The Bookworm Beat (11/22/14) — Sad Saturday edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingWhy is it a sad Saturday? Because I read an analysis of 2016 electoral prospects arguing that, while Republicans can definitely win Congress and state houses, the combination of huge Democrat-voting urban areas and the electoral college makes it impossible for Republicans to take the White House. I think that’s true. Unless voters in urban areas turn on the Democrats, what we’ll have as of 2015 — a Democrat president and slight-majority Congress — will be the status quo for a long time.

That makes me sad because it will mean that Barack Obama’s presidential legacy, both domestic and international, rather than being reversed and lost in history’s backwater, will last far into my, my children’s, and even my grandchildren’s future.  It’s not good for America and it’s not good for our traditional friends abroad.

(Incidentally, if you read the article I linked, I do not agree with the author’s nastiness about Republicans. I just think he’s right about the incredible weight those Democrat urban areas will have when it comes to the electoral college.)

Okay, now I’ve sloughed my depression off onto all of your capable shoulders. Do with it as you will. In the meantime, a few other things you might find interesting:

Repeat after me: Reagan and Bush did not act like Obama

One of the oft-repeated themes emanating from happy Progressives on my real-me Facebook page is that Reagan and Bush did precisely the same as Obama did when it came to immigrants, or that Bush and other presidents signed way more executive orders than Obama has. These Progressives seem utterly incapable of distinguishing form from substance.

David Frum, who once was a conservative but now seems to have landed in some mushy middle area, still has enough active brain cells to process the difference. He sets forth four specific reasons for the difference. Here’s the first one, and can see the remaining three at the link:

1) Reagan and Bush acted in conjunction with Congress and in furtherance of a congressional purpose. In 1986, Congress passed a full-blown amnesty, the Simpson-Mazzoli Act, conferring residency rights on some 3 million people. Simpson-Mazzoli was sold as a “once and for all” solution to the illegal immigration problem: amnesty now, to be followed by strict enforcement in future. Precisely because of their ambition, the statute’s authors were confounded when their broad law generated some unanticipated hard cases. The hardest were those in which some members of a single family qualified for amnesty, while others did not. Nobody wanted to deport the still-illegal husband of a newly legalized wife. Reagan’s (relatively small) and Bush’s (rather larger) executive actions tidied up these anomalies. Although Simpson-Mazzoli itself had been controversial, neither of these follow-ups was.

Executive action by President Obama, however, would follow not an act of Congress but a prior executive action of his own: his suspension of enforcement against so-called Dreamers in June 2012.

A new order would not further a congressional purpose. It is intended to overpower and overmaster a recalcitrant Congress. Two presidents of two different parties have repeatedly called upon Congress to pass a second large amnesty. Congress has repeatedly declined. Each Congress elected since 2006 has been less favorable to amnesty than the previous one, and the Congress elected this month is the least favorable of all. Obama talks as if Congress’s refusal to fall in with his wishes somehow justifies him in acting alone. He may well have the legal power to do so. But it hardly enhances the legitimacy of his action. Certainly he is not entitled to cite as precedent the examples of presidents who did act together with Congress.

The above quotation is from the reliably Progressive Atlantic.  Frum, though, is not the only Atlantic writer challenging the Progressive meme of Obama as the Great Emancipator (and yes, I’ve seen numerous Facebook posters comparing him to Lincoln and the latter’s Emancipation Proclamation).  Conor Friedersdorf, who approves of Obama’s amnesty ends, is nevertheless very disturbed by the means:

The policy is a loss because democracy suffers when a politician says that the law forbids him from doing something, is reelected, and then takes the ostensibly illegal course he’d disavowed. It doesn’t help when his logic is, I had to do it, the people’s representatives wouldn’t. I hope I’m wrong in suspecting that this will radicalize restrictionist groups. It is certainly an advance that is vulnerable to reversal in two years when another president takes office—and may make congressional compromise on immigration harder to achieve, though maybe not. It isn’t as if the legislature was showing any urgency in passing an immigration-reform bill, despite the fact that every month of delay caused countless millions needless suffering.

