Saturday, July 27, 2019

From the Archives: 270 years of bad optics

Editors' Note:  Last week a distinguished American prosecutor, former FBI director, and war hero confirmed to Congress that the President had fulfilled each of the elements required for conviction on obstruction of justice charges multiple times and that said President's campaign had had multiple unexplained contacts with agents of a hostile foreign power and reported none of them to law enforcement.   We were then told by media wise heads with stupid haircuts that the testimony failed to make an impact because of “optics.”  We wondered if our 276-year archives contained any previous examples of speechifying that passed unnoticed for reasons related to the refraction of light through glass.  Guess what?  They did!

The Massachusetts Spy, August 18, 1776:

In a ho-hum ceremony, some men signed a letter in Philadelphia


By Charles Todd
By Packet Boat to The Massachusetts Spy

After sedulous deliberations in the fetid malarial swamp that is Philadelphia, representatives of the various colonies listed their complaints against King George III in an effort to win popular support for their uprising against British imperial rule.

The lengthy document, ordered to be printed on July 4, and then distributed over time in the several colonies, recapitulated the colonists' various grievances and complaints against the British King and His Majesty's Government but added nothing to what we already knew about the injustices the colonies have suffered at the hands of the House of Hanover.

Also blunting the hoped-for impact of the document, it was released in a tedious ceremony in which multiple men signed it laboriously with a quill pen.  Some speculated that it would have had more impact had it been read out during, for example, a cockfight.

“It's hard to see anyone's mind being changed just because some merchants and slaveholders signed a long list of complaints,” said Thomas Hutchinson, formerly of Boston, who described himself as a undecided voter.  “There's really no news here.”

Others suggested the so-called Declaration of Independence should have been released during a clambake at the Atlantic City, rather than in the depths of another fetid Pennsylvania summer.  “Imagine how much more attention it would have gotten if it were read out by hot colonial girls in their bathing costumes, ” said Fred C. Drumpf, who described his profession as relaxation adviser.

The Massachusetts Spy, November 20, 1863:


From Todd Charles
By Telegraph  to The Massachusetts Spy

Looking shockingly haggard and struggling to make himself heard, a weary Abraham Lincoln dedicated a new cemetery at the site of the late Battle of Gettysburg with a few remarks that even he admitted would be soon forgotten.

The optics were terrible at Gettysburg
Against the backdrop of an apparently endless effusion of blood that has thus far failed to quench the Confederate rebellion, Lincoln, in a high, quavering voice that failed to reach most of the large crowd, utterly failed to build on the excitement and enthusiasm generated by Edward Everett's memorable retelling of the Battle.

By contrast, Lincoln's remarks were a bloodless recapitulation of abstract principles of government and did not include even a single exciting detail of the great encounter.  Former Army Chief of Staff George McClellan described it as “an incredible wasted opportunity.  As for whether Lincoln is able to lead the United States to victory, I say: case closed.”

Privately, some aides close to Secretary of State William Seward said it had been a mistake to rely on a tired, old Abraham Lincoln to rally his citizens to the Union cause.  “I can't believe how much the war has aged him.  Had we known that, we probably wouldn't have even let him take the stage,” one insider told the Spy.

The audience reaction was generally downbeat.  “If this is how the Union intends to inspire its Army to victory, the war is as good as lost,” said Nate Forrest, an area farmer and traveler.

“It's time for old Abe to admit he can't beat the South on the battlefield and to negotiate a peace that would end the bloodshed and restore slavery to the Territories,” said Braxton Bragg.

A draft-age young man in the audience was similarly unimpressed.  “Fight for this old weird guy?   It's a good thing I had $300 to pay a substitute so I could make my fortune in New York,” said the man, who gave his name as Donald J. Drumpf, Queens, New York.

The Massachusetts Spy, December 9, 1941:


Congress hears Roosevelt in drab session


By Charles Todson
Special to The Massachusetts Spy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – His withered body propped up by steel braces, a rapidly aging President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced that he would try to lead his country to victory in Japan, in the aftermath of its attack on U.S. military facilities at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

In his characteristic aristocratic orotund voice, Roosevelt urged the Congress to declare war on the Empire of Japan.  The Congress did so, notwithstanding the lack of exciting optics such as newsreel footage from Pearl Harbor or eyewitness reports from U.S. forces who were attacked on December 7.

