He's not the first to draw a parallel between the sad fate of the SS St. Louis -- the shipload of refugees fleeing Hitler's Germany that was turned back -- and the current shameful refusal of the US to shelter refugees from the Middle East, but he bundles it with an overview of our previous, open-handed acceptance of immigrants and our new cold-hearted "America First" policies.
And using his own forebears as examples makes it far more relevant than if he simply spoke of theory.
Granted, in 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act became the first law that closed the Golden Door, and was based on racism rather than any particular political issue. But before that, and for most non-Chinese in the years after, there were few restrictions on immigration beyond a health inspection.
There's also this: I was talking to a friend the other day who is the daughter of Ukranian immigrants to Canada, and mentioned that I'd met some Ukranian-Canadian kids years ago who were coming home from a camp out in the prairies, where there are communities in which Ukranian is spoken reguarly.
They had spent a few weeks immersed in the language, food and customs, in large part because their parents hoped one day to go home.
And I added that I had observed that, while the Irish ex-pats who were fans of our Irish pub band were refugees, I had also gone to a Sons of Norway gathering and found them to be immigrants.
The difference is choice. I don't appear to have any Famine refugees in my Irish background, but they clearly came here because the economy back home was in such tatters. Several had tried finding work in England before crossing the wider Atlantic, which, in those days, was a permanent, painful exile from family.
By contrast, my Danish great-grandfather and his brothers came here in the late 1800s and cut timber, worked the mines and followed the harvests in order to amass money to buy land back in Denmark. By the time they'd collected their pile, Great-Grandfather had decided to stay in America and changed our name from Pedersen to Peterson.
Among my Irish friends, I found a yearning to go back, as I had seen in Ukranians and also in Lithuanians, Hungarians and others from behind the Iron Curtain.
But, while the Sons of Norway happily gathered to enjoy the food and speak the language of home, they had no wish to return.
If they wanted to go back, they'd have gone. They were immigrants and happy to be here.
It's not so much whether we should welcome voluntary immigrants from places like Norway -- sure, why not? -- but branding desperate political or economic refugees as undesirable people from shitholes is gravely immoral.
Pajama Diaries has been exploring the topic of sending a child off to college, and today's made me both chuckle and wince.
I chuckled because my "rule" for the boys was that they had to pick a school far enough away that they'd have to do their own laundry -- it was time for them to begin their separate lives -- but I reminded them that, if they got too far away, they'd be eating Thanksgiving dinner at McDonald's, because I couldn't fly them back and forth on a whim.
However, the issue of Ivy League schools brings a more serious response, because there is pressure for students to go to the hardest school they can possibly get into, and parents and guidance counselors really need to abandon the vicarious ego tripping.
Kids need an academic challenge. There's little value in being like the 12-year-old who takes a ride in the kiddy section of the park before realizing how foolish it feels to be going around and around in the little boats with six-year-olds.
But, on the other hand, it's an education, not an Iron Man. The point is to learn, not to see how much you can take.
Cut the apron strings, absolutely, but don't shove the kid out into the middle of the freeway.
I laughed at today's Zits not because the gag itself blew me away but because, yes, Jeremy's folks would be of the right age to cherish the Beastie Boys. I was pleased that Scott and Borgman didn't have her plugged into the Beatles or the Beach Boys.
Maybe they're on Netflix or Amazon Prime, where, if you want to watch a movie with Cary Grant or Bette Davis or Gary Cooper, you have to really drill down into the searches, because looking for "Classics" just brings up "The Breakfast Club" and "Caddyshack."
It's a good reminder that you're not only no longer hip but you're no longer even post-hip.
"Hip replacement" is more than a surgical procedure: It's an evolutionary societal process.
And then I got to Brewster Rockett and had it confirmed: The comics have traditionally been geared towards blue-haired bridge-players, but they're catching up and updating their cultural references.
In fact, I only get today's Andertoons because I used to take the kids to the mall and waste a few quarters while they were actually making the machines sing. And soon I was totally outmatched at home, too.
Though I liked to get the little frog across the street, until it became impossible.
On about the third screen.
In which mindset I was totally flummoxed by Jerry Holbert's cartoon.
I understood the politics all right, but I couldn't remember which is
and which is
Pardon me while I roll up my trousers and go for a walk on the beach.