Not every immigrant is feeling the love for Obama

Legal immigrants are not particularly pleased with Obama’s border free-for-all attitude. SuperLEGALImmigrant live-tweeted Obama’s amnesty announcement and had some pretty nasty things to say about the unfairness of it all. She was especially incensed by Lord Obama’s homage to the people of color who serve him.

I’m sure SuperLEGALImmigrant was also among those unimpressed by Hillary’s insanely awful statement about immigrants (emphasis added):

“We should all remember … that this is about peoples’ lives. This is about, I would venture to guess, the people who served us tonight, who prepared our food tonight,” and those who perform construction jobs, she said to applause. “These are the lives of people who are, in many instances, longtime residents and workers who have not only raised children, but made contributions.”

Don’t confuse Hillary’s remarks with an homage to the working class. She would not be equally thrilled for American born or legally-immigrated servers, kitchen workers, or construction workers. This is a class thing.

How do I know? Well, maybe I don’t, although I do think that my experiences socializing with Berkeley professors in the early 1980s gives me some insight into how these people think. Back in the day, these grossly over-compensated, tenured professors preached Marxism in the classroom, and then returned at the end of the day to their lavish houses with views of the San Francisco Bay, and staffed by minimally-paid immigrant housekeepers and gardeners. These were the quintessential limousine liberals.

Hillary and her class view the new immigrants as cheap service and cheap votes. That’s all.

Progressives can’t distinguish quality from quantity

In connection with the Progressives’ attempts to liken Obama’s constitutional usurpation as an order identical to those Bush, Reagan, and other presidents passed, I said that Progressives cannot distinguish form from substance. They also cannot distinguish quality from quantity.

Thus, it seems that the State of Virginia does not recognize homeschooling as a legitimate form of secondary education because “We know homeschool kids don’t work as hard as kids in regular school.”

Let me tell you a little story about Montessori schools, which are recognized as a very valid alternative to public schools. Did you know that true Montessori schools do not give homework? This is not because teachers do not like grading homework. It’s because the students spend so much time during the day engaged in effective learning that they did not need to get homework to keep up with the various state-mandated curricula.

For some things, such as calculus, the drill that comes with homework is very useful. For so many other things, though, public schools give homework for one of two reasons: (1) either to compensate for time lost due to busy work, discipline issues, bell schedules, roll taking, teacher inefficiency, curriculum inefficiency, etc., or (2) to make parents feel as if they’re getting bang for their public school buck.

In other words, yes, public school children might be working more, but they’re not learning more. And pardon me if I’m out of step with the times, but I thought the whole point of education was to . . . you know, educate. In Virginia, though, education just seems to be another way to keep future voters off the streets until they’re ready to be handed their welfare checks and their cheat-sheet for voting the Democrat ticket.

(I did warn you, I believe, that I’m feeling sour today.)

Larry the Cable Guy on the Cosby v. Clinton comparison

Trust Larry the Cable Guy to hone in on a telling difference between the media’s treatment of Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton:

Although she doesn’t reference Larry, Catherine Evans thinks she has the answer to Larry’s question. I think she does too.

Judicial Watch would like crowdsourcing help

After years of obstructionist behavior from the Department of Justice, the DOJ finally yielded to court orders and has started releasing some documents. They’ve already released 42,000 pages, although we already know that it’s withheld significant responsive documents. Given the volume of documents the DOJ has produced, Judicial Watch is asking for crowdsourcing help:

You can help investigate Fast and Furious by reviewing these just released documents forced out of the  Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) on November 18, 2014,  thanks to our June 2012 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and subsequent September 2012 FOIA lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. Department of Justice (No. 1:12-cv-01510)).  For additional background on this case, click here.

A total of 10,112 documents, comprised of approximately 42,000 pages, were disclosed to Judicial Watch in the new production.  Only Judicial Watch has forced their release into your hands. We invite you to review these documents and help us uncover any evidence related to the Operation Fast & Furious scandal hidden within.

We encourage you to post a description of any incriminating evidence you find, along with the document number in the comments section below, or to our Facebook post on the same topic.

Please click here to inspect the documents. Thank you!

(Hat tip: Sadie)