Holocaust Survivor Stops by Chicago Protest to Support Black Lives Matter Movement

Holocaust Survivor Stops by Chicago Protest to Support Black Lives Matter Movement

100-year-old Joyce Wagner. This is her 4 years ago:


Virginia pastor who held packed church service dies of coronavirus

An evangelical pastor died of COVID-19 just weeks after proudly showing off how packed his Virginia church was — and vowing to keep preaching “unless I’m in jail or the hospital.”

…“I am essential,” he said of remaining open, adding, “I’m a preacher — I talk to God!”

On Sunday, his church announced “with an exceedingly sorrowful and heavy heart” that the pastor had died a week after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

Virginia pastor who held packed church service dies of coronavirus

Arrogance comes before a fall.

A second pastor has been charged with violating public orders against large gatherings

“Instead of showing the strength and resilience of our community during this difficult time, Mr. Spell has chosen to embarrass us for his own self-promotion,” said Central Police Chief Roger Corcoran Tuesday in a statement.

“Mr. Spell will have his day in court where he will be held responsible for his reckless and irresponsible decisions that endangered the health of his congregation and our community,” Corcoran added.

A second pastor has been charged with violating public orders against large gatherings – CNN

In a rare turn of events, the Peanut Gallery is decidedly with the Police Chief on this one.

How Three Coastal Churches Became Hubs of Climate Resilience

With the help of an ecological restoration company, they coaxed back to the surface the stream that had been diverted through stormwater pipes and built a cascading streambed, with step pools and weirs—low dams to slow water flow—to filter the water as it makes its way toward Back Creek.

…In an age of climate crisis, marshes like this one are critical: As sea levels rise, marshes engage in a kind of dance with the rising tides through a process called accretion. …The marsh is also a carbon sink, more effective at sequestering carbon than the equivalent area of dry land.

By restoring their land to serve its intended purpose, the church created a climate sanctuary: absorbing higher tides, filtering polluted stormwater from extreme rain events, hosting displaced creatures, and drawing carbon out of the air.

…Three hurricanes, in 2015, 2016, and 2017, pummeled Crosstowne, each dumping enough water to require a massive rebuild of the sanctuary. After the third flood, the church interior was rebuilt in two weeks, but the church recognized that rebuilding wasn’t enough. The leadership team at Crosstowne decided to do something unusual for a church: gather scientific data. They hired a hydrology team and an environmental lawyer to analyze the onshore causes of the flooding so that the church could serve as a trustworthy hub of communication with their neighbors and the city.

The study found that as climate change exacerbates rainfall intensity, unsustainable development results in water flowing over concrete rather than percolating into the soil. When rain falls, streets and storm drains are inundated with more water than they can handle, and the excess water ends up 3 feet deep in the sanctuary of Crosstowne. According to the Fourth National Climate Assessment, by the end of the century heavy rainfall events in the Southeast U.S. are expected to double, and the amount of water falling on extreme rain days will increase by 21 percent. As more rain falls on hard surfaces around Charleston, Crosstowne has realized it will be underwater more frequently.

With their data-driven study, Crosstowne became experts on flooding in the area around Charleston’s Church Creek Basin. Rienzo worked with the city to develop new stormwater retention guidelines, reshaping how development is done in Charleston. The benefits of Crosstowne’s work extended beyond its walls, to local homeowners who “were looking at buyouts, flooding, delays,” Rienzo told the local Live 5 News. “So we began to see we were not just doing this study for ourselves. It was a study to do for the community around us.”

How Three Coastal Churches Became Hubs of Climate Resilience | Sojourners


When an Influx of French-Canadian Immigrants Struck Fear Into Americans

French Canadians had been pouring into states like Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, finding work in the region’s burgeoning industries. “Manufacturing New England, Puritan and homogeneous no longer, speaks a French patois,” she wrote.

Furthermore, Graffenreid continued, French Canadian workers huddled in “Little Canadas” of “hastily-constructed tenements,” in houses holding from three to 50 families, subsisting in conditions that were “a reproach to civilization,” while “inspiring fear and aversion in neighbors.”

