Monday, January 30, 2017

Extreme Vetting

“’Extreme Vetting’ is just a euphemism for discrimination against Muslims.”  Anthony D. Romer
 woodcut by Corey Hagelberg

ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero went on to state: Identifying specific countries with Muslim majorities and carving out exceptions for minority religions flies in the face of the constitutional principle that bans the government from either favoring or discriminating against particular religions. Any effort to discriminate against Muslims and favor other religions runs afoul of the First Amendment.”  IU president Michael McRobbie joined many other university leaders in condemning Trump’s action, as “contrary to the very core of our values as an institution committed to excellence and innovation, a diversity of community and ideas, respect for the dignity of others and engagement in the economic, civic, cultural and social development of our state, our nation and our world.”
 airport protest; below, Anne Balay with fellow protestor
Chaos has ensued at airports over Trump’s latest executive order banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yeman, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia.  Not on the list was Saudi Arabia, where most of the 9/11 terrorists were from.  Protestors stormed many airports where people from those countries had been detained.  The Times reported that immigration officers at O’Hare Airport prevented 58-year-old Syrian Sahar Algonaimi from entering the country to be with her ill mother, Isaaf Jamal Eddin of Valparaiso. Algonaimi’s sister Nour Ulayyet told reporter Rob Earnshaw, “This is a day I wish I can erase from myself.  It was this country that gave my sister permission.  She had a valid Visa and a valid reason.” The executive order was evidently signed while Sahar’s flight from Saudi Arabia was in the air.
Nour Alayyet and Isaac Jamal Eddin; Times photo by Kale Will
Ray Smock in “Trump Blows Up the Statue of Liberty and All She Stands For,” wrote:
Trump's executive orders on immigration are so blatantly discriminatory that this has to be stopped quickly by the courts.
We have a president who is afraid of Muslims, all of them. We have instantly fallen from the ranks of the great nations of the Earth. Canada is welcoming the people we are leaving high and dry as they flee tyranny and war abroad. We cannot let a man who is afraid of millions of innocent people be the one who determines our foreign or domestic policy. A nation that acts out of fear will do harm every time. At a time when we should show strength, we show weakness. Trump's action gives ISIS another reason to show that America hates Muslims. We cannot be defeated by terrorists. But we can be defeated by our own fears. When the commander in chief of this nation is afraid of his own shadow we are in deep trouble. Trump is making huge foreign policy decisions before his own pick for Secretary of State can unpack his bags. We have the strictest screening process for immigrants in the world. But how would our rank amateur president know this? He is a one-man-band sowing fear, division, and hate in his path.
  President Trump says he wants “extreme vetting” in our immigration policy. How about some extreme vetting in executive orders before they are promulgated? What is the rush? Who benefits from this chaos? The goal of the White House is to serve the entire nation, to do it with deliberation, to seek consensus and cooperation, and not to throw out a series of red meat executive orders designed to be devoured by Trump’s hard core base. This is dividing the nation and creating worldwide chaos that does not make friends for the United States.

Surprisingly I enjoyed La La Land much more than Toni – both the story line and the music and dancing. What a treat seeing John Legend as the leader of a band.  My favorite scene  was when the main character is playing keyboard with an 80s cover band on “Take on Me” by A-Ha and “I Ran” by Flock of Seagulls.
Father Michal Yadron

I attended services at St. Thomas More Roman Catholic Church in Munster for Pat Conley, who died a couple weeks ago from Pulmonary Fibrosis.  Father Michael J. Yadron praised Pat’s zest for life, saying that he had been told he had three years to live and lasted eight. Pat audited several of my History courses and invited me to his place on Lake Shore Drive Gary Air Show parties.  After the mass, at a Wicker Park luncheon I sat with some of Pat and Deanna’s Miller neighbors, including old friend Tom Serynek, who promised to donate papers to the Calumet regional Archives from when he was director of Save the Dunes Council. I told him Steve McShane makes house calls.
 Temple Israel Trivia Night

Judge Rebecca Hansom and announcer Robin Rich as Princess Leah

event planner Eve Bottando on right
Chary table

At Temple Israel in Miller for its ninth annual Trivia Night I many old friends and sat at Fred and Diane Chary’s table, which won a prize for Diane’s imaginative decorations.  The event had been sold out for months, and about 250 people were squeezed in around 25 tables.  I wasn’t much help on many of the categories but did know that it was fur trader Louis Joliet who accompanied Father Jacques Marquette on the 1673 Mississippi River expedition and that Amelia Earhart was the first aviator to fly solo from Hawaii to California and taught at Purdue.  I also helped our team by knowing that it was Johnny Horton who recorded “The Battle of New Orleans” and Weezer that sang “Beverly Hills.”  We were ready to put down that Pabst Blue Ribbon was the beer that made Milwaukee famous until Diane, who lived in Wisconsin, said with certainty that it was Schlitz.

