 
Obama: Sad and sober?
U.S. President-elect Barack Obama talks to the media in his transition office in Chicago December 9, 2008.(Jeff Haynes/Reuters)

That’s not to say Obama’s hands are dirty here. Clearly, he and Blagojevich appear to be cut from a different cloth.

At the very least, Obama is not a crude dope with a runny mouth who doesn’t shut up even after everyone knows he’s being watched by the feds. And most likely wiretapped.

More importantly, there has never been evidence that Obama is involved in the sale of his own seat or any of the other big-time rancid corruption that dominates his home town of Chicago.

In this Aug. 17, 2005, file photo Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, ... 
In this Aug. 17, 2005, file photo Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, left, laughs with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich during Governor’s Day at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, Ill. Blagojevich was roused from bed and arrested Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2008, after prosecutors said he was caught on wiretaps audaciously scheming to sell now President-elect Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat for cash or a plum job for himself in the new administration.(AP Photo/Randy Squires, File)

Obama probably should be commended for crawling out of that stinking swamp smelling as rosy as he does.

Still, it’s a little alarming that he stuck with and supported Blagojevich even after many fellow Democrats, including his top aide, David Axelrod, washed their hands of him.

Obama also opens himself up to harsh criticism that maybe he’s not the great reformer he makes himself out to be.

His reaction was “insufficient at best,” Republican National Chairman Mike Duncan said yesterday. “Given the president-elect’s history of supporting and advising Governor Blagojevich, he has a responsibility to speak out and fully address the issue.”

And Obama has about used up his favorite excuse for all his friends in low places – that they were mere acquaintances.

He tried that with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and wore it out with the unrepentant Chicago terrorist Bill Ayers.

The real problem here is that his home state’s government is under siege and the appointment to his old Senate seat is in the hands of a common criminal.

Blagojevich could appoint himself to the Senate tomorrow and start drawing his $170,000 salary from federal taxpayers right away.

And Obama’s standing around all sad and sober? This is no time for sadness or sobriety.

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Amsterdam to close many brothels, marijuana cafes

December 6, 2008

Amsterdam unveiled plans Saturday to close brothels, sex shops and marijuana cafes in its ancient city center as part of a major effort to drive organized crime out of the tourist haven.

By TOBY STERLING, Associated Press Writer

The city is targeting businesses that “generate criminality,” including gambling parlors, and the so-called “coffee shops” where marijuana is sold openly. Also targeted are peep shows, massage parlors and souvenir shops used by drug dealers for money-laundering.

Women work in the red light district, Amsterdam (file pic)

The red light district has been popular for 700 years

“I think that the new reality will be more in line with our image as a tolerant and crazy place, rather than a free zone for criminals” said Lodewijk Asscher, a city council member and one of the main proponents of the plan.

The news comes just one day after Amsterdam’s mayor said he would search for loopholes in new rules laid down by the national government that would close marijuana cafes near schools citywide. The measures announced Saturday would affect about 36 coffee shops in the center itself — a little less than 20 percent of the city total.

Asscher underlined that the city center will remain true to its freewheeling reputation.

“It’ll be a place with 200 windows (for prostitutes) and 30 coffee shops, which you can’t find anywhere else in the world — very exciting, but also with cultural attractions,” he said. “And you won’t have to be embarrassed to say you came.”

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