Patterico's Pontifications


A Unique Incentive

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:47 am

[guest post by Dana]

Desperate times call for desperate measures and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), fed up with the IRS claims of missing emails, is taking unique steps to solve the issue: he is proposing a bounty bill for their recovery:

It seems that each time the IRS has evidence that will either prove with certainty its guilt or innocence, the evidence disappears which both common sense and the law indicate the evidence such as emails must have proved the IRS’s impropriety if not outright crimes. It is time the IRS either comes clean, or has a special prosecutor to clean it up. This bill should help in the interim.

And what is in the proposed bill?

The Identify and Recover Sent E-mails (IRS) Act (H.R. 4958) would award any individual or group who can recover Lois Lerner’s lost emails $1,000,000 and award $500,000 for information regarding the destruction of the emails that can be used for prosecution of the individuals involved. These rewards would come from the unobligated balances from the IRS fiscal year 2014 budget. Additionally, this legislation would cut salaries at the IRS by 20 percent, until the emails are recovered.


Putting Americans First…Not So Much

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:14 am

[guest post by Dana]

We now come to find out that President Obama is tired of waiting for Congress to act on illegal immigration, so he is discussing ways to speed it up with Homeland Security’s Jeh Johnson.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest discussed it further on MSNBC:

“[W]e’re not just going to sit around and wait interminably for Congress,” he explained. “We’ve been waiting a year already. The president has tasked his Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson with reviewing what options are available to the president, what is at his disposal using his executive authority to try to address some of the problems that have been created by our broken immigration system.”

Earnest added that, although Obama was exploring executive action, it was “not a substitute for robust Congressional action” on immigration reform.

“That’s why we’re trying to focus on getting that done,” he concluded.

And in another Why Can’t Those Republicans Roll Over And Die Already briefing, Earnest inferred blamed obstructionist Republicans for poor border security resulting in the surge of illegal immigrant crossings:

If we really wanted to solve this problem, one good way to do it is for those Republicans to get on board … and support common sense immigration reform.

Because enforcing the laws already on the books is not being on board with securing our borders and thus fulfilling the mandate our government is charged with. But of course, securing the borders isn’t what this is about.

And, to again evidence how inactive the Republicans are regarding illegal immigration and its consequences, the Democrats killed two bills that would have required companies to verify the legal status of people before they hire them, as well as another one that would stop the government from giving child tax credits to illegal immigrants.

Led by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who claimed the hiring of illegal immigrants is causing a decrease in the wages of American workers and driving higher costs, the Accountability Through Electronic Verification Act, sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa.), was rebuffed by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). It would appear that Durbin wants to put illegal immigrants before Americans:

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) argued that this e-verify provision was in the Senate’s broad immigration bill that passed a year ago, and said Democrats aren’t looking to negotiate passage of sections of that bill.

“We are not going to take that bill apart piece by piece, as the senator from Alabama suggests,” Durbin said. “I object.”

Sessions said if the e-verify program can be accepted by Democrats in the larger bill, they should be able to approve it quickly this week.

“[I]f it’s so good, why don’t we bring it up and pass it now?” Sessions asked. “Why do we have to pass along with it a bill that will double the number of guest workers in the country, and would increase immigration?”

Sessions then tried to pass the Child Tax Credit Integrity Preservation Act, which would change the law to ensure illegal immigrants cannot receive child tax credit benefits. But Durbin objected again, and seemed to indicate he believes these benefits should flow to non-citizens.

“I want to make sure that working families with small children have the helping hand of our tax code,” he said. “I want to stop any fraud in any program in our tax code, but I don’t believe this bill is a balanced approach to solving the problem, and I object.”

That left a stunned Sessions to note that the Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General has said $4.2 billion in child tax credits were given to illegal immigrants.

“I am flabbergasted, amazed that we would sit by and $4 billion in child tax credit payments to go out that are not justified,” he said.

Welcome to America, we’re always here to serve you…first!


The EPA: Missing Emails And Polluting The Environment

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:22 am

[guest post by Dana]

The Environmental Protection Agency is in the news this week, and none of it’s good, as usual. Unfortunately, it also involves missing emails.

