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    • Accepting and Using Climate Change
      A couple days ago I was thinking about the problem of surveillance states and I realized “this problem is likely to become less of one because of climate change.” And I started thinking about all the opportunities and good things climate change makes possible. My grieving was done. My pre-grieving, I suppose. I see grieving […]
  • Top Posts


Irma is going to hit the Florida Keys as a Category 5 hurricane.

Friday: Lark Ascending

The colorist put too much beige in my hair.

I forgot my earrings so I can’t swing them when I walk.

There is a group of cyclists in the coffee shop in their tight Lycra bike pants…

I’m chill.


In a piece in the New Yorker, Jelani Cobb argues that Trump’s recent actions on DACA and other immigration issues are an attack on the Nationality Act of 1965:

This is how Trump could find common ground with Joe Arpaio, the disgraced former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. Trump gave his much-criticized encouragement of police brutality in Brentwood, Long Island, a community that has struggled with violence associated with the largely immigrant MS-13 gang. To recognize racial profiling as a wrong, one would first need to recognize that large racial or ethnic groups are composed of distinct individuals. Neither Trump nor Arpaio is particularly invested in this kind of nuance. Nor, apparently, are Trumpism’s most committed adherents. Critics protested Arpaio’s deputies’ targeting of people for their ethnic background, but to the hardest core of Trump’s base this is an inscrutable objection—ethnic background is precisely the issue.

In this view, the real target is the world created by the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which eliminated the racialist immigration quotas that were set by the Immigration Act of 1924, also known as the Johnson-Reed Act. Johnson-Reed was born of familiar concerns: a fear that the nation was endangered by a tide of questionable newcomers, many of whom held secret allegiances to hostile foreign forces. Writers such as Madison Grant and Lothrop Stoddard agitated public fears that whites—a category that was far less inclusive than our current understanding of it—were on the verge of being outnumbered. Those fears, as Linda Gordon, a history professor at New York University, notes in her new book, “The Second Coming of the KKK,” formed the basis for the populist resentments that eventually shaped the politics of the era. Gordon writes of William Simmons, the architect of the Ku Klux Klan’s revival in the nineteen-twenties, that by “engendering and exploiting fear, he would warn that ‘degenerative’ forces were destroying the American way of life. These were not only black people but also Jews, Catholics and immigrants.”

The 1924 act regulated immigration by allowing only a two-per-cent increase of any given ethnic group’s numbers each year. But, rather than using the most recent census, from 1920, to determine the immigration totals, the act referred to the 1890 census—a neat means of avoiding the swell of immigrants, designated as undesirable, from Southern and Eastern Europe, not to mention from Asia, who had arrived in the United States mostly in the intervening years. The policy was so defiantly and arrogantly racist that, as James Q. Whitman, a professor at Yale Law School, writes in “Hitler’s American Model,” it earned praise from Adolf Hitler. “The American Union categorically refuses immigration of unhealthy elements, and simply excludes the immigration of certain races,” Hitler wrote in “Mein Kampf.” This, he said, made the country a leader in preserving racial purity through immigration policy. The Johnson-Reed Act largely held sway for forty-one years, until, amid the democratizing ethos of the civil-rights era, immigration policy fully shed the racial engineering that had previously defined it. This is the world that Trump seems to be attempting to resurrect.

Soooo, there’s that…


The Economist explains how criminals make money from disasters. Oo! Oo! I know. Wait until a superstorm hits your state in November and hoard all the firewood from people who can’t turn on the heat in their houses, then charge the $50 for a measly bundle that they could have gotten in the grocery store for $4 a couple days before!

They probably interviewed some Bush administration members and anyone Haley Barbour knew for this one.

Also in that issue, how to use machines for facial recognition. The subtitle is “Nowhere to hide”. So reassuring.


Mexico just experienced an 8.1 earthquake.

The Ricter scale shown below gives you an idea of just how big that is:

Tsunami warnings are in effect for New Zealand. Number 1 child lived through one of these when she lived in Maui. Always an adventure to get up in the middle of the night and flee to the mountains, leaving your Xbox behind…

Irma is bearing down on Florida. “95% of St. Martin is destroyed, this is no hyperbole” says the NYTimes. Hope everyone makes it out of Miami on time.

Signs, signs, everywhere the signs…