Monday, February 26, 2018

Supreme Court won't hear lower court "stay" of Trump's DACA cancellation

The US Supreme Court has declined to hear a direct appeal of lower court rulings, where lower courts found Trump’s cancellation of DACA arbitrary and capricious.  That means DOJ appeals have to go through normal appeals court rulings. (NBC story)   Robert Barnes has a more detailed story Monday in the Washington Post. 
The court injunctions protect existing Dreamers from deportations and mean that renewal applications must be considered. But new applications may not be taken.

Dreamers may tend to have more employment problems and need financial and housing community support due to their uncertainty.
Trump has been reported to say that he does not expect to see deportations.
Cato (Alex Nowrasteh) has reported a Texas study that shows that immigrants, including illegal persons, have lower conviction rates for serious crimes that native born Americans, despite wide publicity for some selected incidents. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

"Cowardice" in the sheriff's department in the Broward County shooting, but that only supports the NRA's existentialism (bad training?)

Jake Tapper reports on the growing scandal which started with the fact that an assigned sheriff’s deputy did not enter the school, but that several  (at least three) other deputies did not enter. When Coral Springs police arrived. The story is here

We can rant about personal cowardice (Trump used the word), but indeed this seems to be a case of armed law enforcement not doing its job.

But there are other things to say.  The fact that some people on the right wing feel that they can’t count on police to defend them is one of the drivers of the NRA side of the argument – even the doomsday prepper crowd.  It also raises the question of personal karma – who is willing to become a police officer or firefighter – particularly in volunteer fire departments.

We’ve heard a lot about the idea of arming some teachers, as Trump suggested. That creates a problem if guns in the school some day getting stolen.  It can make it harder for swat teams to respond.  Furthermore, it discourages a lot of people from entering teaching, if they think that the culture has changed to the point that you’re really expected to be able to defend students with weapons.

I did have issues with disciplining a few students when I worked as a sub;  there were few problems in high school (as opposed to middle school) but there was one (with someone very disturbed probably) that contributed to one of my resignations (from one county).  It takes only one incident to have serious consequences.

Should teachers (even subs) be expected to be able to do CPR, defibrillation, and water rescues?  (I declined a special ed assignment one time "on the deep end" of a pool. 
President Trump said teachers will do a better job than police because they love their students so much. Huh?? Really?? 
I have no problems on campuses where there is a policy of allowing weapons with permits, like the University of Texas grad student who discussed the policy on PBS Independent Lens one time. 

Update: Monday, Feb. 26

The attorney for the sheriff's deputy says he thought this was an outside firecracker (NBC News detailed story); Trump says he would have run into the building even without a gun (link). 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Teachers would have to be capable of physically protecting students with their own lives, as the world turns now

Teachers (and that may include unlicensed substitutes in many states) are now being challenged to act as class bodyguards or student shields, as explained in a front page story in the New York Times on Tuesday, February 20, 2018, by Julie Turkewitz.

You can add the fact that teachers need training in first aid, CPR, use of defibrillators, and possibly water and swimming rescues.

And some more extreme people on the right think teachers should be armed (Milo Yiannopoulos, for example).  Maybe some teachers, maybe all.  Teaching would be like military service with bootcamp. I haven’t subbed since 2007, and I have no plans to.  I decided to stop finally on my own, and security was one of the issues on my mind even then.
You would wonder how programs like Teach for America would fare.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Student protests on the lack of gun control set for Saturday, March 24

I was away today in New Jersey for a “business meeting” (more about that later, including an idea of a "social media fairness doctrine"), but I wanted to note the student protests at the White House today as reported by WJLA7 in Washington. 
There will be marches in every city on Saturday, March 24.  The slogan is “Am I next?”
Here is Fareed Zakaria’s take.  Zakaria does point out that there is a correlation between the number of guns per person in a country and deaths from gun violence

But there is also a downside to the argument.  In Europe, where gun laws are stricter, there may be more exposure to systematic terrorism, since it is difficult to keep guns away from committed (often foreign) terrorists or gangs (like MS13).
There is no simple policy solution to the gun problem, as there are so many other risks to be “next” fir,  Hyperindividualism, inequality, and asymmetry are big factors.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

How should individuals take action on "narrow" but compelling issues, as now with gun control?

Ohio governor John Kasich (Republican and a primary candidate in 2016) excoriated Congress for its inability to get anything done about guns (possession of Ar-15’s by civilians), as well as DACA. The CNN link is here.  He spoke to Brian Stelter.

And Donald Trump put out a self-serving tweet his morning, about the FBI’s dropping the ball on earlier reports on the suspect.  Here is one energetic response to Trump’s tweet. 
Let me give a little personal reaction.  Of course, it’s “easiest” for everyone if Congress bans the AR15 and similar military weapons from civilian ownership in most circumstances.  Ohio’s John Kasich says that states may be more responsive than Congress.   Fine.  I wish Clinton’s assault weapons ban had renewed so it wouldn’t be a controversy now.  

