Rand Paul’s Unconstitutional Remark: Banning Citizenship For Children Of Undocumented Immigrants

This is absurd.  It is also unconstitutional.  For Rand Paul, and those like him, who align themselves so tight with the U.S. Constitution to then maul the document without blinking an eye is really most remarkable.

The latest bizarre example has to do with Kentucky Senate Republican nominee Rand Paul and his thoughts on banning children born to undocumented immigrants from  having U.S. citizenship.

U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul is stirring it up again, this time by saying he opposes citizenship for children born in the U.S. to parents who are illegal immigrants.

Paul, who a week ago won the GOP primary, told a Russian TV station in a clip circulating on political Web sites Friday that he wants to block citizenship to those children.

There are some serious errors in the muddled mind of Rand Paul.  As I have stated over and over about teabaggers, the Tea Party, and both Rand and his father, Ron, is that racism is deep and wide as to the reasons they all act in the fashion they do.

So lets cut to the core of the reason why I think Rand Paul is smoking something funny before talking.

Under the 14th Amendment, “all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”   I am not sure about how Rand Paul reads this language but for the lawyers in the world this is really quite unambiguous.  What that wording does is grant citizenship to all persons born in the United States unless they are not subject to American “jurisdiction”.  That means there is a very limited exception that applies only to children of foreign diplomats and a few other isolated instances.  In others words there is no room in the language of the Constitution to suggest, as Rand Paul does, that barring citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants has any constitutional validity.

Trivia: Beware What You Name An Oil Reservoir

I found this nugget inside a well written article about events that led up to the explosion aboard the oil rig that caused all the problems in the Gulf Of Mexico.

BP was drilling to tap an oil reservoir it had identified called Macondo, the same name as the cursed town in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude.”

Republicans Show Neanderthal Side On Gay Rights

Sometimes all one needs to do is allow the Republicans a microphone and a rope to hang themselves.

While this rhetorical tripe is typical of the Republicans, it is still a sad and shameful display.

I guess that no one on the GOP side has ever read Randy Shilts’s “Conduct Unbecoming” or they would never act as ridiculous as they did today on the House floor.

Active Hurricane Season Predicted For Atlantic

Wait till the BP oil in the Gulf of Mexico is whipped around by hurricane winds.

As many as 14 hurricanes could hit the Atlantic basin this year, the top US climate agency says.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration (NOAA) forecasts 14 to 23 named storms. Eight to 14 of these could develop into hurricanes, it says.

The season could be one of the most active on record, with between three to seven major hurricanes, the NOAA said.

“In short, we urge everyone to be prepared,” added a spokesperson for the agency said.

Major hurricanes can reach category three or higher, which means they bring sustained winds of at least 111mph (178km/h).

The NOAA says the seasonal forecasts have a 70% probability.

The hurricane season begins on 1 June and runs until the end of November.

Defense Department Should Shut Up About ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

I am not pleased with the number of hurdles required in order to do the right thing when it comes to repealing the awful ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy of discriminating against gay members of the armed forces.  The fact that there are too many wimpy, spineless, and weak-kneed members of Congress who fail to act anything like honorable and self-assured leaders should embarrass us all.  There should be no more study of this damnable issue, and no BS from the Pentagon on this matter.  The President should lead, the Congress should demand, and the Defense Department should understand the tail does not wag the dog and just shut up.  Enough already of the bigotry!  The military did not like when ‘the coloreds’ were given fair treatment in the ranks, and they are too thick-headed and jar-necked to understand why gay Americans are not willing  to take bigotry anymore either.  This matter should be expedited in days, not the months and months as outlined in this total piece of horse-rot.

The full compromise now looks something like this: 1) Congress passes repeal as an attachment to the defense authorization bill, 2) once the study is completed on December 1, officials will certify that it does not undermine military effectiveness 3) once it’s certified, Congress has 60 days to “review” it before DADT is repealed. Byrd provides the 16th vote for repeal on the Senate Armed Services Committee, but under this scenario the ban won’t be eliminated until sometime in early 2011.

And if mental midgets win control of the Congress next year and block this compromise, are we then to be promised that once Democrats take over again, in say 2013, there will then be a repeal of this BS policy!! 

Anyone share my outrage?

Democrats need to be reminded why they were sent to Washington as the majority party and what that means.

No ifs, ands, or buts.

Just do the job!!

If they are not able or capable they need to give up the seat and let someone take over that can make the correct decisions for the nation.