On the heels of the IRS being the focus of a House Oversight Committee investigation, this investigation by the Committee involves the EPA and whether a biologist, or anyone else at the agency, colluded with environmentalists to ensure a negative assessment of a mining proposal in Alaska.

The environmental assessment concluded that the Pebble Mine project could significantly harm the sockeye salmon fishery in Bristol Bay. As a result, in February, the agency essentially froze the permitting process for the mine as it reviews options for the area.

Critical emails from the biologist have gone missing. However, the agency came just short of blaming it on a computer crash.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told the Republican-led committee that the agency cannot access some e-mails belonging to a biologist who worked on a controversial mining project assessment. It is a hard drive problem, but McCarthy was careful to not call it a “hard drive crash” or destroyed hard drive.

“I don’t believe this is a missing hard drive issue,” McCarthy told the panel, “There is a challenge getting access to the data on it… I’m still hoping we recover all those e-mails.”

“I heard similar testimony yesterday,” replied Rep. Mark Meadows, R-North Carolina, dryly referring to the committee’s Tuesday hearing about a critical crashed hard drive at the IRS.

Meadows asked her if the agency broke federal laws on record-keeping and if the biologist’s emails were preserved, and she said the EPA has notified the National Archives and Records Administration about the hard-drive issue.

House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, who surely must be ready to blow a gasket over the excuse of missing emails, demanded the subpoenaed documents be turned over.

“I am telling you, the time to comply is now,” Issa told her. “If it is not complied with … this committee will consider and vote on contempt. I hope that over the next few days our folks and your folks can resolve this with all the emails.”

The Environmental Protection Agency in Denver, Colorado is facing a troubling issue of a disgusting sort, and it became necessary to address it with all staff:

Management for Region 8 in Denver, Colo., wrote an email earlier this year to all staff in the area pleading with them to stop inappropriate bathroom behavior, including defecating in the hallway.

In the email, obtained by Government Executive, Deputy Regional Administrator Howard Cantor mentioned “several incidents” in the building, including clogging the toilets with paper towels and “an individual placing feces in the hallway” outside the restroom.

Confounded by what to make of this occurrence, EPA management “consulted” with workplace violence “national expert” John Nicoletti, who said that hallway feces is in fact a health and safety risk. He added the behavior was “very dangerous” and the individuals responsible would “probably escalate” their actions.

“Management is taking this situation very seriously and will take whatever actions are necessary to identify and prosecute these individuals,” Cantor wrote. He asked for any employees with knowledge of the poop bandit or bandits to notify their supervisor.

The irony of poop in the hallways of the Environmental Protection Agency speaks for itself, however, while the EPA has a reputation of corruption, as well as “unusual” activity within the agency, this is a new low.

Contractors built secret man caves in an EPA warehouse, an employee pretended to work for the CIA to get unlimited vacations and one worker even spent most of his time on the clock looking at pornography.

Our government at work.


Illegal Children Will Get Sent Back, Obama Lies

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:17 am

Ed Morrissey applauds Obama’s statement, apparently not recognizing how dishonest it is:

After a few weeks of a flood of minors entering the US illegally via smugglers and cartels, Barack Obama finally offered an unequivocal and strong statement that the effort will ultimately be futile. The signals from Washington DC on executive actions to end deportations and grant minors quasi-legal status set off a chain reaction that ended up having tens of thousands of children make their way through dangerous means to cross the southern border. This morning, Obama told George Stephanopoulos that all of these children will get sent back…

“Oh,” said Obama, “our message absolutely is don’t send your children unaccompanied on trains or through a bunch of smugglers. That is our direct message to families in Central America. Do not send your children to the borders. If they do make it, they’ll get sent back. More importantly, they may not make it.”

Just one small problem. That’s a lie. ABC News recently reported:

At the moment, there is a backlog of more than 300,000 unaccompanied minor cases awaiting a decision on deportation due to a shortage of immigration judges and courts. It takes approximately 3-5 years to adjudicate each case.

During testimony today in front of the House Judiciary Committee, Tom Homan, the Executive Associate Director for Enforcement and Removal Operations with ICE testified about the reality of the backlog problem.
“I can say that every unaccompanied child and every family unit member are served with NTAs (Notice to Appear in immigration court) and … there’s a lack of immigration judges and some of these hearings take years.”

