Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Why is the Latino poverty rate going up?

From the Heritage Foundation.

Excerpt:

It has been reported recently that the poverty rate among Latinos has reached 28 percent.

The number, based on a new poverty measure by the Obama Administration, should be interpreted with caution, as explained here and here. However, the overall point that more American Latino families, and Americans in general, are struggling to achieve self-sufficiency is troubling.

What’s not mentioned in news reports, however, is the greatest driver of child poverty in the U.S. today: unwed childbearing. Among Latinos, unmarried parent families are roughly three times as likely to be poor as married families. Tragically, over half of Latino children born today are born outside of marriage. The rate has increased from less than 40 percent in the 1990s to more than half—nearly 53 percent—today.

These facts are rarely mentioned, and few attempts made to address the matter. Instead, big government proponents clamor that the antidote to poverty is greater government welfare spending. Unfortunately, these programs do not help people overcome poverty. Today, the U.S. spends roughly five times the amount necessary to pull every poor person out of poverty, and welfare is the fastest-growing part of government spending, exceeding even the cost of defense spending. However, poverty rates have not declined.

While welfare can provide temporary relief to those who have no other options, the vast majority of welfare programs are based on promoting government dependence rather than self-reliance. To pave the way to upward mobility, anti-poverty efforts should address the causes of poverty, such as family breakdown, not simply transfer material goods. Institutions of civil society—faith-based and community-based—are better suited to address the complexities of poverty, having a greater ability to reach individuals on a personal level.

Avoiding poverty in America is easy: you just have to finish high school, stay out of jail, get married before you have kids, stay married, and work at any job.

You just have to make the right choices, and that would be even easier if the government stopped rewarding people with taxpayer money for making the wrong choices – and then blaming others for their own poor decisions. People choose poverty, and they ought to be held responsible for it. If we really wanted to “help the poor”, then we would be increasing tax breaks for charity, for marrying and for working at any job – no matter how much it pays.

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Haitian man who could not be deported kills three people in Florida

From the Miami Herald.

Excerpt:

When burglar Kesler Dufrene became a twice-convicted felon in 2006, a Bradenton judge shipped him to prison for five years. And because of his convictions, an immigration judge ordered Dufrene deported to his native Haiti.

That never happened.

Instead, when Dufrene’s state prison term was up, Miami immigration authorities in October 2010 released him from custody. Two months later, North Miami police say, he slaughtered three people, including a 15-year-old girl in a murder case that remains as baffling today as it did the afternoon the bodies were discovered.

DNA on a rifle found inside the house and cellphone tracking technology later linked Dufrene to the Jan. 2, 2011, slayings.

But North Miami detectives never got to interrogate him. Just 18 days after the murders, Dufrene shot and killed himself when he was cornered by Manatee County sheriff’s deputies in Bradenton after an unrelated break-in and shooting there.

The episode is a black eye for U.S. authorities, who by law could not detain Dufrene indefinitely after the Obama administration ordered a temporary halt of deportations to the island nation. 

[…]The failure to deport Dufrene infuriates the victims’ family members. “This guy shouldn’t have been in America,” said Audrey Hansack, 37, who moved back to her native Nicaragua after the murder of her daughter Ashley Chow. “I’m so upset with the whole situation. Because of immigration, my daughter is not alive.”

Just to be clear, the policy of the Obama administration is a backdoor amnesty.

Excerpt:

The Obama administration is taking steps to grant what amounts to amnesty to as many as 300,000 illegal aliens.

In a recent announcement on a sleepy August Friday in Washington, D.C., the Department of Homeland Security directed immigration enforcement officials to start dropping cases against as many deportable alien lawbreakers as possible.

The administration is clearing out removal cases wholesale.  Despite insisting that it will give them case-by-case treatment, an interagency committee is charged with finding all the cases it can to grant relief.

This backdoor amnesty broadens and encourages use of “prosecutorial discretion” on behalf of foreigners who face removal orders.  Not only will potentially thousands of illegals be allowed to remain in the United States, but the administration has also confirmed that those aliens can obtain work permits.

Democrats are soft on crime, and they favor amnesty for illegal immigrants. And this is the result of their views. Three dead people in Florida.

