Saturday, February 13, 2016

75 Years Ago, Ellis Island Knew How to Go About Showing Humaneness for Undocumented Aliens (Hint: It's the Context, Stupid)


A 75 Years Ago item gives what proves to be a far more humane policy of humaneness for individual undocumented aliens than a blanket amnesty for all comers.
New York Herald Tribune, European Edition, Feb. 5, 1941:
Michael Storrie, nine-year-old Scot, who arrived alone on Monday in New York in search of refuge, stood dry-eyed yesterday before a special board of inquiry at Ellis Island and heard himself ordered excluded from the United States for lack of proper entry papers. His unblinking acceptance of the blow moved the board to arrange an appeal and an immediate parole. Michael, whose father is in Lisbon on a war mission and whose mother is doing war work in Bermuda, was to have been the guest of Mr. and Mrs. George C. McIntosh at Clifton Springs, Va., for the duration of the war, but he did not have a card of identification and American visa.
Apparently, the boy refugee would go on to win his stay.

Another 75 Years Ago item from the previous summer (New York Herald Tribune, July 7, 1940) had
Seventy-one calm and self-contained Britain children [arriving in the Big Apple on July 6, 1940] aboard the Cunard White Star liner Scythia, bringing with them cricket bats, governesses, flannel shorts and a restrained curiosity about that unbelievable place, America. They were the first large group of thousands of English children who will be brought to Canada and the United States for the duration of the war. The children in this group were not refugees in the grimmer sense of the word. Almost all of them were sons and daughters of well-to-do English families and were on their way to the homes of friends or relatives in this country

Friday, February 12, 2016

"We’re talking about Iran" Says Salman Rushdie; "These are, how shall I put it, unreliable people"


Answering questions by the New York Times, Salman Rushdie says that he was impressed by Ta-Nehisi Coates's “Between the World and Me,” that the one book that made him who he is today is “The One Thousand and One Nights,” and that if he could require the president to read one book, it would — also — be “The One Thousand and One Nights.”

In a separate Alexandra Alter interview, we learn that
Salman Rushdie was a teenager when he first learned that his last name was invented rather than inherited.
“My grandfather wasn’t called Rushdie,” he said. “My father just made it up. He made a really good choice. It came from his interest in the philosophy of Ibn Rushd.”

Later Mr. Rushdie came to share his father’s obsession with the work of Ibn Rushd (pronounced Roosht), a 12th-century philosopher better known in the West as Averroes. Now, he has made him a central character in his new novel, “Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights” … a homage of sorts to the myth of Scheherazade.

 … During a recent interview at his publisher’s office in Midtown Manhattan, Mr. Rushdie spoke about his love of science fiction, his failed television series, being on Al Qaeda’s hit list and his falling out with the novelist Peter Carey. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.
Q. You were very vocal in supporting the PEN American Center’s decision to honor the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo this year, something that some other writers, including Peter Carey and Francine Prose, opposed, because they said the magazine perpetuated bigoted ideas. Were you surprised to be on the other side of an ideological divide from some of your peers?
A. I could not believe it. Still can’t believe it. So many writers who are old friends. It was really shocking. Now, of course, the lasting damage is in some of those friendships. I haven’t seen any of them, nor have any of them been in touch with me. I felt a sense of injustice, that these people were executed for drawing pictures. If we’re a free-speech organization, how can we not be on their side? For Mr. Carey to say to The New York Times that he didn’t see it as a free-speech issue, I thought, “What?”

Q. He’s a friend of yours, right?

A. Well, was. It’s bewildering and saddening.

Q. You’ve been living in the open for years after going into hiding following the fatwa, but you’ve gotten threats from other extremist groups more recently. In 2013, Al Qaeda’s magazine Inspire put you on its hit list, along with other public intellectuals they view as hostile to Islam.
A. A lot of magazines put me on lists. I think I’m in more danger from n+1 [the literary magazine] than from Al Qaeda.

Q. The United States is on the brink of possibly ending sanctions against Iran and opening up diplomatic relations. As someone who was given a death sentence by the country’s religious leaders, how do you feel about this development?

A. Truthfully, I really do not know what I think. I am quite conflicted about it. On the one hand, the last decade or so show us that war hasn’t worked, so maybe try peace. The other argument is, we’re talking about Iran. These are, how shall I put it, unreliable people. I’m on that strange ground where I don’t quite know what I think. Which is all right — I’m a novelist. Fortunately I don’t have to rule the world.
In a somewhat similar vein, Cuban exile Richard Blanco tells Michael Luongo that he
was impressed by the president’s bold move [with Havana]. At the same time, I considered with great empathy the life stories of exiles like my mother, Cold War struggles for freedom and the American dream. I found myself craving some guarantee these historic changes will lead to greater freedoms and prosperity for the people of Cuba, which I hope the president does not lose sight of.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

the Watcher’s Council’s ‘Weasel Of The Week’ nominations


Over at Trevor Loudon's New Zeal, Terresa Monroe-Hamilton presents the Watcher’s Council’s three ‘Weasel Of The Week’ nominations (obrigado per Luís):  
Michelle Obama and Beyoncé;
the far-left, militant pro-abortion group NARAL 
(National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League); 
and Barack Obama for his mosque speech. 
Read the commentary…

From the Archives: Big Oil and the Dirty Capitalist Pigs' Other Evil Multinationals Put Into Context


The next time you hear about the evil multinationals and/or about Big Oil and/or about America's dirty capitalist pigs and/or about the benefits of the welfare state vs private enterprise, send them this reminder from the archives of Powerline's John Hinderaker and John J Ray (while the 2008 numbers may certainly have changed somewhat in 7-8 years, those changes are hardly likely to be gigantic):
 … the largest American oil company, Exxon Mobil, is only the 14th largest in the world, and is dwarfed by the really big oil companies–all owned by foreign governments or government-sponsored monopolies–that dominate the world’s oil supply.

