November rambling 2: Walmart returnables, and Blotto musicology

A Writer Gets Grilled By His 18-Year-Old Self

Dan said: “Perhaps someone absquatulated with an important part.”
ladder

Meanwhile, in America…, the succinctly brilliant viral meme from Andy McClure.

Trying to follow what is going on in Syria and why? This comic will get you there in 5 minutes.

9 questions about Daesh you were too embarrassed to ask.

Jeff Sharlet: The Darkness Show: On Jokes and Terror in Paris.

Gate A-4.

Walmart employee fired for redeeming a few dollars of cans and bottles. Local story goes national. And international. And becomes a cause.

It’s a tawdry catfight… between bourgeois actors who desperately seek to inherit the imprimatur of the Civil Rights struggle.

Being frugal with outrage.

High Cheekbones and Straight Black Hair? “100 Amazing Facts About the Negro: Why most black people aren’t ‘part Indian,’ despite family lore.”

The Original Conscious Uncouplers.

Texas Women Are Inducing Their Own Abortions.

If you enjoyed a good book and you’re a woman, the critics think you’re wrong.

The Internet Is Freaking Out Over This ‘Jeopardy’ Contestant’s Voice. “It’s time to stop policing the way women sound.”

A Writer Gets Grilled By His 18-Year-Old Self In ‘Later That Same Life’.

Dustbury has a birthday.

the death of comedy.

The oldest known video footage of New York City.

Now I Know: Not Safe, But Fired and Prisoner of Honor and Comma Chameleon Law.

Explaining Einstein. We have a winner!

How to count coins.

Miss Rose Marie, The Longest Active Career In Entertainment, Honored with Shirley Temple Award.

Justin Bieber Just Beat The Beatles’ 51-Year-Old Billboard Record.

It’s time to have a Blotto musicology conference.

The New Yorker Editor Who Became a Comic Book Hero. (Françoise Mouly).

Smilin’ Ed Comics Kickstarter Only Hardcover Editions!

Muppets: From the mouth of frogs and Bert is sick and commercials and Little Muppet Monsters (1985) and miscellaneous stuff.

GOOGLE ALERT

Arthur’s Internet wading. And it’s all my fault!

SamuraiFrog: I Spend Thanksgiving Alone Every Year. I’ve done so, and at a very basic level, I understand his position.

Thanks. Giving. (Refugees)

We make a mockery of the inscription of that beacon of hope, the Statue of Liberty.

syrian refugeesThere are three basic arguments against blocking Syrian refugees from entering the United States after the extensive screening already taking place:

1. It’s exactly what Daesh wants. That’s a rather persuasive argument against equating refugees with terrorists, for me. The identified Paris attackers were not refugees, and the Syrian passport conveniently found near one of the attack sites, was most likely a fake.

Daesh has been recruiting people that are already citizens in their target country. As my former TU blogging colleague Kevin Marshall notes: “Planting operatives among Syrian refugees that have to undergo vetting processes, scrutiny, and no resources for them once they reach their uncertain destination? Not only is that the opposite of their modus operandi, but it’s also a really dumb, convoluted plan with unnecessary obstacles. It’s like the Rube Goldberg Device of terrorist plots.”

Yet at least 30 governors say they want to close their states to Syrian refugees. Presidential candidates are talking about shutting down mosques (that would be D. Trump) and discriminating against refugees on the basis of religion. Members of Congress are threatening to cut off funding for refugee assistance while four million Syrian refugees are desperate to get away from a civil war not of their own making.

In other words, to quote the cliche from dozen years ago, “We’re letting the terrorists win.” Or as Robert Reich put it, channeling FDR, we’d be “fearing fear itself.” (Which FDR himself succumbed to with the Japanese internment, one of the most shameful acts in American history.)

2. It falls desperately short of the American ideal. To quote Andrew Cuomo, which I VERY seldom do: “We have to protect Americans and not lose our soul as America in the process.”
syrian refugees2
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

—Emma Lazarus, 1883

When we close our borders and stop letting in those that need our help to enter this country, we make a mockery of the inscription of that beacon of hope, the Statue of Liberty, and as Cuomo noted, “I say take down the Statue of Liberty because you’ve gone to a different place.”