In fact, while 26,000 unaccompanied children were apprehended entering the United States illegally last year, only 1800 minors were sent back to their home countries.

“87% of those are still here in proceedings … Because we have no final orders,” Homan said.

And the problem has gotten worse. To date, more than 54,000 children have been apprehended just this year — a 99% increase from last year.

Kids don’t get sent back to their native countries. They get sent to their relatives in the U.S., or just released onto the streets. Ed Morrissey says, I think naively:

Now that this crisis has begun to impede on the White House’s efforts to get immigration reform back on track, the administration has started to treat it like a crisis. A new detention center has opened in New Mexico with the mission to fast-track deportations for the flood of refugees. It also spells the end of the so-called “catch and release” policy.

I seriously doubt that. I told you about this new detention center a few days ago. It has 700 beds. Check the numbers from that ABC report again. We’ve had over 54,000 new illegal children cross the border in less than half a year — thanks to Obama’s unilateral decisions and irresponsible rhetoric.

I understand why Obama would want to lie to us about this, but let’s not get taken in, please. He’s not doing anything serious — and the American people need to understand that.

P.S. What are the consequences of this flood of illegal immigrants? Here’s one: disease. in West Texas reports:

A major concern about housing those unaccompanied immigrant children crossing our border: the spread of disease. It’s an issue they’re trying to tackle in Artesia, New Mexico, just a couple of hours away from here.

Health risks are certainly one of the main concerns of officials and residents in Artesia, where hundreds of undocumented women and children where brought this week. NewsWest 9 investigated to see what those health risks are and what the state and shelters are doing to prevent them.

In the 29 federal resettlement shelters, nearly 60,000 vaccine doses have been distributed to the unaccompanied minors who made the trek from Central America to the United States. The spokeswoman for the Department of State and Health Services says, per request, they sent 2,000 vaccines to an international childrens shelter in South Texas.

“In this particular incident, we were able to get them vaccined quicker than their normal method of ordering through Vaccines for Children,” Spokeswoman for the Department of State and Health Services, Christine Mann, said.

Well, that’s nice. I guess that means that the illegal children are being vaccinated more quickly than legal children. Does that mean that it will take longer for some children who are citizens to be vaccinated? I don’t see how it couldn’t. Vaccines, like any other resource, are scarce.

I support greater levels of legal immigration from Mexico and Central American countries, so that we can say with a straight face that people who want to do it the right way, can. Part of that process screens for criminal records and disease. By contrast, when illegals stream across the border en masse and receive a pat on the head and a notice to appear, there is no telling what diseases they bring with them.

But just keep telling yourselves that any opposition to open borders is racist, limousine liberals. After all, it probably won’t be your kids who end up getting TB as a result.


Fearless Supreme Court Predictions

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:18 pm

Justice Roberts writes Hobby Lobby decision. Contraception mandate is struck down 5-4 but decision is mealy-mouthed. Scalia and Thomas are upset.

Justice Alito writes decision striking down requirement that public employees must pay dues to unions bargaining on their behalf, even if they are not members. Decision is 5-4 and is not mealy-mouthed, but only Scalia and Thomas join strongest parts of opinion, while Kennedy and Roberts water it down by refusing to sign on to the whole opinion. Scalia and Thomas are upset.

All this is coming Monday morning. That will be fun.

Supreme Court Limits Recess Appointments

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:31 am

Tom Goldstein at SCOTUSBlog summarizes:

Here is the upshot of the decision. The President can make a recess appointment without Senate confirmation when the Senate says it is in recess. But either the House or the Senate can take the Senate out of recess and force it to hold a “pro forma session” that will block any recess appointment. So while the President’s recess appointment power is broad in theory, if either house of Congress is in the hands of the other party, it can be blocked.

Big Media is portraying this as a setback to Obama:

The US Supreme Court today limited a president’s power to make recess appointments when the White House and the Senate are controlled by opposite parties, scaling back a presidential authority as old as the republic.

The case arose from a political dispute between President Obama and Senate Republicans, who claimed he had no authority to put three people on the National Labor Relations Board in January 2012 when the Senate was out of town.