This graph tells the story; you can barely see the American oil companies as minor players on the right side of the chart. The chart was presented to the House committee by Chevron …

 … With 94% of the world’s oil supply locked up by foreign governments, most of which are hostile to the United States, the relatively puny American oil companies do not have access to enough crude oil to significantly affect the market and help bring prices down. Thus, Exxon Mobil, a small oil company, buys 90% of the crude oil that it refines for the U.S. market from the big players, i.e, mostly-hostile foreign governments.
Related: The Real Party of the Rich: Democrats Have More Top Donors, Millionaires in Congress
Ever since Americans were old enough to crawl in front of a television set, they’ve been told that Republicans are the party of rich white guys, and Democrats are the champions of the poor.

Prepare to flip that thinking upside down.

 … 20 of the top 32 donors lean Democrat, while only 6 lean Republican. The rest are on the fence.
 
Not only that, if you factor in all the indirect benefits the Democrat Party gets from the non-profit sector, left-wing activism, public and private sector unions, Wall Street banks, universities, and superfund contributors, it has been estimated by Dr. David Horowitz and Jacob Laksin in their book The New Leviathan that the Republican Party is outspent in politics by a factor of 7-to-1.

Bear this in mind when the left goes off on a tirade about the Koch Brothers bogeymen, who come in 59th on a list of top contributors. Public and private sector unions leave the Koch Brother’s measly $18 million over 25 years in the dust.

For those “progressives” who are scratching your heads right now, this is very simple. The bigger the government, the easier it is for the increased power to be abused by moneyed interests. Growing the government doesn’t change that fact; it only changes the people who become rich.

Lest there be any doubt about the new “party of the rich,” there are now more Democratic millionaires in Congress than Republican ones.
… While the rich do get expense of the poor in a socialistic economic, a free market economy (not a corporatist one) allows the rich and poor to better their standards of living together.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Europeans like to boast about their superior ways; but, in truth, they never had “free” medical care — they had American-funded medical care


Modern Europe has been the softest side of socialism
writes the Bookworm in the Weekly Standard.
It lets people have their own businesses, but keeps services such as health care, railways, and heavy industry (coal mining, steel production), under its control.  It also buries its citizens under regulations.  Every single aspect of life in a modern European socialist country is regulated.

For a long time, Europeans thought they’d found the perfect solution in this “loving” socialism. Their citizens could run their own businesses and make money, so they had some economic growth.  In addition, in exchange for extremely high taxes, the citizens got “free” medical care (which they’d prepaid with their taxes), low-cost train and bus fares, and good elder care.  It all looked so beautiful in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

What the Europeans conveniently forgot was that, after WWII, it was American money that rebuilt their infrastructure.  This meant that Europeans didn’t have to repay capital investments.
Europeans also liked to ignore that, during the entirety of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, America paid Europe’s defense costs.  That free up money for all the free medical care and cheap train fare that Europeans liked to boast about as a sign of their superiority.  None would admit that they didn’t have “free” medical care — they had American-funded medical care.

Maggie Thatcher, who was the conservative Prime Minister in England during the 1980s, famously said “Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money.”  In Europe, American money started vanishing when the Cold War ended.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Editorial Cartoons: Are They Humor or Are They Propaganda?

Above and below are typical entries from the page on About.com's Political Humor by "Political Humor Expert" that is supposed to show the reader 20 Cartoons and Memes That Put Climate Change in Perspective.

As Hollywood in Toto has asked before (albeit about FunnyOrDie.com), doesn't this type of humor sites turn out not to be so much about humor but about propaganda that "doubles as a political weapon, a cudgel meant to smite Obama’s enemies"? Recently, About.com had a(n only slightly tongue-in-cheek) pictorial of (I kid you not) Photos of Obama Being Awesome (Funny, Playful and Cool Photos of President Barack Obama)!

So: Need we add that every single Cartoon and Meme That Puts Climate Change in Perspective mocks the conservative point of view, and the conservative point of view alone? That not a single Cartoon and Meme That Puts Climate Change in Perspective pokes the slightest amount of fun at the progressive point of view? (No Michael Ramirezes here, thank you very much.)

Below is a cartoon that About.com's "Political Humor Expert" did not choose as a Cartoon or Meme That Puts Climate Change in Perspective.

Now, think of New York City, of Miami, of Galveston, of San Francisco, of Tokyo, of Sydney, of Goa, of Alexandria, of Saint Tropez, of Copenhagen.

Correct me if I am wrong, but in the past 5 years, in the past 50 years, even offhand in the past 500 years (?), has the sea level in any of those places risen by even one inch, by even one centimeter?

So don't you think that if the humorists had any kind of level thinking (instead of double standards), they might, y'know, just once in a while poke fun at the politicians and scientists (and the cartoonists?) who continue their shouts and screams about the sky that's fallin'?
Related: Artists Unite: In this era of integrated information, we
are witnessing the most concerted attack on freedom in world history

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Eccentric: 25 weird and wacky British sports

The Daily Telegraph reports on 25 weird and wacky sports enjoyed in Britain, some dating as far back as the 13th century…

The Peanuts Character Lucy Capturing the Attitude of the Lefty Environmentalist


Years ago, Charles Schulz's Lucy captured the attitude — the certainty and the melodrama — of the lefty environmentalist.

(PS: I'm not quite sure why today's colorist felt the need to color the (same) sky three different colors in four panels…)