“The State Of Jones” By Sally Jenkins And John Stauffer, A Book Excerpt

The latest torrential rain which opened up on Madison this evening found us at Borders on the west side of Madison.  Not a bad place to be when there is no real choice except to stay put until it is possible to make it to the car without being throughly soaked.  I had my latest purchase, and James was pleased to have found a book to enjoy as well.  We had both gravitated towards the Civil War era for our selections.    “The Killer Angels” by Michael Shaara was his choice, and “The State Of Jones” by Sally Jenkins and John Stauffer was mine.

I know a fair amount about the Civil War, as I love to read from that period, having done so now for a couple of decades.  So I was a bit surprised when I came across a book about a Mississippi legend, Newton Knight, that I had never heard about before.  I at once got excited as I read the back cover, and thumbed through the notes.  Though I have not started the book it gets a post on CP as it seems more than worthy given the excitement it has created here.  I love to learn new things about the bigger topics that drive my interests and curiosities.  (And for you that  also judge a book by the scent  let me assure you this is a good one!)

In a nutshell here is an overview of the ‘The State Of Jones” provided by Amazon.  Following that is a book excerpt.

Make room in your understanding of the Civil War for Jones County, Mississippi, where a maverick small farmer named Newton Knight made a local legend of himself by leading a civil war of his own against the Confederate authorities. Anti-planter, anti-slavery, and anti-conscription, Knight and thousands of fellow poor whites, army deserters, and runaway slaves waged a guerrilla insurrection against the secession that at its peak could claim the lower third of Mississippi as pro-Union territory. Knight, who survived well beyond the war (and fathered more than a dozen children by two mothers who lived alongside each other, one white and one black), has long been a notorious, half-forgotten figure, and in The State of Jones journalist Sally Jenkins and Harvard historian John Stauffer combine to tell his story with grace and passion. Using court transcripts, family memories, and other sources–and filling the remaining gaps with stylish evocations of crucial moments in the wider war–Jenkins and Stauffer connect Knight’s unruly crusade to a South that, at its moment of crisis, was anything but solid.


Chapter 1


May 1862, Corinth, Mississippi

As far as the foot soldiers were concerned, the other side could have the damned town. The generals might have gladly given it up too, if not for the railroad junction. Corinth was pestilential. Even the Union’s pitiless William Tecumseh Sherman said the place made him feel “quite unwell.” Sherman’s superior, Henry Halleck, had such a low opinion of it that when he fell ill with a bowel ailment, he sourly named it “the evacuation of Corinth.”

It was wretched ground for a fight, with boggy fields, swarms of bugs clouding the fetid air, and a chronic shortage of decent drinking water. A Confederate colonel called it a “sickly, malarial spot, fit only for alligators and snakes.” It left no better impression on a Yankee lieutenant from Minnesota, who found the locals “ignorant” and the women “she vipers” with the figures of “shad bellied bean poles,” he wrote. As far as he could tell, the chief local produce consisted of “wood ticks, chiggers, fleas, and n——.”

But men on both sides understood, if reluctantly, that Corinth was one of the most vital strategic points in the South. It was “the vertebrae of the Confederacy,” as one rebel official put it. In the middle of town, two sets of railway tracks crossed each other in a broad X: the Memphis and Charleston ran -east–west, while the Mobile and Ohio ran -north–south. The intersection was a working hive: locomotives screeched and huffed, while men on platforms loaded and offloaded downy bales of cotton, stacks of lumber, crates, barrels, sacks of provisions like salt beef, and other vital war materiel. Trains were the reason for Corinth’s existence: the village was just seven years old and the streets were still raw dirt. The largest hotel in town, the Tishomingo Hotel, was a broad -two–story affair with six chimneys that fronted directly on the tracks of the Memphis and Charleston, which ran just outside the front porch.

There were 80,000 Confederate troops under General Pierre G. T. Beauregard jammed into the brick and clapboard town, which normally housed just 2,800 inhabitants. Corinth was filled with rebel wounded from Beauregard’s catastrophic encounter in April with U. S. Grant’s Yankee troops at Shiloh, just a few miles away. The battle, so named for the log church where Grant’s men had camped, was the worst bloodbath in the Western Hemisphere to date, with a toll of 20,000 in two days. “God grant that I may never be the partaker in such scenes again,” one Confederate survivor wrote. “When released from this I shall ever be an advocate of peace.”

