We've spent such a large portion of the past year cringing at the prospect of potential disasters crouching behind every bush: ISIS, Putin, Trump, Belicheck, lion-killing dentists, that a national holiday right about now is a blessed respite. For one 24-hour period, the whole country can focus on something benign. Unless, you're a Black Friday shopper. But those are self-inflicted injuries.
Last week Congress dealt a blow to President Obama's plan to resettle 10,000 Syrians fleeing their war-torn homeland. On a vote of 289-137, including 47 Democrats, the House voted to require the FBI to closely vet any applicant from Syria and to guarantee that none of them pose a threat to the US. Effectively this will shut down the program.
I rarely write about immigration, partly because I spend enough time practicing immigration law, and partly because my conservative friends raise their eyebrows whenever I champion any form of legalization.
It's almost Thanksgiving. The fireplace inside crackles while the snow outside falls, painting an exceptionally-Alaskan scene as I write. It's also a reminder this is the time of year I receive correspondence from thoughtful people asking how a particular American hero, a man who gave up his youth to serve this great nation under four presidents, is doing. He's home this year, so I'll be sure to mention your regards to him as we gather around the Thanksgiving table.
November 26, 2015|
Susan Stamper Brown
You don't need to be a genius to recognize that John Oliver is doing some remarkably effective journalism on his weekly HBO series, laced with humor yet addressing with surprising insight many pressing social and political issues. And you need not be a prude to dislike the way Oliver continually degrades his own efforts with unnecessary foul language.
In her memoir published this summer, Claire McCaskill recounts how she confounded political observers who assumed she would lose reelection to the U.S. Senate in right-of-center-leaning Missouri. In order to do that, she poured nearly $2 million of her campaign war chest into an ad blitz designed to elevate the most extreme, right wing candidate among the Republicans seeking to challenge her in the general election.
Across America, the prospect of resettling as many as 10,000 Syrians has put citizens on edge. The Paris massacre and related events-ISIS' bombing of a Russian commercial airliner, the Beirut suicide bombers who killed 43, Germany's emergency evacuation of a soccer stadium prior to a game that Chancellor Angela Merkel was scheduled to attend, and diverted Paris-bound flights-has made the nation skeptical about President Obama's terrorism strategy.
What a surprise. In the aftermath of Paris, Republicans have rediscovered one of their favorite illnesses, Islamophobia. Painting with a predictably broad brush, Marco Rubio compares Muslims to Nazis. Donald Trump talks about shuttering mosques. Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush want to ban all Syrian refugees who are Muslim, and admit only those who are Christian.