The S&L ‘Hive’ – Please Talk Amongst Yourselves

Here is our weekend discussion thread, where comments on the general topics of the day are very welcome.

But please remember to post and comment on specific news items in the ‘Reader Selected News’ thread below or via the ‘News Selected By Our Readers’ link found in the sidebar.

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Reader Selected News For Week Jun 29 – Jul 5

This thread is for the busy bees of S&L to post news articles that might not warrant their own thread.

Posting Guidelines

To make the articles as readable as possible, please:

  • Only post news from established news media outlets.
  • Avoid editorials or opinion pieces unless they are truly newsworthy.
  • Avoid items that most people most likely have seen elsewhere.
  • Post articles that fit under the topic of a recent thread as a comment there.
  • Always spell out the name of the source and post a link to it.
  • Always post less than one quarter of the original article.

Posts of articles that do not follow these guidelines may be edited or deleted.

Thank you.

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AP Savors Base Vs Elites Feud In Republican Party

From the Associated Press:

Marriage ruling renews GOP centrists-vs.-base feud

By CHARLES BABINGTON | June 27, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — The dramatic Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage is forcing Republican leaders to cope, in bright daylight, with something they’d rather handle discreetly: the careful balance between placating their conservative base and reaching out to centrist voters crucial in presidential elections.

Top GOP leaders showed notable restraint this week, while conservative activists fulminated against the court’s decision, which requires the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage.

It’s a delicate political dance that establishment Republicans perform whenever divisive social issues gain new prominence. Republicans are unified and confident in their anti-tax, small-government principles. But nonfinancial issues cause more problems.

And never mind that it was Ronald Regan’s fusing of the fiscal conservatives with the social conservatives that won him two historic landslides.

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New IRS Head ‘Slammed’ Over Incomplete Report

From the Politico:

Daniel Werfel slammed for ‘incomplete’ report

By LAUREN FRENCH | June 27, 2013

The new leader of the embattled IRS is facing criticism from congressional Republicans for releasing an “incomplete” report on the agency’s response to the tea party targeting scandal.

At a hearing on the report Thursday, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp slammed Daniel Werfel for concluding that politics didn’t play a role in the now-defunct practice of providing extra scrutiny to conservative groups applying for a tax exemption.

Of course, that is exactly what Mr. Werfel was hired to say.

The Michigan Republican was especially incensed at Werfel’s request for an additional $1 billion in funding for the agency.

Now that is chutzpah.

“It is insulting to taxpayers that the IRS would ask for an additional $1 billion right after we find out that the IRS was targeting taxpayers for their beliefs,” Camp said.

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AP (Lies): Stocks Gain On Good News On Economy

From a shameless Associated Press:

Stocks gain on encouraging news about the economy

By STEVE ROTHWELL | June 27, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) — Good news on jobs and consumer spending pushed stocks higher again Thursday. The Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose for a third straight day. Yields on Treasury securities fell for a second day, easing worries that a sudden spike in interest rates could hurt the economy.

Consumer spending rose 0.3 percent last month and incomes increased 0.5 percent, the most in three months, the government reported.

Remember when consumer was a terrible thing, way back under President Bush? (It meant people weren’t saving enough, and they were going into debt.)

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell 9,000 to 346,000 last week.

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Meth Smuggling Has Doubled At US-Mexico Border

From an unfazed Associated Press:

Meth floods US border crossing

By ELLIOT SPAGAT | June 28, 2013

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Children walk across the U.S.-Mexico border with crystal methamphetamine strapped to their backs or concealed between notebook pages. Motorists disguise liquid meth in tequila bottles, windshield washer containers and gas tanks.

The smuggling of the drug at land border crossings has jumped in recent years but especially at San Diego’s San Ysidro port of entry, which accounted for more than 40 percent of seizures in fiscal year 2012. That’s more than three times the second-highest — five miles east — and more than five times the third-highest, in Nogales, Ariz.

The spike reflects a shift in production to Mexico after a U.S. crackdown on domestic labs and the Sinaloa cartel’s new hold on the prized Tijuana-San Diego smuggling corridor.

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Mexico Slams Border Plan, But Protects Its Borders

From ABCNews/Univision:

Mexico Slams U.S. Border Buildup Plan

By MANUEL RUEDA | June 26, 2013

It took a while, but after several calls for action from prominent intellectuals, the Mexican government finally said something about the United States’ proposed plans to scale up security on its side of the border.

Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Jose Meade, read a statement to reporters Tuesday afternoon in which he criticized a U.S. bill that would add 700 miles of border fencing and double the number of Border Patrol agents, in exchange for the legalization of 11 million undocumented immigrants.

"We are convinced that fences do not unite [both nations]," Meade said. "The enlargement of this wall is not congruent with plans to create a modern and secure border, and to develop the region."

Meade … said that plans for increased fencing and patrolling – which have been attached to immigration reform efforts by conservative politicians – would hamper commerce along the border and disrupt the lives of 14 million people who live in counties on either side of the fence.

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Senate Gallery Erupted In ‘Yes We Can!’ Chants

From a cheering Washington Post:

Senate immigration vote: ‘Yes, we can,’ supporters chant after roll call

By David A. Fahrenthold | June 27, 2013

After the last senator had cast his vote on the major immigration overhaul bill that passed the Senate Thursday, there was a long pause in the ornate chamber.

It was unusually packed: almost all senators were at their desks, and the public galleries were full. One section was full of young people wearing blue T-shirts supporting immigration reform: their shirts said “11 Million Dreams.”

And never mind that such T-shirts are not supposed to be allowed in the Congressional galleries.