Corinth was hardly an ideal place to recover. Contagion was inevitable with such a large army closely confined in pestiferous surroundings, the comings, goings, spewings, and brawlings of thousands of men, horses, mules, and oxen trod everything into mud, and their litter and foul runoff attracted hordes of fleas and mosquitoes. There were not enough rooms to accommodate the wounded, much less the sick. On the first floor of the Tishomingo, men lay on blood- and water-soaked carpets or blankets in the vestibule and hallways. On the second floor, the -charnel–house vapors caused some of the doctors and nurses to pass out.

One of the wounded was a rugged -thirty–year–old colonel in the 6th Mississippi Infantry, and a future governor of the state, named Robert Lowry. This peacetime lawyer had been raised in Smith County, one county over from Jones. He had taken wounds in the chest and another in the arm, as his company lost 310 men out of 425. The performance had earned his unit the nickname “The Bloody Sixth.”

Those Confederates who survived Shiloh unharmed were as likely to get sick in Corinth. The rebels were preparing for a state of siege as a federal army of 120,000 under Union general Halleck encroached on the outskirts of town. Men labored constantly with shovels in the sweltering heat, as Beauregard ordered the defenses fortified with immense earthworks. The men dug until they were thirsty, then drank foul, swampy water. Diarrhea and dysentery became endemic. Soon, a quarter of the Southern troops were ill. “The water was bad enough to kill a dog much less a man,” wrote a Mississippi cavalryman named William L. Nugent home to his wife.

Beauregard responded to the epidemic by trying to rally men with rhetoric: “We are about to meet in the shock of battle the invaders of our soil, the despoilers of our homes, the disturbers of our family ties,” he wrote in a widely distributed letter. “Face to face, hand to hand, we are to decide whether we are to be freemen or the vile slaves of those who are free only in name . . . Let the impending battle decide our fate, and add one more illustrious page to the history of our Revolution, one to which our children will point with noble pride, saying, ‘Our fathers were at the battle of Corinth.’ “

But even as his letter circulated among the soldiers, Beauregard decided to evacuate the city. At the end of May, Beauregard hastily decamped his army and its provisions, mostly hunks of heavily salted meat, for the healthier environs of Tupelo to the west. Beauregard, too, had gotten sick. Suddenly, he did not feel his presence was required in such a swampland. He took an unauthorized leave to recuperate in comfort in Mobile.

With the Confederate withdrawal from Corinth, the Union forces moved in. They found the place a stinking pit. Abandoned foodstuffs and other detritus rotted on the roadsides. A soldier with the 81st Ohio, Joseph K. Nelson, noticed an odd glint in the earth that crunched under the soles of his boots. When he bent down to examine the dirt, he found it was literally moving with insects.

”The Johnnies left behind something for us to remember them by,” he wrote in his diary. “The ground in places was alive with ‘body guards’-lice-and was much littered in places with large chunks of very salt beef. The salt sparkled and glistened in it.”

October 1862, Northern Mississippi, on the March

General Earl Van Dorn was a -ringlet–tossing little Mississippian in search of a big reputation. Profligate with the lives of men and impossibly conceited, as suggested by his extravagant twists of auburn hair, Van Dorn openly aspired to “a burning name,” as he put it. He was continually conceiving of schemes that could win him the flaming renown he sought, and his latest was typical.

As an Indian summer fell over Mississippi, Van Dorn -about–faced the Confederate Army of the West and marched it back toward Corinth with the intention of retaking the town. His plan was a hurriedly drawn, surprise full frontal assault, and heedless of risk, but that only made it more infectious to some of his colleagues. He was after “great objects,” and that justified the “unusual hazard” of the attack, according to his chief of staff, another overeager Mississippi cavalier general named Dabney H. Maury.

But Newton Knight, a young sergeant striding in Company F of the 7th Mississippi Battalion, felt none of the enthusiasm that the -glory–seeking Van Dorn and Maury tried to summon with such verbal flourishes. He was neither free nor proud to be a Confederate soldier.

Company F, made up of -sixty–nine men and four officers from Jones County, had been forcibly mustered into the ailing Confederate army after Beauregard’s evacuation of Corinth in May. Now, just four months later, almost half the new men were ill. Fully -two–thirds were absent or on leave, and six had died. At the last roll call, only twenty men and two officers had answered present, Knight among them. Men were sick with yellow fever, dysentery, malaria, and influenza. Or they were just plain sick and tired of marching around northern Mississippi as their vainglorious commanders ordered them to and fro across the sweltering countryside. It was a testament to Knight’s sheer vigor that he was on his feet.