He used a president’s power, granted by the Constitution, to “fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate.” But the Republicans said the Senate was not in recess at the time the appointments were made, because every three days a senator went into the chamber, gaveled it to order, and then immediately called a recess.

By a unanimous vote, the Supreme Court agreed that the Senate was not in recess, holding that it’s up to both houses of Congress to define when they’re in session or in recess. As a result of the decision, the Senate can frustrate a president’s ability to make recess appointments simply by holding periodic pro forma sessions, a tactic used in recent years by both political parties.

But the folks at SCOTUSBlog say Scalia is reading a long concurrence, saying that while he agrees with the unanimous Court that the appointments are invalid, there is no basis for recess appointments in the Constitution, period.

Anti-McDaniel Race-Based Flyer Sure Looks Similar to the Work of Barbour’s Super-PAC

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:00 am

Did a Haley Barbour-supported super-PAC produce a controversial flyer that used race-based arguments to encourage Democrats to vote for Thad Cochran? This post exposes remarkable similarities between that flyer, which did not bear a notice stating who was responsible for its production, and another flyer producers by Mississippi Conservatives, a super-PAC created by establishment Republicans to oppose McDaniel.

As I told you last night, Charles C. Johnson posted this shot of an outrageous flyer that portrayed Chris McDaniel as a racist:

Johnson says he got this from a Mississippi voter, who told him: “Someone walked right up to my wife’s car and handed her this flyer, almost at the door of the voting station.”

As you can see, the flyer says: “The Tea Party intends to prevent blacks from voting on Tuesday.” It claims McDaniel “made racist comments on his radio show.” And, worst of all, it appears to openly encourage Democrats to vote for someone they don’t intend to support in the general election, saying:

MS law is clear. Anyone who did not vote in the June 3rd Democratic primary may vote in this Senate Run-off on Tuesday, June 24. If anyone asks you who you are voting for now or in November, tell them it’s a secret ballot and you don’t have to answer them.

This advice is wrong. The relevant statute says:

No person shall be eligible to participate in any primary election unless he intends to support the nominations made in the primary in which he participates.

Thus, the flyer appears to instruct Democrat voters on how to evade the requirements of the state’s open primary law, by telling them they can vote in the Republican primary — and coaching them not to reveal that they don’t intend to vote Republican in the general election.

Irresponsible accusations of racism? Check. Apparent encouragement of illegal voting? Check. Lack of a legally required notice to inform voters who was behind it? Check!

Mark Levin was beside himself:

Last night, Charles C. Johnson said he had evidence to show who was behind this flyer:

Charles allowed me to break the news on this blog. Here it is: a flyer put out by Mississippi Conservatives. Here is the first page:

Cochran Flyer01

And the second page:

Cochran Flyer02

(Charles watermarked the evidence with the name of his new blog which launches soon.)

As you can see, the same exact arguments that are made in the pro-Cochran flyer put out by Mississippi Conservatives are also made in the controversial flyer that made race-based arguments for Cochran:

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 9.57.55 PM

The Mississippi Conservatives’ arguments are on the left; the arguments from the controversial race-based flyer are on the right.

  • “Supports federal funding of Mississippi public schools” in the Mississippi Conservatives’ flyer is the second item on the right in the anonymous flyer appealing to race.
  • “Provided millions more in federal funds for HBCU’s [Historically Black Colleges and Universities]” in the Mississippi Conservatives’ flyer is also addressed in the second item on the right in the anonymous flyer appealing to race.
  • The reference to the Jackson Medical Mall — the third item in the Mississippi Conservatives’ flyer — is item three in the anonymous race-based flyer.
  • “Thad’s opponent voted against funding for our Civil Rights Museum” in the Mississippi Conservatives’ flyer is echoed in the first item on the right in the anonymous flyer appealing to race: “Voted against MS Civil Rights Museum.”
  • “Thad’s opponent opposes federal funding of Mississippi public schools” in the Mississippi Conservatives’ flyer is quoted almost word for word in the second item on the right in the anonymous flyer appealing to race: “Opposes federal funding of public schools.”

And that reference in the race-based flyer saying Thad Cochran “Supports All Mississippians?” That’s the very slogan used at the bottom of the Mississippi Conservatives’ flyer!