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Obama appoints amnesty advocate to head his Domestic Policy Council

From Investors Business Daily.

Excerpt:

In another move aimed at aiding his re-election, President Obama on Tuesday announced that Cecilia Munoz, a former senior vice president of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), would replace Melody Barnes as head of his Domestic Policy Council.

[…]The NCLR, whose name translates as “the race,” is a tax-exempt nonprofit that describes itself as “the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States.” It most recently led in vocal opposition against Arizona SB 1070, a law attacked by Attorney General Eric Holder as a discriminatory incarnation of profiling that usurped federal authority over immigration policy.

When then-candidate Obama spoke to the NCLR national convention in 2008, he told the group what it wanted to hear — that Latino “communities are terrorized by ICE immigration raids.” He also condemned those “communities taking immigration enforcement into their own hands,” such as those that have passed state laws or local ordinances to check that those who are here are in fact here legally.

At this year’s La Raza convention, Obama touted the federal Dream (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act, a thinly disguised amnesty program that is part of “comprehensive immigration reform” designed to pit those who have successfully eluded the border patrol on a path to citizenship.

Munoz has been serving since January 2009 as director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs at the time of that appointment. She was La Raza’s vice president for research, advocacy and legislation.

Since her entering the Obama administration, according to the watchdog group Judicial Watch, federal funding for La Raza has increased dramatically. In fiscal 2008, NCLR received $2.8 million in federal grants, and in fiscal 2009 it got $4.1 million. In 2010, the total rocketed to more than $11 million.

[…]La Raza has ties it refuses to condemn with groups such as MECHa, which has spent the last three decades indoctrinating Latino students on American campuses, claiming that California, Arizona, Mexico, Texas and southern Colorado were stolen and should be returned to their rightful owners, the people of Mexico.

MECHa’s slogan is derived from the rhetoric of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro: “Through the race, everything; outside the race, nothing.”

Here’s a good article summarizing all of the ways that the Obama administration has been pushing a backdoor amnesty since he was elected.

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Republicans won a record-breaking 680 seats in state legislatures

Wow… the ultra-leftist National Journal reports on the 680 seats lost by Democrats in the state legislatures. (H/T ECM)

Excerpt:

Republicans picked up 680 seats in state legislatures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures — an all time high. To put that number in perspective: In the 1994 GOP wave, Republicans picked up 472 seats. The previous record was in the post-Watergate election of 1974, when Democrats picked up 628 seats.

The GOP gained majorities in at least 14 state house chambers. They now have unified control — meaning both chambers — of 26 state legislatures.

That control is a particularly bad sign for Democrats as they go into the redistricting process. If the GOP is effective in gerrymandering districts in many of these states, it could eventually lead to the GOP actually expanding its majority in 2012.

Republicans now hold the redistricting “trifecta” — both chambers of the state legislature and the governorship — in 15 states. They also control the Nebraska governorship and the unicameral legislature, taking the number up to 16. And in North Carolina — probably the state most gerrymandered to benefit Democrats — Republicans hold both chambers of the state legislature and the Democratic governor does not have veto power over redistricting proposal…

And Fox News reports that the Republicans won a huge number of governorships as well.

Excerpt:

In Michigan, Republican businessman Rick Snyder, who vowed to turn around the state’s devastated economy, defeated Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, a Democrat.

In Ohio, another closely watched race, and one of the fiercest, Republican John Kasich, a former chairman of the House Budget Committee, defeated Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland.

In New Mexico, Republican Susana Martinez became the first Hispanic woman to become a state’s chief executive.

In Oklahoma, U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin, a Republican, became the state’s first female governor. She defeated Democratic Lt. Gov. Jari Askins to replace term-limited Democratic Gov. Brad Henry.

In Tennessee, Republican Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam defeated Democratic businessman Mike McWherter to win the state’s open governorship.

In Kansas, conservative Republican Sen. Sam Brownback defeated Democratic state Sen. Tom Holland to win the governorship. Democrat Kathleen Sebelius was elected in 2002 and again in 2006 before joining Obama’s Cabinet as secretary of health and human services. Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson replaced Sebelius but did not run for a full term.