I told Larry Galler how much I enjoyed his Marketing column, and he replied that The Times is dropping it after Sunday, part of a suicidal (in my opinion) cost-cutting strategy.  In fact, Galler’s final effort, entitled “The dinosaur didn’t try to evolve either,” began:
  Today, I feel like a Larryassaurus, a victim of a newspaper with fewer pages.  Sadly, I was just informed that, after 760 weekly columns since November of 2001, this is to be my last one published in The Times.  It’s fitting that it follows on the heels of last week’s column where I commented on the closing of an iconic restaurant and circus.
  Many of my columns over the past 15-plus years have been, in one way or another, about the lesson that the only constant is change.  Change affects every person, every business, and every institution.  The only way we can remain viable and relevant is to keep up with the change happening around us and, of course, it’s far better if we stay ahead of it.  Darwin was right.
Galler went on to say that he will still be writing for trade journals and his weekly newsletter, and continue doing consulting work.
 George Van Til and Baby; photo by Jeff Manes

In contrast to The Times, the Post-Tribune appears to be flowering as a result of its affiliation with the Chicago Tribune Media Company.  Jeff Manes wrote a fantastic SALT column about former Lake County surveyor George Van Til entitled “Van Til surveys where he’s been, what he’s seen.” It began by mentioning that George has lived in both Highland, Indianas, the one in Lake County as well as Terre Haute (French for high land), where he was incarcerated, and that as a kid he gained insights from his dad’s history books, Newsweek magazines, and Bible readings before meals.  Here are excerpts:
  As county surveyor, by law, I had an appointment to the Kankakee River Basin Commission (KRBC).  There are 11 counties that the Kankakee River affects.  So, there were 11 members.  Most were farmers, but I chose a guy, Tom “Coyote” Larson, who was a real river person, a trapper.  Tom knew the river as well as anybody, yet he had a different perspective.  It wasn’t all about farms.
  I wouldn’t want 11 trappers on the KRBC, nor should there have been 11 farmers on the commission.  Another thing, Tom was always faithful in attending the meetings for the 22 years I was there.  The farmers were skeptical of him at first, but they grew to like him.
  Jeff, I never thought of myself as a politician.  I was a public servant.  Yes, I made mistakes and I got in trouble at the end, but just the other day, I had a man approach me from the Dyer-St. John area and say, “You’re Van Til, aren’t you?”  I didn’t know what to expect.  He added: “I just want you to know that I will always appreciate what you did for us.  You eliminated the flooding and increased our home value. I remember seeing you out there talking to people.  Thank you.”
  The things I accomplished as a public servant will never leave me, nor will the fact that I broke the law.  When I drive by the government center where I worked for so many years, I avert my eyes.  It’s too difficult to look.  Government service is what defined me.  That’s who I was.  What am I now?  It’s a struggle.
Manes began the article with the Biblical quote, “He that is without sin among you , let him cast a stone.”  He ended by saying that Van Til confessed to him that prison taught him humility – something he needed.  Then Manes added: “As for me, I suppose I needed to talk man to man with the tall, bearded Dutchman for 90 minutes.  My conclusion? No stones cast here.”
 Shannon and Max Bayer at DC Women's March

Spending the night at the condo were three generations of Bayers: Janet, Shannon, and Max, the latter an adorable one-going-on-two-year-old named for a great-uncle, a talented artist who moved to Mexico after a bitter divorce. In the morning, we ate up the street at Sunrise Restaurant - breakfast for Janet and Shannon, lunch for Max, Toni, and me.  The kid polished off a grilled cheese sandwich cut into appropriate bites and then used his charm to get Shannon to order another.  Initially wary of me, Max was exchanging funny faces with me by the time the Bayers left for Indy.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for pointing to the George Van Til interview. Very interesting piece.