An Open Letter
Dear Mr. President,
I find it curious that immigration was an issue of such pressing importance that it required immediate (and dare I say unprecedented?) action on your part, and yet so trivial that you couldn’t be bothered to address the nation. “Bad optics,” as they say in your biz. Still, I hope you enjoy your stay in Las Vegas this weekend — it’s lovely there this time of year.
One of those British newspapers I read online, you know the one with all the stories about busty celebrities barely wearing fancy clothes? Anyway, they were nice enough to publish a lot of what you said last night, and there was some good stuff in there. I really like that part where you told illegal… excuse me, undocumented migrants that “if you register, pass a criminal background check, and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes — you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily, without fear of deportation.” That sounds to me like smart policy, the kind of thing we could probably all agree on. Maybe it would have been smarter if you had saved it for your State of the Union address a few weeks from now, when you would have had the new Congress to work with, and everybody would have had the holiday vacation to settle down and cool off and stuff?
Anyway, when you get back to DC to work more on rewriting our immigration laws, which sounds like lonely work by the way, maybe you could answer a couple of questions I have about the Constitution. I understand that you were once almost nearly a constitutional law professor, so I think you can help me.
You keep using this phrase “if Congress refuses to act,” and I keep wondering,”If Congress refuses whom?” I’m not one of those Tea Party racists who carries a tiny version of the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence or whatever in his pants pocket all the time, but I did pull up a copy of it online, and I don’t see anything in there about you being able todemand anything of Congress. It doesn’t even say here that you’re allowed to introduce your own bills. And then you said that thing that the House refuses to vote on a Senate bill, but I also don’t see anything in here that says the Senate can demand anything from the House or vice versa. They both have to agree on the same stuff without any demands at all, and then you have to sign it and then it’s a new law. Or did I miss something? Anyway, I read somewhere last week that the Senate has refused to vote on over 300 bills the House sent over, lots with bipartisan support, so it sounds like that Harry Reid is really going to have his hands full when he comes back to run the Senate in January! So if you could clear that up for me, that would be great.
I want to get back to this immigration thing, because I think you have some good ideas. And it looks really bad, what the House is doing, playing politics with immigration. To be fair though, the House is 435 politicians, and politics is what they do. But those politicians don’t report to you, sir, they report to their voters back home. In fact, a couple weeks ago we just sent a bunch of them back home, permanently, because we didn’t like what they were doing. But we kept bunches more of them right there where they were, because I guess we did like what they were doing. Those are the people you’ll have to work with, and not make demands of. They say politics is the art of taking half a loaf — you’re not supposed to grab the whole thing and run off to Vegas with it.
So it’s worse, isn’t it, what you’re doing? Instead of playing politics with the politicians, you went behind their backs to do stuff you’re not supposed to do without them. And it looks like you went behind most of our backs, too, the voters I mean, by doing all of this during the lame duck session and without addressing all of your fellow Americans first. And then running off to Vegas afterwords? Mr. President, sir, it looks to a lot of us like you just don’t give a hoot anymore.
You’ve made a lot of people really mad, and you didn’t even have to. There’s that other part in the Constitution, the part where the Constitution demands that you, the president, “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” and I wonder if you understand what that means. I remember a few years ago a nice young Democratic senator from Illinois — hey, that’s where you’re from, too! — explaining that the president couldn’t just go around “doing stuff” without Congress, so if he’s still there in DC, maybe you could sit down with him when you get back from Vegas.
Enjoy your trip,
—Your Friendly Neighborhood VodkaPundit
Found at PJ Media.
Former NFL Star Walked Away from $37 Million to Feed the Hungry with His Farm
Jason Brown is happily living the biggest mistake of his life.
At least, that’s what his agent called the former St. Louis Ram’s 2012 decision to leave behind his $37 million NFL contract, buy 1,000 acres of farmland, and feed Missouri’s hungry.
Brown, who learned farming largely from YouTube and by gathering advice from local farmers in Louisburg, North Carolina, is growing sweet potatoes and cucumbers, the former of which recently yielded his first harvest: 100,000 lbs. of food, which he donated to local food pantries.
“When you see them pop up out of the ground, man, it’s the most beautiful thing you could ever see,” Brown said.
“It’s unusual for a grower to grow a crop just to give away,” Rebecca Page, who organizes food collection for the needy, told CBS. “And that’s what Jason has done. And he’s planning to do more next year.”
Kohler Introduces Odor-Eating Toilet Seat
Blow out the candle and ditch the aerosol can.
Kohler Co. has introduced a deodorizing toilet seat that it says eliminates embarrassing bathroom odors and the need for candles and sprays to cover them up.
A fan hidden in the battery-operated seat sucks in air and pushes it through an odor-eating carbon filter, followed by an optional scent pack. Product manager Jerry Bougher said the idea is to attack smells “where the action is.”
