Minor Thoughts from me to you

Why Fight to Enjoy a Long Winter?

Jason Kotte—a lifelong resident of winter lands—wrote about how he's recovering from two years where winter really bummed him out.

Sometime this fall — using a combination of Stoicism, stubbornness, and a sort of magical thinking that Jason-in-his-30s would have dismissed as woo-woo bullshit — I decided that because I live in Vermont, there is nothing I can do about it being winter, so it was unhelpful for me to be upset about it. I stopped complaining about it getting cold and dark, I stopped dreading the arrival of snow. I told myself that I just wasn’t going to feel like I felt in the summer and that’s ok — winter is a time for different feelings. As Matt Thomas wrote, I stopped fighting the winter vibe and tried to go with it:

Fall is a time to write for me as well, but it also means welcoming — rather than fighting against — the shorter days, the football games, the decorative gourds. Productivity writer Nicholas Bate’s seven fall basics are more sleep, more reading, more hiking, more reflection, more soup, more movies, and more night sky. I like those too. The winter will bring with it new things, new adjustments. Hygge not hay rides. Ditto the spring. Come summer, I’ll feel less stress about stopping work early to go to a barbecue or movie because I know, come autumn, I’ll be hunkering down. More and more, I try to live in harmony with the seasons, not the clock.

​> …

The people in the Norwegian communities Leibowitz studied, they got outside as much as they could — “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing” — spent their time indoors being cozy, came together in groups, and marveled at winter’s beauty.

​> …

So how has this tiny shift in mindset been working for me so far?

​> …

I’ve had more time for reading, watching some interesting TV, eating rich foods, making apple pie, and working. I went for a 6-mile walk in the freezing cold with a friend and it was delightful. And I’m already looking forward to spring and summer as well. It’s comforting to know that warmer weather and longer days are waiting for me in the distance, when I can do more of what I want to do and feel more like my true self. But in the meantime, pass the cocoa and I’ll see you on the slopes.

​There's a whole lot of wisdom in what he wrote. There's value in having different rhythms to your life in different seasons. There's value in deciding to have a positive mindset about the things you can't change.

But.

There's also wisdom in recognizing when your circumstances are making you unhappy and doing what you can to change your circumstances. I lived the winter blues for nearly 20 years. I worked hard to have a positive mindset. I worked hard to adjust to constant snow and bitter cold. I worked to find winter clothes that were both warm and something that I liked. But I still was unhappy every winter and couldn't wait for the weather to change.

No matter how good the conversation is, there's nothing appealing about taking a 5-mile walk in the freezing cold with a friend. And it may be true that bad weather is the result of bad clothing. But I never did find gloves that were the right combination of warm enough, dextrous enough, and small enough to fit my dwarven hands. Or warm, waterproof boots that fit my hobbit feet. And I note that even Jason says that he's already—5 months before Wisconsin spring—looking forward to warmer weather and longer days. That's a long time to remind yourself to stay positive.

My breakthrough happened when I finally realized that no one was forcing me to live in the land of ice and snow and that I didn't need permission to leave. I'm having one of my best winters in 20 years because I finally moved from Madison, WI to Tucson, AZ. This isn't a change that everyone can make. I spent 3+ years making sure that it was the right move for the entire family, not just for me. I made sure that I would have a job after the move. We didn't have extended family in Wisconsin.

I'm fortunate that all of those factors lined up for me. But they did and I was able to move. And the move has had an immense impact on my day-to-day happiness and joy in life. I've smiled more, felt giddy more, spent more time outdoors, and looked at the stars more than I have in many years.

If you're truly rooted where you are, then follow Jason's advice on enjoying the long winter. But if you're only staying through inertia, then don't torture yourself. There are no virtue points for living somewhere that you don't like and fighting for contentment. Spending your entire life in one location doesn't make you more moral or more praiseworthy than someone who pulls up stakes and wanders around until they find their good place. Give yourself permission to move on.

This entry was tagged. Personal Wisconsin

Florida Prison Guard Allegedly Paralyzed an Inmate and Molested a Child

Florida Prison Guard Allegedly Paralyzed an Inmate and Molested a Child →

Records released last week in the lawsuit revealed that Turner had a decade-long history of inmate complaints against him alleging excessive force, sexual abuse and misconduct, racial slurs, and sadistic punishments that included leaving a handcuffed woman in 93-degree heat for 3 hours while calling her a "fat pig." Another inmate told sheriff's deputies that she witnessed Turner and another officer trading contraband cigarettes for oral sex.

