Happy President’s Day 2017… 45 bits of arcane trivia for you to pursue on this day for two of our favorite Chief Executives. Continue reading
The first month of President Trump’s term has been marked by turmoil. What your politics are determines what that turmoil is. For the political left, it has been one gobsmacking outrage after another. For the right, it has been a hounding media blowing up every little Trump tweet and tither into a scandal of Watergate proportions. But if you sift through the silt, you will see that President Trump hasn’t really done much governing at all in his first month.
While Trump was swift to issue a torrent of Executive Orders, he is ahead of the typical president but lags behind President Obama. Trump issued 12 Executive Orders in his first month, Obama had 16. Trump actually takes 3rd place, with Harry S. Truman edging him out by a single order. By comparison, George W. Bush issued 7, Bill Clinton 6. Continue reading
On Monday, President Trump’s pick for the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos, was confirmed in an historic Senate vote where the Vice President had to vote to break a 50-50 tie. Why historic? Because a Vice President had never in 200+ years ever had to break a tie for a Cabinet secretary. How did it get to 50-50? Educators and concerned parents bombarded Senate offices (Colorado, North Carolina, Pennsylvania) with emails and phone calls in opposition to DeVos, who had a historically bad hearing and seems vastly unqualified for the position. Two GOP Senators voted in opposition, causing the tie.
But what emerged in this fight over DeVos’s nomination underscores what the left faces over the next two years: GOP lawmakers do not believe their re-election is in jeopardy despite massive public outcry. As Mike Gecan wrote in the Daily News, Democrats are getting played. Continue reading
The argument being made by the Executive Branch in why they have blocked immigration and even valid entry visas (Green Cards) from seven Muslim-majority nations has been in the case of “National Security”:
First, to clarify the President’s statement yesterday, the stay on his immigration ban does not throw open the borders but instead takes it back to what was in practice 10 days ago. There is still no easy entry for immigrants and refugees, as the vetting process has been strengthened over the past several years. It may not be to the level the President wishes, but he can easily change that working with the GOP majority in Congress and whip through new legislation.
But secondly,. the President has provided no evidence that an imminent terrorist threat through entry from these places is warranted. What resulted in the immediate stay on the ban, before 24 hours had passed, were rulings that stated the government was harming the Due Process rights of those seeking entry to the United States.
Another key piece that could lead to the overturning of the actual Executive Order banning entry hinges on whether or not this is a “Muslim Ban.” The White House denies it and the actual Executive Order does not specify religion. But the ACLU has argued in Boston courts, where one of the limited initial stays on the ban occurred, that when as a candidate the President promised to ban Muslims, spoke publicly of preferring entry of one religious group over another and then in widely published reports asked Rudy Giuliani how to make a Muslim Ban legal, regardless of the printed word this is indeed a Muslim ban.
This morning brought a flood of Twitter reaction to President Trump blasting a judge, who late Friday put a nationwide block on his Executive Order. Raise your hand if you expected the President to go on the offensive over night. See? That was expected. Move along, nothing to see here.
Whether the President cares, the a federal judge is part of an equal and independent branch and cannot be fired like he did a week ago to acting Secretary of State Sally Yates. Those on the left were, wrongly, outraged at that firing: Continue reading
It’s easy to just boil over with the overdosing of negative news coming out of the White House. But is it worth the anxiety? I’m going to try and put the “outrage” people are feeling into political or historic context. So I’ll attempt, if at least for myself, look through a wider lens. Is this really as bad as the media claims it to be? Continue reading
Making rounds of the internet this week was a Biloxi, Mississippi city government posting that referenced that Martin Luther King Day also being known officially as Great Americans Day, which was started in 1985 by the city. Turns out Robert E. Lee was born the same week (albeit a century earlier) as MLK. Biloxi likely started this in response to President Reagan signing the law in 1983 that the holiday would become federally recognized in 1986. So it gives this damned Yankee an opportunity to dig into the hero worship of the great Virginian general of the Civil War and examine his place in Southern Heritage.
Robert E. Lee’s success on the battlefield was unparalleled. In reality he only lost two twice as a commander, one at Gettysburg and a final time where he surrendered his troops at Appomattox Courthouse in what is wrongly attributed as the end of the Civil War (it would continue elsewhere in the south for six more weeks or so). Celebration as a great General, even though many of these were waged against the United States, I suppose is due. But throughout the land there are not nearly as many George Patton statues nor street names. Continue reading