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Pelosi: If Trump wants to give the SOTU, he can do it from the Oval Office

Westlake Legal Group p-4 Pelosi: If Trump wants to give the SOTU, he can do it from the Oval Office white house Trump The Blog steny hoyer State of the Union SOTU pelosi Oval Office

And so he shall, Nancy Pelosi. So he shall.

Actually, he’ll end up doing it in the East Room at a podium in front of a group of aides and admirers. An hour-long speech from the Oval Office would be depressing and claustrophobic. An hour-long speech in a big room in front of an audience that’s interrupting frequently with raucous applause is more digestible.

Her reasoning here has to do with security. There’d be a security risk in having the president and Congress together in the same chamber while federal workers are furloughed, she says, without the full complement of security that normally attends to this event. But c’mon. They could bring back every agent they’d need to staff the SOTU and Pelosi would still find a reason not to hold the event. Homeland Security told Fox News today, in fact, that they’re ready for the SOTU, shutdown or no shutdown. Here’s what I wrote on Friday:

I don’t think Republicans want to risk leaving Trump with an open mic and a huge TV audience at the State of the Union either with the shutdown still going and approaching its 40th day. In fact, I wonder if Pelosi will even allow him the opportunity: Maybe she’ll rescind the invitation to have him come and address Congress, leaving him to do it from the White House instead. Certainly she doesn’t want to be in-frame and unable to respond during an SOTU speech in which Trump excoriates her at length for not giving him the wall money already.

Imagine Pelosi having to sit silently five feet behind Trump for an hour, in full view of 50 million people, as he rants to the camera about how much Democrats love illegal-immigrant crime. The only surprise today is that she waited as long as she did to cancel.

The sweetest thing Trump could do now would be to scrap the SOTU entirely, fulfilling the wishes of political junkies everywhere who despise this boring, useless, imperial spectacle.

During the day of the event, the White House typically briefs reporters on the major news and releases excerpts. By the time the president starts speaking, reporters get the transcript of the speech, which is typically used as the basis for any stories.

The actual speech produces no real news. So reporters typically focus on meaningless side stories: who lined up to shake hands with the president along the aisle, who applauded or sat on their hands for any lines, or what kind of facial expressions people were making.

The policy proposals are typically dead on arrival, and no speech by the president is going to do anything to change it. Everything that is said is quickly forgotten. Also, for a long time now, presidential approval has been unaffected by these speeches.

All we need to do is somehow convince Donald J. Trump that he should willingly forgo an opportunity to be on television in front of an audience numbering in the tens of millions.

Free advice: If he wants camera time, he should dispense with the SOTU by sending a written version to Congress and instead host a beer-and-burgers “eat ’til you puke” fast-food blowout a la the Clemson banquet for 100 lucky fans at the White House. Invite the media in to cover it all. Imagine a roomful of dudes in MAGA hats double-fisting pizza and cheesesteaks beneath the chandeliers while Trump stands there grinning. It might be the one thing that can turn the trend in his approval rating around.

The post Pelosi: If Trump wants to give the SOTU, he can do it from the Oval Office appeared first on Hot Air.

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Portland’s homeless camps can be found on its rivers as well

Westlake Legal Group homeless-boats-2 Portland’s homeless camps can be found on its rivers as well The Blog Portland homeless

The city of Portland has a serious homeless problem on the streets and sidewalks. This week KGW8 reports the problem is also spilling out onto the city’s rivers. Homeless people have been livng in abandoned fiberglass boats on the Willamette and Columbia rivers. And because these boats are already falling apart, they rarely have a way to pump out sewage they accumulate, so that ends up being dumped in the river. In fact, the boats themselves often end up sinking to the bottom where they can leak sewage, oil, and battery acid into the water. From KGW8:

Photos provided to KGW by Walt James with the Columbia Watershed Environmental Advocates show derelict boats tied off to one another, with no working sewage pump. Others are half sunk, leaking fluids into the water.

“Most of the boats that were floating are now sunk, there’s eight or 10 sunk boats down there,” James said…

He took more photos last week of where homeless boaters come ashore along Marine Drive. What was a couple of campers and garbage has exploded into a full blown environmental hazard. And so has the amount of crime at nearby private floating homes.

“We’ve all had things stolen,” said Karen Dean, a 23-year owner and resident of floating home in Class Harbor. “We’ve had two boats that have been taken and we found them down river and they’ve all been stripped.”

