Tuesday, 4/19/16

  1. The Virtuous Toker
  2. Where have the real tomatoes gone?
  3. A Statesman’s take on the Obama Immigration Policy
  4. Seeking Happy Medium

1

46-year chronic toker, now also a 20-year caregiver for an ill wife, insists that “enjoying a hit or two on the pipe every couple of hours has granted me tens of thousands of sweet clemencies that keep me from burning out as a caregiver.”

And the first 26 years of toking? [Crickets]

It’s a new era when the New York Times publishes self-parody like How Getting High Made Me a Better Caregiver. How nice that this stoner now has a virtuous-sounding excuse.

2

I think I’ve figured out where all the country’s genuinely tasty tomatoes have gone — the ones that, you know, taste like tomato. They’ve all gone to the restaurant suppliers (and the rare restaurant that makes its own) for tomato basil soup, leaving homes with the cardboard kind.

3

Congress has repeatedly granted the executive branch broad power in enforcing immigration laws. The 2002 law creating the Department of Homeland Security explicitly said the executive should set “national immigration enforcement policies and priorities.” The Supreme Court has recognized the leeway Congress gives the executive branch in deportations. In a 2012 majority opinion written by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the court noted that “a principal feature of the removal system is the broad discretion exercised by immigration officials,” including the decision “whether it makes sense to pursue removal at all.”

Setting enforcement priorities is vital to the effectiveness of our immigration laws. Congress can’t anticipate every situation. This is why the Supreme Court recognized in 1950 that immigration law is an area where “flexibility and the adaptation of the congressional policy to infinitely variable conditions constitute the essence of the program.”

[I]mmigration policy has been caught up in today’s hyper-partisanship, where a strident anti-immigration tide within the Republican Party overwhelms all bipartisan compromise. All 26 state officials who have challenged the administration’s executive actions in the Supreme Court case are Republicans, and last month the G.O.P.-led House of Representatives voted to file an amicus brief on behalf of the entire House.

From these howls of outrage, you wouldn’t know that the Obama administration has vastly exceeded the deportations under President George W. Bush. And Mr. Bush vastly exceeded those of President Clinton. President Obama’s directives to focus enforcement efforts on those who have committed crimes in the United States and recent border crossers are a rational executive prioritization, given the resources and the realities.

(Richard G. Lugar, who was too sane for Hoosier primary voters four years ago)

However, the Wall Street Journal doesn’t even mention “failure to deport” in its attack on the “diktat”:

In United States v. Texas, 26 states sued to block Mr. Obama’s executive diktat that awards legal status, work permits and other government benefits to some 4.3 million illegal immigrants, with no consent from Congress.

If Presidents can use “enforcement discretion” to suspend laws, the next one may choose to lower the capital gains rate by informing taxpayers the IRS won’t collect tax-evasion penalties over 15%. Environmental regulations could be ignored through a similar trick.

This should deeply trouble the liberal Justices as much as the conservatives. This case gives them an opportunity to reset the political system for the post-Obama era. His lawless integration of the executive and legislative functions deserves a rebuke before the practice becomes a permanent feature of U.S. politics.

4

I’m learning interesting thing about my body (“the human body”?) as it ages.

I tore my left rotator cuff in December. Fortunately, I’m right handed. But for a couple of months, I waited for the suspected tear to get better, which it did slightly.

Tired of sleeping badly (torn rotator cuffs apparently are notoriously painful when you’re flat) or sleeping in a recliner, I bit the bullet, saw an orthopedist, got an MRI, confirmed the tear (and the details of it), opted to try Occupational Therapy instead of immediate surgery, and got a cortisone shot to jump-start the therapy.

Occupational Therapy was quite successful. I didn’t expect to return to the major leagues, so I declared “good enough; no surgery for me.” And I stopped doing the exercises at home.

That was a mistake. Apparently, this tear (“rotator cuff tears generally”?) shouldn’t be babied. It gradually worsened until I was finding sleep troublesome again. Back to the home exercises. Monday 6:15 exercise, Monday night improved sleep.

I’ll be darned. I’m also warned not to overdo that shoulder — no all-day wall- or ceiling-painting, for instance.

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.