None of that stopped Turner, who at some point was promoted to lieutenant, until this August.

Weimar's hospitalization sent shockwaves through the state, drew national media coverage, and put a gruesome spotlight on Florida's problem-ridden and wildly expensive prison system, especially Lowell, where inmates have long alleged sexual abuse and violence by guards.

Last August, the Justice Department launched a civil rights investigation into pervasive misconduct and sexual assaults by correctional staff at Lowell. A 2015 Miami Herald investigation found numerous accusations of assaults, retaliation, filthy conditions, inadequate healthcare, and suspicious deaths at the prison, as well as "an inadequate number of cameras," which allows guards to hide brutality.

Democratic Florida state Rep. Dianne Hart said in a statement today that she applauds the Marion County Sheriff's Office for making the arrest. "However, with over 130 pages of documented official FDOC incident reports detailing the horrors that Lt. Turner inflicted on the women of Lowell Correctional sitting on my desk and Cheryl Weimar with a broken neck," she continued, "I find it absolutely disgusting that Lt. Keith Turner still has a place at FDOC, and I pray that justice is served in all cases involving Lt. Turner."

After Weimar's hospitalization, the state launched several investigations into the incident, and Turner and the other guard were reassigned to jobs where they would not have contact with inmates.

Following his arrest, the FDOC says it is moving to fire Turner immediately.

"The Sheriff's findings in this case against Mr. Turner are abhorrent and in complete contrast to the values and integrity held by our staff," FDOC Secretary Mark Inch said in a press statement. "We are moving forward with his immediate dismissal."

Apparently not. It certainly looks as though FDOC Secretary Mark Inch didn't have any problem with Lt. Turner using excessive force, sexually abusing inmates, using racial slurs, and handing out sadistic punishments. For some reason, the Florida Department of Corrections chose not to act against this piece of trash until he'd crippled an inmate. From where I sit, Floridians need to clean house throughout the entirety of the Department of Corrections, starting with Secretary Inch and working their way down to Lt. Turner.

Senate barrels toward showdown over Trump's court picks

Senate barrels toward showdown over Trump's court picks →

Jordain Carney, writing for The Hill:

But Democrats are powerless to stop Trump’s nominees on their own after they went nuclear in 2013 and lowered the 60-vote filibuster for most nominations to a simple majority. Republicans followed suit in 2017 and nixed the 60-vote hurdle for Supreme Court picks.

​I said at the time that destroying the minority's political power of obstruction was a short-sighted move that would come back to haunt the Democrats. And I'll say right now that Republicans following suit over Supreme Court nominations was equally stupid. How many Progressives would like to have that power back, both right about now and over the last 2 years?

State Rep. Melissa Sargent will re-introduce bill to legalize marijuana

State Rep. Melissa Sargent will re-introduce bill to legalize marijuana →

Tess Klein reports for WTMJ:

State Representative Melissa Sargent is working to make marijuana legalization a reality in Wisconsin. She says she will re-introduce legislation to do so in the upcoming legislative session in January.

"It is in the best interest of our state to look toward the future and recognize the vast medicinal, economic, social justice opportunities marijuana legalization would bring to our state," Sargent said in a statement.

"Referenda around Wisconsin passed with overwhelming support proving that the people are ahead of the politicians on this topic, and agree that the most dangerous thing about marijuana in Wisconsin is that it is illegal."

​Good for her. I'll bet that the Wisconsin Assembly will just sit on the bill and ignore it in committee, but I still applaud Representative Sargent for introducing it. Residents of 16 counties and 2 cities voted "Yes" to advisory referenda about legalizing marijuana for either medicinal or recreational use. It'd be nice if the state Assembly could manage to get over their own prejudices and follow suit.

Veterans Day Is Not a Christian Holiday

I've been growing and evolving my religious beliefs and political positions over the past 15 years. I may have changed the most in my attitude towards the American military and the hero worship that American evangelicals have for our military. I grew up in a conservative household, in a Navy town. I was surrounded by active duty and retired members of the military, both in my extended family and among my friends' parents and my parents' friends.