In Wyoming, former U.S. attorney Matt Mead, the Republican nominee, defeated former state Democratic chairwoman Leslie Petersen. And Republican Utah Gov. Gary Herbert won another two years in office.

A Tea Party-backed South Carolina Republican, state Rep. Nikki Haley, was elected to replace term-limited Republican Gov. Mark Sanford. Haley won over state Sen. Vincent Sheheen.

In a high-profile race for which both parties spent millions, Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who has already served 10 years, defeated Democrat Bill White, a former mayor of Houston.

South Dakota’s Republican lieutenant governor, Dennis Daugaard, defeated Democratic challenger Scott Heidepriem to succeed term-limited Gov. Mike Rounds, keeping the seat in GOP hands. Alabama also remained in the Republican column as state Rep. Robert Bentley defeated Democratic nominee Ron Sparks. Republican Gov. Bob Riley is term-limited.

In Nebraska, Republican Gov. Dave Heineman was easily re-elected over the Democratic candidate, lawyer Mike Meister.

It was a landslide. The worst defeat the Democrats have ever endured. I am a big admirer of Mary Fallin, by the way. She is ultra-conservative. She is the third of the trifecta of female Republican governors. These are very conservative women – excellent choices for the Republican party, and possible future Presidents!

Oh, by the way… what do these Republican governors do? They cut spending.

Excerpt:

When Governor Christie set his sights on reducing the size of government and the debt in the Garden State, he is keeping that promise.

The governor announced that beginning January, he’ll cut 1,200 state jobs saving New Jersey taxpayers $8.8 million. The job cuts will include layoffs and attrition.

So why January you may ask?

Previous liberal tax and spend governor, Jon Corzine created a deal with his buddies in the state’s unions to prevent Christie from cutting these jobs before leaving office. The deal prevented these lay offs until January 2011.

Christie said the layoffs are needed to balance the state’s $29.4 billion budget. This is the type of fiscal conservatism that has made Governor Christie a rock star in the Republican party.

That’s what they were elected to do, and they’ll do it.

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Everything you need to know about the SCOTUS pick

If you haven’t already bookmarked Verum Serum, now is the time to do it.

Verum Serum’s May 3rd post discussed Obama’s SCOTUS pick, Sonia Sotomayor.

The post features this video of the nominee from a Duke University panel in 2005.

Quote from the video: (H/T Heritage Foundation via Commenter ECM)

“All of the legal defense funds out there, they’re looking for people with Court of Appeals experience. Because it is — Court of Appeals is where policy is made. And I know, and I know, that this is on tape, and I should never say that. Because we don’t ‘make law,’ I know. [Laughter from audience] Okay, I know. I know. I’m not promoting it, and I’m not advocating it. I’m, you know. [More laughter] Having said that, the Court of Appeals is where, before the Supreme Court makes the final decision, the law is percolating. Its interpretation, its application.

Verum Serum’s May 5th post has some quotes from a speech she gave at UC Berkeley, at a conference sponsored by the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal.

Here’s one of the quotes from Verum Serum:

Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, a possibility I abhor less or discount less than my colleague Judge Cedarbaum, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging. Justice O’Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases…I am also not so sure that I agree with the statement. First, as Professor [Martha] Minnow has noted, there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experience would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life. (emphasis added)

Nice Deb comments: “Imagine the hue and cry if a white male had said that about a Hispanic female.”

And one more from Verum Serum:

I willingly accept that we who judge must not deny the differences resulting from experience and heritage but attempt, as the Supreme Court suggests, continuously to judge when those opinions, sympathies, and prejudices are appropriate.

There is always a danger embedded in relative morality, but since judging is a series of choices that we must make, that I am forced to make, I hope I can make them by informing myself on the questions I must not avoid asking and continuously pondering. We…must continue individually and in voices united in organizations that have supported this conference, to think about these questions and to figure out how we go about creating the opportunity for there to be more women and people of color on the bench so we can finally have statistically significant numbers to measure the differences we will and are making.

You need to click through and read the rest of the quotes. Heritage Foundation has more quotes from the same speech, and some other quotes from her published papers.