Sticking to his just-the-facts style, Roosevelt argued that the Pearl Harbor attack was an adequate justification for war.  In his only rhetorical flourish, Roosevelt described December 7 as a “day that will live in infamy.”

Many observers thought the rhetoric fell flat.  “Who even knows what the word infamy means?  He should try to use non-technical language,” said Sen. Robert Taft of Ohio.

Although the tableaux in Washington was dull, the declaration was passed against a backdrop of exciting developments in Hawaii and the Philippine Islands, where additional Japanese attacks were reported by the charismatic Commander-in-Chief there, Gen. Douglas MacArthur.

Important media figures criticized the President for failing to rally the nation in a time of war.  “Why didn't Roosevelt call for all Japs in the U.S. to be locked up?” asked Chicago Tribune Publisher Col. Robert McCormick.

Leading politicians echoed concerns about Roosevelt's failure to advocate for homeland protection.  “We have tens of thousands of disloyal Japs in California ready to strike.  Why didn't Roosevelt promise to lock them up or send them back?” asked California Gov. Earl Warren.

Observers reported that the President's remarks had failed to spark a rush to military recruiting stations.  In Jamaica, Queens, one man of military age said he was unable to serve due to crippling bone spurs.  “I'll tell you one thing this war is good for: the real estate business,” commented the man, who gave his name as Fred C. Trumpf.

The Massachusetts Spy, June 17, 2015:

Donald J. Trump and his Brains Trust


By Chuck Todd
NBC News 
with witty repartee from Maureen Dowd
New York Times News Service

NEW YORK, N.Y. – In a masterfully planned and executed piece of made-for-TV magic, failed reality talk show host Donald J. Trump today announced his hilarious bid for President of the United States, in a strategy that appeared to be directed at gaining a lucrative cable TV contract for his irresistible blend of bluster and bravado.

From the descent down the golden escalator at his marble palace, to the shills he hired to cheer for him, the whole event showed why Trump is regarded as a master showman.  All the stagecraft was there, down to the beautiful girls strategically positioned around the Trump Tower lobby.  “No one stages an event like the Donald, unless it's me,” said an admiring friend, who gave his name as Jeff Epstein.

His speech featured plenty of the tough he-man talk that he is so famous for, and the crowd loved it, especially the bit about how Mexico is sending rapists and assassins across the border.  Of course, no one took it seriously, because when it's the Donald, he's always selling the sizzle and not the steak, vodka, water, airline, casino, game, magazine, or education.

Fortunately with experienced Republicans like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio already in the race, no one has to worry about Trump accepting the nomination at the 2016 Republican Convention, but it sure does spice up what otherwise might be a somewhat staid debate among Republicans about tax cuts for the rich and cutting benefits for the poor.  Thank you Donald for saving us from that snoozefest!

Maureen Dowd wrote:  It would take even more imagination than Trump himself possesses to see the failed casino magnate share a debate stage with likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, but this brilliant, famous columnist with a fabulous Georgetown salon would look forward to the Donald asking the Hillary why she wouldn't divorce her horndog husband.

But just think – if the Donald and Hillary faced off on Election Day 2016, it would truly be the year of voting dangerously.  Hey, wait a minute, that's genius. Genius!  Gotta call my publisher.

Back to you, Chuck.

Chuck Todd: One thing's for sure: the optics are compelling. [Stop staring at Melania's cans, Chuck – M.D.]

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Only in the Spy: Questions (and Answers!) from the Bigot-in-Chief's New Citizenship Test

Editors' Note:  Many media outlets have reported that President U Bum's henchmen have decided to frustrate even lawful immigration by rewriting the citizenship test administered to Legal Permanent Residents seeking naturalization.  But only the Spy has obtained advanced copies of the new test so that you the reader can judge for yourself how fair it really is!



1.  Which of the following are not part of the President's powers under Article II of the Constitution?

a.  pardoning political allies
b.  ordering a beautiful military parade whenever you want
c.  charging your Secret Service detail for golf cart rentals at your resorts
d.  appointing your relatives to all key policy-making positions

ANSWER: They are all part of the President's Article II powers

2.  Match the great President with the quote

a.  President Joe Washington
b.  President A. Lincoln
c.  President Phil Roosevelt
d.  President Donald J. Trump

i.   "I should have named my house after me.  Then maybe someone would have remembered me."
ii.   "With malice toward all, with charity toward none."
iii.   "The only thing we have to fear is haters and losers."
iv.   "When you're famous, you can grab women by the pussy."