Our church was typical of many. Every July 4th, we'd celebrate America and its armed forces. Representatives from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines would carry their service's flag down to the front of the church, as the service's march was played. The American flag would be prominently honored as well. Every Veterans Day Sunday, we would ask all members of the military to stand, to be honored for their service. I thought this was only just and right, as America was a Christian nation and these men and women protected us and helped to enact America's will and — by extension — God's will.

That's all changed. I can't abide churches mixing the worship of God and the worship of American military might. Christians are citizens of the Kingdom of God. Our first allegiance should be to God. If He is a jealous God, as we say He is, we shouldn't be bringing other powers into His church, to praise, honor, and venerate. God's house should be holy — set apart to God and God alone.

I've also become a peacenik. I no longer see American military might as a good thing and I no longer see the demonstration of American power as something to desire. Violence is violence and we should always mourn it and do everything we can to prevent it. In Foundation, Isaac Asimov's character Salvor Hardin says that "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent". I'm idealistic enough to believe that's true. I haven't become a full-fledged pacifist, but I do believe that we should avoid military force unless we've truly exhausted every other solution and we have no choice.

In that light, I read Brian Doherty's recent article for Reason.com, "No More Vietnam Syndrome". Here, he's talking about the results of America's military efforts since 9/11.

After September 11, 2001, the U.S. military fully re-entered the world stage. The last 17 years have seen a variety of wars, quasiwars, and ongoing interventions with a mix of shifting rationales, from revenge for the attacks to spreading peaceful democracy in the Middle East to targeting specific bad actors to simply helping our Saudi allies as they work to reduce Yemen to a charnel house. None of these more recent efforts have worked out well on a geopolitical level. Meant to end Islamic terrorism worldwide, our post-9/11 warmaking multiplied it. A 2007 study by NYU researchers found that the average yearly number and fatality rate of terror attacks rose by 607 percent and 237 percent respectively after we entered Iraq in 2003. If you exclude violence in that country, the increases were still 265 and 58 percent; most jihadis in subsequent years were radicalized by the invasion itself.

Meant to crush Al Qaeda, our interventions have expanded its breadth and numbers; meant to create stable democracies in the Middle East, they've helped reduce Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen to the same sort of chaos that bred the terror in Afghanistan that began this whole bloody, pointless process.

These various post-9/11 foreign policy failures have cost our debt-riddled nation at least $1.5 trillion in direct costs, according to a recent Defense Department report, and more than $5 trillion in ancillary costs—such as interest and future veterans expenses—according to a 2017 analysis by the Watson Center at Brown University. In constant 2018 dollars, the Defense Department will spend this year in excess of 50 percent more than it did in 1968.

But the more hideous cost—especially poignant for those who remember the cries of "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?"—is in lives. That same Watson Center study estimates that there have been 370,000 deaths from direct war violence since 2001; 200,000 civilian deaths; and over 10 million people displaced by the harm to property and municipal functionality. Alas, this human and social misery is obscured by consistent, deliberate use of bloodless rhetoric. American foreign policy professionals and pundits somehow manage to look at our costly failings and the world's suffering—all that money, all that death—and think the answer is that the U.S. military should have done more, and smarter, and harder.

If only the lessons of Vietnam, or even of Iraq, would actually stick. We can't expect the aftereffects of this century's foreign policy sins to be short-lived. Laos still suffers dozens of deaths a year because of 80 million unexploded bombs left behind by the Vietnam War. The casualties of our drone wars may be their own variety of unexploded ordnance, as generations grow up in the literal and figurative shadows of insufficiently discriminating robot death machines in the sky, courtesy of the United States.

As a Christian — not as an American, but as a Christian — are you proud of these results? Can you truly look at them and say that America was "doing the Lord's work"? I can't. I supported the Iraq War in 2003, but I don't support it now. There is nothing to cheer in the ongoing military operations in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Syria, and in Yemen. And there's certainly nothing Christian in what the U.S. military is doing around the world today. Let's stop pretending that there is, let's stop treating Veterans Day as a church holiday, and let's stop confusing patriotism with religious devotion.