Here’s one of the additional quotes from her published work:

The constant development of unprecedented problems requires a legal system capable of fluidity and pliancy. Our society would be strait-jacketed were not the courts, with the able assistance of the lawyers, constantly overhauling the law and adapting it to the realities of ever-changing social, industrial and political conditions; although changes cannot be made lightly, yet law must be more or less impermanent, experimental and therefore not nicely calculable. Much of the uncertainty of law is not an unfortunate accident: it is of immense social value.

The Heritage Foundation has more here, on their rapid response page.

And what about her judicial temperament, which is of critical importance?

John Lott has this quote on his blog from the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary:

Sotomayor can be tough on lawyers, according to those interviewed. “She is a terror on the bench.” “She is very outspoken.” “She can be difficult.” “She is temperamental and excitable. She seems angry.” “She is overly aggressive–not very judicial. She does not have a very good temperament.” “She abuses lawyers.” “She really lacks judicial temperament. She behaves in an out of control manner. She makes inappropriate outbursts.” “She is nasty to lawyers. She doesn’t understand their role in the system–as adversaries who have to argue one side or the other. She will attack lawyers for making an argument she does not like.”

And how smart is she?

Here’s Eric Posner writing on the Volokh Conspiracy blog:

The most complete effort so far to evaluate federal appellate judges is this paper by Stephen Choi and Mitu Gulati. Choi and Gulati use data from Lexis to measure three aspects of the judge’s performance—productivity, opinion quality, and independence.

…To determine how Sotomayor would do in the ranking, I had some research assistants collect her data for the years 1999-2001. To address the “freshman effect” (the possibility that her statistics are worse for her earliest years because of inexperience), we also looked at her data from 2006.

Productivity. Judges write opinions, which provide guidance to lawyers and the public. All else equal, a judge who writes more opinions is more productive, and provides a greater social benefit. Over the three year period from 1998 to 2000, the most productive judge published 269 opinions, the least productive judge published 38 opinions, and the mean was 98.1. For the comparable period from 1999-2001, Judge Sotomayor published 73 opinions. She would have ranked 68th out of 98.

Quality (1). Choi and Gulati measure quality by counting citations to a judge’s top twenty opinions… The range is 96 to 734, with a mean of 277.9. Judge Sotomayor’s statistic is 231, which would place her 59th.

Quality (2). Judge Sotomayor’s opinions from 1999-2001 were cited 289 times in law reviews and other legal periodicals through May 31, 2004… Sotomayor would have ranked 65th.

Quality (3). Choi and Gulati also check what they call “invocations”—the frequency with which opinions written by other judges refer to the judge in question by name… Invocations range from 0 to 175 (excluding two outliers, the highest is 23), with a mean of 32. Judge Sotomayor was invoked 0 times (tied for last).

Independence. Judges should decide cases in a non-partisan way… A score of 0 means that a judge is just as likely to disagree as agree with a co-partisan (or opposite-partisan). Negative scores mean that a judge is more likely to agree with co-partisans. Judge Sotomayor’s score is -0.153 …which would have placed her 55th.

And how liberal is she?

Wendy Long at Bench Memos has that angle covered.

Judge Sotomayor is a liberal judicial activist of the first order who thinks her own personal political agenda is more important that the law as written. She thinks that judges should dictate policy, and that one’s sex, race, and ethnicity ought to affect the decisions one renders from the bench.

She reads racial preferences and quotas into the Constitution, even to the point of dishonoring those who preserve our public safety. On September 11, America saw firsthand the vital role of America’s firefighters in protecting our citizens. They put their lives on the line for her and the other citizens of New York and the nation. But Judge Sotomayor would sacrifice their claims to fair treatment in employment promotions to racial preferences and quotas. The Supreme Court is now reviewing that decision.

She has an extremely high rate of her decisions being reversed, indicating that she is far more of a liberal activist than even the current liberal activist Supreme Court.

Isn’t there are word to describe a person that discriminates against people based on their race?

Verum Serum has a video of the White House and left-wing media responses to these shocking challenges to the pick. Charles Shumer warns the GOP not to oppose her in this video at Hot Air. Michelle Malkin and Gateway Pundit go over her liberal credentials in detail.

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