…These Little Canadas, often wedged between a mill and a Catholic church, formed a cultural archipelago, outposts of Québec scattered throughout the Northeast in densely populated pockets. By 1900, one-tenth of New Englanders spoke French. And in the region’s many cotton mills, French Canadians made up 44 percent of the workforce—24 percent nationally—at a time when cotton remained a dominant industry.

French-Canadian workers often lived in overcrowded, company-owned tenements, while children as young as eight years old worked full shifts in the mills. Contemporary observers denounced the mill town squalor. When 44 French Canadian children died in Brunswick, Maine, during a six-month period in 1886, most from typhoid fever and diphtheria, local newspaper editor Albert G. Tenney investigated. He found tenements housing 500 people per acre, with outhouses that overflowed into the wells and basements.

…Some Fall River tenements, continued Hale, “do not compare favorably with old-time slave-quarters,” a not-so-distant memory in the 1890s.

Other immigrants also faced pitiable conditions, but the French Canadians were unique because they thought of themselves as Americans before they came to the U.S. …In their view, “American” was not a nationality, but a collection of “all the nationalities” living under the Stars and Stripes. In keeping with this understanding, they coined a new term for their people living in the U.S.: Franco-Americans.

….If naturalized citizens obeyed the laws, defended the flag, and worked for the general prosperity, he felt their duties were discharged—language, religion, and customs could remain in the private sphere. Gagnon’s concept of citizenship was based on Québec’s history, where French Canadians had maintained a distinct cultural identity despite British rule since 1763. The Franco-American elite expected their people to maintain their identity in the U.S. just as they had done in Canada.

…By the 1880s, elite American newspapers, including The New York Times, saw a sinister plot afoot. The Catholic Church, they said, had dispatched French Canadian workers southward in a bid to seize control of New England. Eventually, the theory went, Québec would sever its British ties and annex New England to a new nation-state called New France. Alarmists presented as evidence for the demographic threat the seemingly endless influx of immigrants across the northeastern border, coupled with the large family size of the Franco-Americans, where 10 or 12 children was common, and many more not unknown.

…”This is the avowed purpose of the secret society to which every adult French Canadian belongs.”

… In the mid-19th century, supporters of the Know Nothing movement led attacks on Catholic neighborhoods from New York City to Philadelphia. In New England, among other incidents, a Know Nothing-inspired mob burned a church where Irish and French Canadian Catholics met at Bath, Maine, in July 1854. In October of that year, Catholic priest John Bapst was assaulted, robbed, tarred and feathered, and driven out of Ellsworth, Maine. While the Know Nothings faded away, in the late 19th century the nativists regrouped as the American Protective Association, a nationwide anti-Catholic movement.

…The New York Times reported in 1881 that French-Canadian immigrants were “ignorant and unenterprising, subservient to the most bigoted class of Catholic priests in the world. … They care nothing for our free institutions, have no desire for civil or religious liberty or the benefits of education.”

…Amaron and Morehouse identified Protestantism with Americanism. For them, it was unthinkable that the U.S. could accommodate a variety of religious traditions and yet retain its political culture.

In retrospect, the fevered discourse about New England’s class of destitute factory workers reveals how little chattering classes in the U.S. knew their neighbors—a people whose presence in North America preceded Plymouth Rock.

…Talk of a French Canadian threat waned in the first years of the 20th century, as migration across the northeastern border slowed temporarily. This Victorian episode faded from memory only when U.S. fears were transferred to new subjects: the even more foreign-seeming Jewish and non-Protestant immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe, who, in the early 20th century, began to arrive in growing numbers on U.S. shores.

When an Influx of French-Canadian Immigrants Struck Fear Into Americans | History | Smithsonian Magazine


The Public Charge Immigration Rule, the Refusal to Admit Immigrants Fleeing Nazi Germany, and Trump’s War on Lady Liberty

[in the 1930’s] Congress …established annual immigration quotas that discriminated against certain national origins, but White House officials considered even these quotas to be too generous. They brandished an obscure provision of immigration law that excluded visa applicants “likely to become public charges.” A …stricter interpretation of the public charge provision …[was proposed to] effectively reduce the quotas by as much as 90%.