2018 Midterms — Understanding the Results

2018 Midterms — Understanding the Results →

Kevin D. Williamson has multiple points to make. This is the one that I particularly agree with.

Fourth, and related: The Democrats don’t seem to understand what it is they are really fighting, which, in no small part, is not the Republicans but the constitutional architecture of the United States. The United States is, as the name suggests, a union of states, which have interests, powers, and characters of their own. They are not administrative subdivisions of the federal government. All that talk about winning x percent of the “national House vote” or the “national Senate vote” — neither of which, you know, exists — is a backhanded way of getting at the fact that they do not like how our governments are organized, and that they would prefer a more unitary national government under which the states are so subordinated as to be effectively inconsequential. They complain that, under President Trump, “the Constitution is hanging by a thread” — but they don’t really much care for the actual order established by that Constitution, and certainly not for the limitations it puts on government power through the Bill of Rights and other impediments to étatism.

I know people who will argue that the "national House vote" does indeed exist. And they probably are voting with national outcomes in mind. But all politics is local and voters can only vote for the candidates on their own ballot. And as much as people give Congress — as an overall body — abysmally low grades, they tend to give their own representatives a much higher grade.

That's why Congress has such a low rate of turnover: everyone hates everyone else's representatives, but loves their own. And that's why I don't think that a "national House vote" truly exists. I can imagine a world in which a national vote does exist, but it's a different world than this one, with a different electoral system.

Trump’s Next Tariff Blow Could Be 10 Times Worse for U.S. Shoppers

Trump’s Next Tariff Blow Could Be 10 Times Worse for U.S. Shoppers →

The next round in the U.S.-China trade war could be the costliest one yet for American consumers.

The U.S. is said to be preparing to announce tariffs on all remaining Chinese imports by early December, and the impact at the checkout counter may be as much as 10 times higher than earlier rounds of levies, according to a report from Citigroup economists.

The new penalties, which could take effect in early February, would encompass Chinese-made consumer goods like Apple iPhones and Nike shoes that the Trump administration has so far left untouched. The impact of a 10 percent tariff on the $267 billion of imports could be 10 times larger than the first $50 billion round and double that of the $200 billion tariffs in the second round, the analysts wrote.

This Isn't the Most Important Election of Your Lifetime. Not Even Close

This Isn't the Most Important Election of Your Lifetime. Not Even Close →

David Harsanyi, writing at Reason:

If you believe that a midterm election in a time of relative peace and economic prosperity is the most important in history or even the most important in your fortunate lifetime, you either are oblivious to history or don't have a single nonpartisan synapse firing in your skull.

Yet it's now become standard for partisans to claim that every presidential election is the most important ever. Seeing as many people view the president as an emperor, perhaps they believe it. That's one thing. But now we have people foisting this insufferable cliche on us for House elections, which happen every two years in every single district.

I endorse this message.

This entry was tagged. Elections

Florida’s mermaid industry

Florida’s mermaid industry →

Thanks to Craig Pittman, at the Tampa Bay Times, for this very Florida story.

Florida’s best-known industries include citrus, seafood and selling tacky souvenirs to tourists. But there’s one booming Florida industry that hardly ever gets a mention from the Chamber of Commerce folks.

Mermaids.

All over the state there are now scores of women — and a few men — who regularly pull on prosthetic tails and pretend to be those mythical creatures made popular by Hans Christian Anderson and Walt Disney. Some do it for fun, but quite a few are diving into it as a business, charging by the hour to appear at everything from birthday parties to political events.

"This mermaid industry has just skyrocketed. It’s crazy," said Eric Ducharme, aka "the Mertailor," whose Crystal River-based business is making high-quality tails. "I don’t know if it’s a fad, or if it’s here to stay."

To judge how crazy the mermaid business is right now, consider this: Ducharme. a Lecanto native, sells his custom-designed tails for up to $5,000 each. He’s working on 80 of them right now, each designed to match the customers’ personal measurements.

This entry was tagged. America Market

Sara Zaske, on free range…

Sara Zaske, on free range parenting (from Achtung Baby):

I’m more worried about some well-intentioned citizen making trouble for our family than about an evil-minded stranger snatching them. I know which one is more likely. I’ve already seen it in action.

We’ve seen it too.