ANSWERS: a - iv; b - i; c - ii; d - iii  [Is this right - USCIS?]

EXTRA CREDIT: What forgotten President lived in this dump
with no a/c, pool, or marble floors?

3.  Which of the following is not a requirement for serving as a Supreme Court justice?

a.  white male
b.  sex offender
c.  believer in unlimited Presidential power
d.  commitment to justice.


4.  When did America stop being great and why?

a.  1865 - freeing of all slaves
b.  1920 - women get the vote, even when they have blood coming out of their whatever
c.  1965  - revised immigration law allows persons from shithole countries to enter
d.  2009 - Kenyan President inaugurated 

ANSWER: All of the above

5.  Which of the following is not a First Amendment right?

a.  right of a pharmacist to refuse to fill a valid prescription
b.  right of a baker not to bake a cake
c.  right of candidate to urge his opponent to be locked up
d.  right to say nasty things about great President


6.  When is a golfer allowed to kick his ball out of the rough and onto the fairway?

a.  when he owns the course
b.  when the golfer is a rich white man
c.  when no one is looking
d.  when he is the club champion 43 years running

ANSWER: All of the above



T borrows $1,000,000,000 at 14%.  T trousers $100,000,000 and squanders the remainder in busto casinos.  How much must T pay back?

a.  nada
b.  what do you mean pay back?
c.  whatever the bankruptcy court says
d.  all if it if the same bank lends it to him again



 Solve.  Show your work (30 sec.)

8.  Match the office with its responsibilities

a.  National Security Adviser
b.  Vice President
c.  Secretary of the Interior
d.  Attorney General

i.   execute cover up of obstruction of justice
ii.  drill for oil in Grand Canyon
iii.  negotiate in Mongolia while President meets with Korean dictator
iv.  shameless bootlicking

Answer:  a - iv; b - iv; c - iv; d - iv 

9.  Who was Fred Douglass?

a.  Someone a lot of people are saying good things about
b.  Former slave who fought tirelessly to liberate slaves and thereafter for the rights of Americans of color in 19th Century America
c.  Guy who runs the caddyshack at Trump National Golf Resort Washington (formerly Fort Myer)
d.  Loser who paid Fred Trump $10,000 key money to keep dry cleaners at Trump Towers Forest Hills Adjacent

Answer: a.

10  SCIENCE.  Which of the following is the strongest evidence that global warming is a fake news Chinese hoax? 

a.  Snow in winter
b.  Ice floats in water
c.  Coal is beautiful when washed
d.  President says so and he is an extremely stable genius with good genes

Answer:  d.

11.  What is the Electoral College?

a.  the method by which the President chosen based on the winner in the several states and District of Columbia
b.  another way the Framers decided to reward the slave states by allowing them to count 3/5 of each slave in its population
c.  an obviously undemocratic nightmare that given citizens of Wyoming 20x more weight in Presidential elections than citizens of California.
d.  the last defense against Socialism

Answer: d.

12.  Which of the following is a crime?

a.  Ordering an underling to fire a prosecutor investigating you for wrongdoing
b.  Making undisclosed campaign contributions to pay hush money to a porn star whom the candidate banged for 2 minutes
c.  Attempted rape of an underaged girl
d.  Running against the President

Answer:  d.

13.  What is the remedy provided by the American system of government if you disagree with a decision of your favorite President?

a.  Petition peacefully for redress of grievances
b.  Write your Representatives
c.  Vote for candidates who share your views
d.  Get the fuck out of this country

Answer: d.

[That's enough citizenship questions – Ed.]

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Broken News: White racist elected by appealing to the racism of white racists is a . . .

By A.J. Liebling
Meta-Content Editor

His much-hyped remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers opened last weekend to terrible reviews and stinko box office.  The sizzle reel promised squads of helmeted truncheon-wielding ICE goons breaking down doors and rounding up scary brown men (or women and children, if that's who was at home) and locking them up in non-concentration camps.  Instead we got footage of deserted parks and streets as all sorts of folks, including documented immigrants and citizens, cowered behind closed doors, absorbing the advice not to open doors to ICE.