And I get to agree with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) when he notes, about Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) suggestion to favor Christian refugees from Syria over Muslims, “I don’t think any child, whether they are Christian or whether they are atheist or whether they are Buddhist, that we should make a distinction,” McCain said. “My belief is that all children are God’s children.”

Plus, resettlement in the U.S. is a long process as it is. The Refugee Admissions Program is jointly administered by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) in the Department of State, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and offices within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within DHS conducts refugee interviews and determines individual eligibility for refugee status in the United States. John Oliver explains.

We should not respond with hysteria. Here are some things ordinary people can do to restore sanity.

superman.racism
3. It’s not the Christian thing to do:

Imagine a poor Middle Eastern couple, the woman very pregnant, with no place to stay. Recall how the child who would be born grows up to say, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” Here are some other Bible verses about how to treat refugees. If we claim to be Christians and ignore this invocation, we might as well keep those creches in their storage boxes this Advent season.

When I posted the Resolution for Protection and Hospitality for Syrian Refugees from the Albany (NY) Presbytery on Facebook, I was told, “I think you’ve just glossed over just about everything that [a lengthy rationale from a third party] has said in favor of blind faith.” To which I replied, “I guess I’m just trying to literally respond to WWJD.” Check out Stephen Colbert’s response.
lawn ornaments
Or, in the words of The Thinking Atheist: “Why are we so quick to see the ugly…when we stand before the beautiful?”
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Remember this Thanksgiving:
Hello

Thanksgiving explanations from Anglophenia

Choose to be grateful. It will make you happier.

Imagination of compassion, or something like that

I’m told that group referred to as ISIS, or ISIL, HATE to be referred to as “DEASH”.

The night after the shootings and bombing in Paris that killed over 125 people on Friday the 13th of November, the Albany Public Library Foundation held its second annual Literary Legends gala to honor two writers. One, Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked, who was born in Albany, ended his brief remark with a quote, which I failed to write down. I thought it contained the phrase “the imagination of compassion.”

this is what people say

Instead of finding what’s wrong with someone’s response to a situation, try to imagine the scenario with some compassion. The idea of imagination compassion is far more uplifting and far less destructive. “You remake the world when you imagine it compassionate.”

So while I didn’t change my status on Facebook to the French tricolor – in part because it feels, to me, that it gives the bombings in Beirut the day before the short shrift. And indeed, there are tragedies every day around the world that warrant our response, so one could argue Eurocentrism. Yet I’m opposed to criticizing those who did post the blue, white, and red because they are expressing their own compassion.

I note Arthur’s lovely tale, which I suppose would be characterized as an imagination of compassion, though I can see it taking place in Lebanon as well as France.

Hey, I understand the bias towards Paris. France is the US’s oldest ally. More to the point, there were three households I knew personally that night in Paris. One was a woman from Albany passing through. Dartmouth professor and writer Jeff Sharlet, who I knew when he was a child, was interviewed by MSNBC that night.

That Literary Gala’s other awardee was Barbara Smith, who has written a bunch of black feminist literature. I asked her if she knew my mother’s first cousin Fran, a noted writer in those circles, and she had indeed met her. Fran’s two daughters were born in Paris, and daughter Anne and her family are living there currently.
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And then I get the real quote from Maguire: “The consolation of imaginary things is not imaginary consolation.” – Roger Scruton. Memory can be so faulty.

“Compassion: a source of comfort to somebody who is upset or disappointed.” So the above still holds.

Still, I’m told that group referred to as ISIS, or ISIL, HATE to be referred to as “DEASH”. Daesh (or Da’esh pronounced dɑʃ). It’s a term used to describe the terrorist organization, introduced by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. (Is this why they’ve been so focused on France?)

Fabius argued that since the IS is not Islamic and absolutely not recognized as a state, he said “…the Arabs call it Daesh…” (from Arabic “to tread upon”, “to trample or crush underfoot”). I’ve decided to refer to them only as Daesh going forward. My compassion can go only so far.

My pal Amy Biancolli, who has dealt with suicides in her life, is uncomfortable with the term suicide bomber. A reader suggested kamikaze, and I’m thinking that it’s more correct, perhaps with a qualifier of some sort.