The $90 seat is one of many high-tech gadgets that Wisconsin-based Kohler and its competitors have introduced in recent years to make time spent in the bathroom more pleasant. When it comes to toilets, consumers can get seats with features such as slow-closing lids, heat and nightlights that typically add $20 to $100 to the cost.
Kohler sees deodorizing technology as something that most consumers can connect with, Bougher said. “In terms of odor, everyone’s experienced it.”
The seat turns on automatically when someone sits down. The fan emits a slight hum as it filters the offending odor. The air flows over a scent pack similar to air fresheners used in cars, and the masking smell builds gradually. Bougher’s wife, Angela, said her husband installed a Purefresh seat in their home without telling her, and she noticed the scent “just before you would normally reach for a can of spray.”
Josh Pantel, 27, has a Purefresh seat in the Middleton home he bought about three months ago with his girlfriend, who works for Kohler. He too likes it.
“If you have a visitor or someone at your place, it makes them feel more comfortable using the restroom,” Pantel said.
Kohler began selling the seats Nov. 10, in time for the Christmas season. They require two D batteries to operate, and Kohler says the batteries and carbon filters, which cost $6.99, should last six months. Scent packs, which must be replaced monthly, are sold three for $7.99.
It is not the first company to make a no-smell seat. San Francisco-based Brondell introduced one in 2006 but pulled it from the market about three years ago because the manufacturing costs were high and demand “wasn’t where we had hoped it would be,” said the company’s president, Steve Scheer. His company now includes deodorizing technology similar to Kohler’s on its $600 Swash 1000 bidet seats.
“Personally, I kind of view (deodorizing) more as an extra than as a core reason to buy the product,” Scheer said. However, he said the market for specialty toilet seats is growing.
“People are becoming aware of these kind of unique products,” Scheer said. “And once they’ve used something like a bidet seat or a heated seat, there’s no going back.”
The Realist Creed
All people in foreign policy circles consider themselves realists, since all people consider themselves realistic about every issue they ever talk about. At the same time, very few consider themselves realists, since realism signifies, in too many minds, cynicism and failure to intervene abroad when human rights are being violated on a mass scale. Though everyone and no one is a realist, it is also true that realism never goes away — at least not since Thucydides wrote The Peloponnesian War in the fifth century B.C., in which he defined human nature as driven by fear (phobos), self-interest (kerdos) and honor (doxa). And realism, as defined by perhaps the pre-eminent thinker in the field in the last century, the late Hans Morgenthau of the University of Chicago, is about working with the basest forces of human nature, not against them.
Why is realism timeless and yet reviled at the same time? Because realism tells the bitterest truths that not everyone wants to hear. For in foreign policy circles, as in other fields of human endeavor, people often prefer to deceive themselves. Let me define what realism means to me.
First of all, realism is a sensibility, a set of values, not a specific guide as to what to do in each and every crisis. Realism is a way of thinking, not a set of instructions as to what to think. It doesn’t prevent you from making mistakes. This makes realism more an art than a science. That’s why some of the best practitioners of realism in recent memory — former U.S. National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft and former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker III — never distinguished themselves as writers or philosophers. They were just practical men who had a knack for what made sense in foreign policy and what did not. And even they made mistakes. You can be an intellectual who has read all the books on realism and be an utter disaster in government, just as you could be a lawyer who has never read one book on realism and be a good secretary of state. Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was unique because he was both: an intellectual realist and a successful statesman. But successful statesmen, intellectual or not, must inculcate a set of beliefs that can be defined by what may be called the Realist Creed:
Order Comes Before Freedom. That’s right. Americans may think freedom is the most important political value, but realists know that without order there can be no freedom for anyone. For if anarchy reigns and no one is in charge, freedom is worthless since life is cheap. Americans sometimes forget this basic rule of nature since they have taken order for granted — because they always had it, a gift of the English political and philosophical tradition. But many places do not have it. That is why when dictators are overthrown, realists get nervous: They know that because stable democracy is not assured as a replacement, they rightly ask, Who will rule? Even tyranny is better than anarchy. To wit, Iraq under Saddam Hussein was more humane than Iraq under no one — that is, in a state of sectarian war.
Work With the Material at Hand. In other words, you can’t just go around the world toppling regimes you don’t like because they do not adhere to the same human rights standards as you do, or because their leaders are corrupt or unenlightened, or because they are not democrats. You must work with what there is in every country. Yes, there might be foreign leaders so averse to your country’s interests that it will necessitate war or sanctions on your part; but such instances will be relatively rare. When it comes to foreign rulers, realists revel in bad choices; idealists often mistakenly assume that there should be good ones.
Think Tragically in Order to Avoid Tragedy. Pessimism has more value than misplaced optimism. Because so many regimes around the world are difficult or are in difficult straits, realists know that they must always be thinking about what could go wrong. Foreign policy is like life: The things you worry about happening often turn out all right, precisely because you worried about them and took protective measures accordingly; it is the things you don’t worry about and that happen unexpectedly that cause disaster. Realists are good worriers.
Read more HERE.
For me? The tattoos ruined her body.