…In 1933, in the first term of Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency, his Administration considered changing the public charge clause to allow for the entry of more refugees from Germany. (At the time the United States did not distinguish between immigrants and refugees, nor was there any such thing as political asylum.) …There were State Department officials who thought American Jewish protests against Nazi persecution were exaggerated and artificial, part of a Jewish scheme to ease American barriers to increased immigration.

…A November 1938 poll, taken immediately after Kristallnacht, showed that 71% of Americans opposed the entrance into their country of a larger number of German exiles, while only 21% supported it. A few months later, 66% of a sample opposed bringing 10,000 refugee children to the U.S. beyond what was permitted by the quota; only 26% supported it.

…After the rapid German conquest of France, pervasive concerns about American security fostered a fearful and resentful climate of opinion; Roper Poll in June 1940 found that only 2.7% of Americans thought the government was doing enough to counteract a Nazi “Fifth Column” operating in the U.S. German Jews were not immune from these suspicions. Some Americans thought Jews could be coerced into spying for Germany based on threats to their relatives in Germany; others, including a former undersecretary of state, thought that inherent “Jewish greed” might lead refugees and immigrants to work for the Nazi cause. By mid-1941 the State Department instructed consuls to deny visas to applicants who had relatives living in the totalitarian countries of Germany, the Soviet Union, and Italy.

… Only in January 1944 did the Roosevelt administration, responding to some criticism and internal pressures, change course again, establishing a War Refugee Board to try to save the lives of civilian victims of Nazi persecution. The Board helped tens of thousands of Jews survive in Europe in the last 16 months of the war.

…The same vague language in the public charge clause that allowed Hoover to cut quotas by some 90%, and that allowed some State Department officials in Roosevelt’s first term to maintain that the German quota was unfilled because of the lack of “qualified” applicants, was set to be put to new use earlier this month.

The Public Charge Rule and Immigrants Fleeing Nazi Germany | Time


Texas Won’t Accept New Refugees, Gov. Greg Abbott Says

Texas Won’t Accept New Refugees, Gov. Greg Abbott Says : NPR

No governor is empowered to refuse the Federal government in this way. It is outside their purview. It is also bigoted and unAmerican as F*ck. There is no excuse for spitting on the soul of this country and pretending Lady Liberty does not exist, None. Period.


There are two types of hijabs. The difference is huge.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) said, “To me, the hijab means power, liberation, beauty and resistance.”

…There are two vastly different kinds of hijabs: the democratic hijab, the head covering that a woman chooses to wear, and the tyrannical hijab, the one that a woman is forced to wear.

In Saudi Arabia, the abaya and niqab, allowing only women’s eyes to show, are not legally imposed, but the patriarchal society makes wearing them essentially compulsory.

Women who live under these forms of hijab effectively live under a gender apartheid. The coverings mark women as lesser citizens, legally and socially unequal. In Iran, there are restrictions on women’s ability to travel, obtain a divorce or enter sports stadiums. A woman’s courtroom testimony is in most cases given half the weight of a man’s. The forced hijab honors neither tradition nor religion; it is a powerful tool of misogynist oppression.

These women aren’t seeking the hijab’s eradication; they are simply demanding the right to choose what they wear. They hunger for the sort of liberty that is the cornerstone of U.S. democracy. We are pleased to see Omar proudly exercise her right to don the hijab. In an era when nativism is rising in the United States and in many other countries, it is important for those who support the values of a pluralistic society to stand up for the rights of their threatened minorities. In that spirit, we wholeheartedly stand with our Muslim sisters in the West and support their choices.

In return, we ask the global sisterhood to stand with Iranian women as they fight against the mandatory hijab. 

