Time for another Current Events Write-Up, where I link to news and opinion pieces and comment on them.
The Travel Ban
I really didn’t want to write about the Travel Ban. I feel a variety
of emotions about it, and these emotions are conflicting. I feel
sickness at the ban on account of the innocent people it is affecting;
annoyance at the progressives who are challenging the ban; admiration
for those who are challenging the ban, since that perhaps can lead to
the ban being reformed; and a recognition that the ban is an attempt to
address a problem.
This National Review article by David French
did an effective job in explaining what the ban was trying to solve and
comparing the ban to previous policies on refugees and travel.
There were articles about the negative effects of the ban on business and science (see here and here).
Maybe these negative effects are becoming ironed-out, depending on the
location. Still, what I found ironic was this: Many right-wingers have
said that we should welcome educated immigrants who will contribute to
America, rather than those who will drain the country’s resources. But
here are educated immigrants who are contributing to America, and the
travel ban was having a negative impact on them.
Various right-wing sites are saying that prominent
Democrats—-Democrats who are prominent even today—-were against allowing
South Vietnamese refugees and immigrants into the U.S. during the Ford
Administration. These Democrats feared that these refugees would drain
the system, in a time when there were Americans who needed employment
and help. Some of the right-wing sites referred to a 2007 NPR interview
of Julia Taft, who headed President Gerald Ford’s Inter-Agency Task
Force on Indochinese Refugee Resettlement. Here is that interview. And here is an article about the Vietnamese refugees.
But we can point out the inconsistencies and hypocrisy of both sides
(left and right) all day. The question should be, “What is the right
thing to do?” That is a difficult question. I agree with a biblical
scholar who said that, from a Christian standpoint, there are a variety
of biblical considerations that may be relevant to this situation:
compassion for the refugees, wisdom in maintaining the country’s
security, and even love for enemies. I would add the consideration of
faith in God: should we let the refugees in out of compassion and trust
that God will protect us? Faith can entail risk. I do not know the
answers to these questions. I have been annoyed, though, by progressive
Christians who bombastically declare that you cannot be a Christian and
support turning away refugees. I agree that being a Christian should
entail compassion for everyone, including refugees. But the progressive
Christians are over-simplifying the issue, and acting as if they are
profound as they do so.
President Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to be a Supreme Court
justice. Of course, there are progressives who are concerned that he is
too right-wing. Maybe he is on the conservative side, but I think that
there are reasons for progressives to be optimistic.
First, according to this Politico article,
Gorsuch defers to the law when it comes to regulations, not agencies’
tendency to apply regulations as they see fit. Could that run contrary
to President Trump’s desire to de-regulate?
Second, Keal Katyal, who was acting Solicitor General in the Obama Administration, encourages liberals to support Gorsuch, and one reason is that Gorsuch has decided in ways that favor immigrants.
Third, Gorsuch opposed a cop arresting a student who was burping in class. Could that inclination lead him to oppose police overreach, including police abuse of minorities?
Fourth, Lawrence Pratt of Gun Owners of America and attorney William Olson argue that Gorsuch has compromised on the Second Amendment.
I have reservations about Gorsuch’s stance in the case that they
discuss: what the police did strikes me as overreach, which I criticized
above (not that I am a lawyer)! Still, maybe Gorsuch is not a
knee-jerk gun rights advocate.
Mary Tyler Moore
Actress Mary Tyler Moore passed on. According to Michael Trinklein, who interviewed Moore, Moore was not exactly a devotee of Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem.
Moore was all for expanding opportunities for women in the work place,
but Moore also was concerned that Friedan and Steinem were dismissing
the importance of mothers raising their children. Trinklein also
suggests that Mary Tyler Moore’s sunny demeanor on her show was a
contrast to that of Friedan and Steinem.
There was sad news this past week. A drone in Yemen killed an 8-year old girl. And Trump seems to support assisting the rebels in Syria. I was hoping that Trump would move America away from that sort of interventionist foreign policy. Sadly, I may be mistaken.
Trump critics were making a federal case about Melania frowning at
Trump’s inauguration, as if she was upset at something Trump said. This article at the Federalist offers an alternative interpretation, which strikes me as reasonable.
White House staffer Omarosa Manigault debated the hosts of The View.
In my opinion, Omarosa crossed the line when she expressed hope that
Joy would find a man in her life: that struck me as a put-down disquised
as an expression of hope. Still, I appreciated some things that
Omarosa had to say. Omarosa contrasted President Obama’s approach to
the inner-cities with the approach that she says President Trump will
take. According to Omarosa, Trump has a more strategic approach,
whereas Obama assumed that addressing the nation’s problems will take
care of the inner-cities. Omarosa also talked about the tragic death of
Right-wing columnist John Hawkins answered twenty questions that liberals had for him.
I do not agree with everything Hawkins said in that piece, especially
on public assistance. I wish that he expressed more appreciation for
the challenges that many people have when it comes to becoming
financially self-supporting. At the same time, I was intrigued by his
discussion of Steve Bannon: how there are people he respects who
criticize Bannon, and people he respects who praise Bannon.
“California’s governor wants courts to stop suspending driver’s
licenses because of unpaid traffic fines. Gov. Jerry Brown says the
practice hurts those who can’t afford to pay and doesn’t help the state
collect. Brown calls for ending the practice as part of his budget
I agree with Governor Brown on this. We should consider the impact policies have on the poor and the economically struggling.
Abortion is wrong even if the fetus is not a person
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