Reading Idea: Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics

Broken Words

Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics
by Jonathan Dudley
$4.99 on Kindle

I had no idea that many (most?) evangelicals didn't believe that human life begins at conception. It'll take a lot to convince me that it doesn't, but I'm willing to read the history of how beliefs shifted in the evangelical community.

The 'biblical view' that's younger than the Happy Meal

In 1979, McDonald’s introduced the Happy Meal.

Sometime after that, it was decided that the Bible teaches that human life begins at conception.

Ask any American evangelical, today, what the Bible says about abortion and they will insist that this is what it says. (Many don’t actually believe this, but they know it is the only answer that won’t get them in trouble.) They’ll be a little fuzzy on where, exactly, the Bible says this, but they’ll insist that it does.

That’s new. If you had asked American evangelicals that same question the year I was born you would not have gotten the same answer.

That year, Christianity Today — edited by Harold Lindsell, champion of “inerrancy” and author of The Battle for the Bible — published a special issue devoted to the topics of contraception and abortion. That issue included many articles that today would get their authors, editors — probably even their readers — fired from almost any evangelical institution. For example, one article by a professor from Dallas Theological Seminary criticized the Roman Catholic position on abortion as unbiblical. Jonathan Dudley quotes from the article in his book Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics. Keep in mind that this is from a conservative evangelical seminary professor, writing in Billy Graham’s magazine for editor Harold Lindsell:

God does not regard the fetus as a soul, no matter how far gestation has progressed. The Law plainly exacts: “If a man kills any human life he will be put to death” (Lev. 24:17). But according to Exodus 21:22-24, the destruction of the fetus is not a capital offense. … Clearly, then, in contrast to the mother, the fetus is not reckoned as a soul.

Christianity Today would not publish that article in 2012. They might not even let you write that in comments on their website. If you applied for a job in 2012 with Christianity Today or Dallas Theological Seminary and they found out that you had written something like that, ever, you would not be hired.

At some point between 1968 and 2012, the Bible began to say something different. That’s interesting.

Even more interesting is how thoroughly the record has been rewritten. We have always been at war with Eastasia.

I heartily recommend Dudley’s book for his discussion of this switch and the main figures who brought it about — Francis Schaeffer, Jerry Falwell, Richard Viguerie, etc.

Reading Idea: Apocalypse and Allegiance: Worship, Politics and Devotion in the Book of Revelation

Apocalypse and Allegience

Apocalypse and Allegiance: Worship, Politics and Devotion in the Book of Revelation
by J. Nelson Kraybill
$13.49 on Kindle

This is another book that I learned about while reading one of Slacktivist's posts about the Left Behind novels.

John of Patmos was writing to seven actual churches, some of which had lost members of their communities to Roman persecution. John is reassuring his readers that “their fellow servants and their brethren” were at peace with God, and that the Empire would one day face divine justice on account of their deaths. He’s also warning those readers that the persecution may not be over — that the Empire isn’t yet done with its beastly work.

You’ll notice that we’ve skipped over Revelation 7 here. That’s a worship scene. John’s vision in Revelation is repeatedly interrupted with these interludes of heavenly worship with saints and angels bowing down before the throne of God, singing songs of praise. Such interludes don’t interest LaHaye. Like most “Bible prophecy” enthusiasts, he’s only interested in the wrath-y bits with the fiery hail and earthquakes and such. He skips over these “tangential” scenes of worship the way a lazy student skips past all the whaling-manual chapters in Moby Dick.

(Let me again commend J. Nelson Kraybill’s Apocalypse and Allegiance: Worship, Politics and Devotion in the Book of Revelation for its excellent discussion of the vital, central importance of these worship scenes for John’s original readers. In the context of Empire, worship — worship of anything other than Empire — is a politically subversive and empowering act.)

Want Your Child To Eat (Almost) Everything? There Is A Way

Want Your Child To Eat (Almost) Everything? There Is A Way →

Maria Godoy, reporting for NPR's "All Things Considered", on how to raise culinarily adventurous children. Some of this I've already been doing, such as only feeding them what I'm already eating.

Exposing kids to a variety of flavors early in life "tends to produce kids who are more willing to try other things," says Birch.

"Babies are really born predisposed to learn to eat the diets of what the people around them are eating," she says.

But I really liked this particular insight. It does match what I've seen from my own children.