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 9.59.25 PM

Again, we are looking at the Mississippi Conservatives’ flyer on the left, with its slogan “For All Mississippians,” shown with the race-based flyer on the right, which says of Cochran: “Supports All Mississippians.”

The folks who put out these two flyers sure conveyed the same messages to voters.

They even used the exact same picture of Cochran!

Sure, this could all be a coincidence. But I think it’s time reporters put some hard questions to the folks behind the Mississippi Conservatives super-PAC.

If this is what establishment Republicanism is about, you can count me out.


The McDaniel Challenge May Have Merit

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:06 pm

There may be something to McDaniel’s election challenge. I say: there may be.

The stats wizards at FiveThirtyEight say that unusually high black turnout did indeed, as suspected, help Cochran win. Counties that always go Democrat had massive numbers of voters going for Cochran in the Republican primary. Your initial reaction might be the same as mine was: isn’t that what happens when you have open primaries? After all, Rush Limbaugh famously encouraged Republicans to throw a monkey wrench into the works in 2008, and go vote for Hillary, just to undermine Obama and create more drama in the Democrat presidential primary process. Rush called the proposal “Operation Chaos.”

There are two differences between that and the Cochran situation: one moral and one potentially legal.

Limbaugh himself points out the moral issue: Establishment Republicans helped with this. Calling this a “Reverse Operation Chaos” is not accurate, because there is no evidence that Hillary helped Rush in 2008. But Republicans were behind the get-out-the-black-Democrat vote effort in this primary.

Charles C. Johnson has been leading the charge on this. He posts a picture of a flyer smearing McDaniel as a racist:

Here is a robocall where you can hear the race-based appeal:

OK, what about the legal aspect? Well, the Mississippi statute does allow open primaries . . . but it also limits participation in a party’s primary to people who intend to vote for the party’s candidate. The relevant Mississippi statute says:

No person shall be eligible to participate in any primary election unless he intends to support the nominations made in the primary in which he participates.

Now. I think you’d have some trouble enforcing that when it comes to the actions of an individual voter. What are you going to do: have elections officials quiz them about who they voted for, and who they intend to vote for in the general election? It seems to me that a court would put the kibosh on that kind of intrusion into the voters’ deliberative process.

But . . . it certainly would seem to show an intent to violate the law if a candidate or his supporters were to market their political message explicitly towards people intending to vote Democrat in the general election. Take another look at that flier above. See the bit at the bottom? Let me quote that for you:

MS law is clear. Anyone who did not vote in the June 3rd Democratic primary may vote in this Senate Run-off on Tuesday, June 24. If anyone asks you who you are voting for now or in November, tell them it’s a secret ballot and you don’t have to answer them.

That’s not what the statute says. You can’t vote if you don’t intend to support the nominations made in the party in which you participate.

This seems like an attempt to persuade people to vote who are not eligible — and to cover it up.

I still don’t see how a judge can throw out any votes based on a suspicion — however correct — that the voter intends to vote for the other party in the general election. But if they already voted in the Democrat election, that’s a different matter entirely.

This is a random claim on the Internet and I can’t trust it for that reason, but there may be something to it:

If people voted in the Democrat primary and then voted again in the Republican primary, I think the process will be able to catch that. Those votes should be thrown out. Whether that’s enough to turn the tide for McDaniel, I don’t know. I suspect it’s not.

Ultimately, there may be no way to reverse the results of this election.

The real issue is: who is responsible?

Chuck Johnson says he has the goods to show that establishment Republicans were behind this:

He’s also told me I can break the news here, tomorrow.

So stay tuned.

Add GOP Senator Grassley To Lerner’s List

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:13 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Thanks to commenter OldSarg for alerting us that the Ways and Means Committee is investigating Lois Lerner’s involvement in targeting Senator Grassley:

Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) announced the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) targeting of conservative individuals includes a sitting United States Senator. According to emails reviewed by the Committee under its Section 6103 authority, which allows the Committee to review confidential taxpayer information, Lois Lerner sought to have Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) referred for IRS examination.