There are two types of hijabs. The difference is huge. – The Washington Post

Sorry, ladies,  Hope your holding your breathe. Omar isn’t exactly known for supporting women she doesn’t feel a kinship with. (Nancy Pelosi vs. “The Squad” anyone?)

India Citizenship Act: government controls on protests extended after day of deadly violence

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in at least 15 cities across the country, including New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Kolkata on Thursday in a show of nationwide public anger against the law considered by many to be unconstitutional and discriminatory against Muslims.

At least two people died in the protests, which saw violent pitched battles between police and protesters in several cities, including Ahmedabad, Mangaluru, and Lucknow. Police fired tear gas, water cannons and used batons against protesters who pelted stones, vandalized and set fire to buildings and buses. Thousands of people were arrested.

…At the center of the unrest is the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which was passed into law last week. The law that promises to fast-track citizenship for non-Muslim religious minorities, including Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who arrived before 2015.

The government, ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said the law will provide safe haven for religious minorities who fled persecution in their home countries. Critics say it undermines the country’s secular constitution as it bases citizenship on a person’s religion and would further marginalize India’s 200-million strong Muslim community.

India Citizenship Act: government controls on protests extended after day of deadly violence – CNN


Trump’s expected executive order to define Judaism as a ‘nationality.’

In doing so, the department said it would rely on a definition of anti-Semitism from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. That definition includes “claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor,” applying a double standard to Israel by requiring of it “behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation” and comparing “contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”

…Trump’s executive order will also use this sweeping definition, which some have criticized as overly broad and an effort to block legitimate criticism of Israel or support for the Palestinians.

…“This executive order, like the stalled congressional legislation it is based on, appears designed less to combat anti-Semitism than to have a chilling effect on free speech and to crack down on campus critics of Israel,” Ben-Ami said in a statement.

…“The order’s move to define Judaism as a ‘nationality’ promotes the classically bigoted idea that American Jews are not American.”

…“We don’t have established religion in America, and the state weighing in on the definition of Jewishness is dangerous,” Waxman said. “That’s the same as what it means to be Christian or Muslim. It comes back to the First Amendment.”

Trump’s expected executive order on campus anti-Semitism draws praise and concern – The Washington Post


To Make Sense of Lebanon’s Protests, Follow the Garbage

The government’s inability to provide basic services, including 24-hour electricity and garbage collection, is rooted in an agreement that ended Lebanon’s civil war nearly 30 years ago. The deal divided power between the nation’s 18 recognized religious sects, effectively institutionalizing corruption, with each group able to dole out government jobs, contracts, favors and social services to its followers.

…The perpetual garbage crisis is only the most pungent example. It last exploded into public view in 2015, when the country’s political elite squabbled over a lucrative waste-management contract as mountains of uncollected trash fouled the streets of Beirut. A wave of protests ensued.

The stopgap solution was to build two new landfills. Three years after they opened, the landfills have only relocated the garbage crisis to the coast, and they are fast threatening to hit capacity.

…Employees dumped trash and toxic waste directly into the Mediterranean.

…Mr. Khoury’s company was dumping trash into the landfill without sorting it, despite a contractual requirement that recyclables be separated and hazardous material be removed.

Moreover, she found, the landfill’s breakwaters in the Mediterranean were not keeping the trash out of the water. Garbage and the toxic liquid oozing from it were going straight into the sea.

…For several years, the government has promoted incineration as a long-term solution, despite objections from environmentalists and scientists.

In June, the environment minister, Fadi Jreissati, told The Daily Star, a local newspaper, that he did not think Lebanon was “qualified” to regulate the incinerators.

…A major reason that Lebanon does not produce enough electricity for its four million people, experts say, is the powerful lobby of generator owners, whose machines provide power during daily blackouts, as well as the $1.2 billion-a-year diesel industry that fuels them.

..Hospitals, roads, schools and other projects are distributed to favored contractors according to sectarian quotas that ensure every group benefits, regardless of necessity.

To Make Sense of Lebanon’s Protests, Follow the Garbage – The New York Times