Ball points to advice his mother-in-law received from a pediatrician 40 years ago, back when his wife was a toddler: "Expect her to eat one meal, play with one meal, and ignore one meal." ​

This entry was tagged. Children Food

Conservatives Need to Put Aside Kneejerk Police Support

Conservatives Need to Put Aside Kneejerk Police Support →

Steven Greenhut, as seen on Reason.com. I endorse this view.

When it comes to problems in the public schools, my conservative friends are right on target with their critique. These schools often do a poor or mediocre job performing an important function. That's because they lack competition and are funded by political priorities rather than customers. Teachers' unions have undue sway over the entire process. They make it nearly impossible to fire even grossly incompetent teachers and that small percentage harms many students. Those same unions drive up unsustainable benefit costs.

Like everyone else, conservatives appreciate teachers—but they realize that the current taxpayer-funded system needs many reforms and more competition. There's nothing wrong with pointing this out, which is a reality in any government-funded, union-controlled monopoly anywhere in the world.

Yet when it comes to another type of taxpayer-funded, union-controlled monopoly, conservatives lose their sense of perspective. I'm referring, of course, to local and state police agencies. The same dynamic described above works there, too. Police agencies are bureaucratic. Unions protect the bad apples and make it nearly impossible to fire anyone—even officers caught on video misbehaving or being abusive to the public. The agencies hand out unsustainable benefits and have some bizarre spending priorities (tank-like vehicles, etc.). They are secretive and insular. They use asset forfeiture to grab the property of people never convicted or even accused of a crime.

Take Our Cheese, Please: American Cheese Makers Suffer Under New Tariffs

Take Our Cheese, Please: American Cheese Makers Suffer Under New Tariffs →

"Trade wars are good and easy to win."

BelGioioso Cheese Inc., a second-generation family company in Wisconsin, has seen sales to Mexico drop since officials there implemented tariffs of up to 15% in early June on most U.S. cheese. The levies were a response to tariffs the U.S. placed on Mexican steel and aluminum.

On Thursday, Mexico was slated to raise its levy on most U.S. cheese to as much as 25%, while China on Friday is implementing tariffs on $34 billion of U.S. goods, including cheese and whey, a dairy byproduct often fed to livestock.

"It’s a nightmare," said BelGioioso President Errico Auricchio.

The Mexican tariffs affect as much as $578 million in U.S. dairy goods, while China’s duties could hit $408 million of cheese, whey and other products, according to U.S. Chamber of Commerce data.

July milk futures have dropped 12% since Mexico announced May 31 that it would strike back with tariffs. The price for a barrel, or 500 pounds, of white cheddar last week hit its lowest level since 2009. More cheese is in cold storage in the U.S. than any time since the U.S. Department of Agriculture began keeping track in 1917.

U.S. dairy farmers have been caught up in a trade dispute with Mexico before. In 2009, Mexico imposed tariffs in response to a trucking disagreement that included levies as high as 25% on U.S. cheeses. U.S. shipments of cheese to Mexico fell by 26% during the 14-month dispute, according to the INTL FCStone Financial, a trading firm.

Since then, U.S. dairy exports have grown to account for about 12% of Mexican consumption last year, according to Rabobank.

More than 60 cheese and dairy producers wrote to the Trump administration last month, saying the trade war could cost them that foothold. "Our share of the Mexican market is in grave jeopardy," they wrote.

René Fonseca, general director of Mexico’s National Milk Industries’ Chamber, said Mexican processors are pushing U.S. producers to lower their prices to make up for the tariff.

Mexican dairies are also ramping up production and processors are looking for alternative suppliers for cheeses such as gouda in the European Union, Mr. Fonseca said. He said Mexican companies that find a new supplier likely won’t revert to their old U.S. trade partner if tariffs are removed.

Do Family Values Stop at the Rio Grande for Conservatives?

Do Family Values Stop at the Rio Grande for Conservatives? →

As we prepare to celebrate America's Independence Day, it's important to stop, reflect, and remember what it is that America stands for. Shikha Dalmia, writing for Reason.com, offers a hint.