The show bombed, so it was back to the old drawing noose
As entertainment for white stooges, it was even more boring than The Apprentice.  The world's greatest producer had to come up with something that would generate big ratings.

So he turned to the only page in his one-page playbook and said incredibly racist things about four duly-elected Representatives who by amazing coincidence were women of color.  He told them to go back where the came from (Michigan, Minnesota, Boston, and the Bronx), which of course is what they do most weekends anyway like any Representative who wants to be re-elected or at least get out of the summer Washington schvitz.

Racist statements from the Bigot-in-Chief?  The media treated the news as a revelation, as if the President had emerged from the locker room at one of his busto golf courses in a hood and white robe.  The shock at what had been apparent to anyone watching President U Bum over the last forty years (check out eyewitness testimony from The Atlantic) was marvelous to behold.

Sure we got some of the usual circumlocutions:
  • viewed as racist” (NY Times)(presumably in the sense that most of us view the Earth as round)
  • “widely denounced as racist” (AP) (just as the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was widely denounced as an act of war)
  • “fiery attacks” (Fox 'News')
But this time CNN, CBS News, and NBC News dropped the charade and termed the revolting Tweets “racist” even as they withheld judgment about whether an old white man who wallows in racist statements and whose every bit of observed behavior is consistent with bigotry is in fact a racist.

The whole debate about whether the Racist-in-Chief is in fact as racist was treated by the media as shocking news.  Who could have foreseen it?  Other than anyone paying attention to U Bum's rise.

He announced his campaign with a torrent of racist false attacks on Mexicans.  The New York Times, in a jokey account, summarized his performance:
Christopher Ruddy, a friend of Mr. Trump’s. . . . who is chief executive of Newsmax, the conservative magazine and website, said Mr. Trump would bring an unaccustomed level of glamour to the Republican field.
Because nothing is more glamorous than racism, amirite?  Bull Connor, Jesse Helms, Jim Clark – icons of glamour all. 
L to R: People that don't have a racist bone in their bodies.
It must have been all that glamour that mesmerized the not at all racist Maureen Dowd during one of her many flirty interviews with the Bigot-in-Chief, before the election.  Here she is, boldly confronting U Bum with the mass of evidence of his racism:

I note that many people still think his bid is more runaway Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloon than a run on meaningful issues. (Aug. 15, 2015)

By the following June, with U Bum the presumptive Republican nominee, she, um, changed her mind:
He won’t pivot. So I have to.
Having seen Donald Trump as a braggadocious but benign celebrity in New York for decades, I did not regard him as the apotheosis of evil. He seemed more like a toon, a cocky huckster swanning around Gotham with a statuesque woman on his arm and skyscrapers stamped with his brand. I certainly never would have predicted that the Trump name would be uttered in the same breath as Hitler, Mussolini and scary menace, even on such pop culture staples as “The Bachelorette.” Trump jumped into the race with an eruption of bigotry, ranting about Mexican rapists and a Muslim ban. But privately, he assured people that these were merely opening bids in the negotiation; that he was really the same pragmatic New Yorker he had always been; that he would be a flexible, wheeling-and-dealing president, not a crazy nihilist like Ted Cruz or a mean racist like George Wallace. 

And that's why she enthusiastically supported Hillary Clinton.  Just kidding!

Here's her fellow clueless white Op-Ed columnist Ross Douthat back in summer of 2015:

But as the long list of theories above suggests, we’re all still a little ways away from fully understanding the Trump phenomenon, and that means that it’s unwise to bet too heavily on any specific endgame here. He won’t be in the White House in 2017, but exactly how and when he finishes the race seems a greater mystery than I expected when he joined.

Could it be the racism?  Ross's crystal ball was clouded.  We won't even check what ol' Perfesser David Brooks missed back then because it's too damn hot out.

Here's CNN reporting a focus group of U Bum supporters that summer.  They loved the Mexican rapist bit:

And none of the six Trump supporters were bothered by his comments that Mexican immigrants are "rapists" and drug dealers. "He didn't say Mexicans, he said Mexico," Jerry DeLemus said, which is also a distinction that Trump has repeatedly made. "His point was that Mexico is outmaneuvering America and they are out maneuvering us. What other country in the world would allow that type of illegal immigration to come across the border?"  