But then, people plead, even with me, to join them on one issue.  The problem from my perspective, is that fixing just one issue won’t really fix the problem.  That’s true here.  As offensive as it sounds, some people on the Right don’t have enough confidence in the stability of civilization to think they can do without these weapons.  Call them the doomsday prepper crowd if you like.  Some are friends on Facebook. 
So, I generally won’t join single-issue campaigns under my own name on anything, because I’ve lost my turn for later.  Others may say this is an indirect sign of complacence to elected officials:  you either join us or you’re the enemy.  I come back and say, let’s make sure we don’t have a nuclear war on our soil in the next two years or an EMP attack.  I’ve spent a lot of “speech capital” on those.  Guns alone are far from our only personal and national security issue. How about missile defense that actually works and deters? 
I agree that with too many uncommitted “Me’s” around, it is harder to organize people around any one specific issue in reaction to a specific tragedy or urgent need.  It may be harder to get volunteers when it’s all “you’re on your own” and “suck up” and remain stoic, pay your dues and run your gauntlet when you have to. Remember how the Vietnam era draft used to work? .
But on this gun issue, it’s clear that Congress is intimidated by the NRA lobby – and the NRA museum is maybe 15 miles from where I live, it’s right at 66 and US50.  So you can talk about campaign finance reform – but we say that back in the early 2000’s, with the threat even to blogging, and now it comes full circle with the Russians.

A former Republican congressman David Jolly from Florida offers this warning
Finally, an AR-15 ban just by itself, if reinstalled now, won’t fix a lot. But I wish it hadn’t lapsed.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Conservative media undermine their own positions with graphic coverage of the Florida school shooting today

The media, especially CBS News, has made graphic video and accounts made of the “Columbine-like” event (The Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school shooting)  at the high school in Parkland FL today.  I found the video when it was retweeted by One America News today.
Milo Yiannpoulos also patched together some of the graphic coverage from news accounts 
For a moment, it seemed ironic to me that conservative media sites were showing the innards of gun violence, almost defeating their own arguments against gun control.

This would have been horrific to live through, as the videos show (I won’t embed). 

We are learning that the suspect had an AR-15 assault weapon. We don’t have information on the motive other than that he had been a former student with discipline problems.

President Trump made a lukewarm statement about the event.  How does someone so unstable get assault weapons today?

When I was working as a substitute teacher in northern Virginia 2004-2007, there was less concern about the possibility of incidents like this than there is today. I would not be equipped, as a substitute, to properly handle an emergency like this, go given conditions today it’s a good thing I don’t work in this capacity any longer.
I was in Broward County in November, 2017.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Why did the CIA mess around with Comey regardless of Trump and Hillary?

If you want to get an idea how the CIA sometimes goes fishing, look how Brennan looked into the FBI, Comey, foreign allies, and only then Russia, story in TableMag    This showed up in my Twitter inbox a few minutes ago.

What’s hard to figure is what the ultimate point of all this was.  You might do this if you were looking for proof of aliens (not  the kind stopped by a Wall – extraterrestrial – the good kind).  This seems to have little to do with Donald Trump per se.   Something like this “plot” here in this article happens in my novel as I first drafted it around 2008.  (It’s called “Angel’s Brother”, hope to have it ready by late summer, but might have to travel a lot more.  Don’t overlook Finland.)

Unfortunately Hillary Clinton was careless with her emails, and Anthony Weiner put us all at risk with his sexting.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Libertarian-learning authors urge conservatives to vote Republicans out of office "mechanically" in order to rid GOP of proto-fascism and nativism

Jonathan Rauch and Benjamin Wittes have a rather bombastic article in the Atlantic for February, “Boycott the Republican Party”. Then “If conservatives want to save the GOP from itself, they need to vote mindlessly and mechanically against its nominees.”  I thought, there really exists a Mechanicsville, VA (near Richmond). 
The GOP, it argues, is badly infected with the nativism of Trump’s base that put Trump in the White House and that facilitated Russian interference with the whole process, from fake news bots in social media down to possibly trying to interfere with actual voting stations (CNBC story). 
The far Left is bad too, but not an existential threat to democratic processes. 

But it is very difficult to vote “passively” against someone – go to partisanship – if it means extolling the idea of lessening personal responsibility under the cover of claims of group oppression or “intersectionality”.  But I think a lot of conservatives have to deal with the feeling that meritocractic norms add meaning to their own lives:  it’s important to believe that other are judged by the same norms that “we” are;  it’s difficult to come out of that shell born of upward affiliation with “winning” to really “care” about people not in our normal orbits.

Particularly disturbing is the alt-right notion that journalists are enemies "of the people".  That's mostly been applied to the mainstream networks but later it could come down on individual writers and bloggers, as in China, in an attack against intellectual elitism and abstraction (which ironically sounds Communist -- Nazism was national "socialism"). 

Rauch had been the author in 1995 bookGay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America” from Times Books.  A singleton, he had argued, is an accident waiting to happen. Partisan politicians know that.  

Thursday, February 01, 2018

The Nunes Memo mess: it's all in the details

Well, this is getting complicated.  Here is the CNN story on Peter Strzok’s lead-in to Comey’s release of a letter to Congress on Hillary Clinton’s emails on a laptop associated with Anthony Weiner on Oct. 28, 2016.  (Redacted emails  ).

What is confusing is that Republicans had accused Peter Strzok of being partisan for Democrats. 

The letter arguably helped change the momentum so that Clinton would lose the electoral vote in Blue Wall states. It may have ended any likelihood I would participate in asylum seeker hosting (see International today) which I had sent an email offering to consider on Oct. 26.
And for the day-long saga on the Nunes Memo, CNN has detailed coverage here
Here is a complete 9-point analysis by Vox of the Nunes memo (Zack Beauchamp and Alex Ward).  It’s a mouthful, but at stake is whether partisanship will taint law enforcement and keep it independent of oligarchical demands of loyalty. ''

Eric Swalell (D-CA) told CNN that the president is going after the FBI because the FBI is investigating him.  Democracy -- the rule of law -- can't tolerate that. 
I think the administration needs to spend its energy right now on North Korea. 

Update: Feb 2:

Here is a link to the actual memo.