Newton was a -long–limbed, shaggily handsome -twenty–four- -year–old accustomed to privation. His wavy black hair curled to his shoulders and was greased with sweat over a tall forehead. A rampant, untended mustache and beard fell below his chin into his shirt buttons. His large, pooling, -blue–gray eyes seemed preternaturally sighted and were spaced far apart, which led some to accuse him of eccentricity. He had perpetually sunburned cheekbones and a large jaw clamped hard and slightly off center.

He was rawboned and muscular from habitual work and a lifelong diet of sweet potatoes, cornbread, and whatever wild game he brought down with his shotgun. “Big heavyset man, quick as a cat,” a friend described him. Men from easier backgrounds found camp life a misery; the beds on wet ground, the foraging and scrabbling for decent victuals, the tramping in all weather with never a change of clothes. Not Newton: hard didn’t bother him.

Newton suffered from a different complaint: he was an unwilling soldier. In April of 1862, the Confederacy, badly in need of reinforcements, had passed the first Conscription Act, drafting all men between the ages of eighteen and -thirty–five. “They just come around with a squad of soldiers ‘n took you,” Newton remembered. On May 13, 1862, Newton and -twenty–two of his closest relatives and friends, young men who hunted together, worshipped together, drank together, helped build one another’s homes, and even married one another’s sisters, had reluctantly enrolled in Company F together, “rather than be conscripted and be put into companies where we didn’t want to go,” another Jones Countian recalled.

Police Chiefs Label Arizona Immigration Law “Very Divisive”

It is hard to refute those who are where the tire meets the road.

Not for the first time do we see more evidence from law enforcement about the problems associated with the unconstitutional immigration law that was recently enacted in Arizona.   Today a group of experienced police chiefs stepped up to address the law head-on.  To say the least, they are not amused by the negative consequences of this law.

Police chiefs from around the country met with Attorney General Eric Holder today to voice their concerns about the new Arizona immigration law that they say will damage the relationships police have established in their communities and only help increase crime instead of reducing it.

The law will cause a “fracture” between the police and their communities and damage the trust law enforcement officials have been building for decades, Tucson chief of police Roberto Villasenor said at a press conference after the meeting.

“When you enact legislation that makes any subset of that community feel like they are being targeted specifically or have concerns about coming forward and talking to the police, that damages our capability to obtain information to solve the crimes that we need to work with,” Villasenor said.

Nearly all police chiefs present said immigration enforcement should be the focus of the federal government, not local law enforcement officials. Some complained that this focus on immigration will only strain police departments’ resources and their ability to focus on preventing crime.

“We don’t believe that it will reduce crime in our communities,” said Salt Lake City chief of police Chris Burbank. “In fact, as you look in our Latino communities, they are not responsible — even those individuals who are undocumented — for committing more crime in our communities. So this effort will not reduce crime. In fact, the majority of us feel that it will actually increase crime in our communities.”

Immigration Policy Bad Political News For GOP

I have easily argued that the immigration fight is not one that the GOP can afford to take on, especially in the mean-spirited manner of the recent past.  Doing so will crush them politically.  After all, voters who are non-white will be the majority  in the United States in the not so distant future, and if the GOP has any desire to be a majority party it will need to adapt to the reality of the times.  If the Republicans wish to commit political suicide they will continue with immigrant bashing.  My hunch, however,  is that the moderate sensible members, some that still do exist and have some power in the GOP, will work to exert control on this issue.   By working with the Democratic Party to fashion a national immigration policy that will pass constitutional muster it will allow the GOP not to implode.  There is no other alternative for the Republican Party.

Now there is more polling evidence to underscore my main point.  The unconstitutional Arizona immigration law has moved the Latino and Hispanic vote to the side of those who understand common sense, decency, and the Constitution.  That side being the Democratic Party.

Latinos, once a semi-swing group of voters, now have swung overwhelmingly for President Obama and the Democratic Party, and younger Hispanics are moving to the Democrats in even greater numbers.

For example, 68% of Latinos approve of Obama’s job (compared with 48% of overall respondents and 38% of whites), and they view the Democratic Party favorably by a 54%-21% score (versus 41%-40% among all adults and 34%-48% among whites). And their views of the Republican Party? In the poll, the GOP fav/unfav among Latinos is 22%-44%. What’s more, Latinos think Democrats would do a better job than Republicans in protecting the interests of minorities (by 58%-11%), in representing the opportunity to move up the economic ladder (46%-20%), in dealing with immigration (37%-12%), and in promoting strong moral values (33%-23%). The only advantage they gave Republicans was in enforcing security along the border (31%-20%). And Latinos remain a sleeping — yet growing — political giant: 23% of them aren’t registered voters (compared with 12% of whites and 16% of blacks).