Sure, the defense is that U Bum was accusing a whole (Hispanic) nation of shipping its rapists and assassins to us deliberately.  That's not racist! 

But wait there's more!
Those Were the Days, My Friends

[CNN anchor Alyson] Camerota points out that while CNN made an effort to gather a racially diverse group of Trump supporters, they were unable to find African-Americans or Latinos to participate in the panel discussion.

Why was CNN unable to find any people of color who supported the Tangerine-Faced Bigot?  Uninquiring minds, like the those of the media in 2015, didn't want to know.

But you catch the drift, or rather you don't – the great white [Surely, wise? – Ed.] pundits regarded the Pussy-Grabber-in-Chief as a joke and a showman.  They didn't bother to read his script or wonder why the show was drawing such a crowd.

Now they are shocked, shocked to discover that the Tangerine-Faced Grifter is a racist who promotes racist ideology.  If only they could have told us sooner.

But of course nothing changes on Planet Media.  Just tonight superannuated gasbag Chris Matthews convened his panel to ponder why virtually every Republican Representative refused to condemn U Bum's racist statements.  Maybe two years after the next election, he'll tell us that – gadzooks, they're racists, too!

The whole edifice of thought excusing and minimizing the million-watt racism reactor powering the radioactive Republican racism machine is making it difficult for some of us to catch our breath.

Like Eric Garner,  who was choked to death by the New York Police Department for the capital offense of selling cigarettes while black.

Today we learned that that the officers who executed him in public on the sidewalks of Staten Island will not face federal civil rights charges.  We also learned that the decision was made by U Bum's loyal mouthpiece Attorney General William Barr.

We can't wait to be told why he made that decision.  Until then we can only guess.

Friday, July 5, 2019

The View from Brattle Street: We'll fix immigration while you rot in jail

By Scott V. Sandford
Justice Correspondent

We're not eight years old anymore, so on the Fourth of July we were less interested in the spectacle of the Abrams tanks that won The Battle of Baggage Claim C than in the Declaration signed that on the date in Philadelphia a thousand years ago.

Every time we read the Declaration of Independence, we find something new in it.  Deep inside the list of the Colonies' grievances against King George III lurks this:
“He [King George] has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither"
Wait a minute – the white men who founded our country realized that immigration was a good thing?  Flash forward a mere 243 years and surprise – white men have f*cked up immigration law!

As a result, some people who aren't white men are running for President and they have some ideas about how to fix it.  One idea, proposed by Congressman Julian Castro, is to “decriminalize” immigration enforcement by repealing an obscure statute, codified at 8 USC §1325.

From the teeth-gnashing that followed, you would have thought he had proposed hiring Elon Musk to build a hyperloop tunnel from Guatemala to Mar-a-Lago.

Spoiler alert: he didn't.  But to understand why, you need to, unlike President U Bum and a surprising number of people who should know better (more on that later), understand a bit about American immigration law.

Here goes.

Relax – Even without Sec. 1325, she wouldn't have been let in
You know I can tell when you leave this page, right?

Now that we're alone, we would point out that the American immigration system is a civil system.  It isn't based on indictments and jail.  Every important aspect of it, from inspection at the border, through interrogation, decisions on admission, and judgments of removal and deportation, is derived from civil immigration provisions.

If you repealed every single criminal provision in the statute book, US immigration officials would still have the power to admit aliens at the border (or not), detain them pending adjudications of their claims for entry, and remove them, by force, if necessary, if they are adjudged to have no basis to remain in the US.

In fact, those helpless women and children immured in non-concentration camps and denied basic human rights, not to mention food, water, soap, and medical care, have been neither charged with or convicted of any crime.  They are civil detainees, kept in misery by the intentional cruelty of President U Bum and his Republican enablers.

So what's the point of Section 1325, which makes entering the United States without inspection and admission a misdemeanor?  One answer can be found in its history.  If you had white supremacy, you won:
The provision of federal law criminalizing unlawful entry into the United States — which some Democratic presidential candidates now want to undo — was crafted by an avowed white supremacist who opposed the education of black Americans and favored lynching, which he justified by saying, “to hell with the Constitution.”

And indeed he would have been so proud of how it had been used.  The original U Bum program of ripping babies away from their mother's breasts at the border was based on a disingenuous use of Section 1325 known as “zero tolerance.”

