Yesterday, when the Obama administration unveiled a number of proposals that would relax restrictions on foreign workers and their spouses, Chuck Grassley was all verklempt.
“The Obama administration claims it wants immigration reform, but they can’t wait for Congress. They act on their own,” Grassley, a top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on the Senate floor, according to his prepared remarks. “What’s next? Will the president unilaterally legalize the undocumented population because he can’t have his way with Congress?”
Grassley’s feeling that the president is overstepping his powers in revamping immigration policy via executive action is something of a change of heart. Back in June of 2008, when President George W. Bush used an executive order to require federal contractors to participate in the Homeland Security Department’s E-Verify system, Grassley was all for it.
Appearing on CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight several days after the announcement in 2008, Grassley voiced his support for Bush’s action, saying, “It’s so important that the president do that,” since Grassley would have put something similar in legislation of his own if the president hadn’t. “It’s quite a victory to get it done by executive,” Grassley said at the time.
Grassley deserves points for ideological consistency on immigration, and his office argues that the situation was different — that there was clear authority in the law for every employer to use E-Verify, including the federal government. “President Obama’s executive orders, on prosecutorial discretion for H-1Bs for example, fall, in Senator Grassley’s opinion, outside the constrictions of existing law,” his spokeswoman, Beth Levine, wrote in an email. “Senator Grassley wishes the president would use his executive authority to benefit American workers, instead of working to their detriment.” Bush, the logic goes, was merely requiring what the law already authorized.
The upshot though, was that Bush took a law Congress established as a voluntary system in 1996 and greatly expanded the program’s reach, affecting at least several hundred thousand workers a year nationwide, according to The New York Times‘ estimates. The real difference then, was that Obama’s proposal uses executive authority to make life a little easier for foreign workers, and Bush was using it to do something Grassley agrees with. It would behoove Grassley to just say so.
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”