They shushed each other, knowing what was coming… “Expressions of approval or disapproval are not permitted,” said Vice President Biden, presiding as Senate president.

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NYT Quietly Cheers Senate’s Amnesty Vote, Rubio

From the New York Times:

Senate, 68 to 32, Passes Overhaul for Immigration

By ASHLEY PARKER and JONATHAN MARTIN | June 27, 2013

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday approved the most significant overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws in a generation with broad support generated by a sense among leading Republicans that the party needed to join with Democrats to remove a wedge between Republicans and Hispanic voters.

And let’s not forget how much our immigration laws were ‘reformed’ the last time. They were so reformed we ended up with (at least) 11 million more illegal aliens. Who knows how much more this ‘reform’ will bring us?

The strong 68-to-32 vote in the often polarized Senate tossed the issue into the House, where the Republican leadership has said that it will not take up the Senate measure and is instead focused on much narrower legislation that would not provide a path to citizenship for the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the country.

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Pentagon Rushes To Give Benefits To Gay Spouses

From the Wall Street Journal:

Pentagon Extends Benefits to Same-Sex Spouses

By Julian E. Barnes | June 26, 2013

Hours after the Supreme Court ruling, the Pentagon announced that it would move to quickly extend all benefits given to opposite sex spouses to same-sex couples including medical, dental and housing allowances.

But what about the sequester? We thought the military didn’t even have enough money to put ships to sea, but they can afford to expand benefits overnight?

Defense officials also said that same sex spouses would have the same rights to be buried alongside war veterans buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

“The Department of Defense, will move very swiftly, expeditiously, on implementing the law, the decision of the Supreme Court,” said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

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Gay rights no longer immigration bill obstacle

From the Politico:

Gay rights no longer immigration bill obstacle

By CARRIE BUDOFF BROWN and SEUNG MIN KIM | June 26, 2013

The Supreme Court’s decision Wednesday to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act settles a major unresolved issue in the immigration reform debate by clearing the way for gay U.S. citizens to sponsor foreign-born spouses for green cards.

The debate over including protections for gay couples had been one of the lingering tension points as the Senate nears passage of the landmark immigration bill. The federal law prohibited American citizens in same-sex marriages from receiving immigration benefits, including the right to assist their partners in applying for legal permanent residence.

But now, that potential obstacle has been completely removed from the immigration fight. Under immigration law, married gay couples would be treated the same way as other married couples and would face the same requirements as heterosexual couples for legalizing spouses who were born in another country…

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) sought to extend that right to same-sex couples during the bill’s committee drafting process…

“At long last, we can now tell our families that yes, they are eligible to apply for green cards,” said Rachel B.

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General Motors To Build A New Factory In Mexico

From an unfazed Reuters:

GM to invest $691 mln in Mexican operations

June 26, 2013

(Reuters) – General Motors Co outlined plans on Wednesday for investing $691 million to expand its Mexican operations, including the previously unannounced expansion of its Toluca engine plant.

The plans include a new factory in Silao in central Mexico to build 8-speed transmissions and an upgrade to an existing factory in San Luis Potosi that will make next-generation transmissions, GM Mexico President Ernesto Hernandez said…

GM’s investment will boost employment and development in Silao, San Luis Potosi and Toluca, Hernandez said. GM did not say how many jobs it will add in Mexico, where it employs 15,000 people at four complexes and its headquarters in Mexico City

Well, we know exactly how many jobs this will add in the US.

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Snowden Condemned Leakers In 2009 Online Chat

From the New York Times:

Under Snowden Screen Name, 2009 Post Berated Leaks

By SCOTT SHANE | June 26, 2013

Just four years before Edward J. Snowden set off an international firestorm by disclosing highly classified National Security Agency documents, someone using his screen name expressed outrage at government officials who leaked information to the news media, telling a friend in an Internet chat that leakers “should be shot,” according to chat logs made public on Wednesday.

Given Snowden’s reputed expertise in computer security, we suspect he was using his own screen name.

“They’re just like WikiLeaks,” Mr. Snowden — or someone identified as him from his screen name, “TheTrueHOOHA,” and other details — wrote in January 2009 about an article in The New York Times on secret exchanges between Israel and the United States about Iran’s nuclear program.

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Poor IRS Must Now Tackle Benefits For Gay Couples

From the Politico:

Next on IRS to-do list: Benefits for same-sex couples

By KELSEY SNELL | June 26, 2013

The IRS — already stretched thin managing scandals, a complicated tax code and the implementation of the health care law — has a new task: providing federal tax benefits to gay couples.

And don’t forget their task of making sure conservative organizations don’t get tax exempt status.

At its heart, the case to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act centered on tax policy. Edith Windsor, the plaintiff in the case, was slapped with a $363,000 tax bill after the death of her wife. She wouldn’t have faced the tax if the federal government had recognized her marriage, which took place in Canada. The couple lived in New York, a state that recognized Windsor’s union when her wife died in 2009.

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Emanuel: Gays Are The Next Jews Of Fundraising

First we have this fantasy from The Advocate the New York Times:

Court Follows Nation’s Lead

By ADAM NAGOURNEY | June 26, 2013

LOS ANGELES — When proponents of same-sex marriage decided nearly five years ago to bring their legal battle before the Supreme Court, the decision set off a spasm of anxiety among many gay leaders worried that an adverse ruling would set back a fight that many of them had never really wanted.

That’s not what the New York Times was claiming three years ago, or even ten years ago. Back then The Times claimed the public was clamoring for same sex marriage.

But as the Supreme Court issued its last-day-of-court rulings on Wednesday, nullifying the federal law that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman and effectively permitting same-sex marriage in California, what was also clear was just how rapidly much of the country had moved beyond the court.

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