For months now, the Trump administration has been literally kidnapping children from parents arriving at the border in search of asylum and sending them off to prison-like detention camps thousands of miles away. In one particularly egregious case, authorities seized the 7-year-old daughter of a mother fleeing violence in Congo. Without offering her any explanation, they dispatched her little girl to a Chicago camp while holding the mother in San Diego. The mom wasn't being punished because she was trying to sneak in illegally. She presented herself to immigration authorities exactly as she was supposed to and even passed an initial screening to determine if she had a "credible fear" of harm in her home country. It took the ACLU four months of dogged petitioning before the distraught mother and the traumatized daughter were finally reunited.

In another case, an 18-month-old boy was taken away from his Honduran mother, who arrived at the Texas border. She showed the authorities copious records to prove that she was in fact the infant's mom, but they didn't care. They ordered her to place her baby in a government vehicle and drove him away to a San Antonio facility while she wept helplessly and her terrified son screamed inconsolably. She herself was detained in a facility in Taylor, Texas.

The administration pretends that these are isolated incidents but, in fact, a _New York Times_ investigation a few weeks ago found more than 700 cases of parents and children separated just since October, including 100 under the age of 4. The ACLU has filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the parents.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

(Addendum: Yes, I'm aware that this article is 2 months old. It's still a good introduction to this particular horrible policy, for anyone who's been living under a rock. And I like the way Shikha Dalmia framed the issue.)

I spent the past 2 hours preparing broccoli 3 different ways, looking for something that I can tolerably enjoy eating…

I spent the past 2 hours preparing broccoli 3 different ways, looking for something that I can tolerably enjoy eating. I’m getting slightly more serious about healthier eating.

The Bible on Immigrants

Evangelical Christians are forming the backbone of President Trump's support — and driving the Republican Party's anti-immigrant agenda. I thought I'd review my Bible to see what God had to say about how his people should treat immigrants, the strangers and the sojourners.

You Were Immigrants

God reminds his people that they were the immigrants in Egypt. (Fleeing, let us remember, economic collapse in their own land.)

Exodus 22:21:

"You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.

Exodus 23:9:

"You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.

Deuteronomy 10:17–19:

For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. —

Treat Immigrants Well

God wants his people to treat immigrants well, to leave work for them to do, giving them a way to support themselves.

Leviticus 19:10, 33–34:

And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the LORD your God. … "When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 23:22:

"And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the LORD your God."

Leviticus 25:35:

"If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you.

Deuteronomy 14:28–29:

"At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns. And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do.

Deuteronomy 24:14–22:

"You shall not oppress a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your brothers or one of the sojourners who are in your land within your towns. You shall give him his wages on the same day, before the sun sets (for he is poor and counts on it), lest he cry against you to the LORD, and you be guilty of sin.

"Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. Each one shall be put to death for his own sin.

"You shall not pervert the justice due to the sojourner or to the fatherless, or take a widow's garment in pledge, but you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this.

"When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat your olive trees, you shall not go over them again. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow. When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not strip it afterward. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.

You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I command you to do this.

You Are Immigrants in God's Land

In fact, the Israelites are now living in land that God gave them, making them immigrants into God's land.

Leviticus 25:23:

"The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine. For you are strangers and sojourners with me.

1 Chronicles 29:15:

For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding.

God Condemns His People For Mistreating Immigrants

And God uses his prophets to tell people that He's not happy about the way that they've been treating immigrants.

Ezekiel 22:7,29:

Father and mother are treated with contempt in you; the sojourner suffers extortion in your midst; the fatherless and the widow are wronged in you. … The people of the land have practiced extortion and committed robbery. They have oppressed the poor and needy, and have extorted from the sojourner without justice.

Zechariah 7:8–12:

And the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, saying, "Thus says the LORD of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart."

But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear. They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the LORD of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the LORD of hosts.

Malachi 3:5:

"Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts.

How You Treat Immigrants Is How You Treat Jesus

Finally, Jesus sees how we treat others as a direct reflection of whether or not we love Him.

Matthew 25:35–46:

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'

Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?'

And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'

"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.'

Then they also will answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?'

Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

Today's eggsperiment: a sausage omelet, seasoned with Secret Aardvark hot sauce, topped with a mustard cheese sauce.

Today's eggsperiment: a sausage omelet, seasoned with Secret Aardvark hot sauce, topped with a mustard cheese sauce.

eggsperiment