The legal theory, originally concocted by Stephen Miller when his classmates were all at the prom,  was designed to get around legal decisions that required detained mothers and children to be housed together.  But the U Bum regime contended that if everyone crossing the border without showing up for a Customs inspection were charged with Section 1325, then, like others charged with crimes, they could be held in pretrial criminal detention.  And as you may have noticed, Paul Manafort was not allowed to stay with his children when he was chucked into the slam prior to his conviction.

Of course it was bogus – misdemeanants aren't held without bail prior to trial.  You couldn't build enough jails for that.  They're released on their promise to show up because misdemeanors aren't serious crimes.

Section 1325 is also abused to coerce aliens into waiving their legal rights.  Those of us remember that George W. Bush's body snatchers used to raid factories, round up those without valid visas, and then immediately charge them with a Section 1325 crime.  They could avoid criminal charges by waiving whatever rights they might have had to immigration hearings and agree to immediate deportation.  And it worked: the club of criminal charges led the unfortunate detainees to sign away their rights.  How those Assistant United States Attorneys, who under canons of ethics applicable to all lawyers are not permitted to threaten criminal action to resolve a civil matter, kept their law licenses is a matter for another day, perhaps on a very special episode of Nicolle Wallace's daily TV show.

It's no surprise then that relatively few aliens are charged under Section 1325: 7,326 last year, according to the body snatchers' official records.  In the same period, ICE made 158,581 civil arrests.  So 95.4% of their civil arrests don't result in criminal charges.  And without Section 1325, ICE would have had the legal authority to make every single one of those 158,581 arrests.

So if Section 1325 is used rarely and then either to snatch babies or bludgeon aliens into signing away their rights, doesn't Julian Castro have a point?

No, says Juliette Kayyem.

Who she?
Juliette Kayyem is a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security and faculty chair of the homeland security program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, says The Washington Post.

You might think then that her views have a great deal of validity.  And often they do.  Today, though, we're going to have to drag Marshall McLuhan out from behind the pillar.

She graced the Op-Ed page of the Post earlier this week with a column arguing that Julian Castro had somehow missed the point:
The 1325 debate, then, allows Democrats to avoid what can’t be avoided: that a nation based on laws must have deportation, enforcement and removal standards to protect its borders. It is too easy to say Trump is ruthless in this regard, though he is. But regardless of whether repeal of 1325 is good or bad politics for the party, the reality is that the next president will need to govern the United States. And that requires laws that allow a commander in chief to protect the borders, deport individuals and keep some people out.
Does it though?  Can she name a single Democrat who believes that our immigration problems would be solved simply by repealing Section 1325?  We haven't heard anyone say that and neither has she.  Since, as we just explained, repealing Section 1325 would leave the entire civil immigration apparatus untouched, it's at best wrong to allege that repealing that section would leave us without deportation, enforcement, and removal standards, because those are all civil laws, standards, and procedures.

(And by the way the basis for those standards is not, thank God, the Commander-in-Chief clause in Article II, but Article I, Sec. 8, cl. 4:  “The Congress shall have Power To  . . . establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, . . .”)

We wonder if her real concern is not the substance of repeal, but the politics: “Repeal is an understandable reaction to President Trump and is quickly becoming party boilerplate. But that path is not a good one for the party or the country.” (emphasis added).

Who better to tell you how to appeal to the common folk
than Harvard Professors?
Now we have been listening to Harvard gasbags telling us what the great democratic masses, some of whom didn't even go to Harvard, want and will vote for ever since they promoted the 1962 Senate candidacy of H. Stuart Hughes.  Their batting average was only slightly below Carl Crawford's.

Perhaps the view from Brattle Street isn't the best perspective on what will motivate the electorate.  Perhaps Julian Castro, who's actually won an election (unlike Juliette Kayyem), may have a point when he advocates repealing a pointless and cruel criminal law not only because repeal is the right course, but because it may inspire Latino voters to turn out more than they did in 2016 in unimportant states like Florida, Arizona, and Texas.

Perhaps Kennedy School Faculty Chair Kayyem should spend more time figuring out who's going to teach Rick Snyder's course on depriving poor people of color of clean and safe water and leave the politics of immigration to people who understand the fears and concerns of communities that contain, respect, and love immigrants regardless of their legal status.

We'd drink to that, although not with the water that Rick Snyder provided to Flint, Michigan.