“We have seen a lot of unbelievable things in this investigation, but the fact that Lois Lerner attempted to initiate an apparently baseless IRS examination against a sitting Republican United States Senator is shocking,” said Camp. “At every turn, Lerner was using the IRS as a tool for political purposes in defiance of taxpayer rights. We may never know the full extent of the abuse since the IRS conveniently lost two years of Lerner emails, not to mention those of other key figures in this scandal. The fact that DOJ refuses to investigate the IRS’s abuses or appoint a special counsel demonstrates, yet again, this Administration’s unwillingness to uphold the rule of law.”

Here is the background information:

While the Ways and Means Committee investigation into Lerner’s involvement in the potential Grassley examination is ongoing, documents show that Lerner received an invitation to a speaking event that was intended for Senator Grassley. Instead of forwarding the invitation to Grassley’s office, Lerner immediately suggested to others in her office that the issue should be referred for examination. The Committee was able to investigate this information through its authority under Section 6103 of the tax code. A waiver was signed by Senator Grassley and his wife in order to make this information public.

Time to once again be reminded of what the President told us about the IRS… not even a smidgen of corruption…


UPDATE: Allahpundit has an interesting analysis on the Lerner-Grassley news.

In other words, both Grassley and Lerner were invited to the same tax event, but somehow Grassley’s invite ended up in Lerner’s envelope. That’s how she knew he’d been invited. And because Grassley’s wife was included on the invite, Lerner jumped to the conclusion that the event organizers were offering to “inappropriately” pay for his wife. What’s wrong with her raising the alarm about that? Well, (a) there was no reason yet to think Grassley had accepted the invitation. She wanted to “examine” the guy on the mere possibility that he would. And (b) per her e-mail exchange with her deputy on this, she seems … not to understand the law at all. It falls to the deputy to explain to her that it’s not illegal for event organizers to pay for his wife so long as he reports the income on his 1040. In other words, not only did she assume without knowing that Grassley and his wife would attend, she assumed without knowing that they’d end up lying about it on their next tax return.

No Surgery Required To Change Designated Sex On Birth Certificate

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:06 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This month the American Medical Association opted to officially “modernize” its birth certificate policies and not require reassignment surgery in order to change an individual’s sex on their birth certificate. This is what modernization looks like:

The American Medical Association (AMA) adopted new policy supporting the elimination of any government requirement that an individual must have undergone surgery in order to change the sex indicated on a birth certificate.

Across the country, state laws governing changes to a person’s gender on a birth certificate is granted to applicants who change their sex by “surgical procedure” and provide a court order to that effect. Only a handful of states allow corrections to gender markers on birth certificates on the basis of “clinically appropriate treatment,” as opposed to surgery.

“Surgery shouldn’t be a requirement to align a person’s gender identity with their birth certificate,” said AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, M.D. “State laws must acknowledge that the correct course of treatment for any given individual is a decision that rests with the patient and their physician.”

The AMA rejected “gender affirmation surgery” as the guiding requirement for changing birth certificates as inconsistent with current medical standards. The new AMA policy also supports that any change of sex determination on an individual’s birth certificate must not hinder access to medically appropriate preventive care. Medical options for transgender people include a medically appropriate combination of mental health care, social transition, hormone therapy, in addition to the option of sex reassignment surgery.

It is assumed that the decision was made, at least in part, to the advocacy and claims from the transgender community :

Transgender people say they need IDs to accurately reflect their gender when they apply for jobs, travel and seek certain government services among other things.

There is no consensus on this issue from State lawmakers:

Just last week, New York State said it will no longer require transgender people to require proof of surgery when they attempt to change the gender on their birth certificates. But earlier this year, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed legislation that would have allowed those who had a clinical sex change to amend their gender on their birth certificate.

While historically, the AMA has been more progressive than lawmakers, this comes on the heels of the Medi-Care ban on sex reassignment surgeries being lifted, as well as President Obama recognizing Transgender Day Remembrance, and his recent comments made following a Department of Education action that designated an expanded view of protections under Title IX: [T]ransgender students can now “assert their rights.

Oh, and on a side note: last week the Obama administration quietly lifted its ban prohibiting health insurance carriers from covering transition-related care for transgender federal employees.

Of course, the debate will rage on as to whether a person’s gender can be changed by a piece of paper or even through sex reassignment surgery. Clearly though, the times they are a-changin’ have changed.


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