Hundreds of people jammed St. Therese Catholic Church in Aurora today in support of immigration reform. The gathering was part pep rally, and part political organizing. It was sponsored by Together Colorado, a coalition of religious and faith community leaders.
"We have communities and families here in Colorado that are suffering and we believe the only moral solution to our harmful immigration policy is full citizenship for the 11 million aspiring Americans and the only one that is consistent with our religious beliefs and American values," said Rev. Nelson Bock of Our Savior's Lutheran Church.
The gathering heard from several speakers besides Rev. Bock, including Fr. Steve Adams of Pius X Catholic Church, and several persons who had specific human problems related to current immigration policies.
At the center of the event was hearing from Sen. Michael Bennet and Congresspersons Jared Polis and Mike Coffman. Bennet and Polis both advocate a "path to citizenship," and their remarks were warmly received.
Mike Coffman gets credit just for showing up. Coffman is--or was until very recently--a tea party Republican. Among this constituency, anything that helps hispanics stay in this country is anathema.
Coffman's district--the 6th--has shifted out from underneath him. The lines were re-drawn by the 2010 legislature. The new 6th is now the "Aurora seat" and Aurora has a large constituency of minorities, hispanics in particular.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has targeted the seat in 2014, and former Speaker of Colorado House, Andrew Romanoff, has entered the race. Though Coffman won re-election in 2012, the vote was close, and his opponent was poorly-financed.
Together Colorado is a non-partisan organization which is affiliated with PICO, the nation's largest faith-based organizing network.
Photo: Cong. Jared Polis responds to questions from an over-flow crowd at St. Therese Catholic Church.
So the fiscal cliff is averted. Big whoop. If we'd actually gone over it, everyone's taxes would have gone up. For people who say they are so concerned about the deficit, this would have been a good thing. (Nobody really cares about the deficit. Those are just talking points.)
The administration had the political high ground on this one. People would have blamed the Republicans for the tax increase.
The administration would likely have pushed to lower taxes on those making less than $250,000 a year, in which case they would have, again, had the high ground politically.
In the case of this deal, we got a pittance in tax increases from the wealthy while making it yet even easier to pass on inherited wealth for the idle rich.
True, there were no cuts to Social Security and Medicare. You can bet, however, that they will be on the table in only two months when the next "crisis"--the debt ceiling--hits and the administration will have a weaker hand to play.
John Boehner may be losing his job come January. The election for the House Speakership will be held January 3, and he may be facing a challenge from the tea party caucus. His Plan B had a tax increase!
House GOP members take seriously the idea that if you go after the king, you'd better get him. Tea partiers are trying to rig it so that the election for Speaker is a secret ballot. That way, they can vote against Boehner without fearing retribution should he survive the attack. This is not the most courageous approach obviously, but it just might work to unseat Boehner.
Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, noting that the Constitution says nothing about whether or not the Speaker must actually be a member of the House, proposes that Jon Huntsman be Speaker. He figures Huntsman is a legitimate conservative who could garner some GOP votes, and is moderate enough that he could get some Democrats.
The Constitution does not clearly state that the Speaker must be a member of the House, but it hints in that direction and has always been the case in actual practice.
In any case, it does not say anything about the Speaker being a living person either. Why not Ronald Reagan for Speaker of the House? The problem is not that he's no longer living. The biggest problem is that he's not conservative enough.
In the discussion regarding embassy security, it should be kept in mind that the House of Representatives cut State Department requests by $128 million in fiscal year 2011, and $331 million for fiscal year 2012.
In 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that cuts to her department would be "detrimental to America's national security." House Republicans rejected her argument.
Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS) went skinny-dipping in the Sea of Galilee last August. He and some other members of Congress were on a "fact-finding trip" with their wives when, apparently, they had a nice dinner, with a drink or two, and Yoder got the idea to take off his clothes and hop in.
He was only doing what every son or daughter of Kansas has done since there was such a thing as Kansas. Summers are hot! Nevertheless, Yoder is in in full apology mode:
"I feel incredibly remorseful that I have caused embarrassment to my constituents and I have caused folks who believe in me to be disappointed," Yoder told The (Kansas City) Star Sunday night.
"The gravity of the situation and the actions I've taken are not lost on me, and I feel certainly regret at what has occurred, and I just want to apologize to my constituents for a momentary lapse in judgment."
Bag the apology! If you turn your other cheek to skinny-dipping, you are rejecting your Kansas heritage. Be proud Congressman. Full-monty ahead!
For something closer to home, the Kansas City area has at least one venue where skinny-dipping is part of the recreational package:
Gaea Retreat Center has a twelve-acre lake, ideal for midday or moonlight frolicking. Gaea...is home of the Heartland Pagan Festival, Midwest Male Naturist Gathering and the Gaea Goddess Gathering, three of many annual retreats. Because Gaea serves as a tribute to nature, the most natural thing festival campers can do is swim naked in the pond on hot summer days. No one cares if you fling off your clothes and dive off the dock, and there are always a couple of boats you can row out to the middle. Just be sure to wear sunscreen on those parts not usually exposed.
On September 18, 2008, Cong. Paul Ryan attended a closed meeting with congressional leaders, then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and was urged to craft legislation to help financially troubled banks. That same day Ryan sold shares in various troubled banks and invested in Goldman Sachs.