There’s a pretty clear reason this is happening. When you have an old car that doesn’t run, there’s a scrap market for the parts and materials. Even the steel that the car’s frame and body are made of is worth something to a salvage yard. There’s a similar market for old boat parts but not for the fiberglass hulls. The only option for getting rid of a fiberglass hull is to take it to a dump and pay as much as $3,500 to have it shredded. That’s a lot of money to be rid of something you’ve decided is trash. It’s much easier for owners to offer the boats for a little money on Craigslist or to simply abandon them on the street somewhere.

That’s how the homeless wind up with these floating wrecks. And just like the homeless camps on land, the city doesn’t seem to be in much of a hurry to do anything about it despite the long-term cost of cleaning up this mess.

So who cleans this all up? The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office says its dive team can take care of very small boats in shallow water for between $300-$800.

It doesn’t happen very often because their budget doesn’t allow for it. But larger cases are decided on by the Oregon State Marine Board, who bids out jobs to private contractors to yank these sunken boats up.

The sheriff’s office says it can start around $8,000. There’s a toxic 40-foot transient boat that sunk in 2016 at Chinook Landing near Troutdale, and the bid to get it is $60,000. The Marine Board’s budget is $150,000 for every two-year term. Nothing has been decided on that boat yet.

As you’ll see in this clip, the local authorities were spurred to a little action back in 2016 when KGW8 reported on the problem but since that time they’ve mostly returned to ignoring it.

The post Portland’s homeless camps can be found on its rivers as well appeared first on Hot Air.

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Proposed gun confiscation in Virginia comes with few strings attached

Westlake Legal Group guns Proposed gun confiscation in Virginia comes with few strings attached Virginia The Blog second amendment ralph northam gun control gun confiscation

The governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, decided to start the new year off with a bang. Or perhaps we should say a reduction in bangs. He submitted new gun control legislation with some serious teeth in it and a disturbing lack of details. Under Northam’s plan, assuming it’s enacted, Virginia will not only ban the sale of a potentially wide variety of common firearms but allow the police to confiscate them from any residents already owning one. (Free Beacon)

The plan to ban the sale and possession of certain kinds of firearms proposed by Virginia governor Ralph Northam (D.) could affect millions of gun owners, an industry group said on Friday.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), which represents gun manufacturers and dealers, said the vague description of the legislation released by Northam on Jan. 4 would apply to most firearms currently on sale in the commonwealth.

“The legislative proposals being discussed would put most firearms beyond the reach of law-abiding Virginians who choose the firearms of their choice to protect themselves, hunt, and practice recreational target shooting,” said Lawrence G. Keane, the group’s general counsel. “That could potentially impact the availability of tens of millions of firearms.”

It won’t take you very long to read the bill’s summary because, as I indicated above, it’s short on details. What we know is that the plan would “ban the sale, purchase, possession, and transport of undefined ‘assault firearms’ including ‘any firearm that is equipped with a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds of ammunition.’”

That’s some wild gun-grabbing even by Democrat standards. Also worth noting is that it not only bans the sale of such products, but the possession of them. And there’s no grandfather clause included for people who already own them. That means that, if passed into law, gun confiscations from law-abiding citizens could begin as soon as the law goes into effect.

You can’t just go ahead and pass a law that includes made-up language in it with no definitions. Northam isn’t even sticking with the more popular (among liberals) term “assault rifles.” He’s going further down the rabbit hole with “assault firearms.” I assume this means any semi-automatic rifle with a pistol grip or anything else “scary looking” attached. But now it could bring in a whole host of handguns as well.

Fortunately for the Second Amendment, Republicans still control both chambers in the legislature of Virginia, but only by very slim margins. This should be a warning to the state’s residents that a couple more seats lost in 2020 could open the door to precisely what we’re seeing here.

The post Proposed gun confiscation in Virginia comes with few strings attached appeared first on Hot Air.

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Gingrich says Trump should not negotiate on shutdown

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, President Donald Trump’s ally who in the 1990s presided over one of the longest government shutdowns in US history, said Wednesday that Trump should stop negotiating with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and instead ramp up the pressure on rank-and-file Democrats.

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Analysis: How Theresa May is still in charge

Another day of Brexit drama ends, and Theresa May is still more-or-less Prime Minister of the more-or-less United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. On Wednesday, she survived a vote of no confidence in her government by a narrow majority of 19.

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House Dem blasts Interior move to bring back furloughed workers

House Natural Resources Chairman Raul Grijalva is asking the Interior Department to stop bringing back employees who were furloughed during the government shutdown to work on sales of land for oil and gas drilling purposes in the Gulf of Mexico, calling the move “an outrageous step.”

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