family separation repost XII – NEW DEVELOPMENTS

 

 

 

family separation update – October 2020

 

 

See attached downloadable Word document (above).

 

 

Since my last repost a few weeks ago, there have been significant new developments.

First of all, on October 5, 2020, The New York Times published a story that revealed the deception and deliberateness underlying the Trump administration’s family separation policy from its inception (first in secret): “

‘We Need to Take Away Children,’ No Matter How Young, Justice Dept. Officials Said: Top department officials were “a driving force” behind President Trump’s child separation policy, a draft investigation report said.”

That story has been reposted here.

Then, on October 20, NBC News broke the story that 545 separated children can’t be found and that the administration never kept track of them and is not even looking for them now, but has “outsourced” the job of trying to find parents of missing children to the American Civil Liberties Union and other private agencies. This story and a slew of others that followed are posted here — along with a story of how Trump handled these disclosures during his second debate with Joe Biden (by trying to blame family separation on President Obama and Vice President Biden and making claims that, essentially no harm was done by the family separation policy, while showing no concern or empathy for the trams parents and children undoubtedly experienced) . Recent editorials written in response to such disclosures have also been posted here — along with several news stories covering relatively recent developments.

Finally, I overlooked a number of news stories and editorials going back as far as June 2018 and have posted them here.

 

–Roger W. Smith

   October 2020

Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 1 in G minor (Winter Reveries)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a great performance of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1 in G minor, conducted by Leonard Slatkin.

The title of the symphony in Russian, Зимние грёзы (Zimniye gryozy), is usually rendered in English as “Winter Dreams.” This is not accurate. The Russian word for dreams is мечты (mechty). The noun грёза (groza) means a daydream or reverie.

Tchaikovsky’s last three symphonies are listened to much more often. They are all works of great emotional power and consummate mastery. But the originality and beauty of the first symphony are notable. The four movements are as follows:

1. Dreams of a Winter Journey – Allegro tranquillo

2. Land of Desolation, Land of Mists – Adagio cantabile ma non tanto

3. Scherzo – Allegro scherzando giocoso

4. Finale – Andante lugubre – Allegro maestoso

It is perhaps not a good idea to do so, but I would single out the first two movements as favorites of mine, and especially the haunting, elegiac second movement.

The Symphony No. 1 was composed in 1866 and first performed in 1868.

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

  October 2020

“On the Death of Dr. Robert Levet”

 

 

Condemned to Hope’s delusive mine,
As on we toil from day to day,
By sudden blasts, or slow decline,
Our social comforts drop away.

Well tried through many a varying year,
See Levet to the grave descend;
Officious, innocent, sincere,
Of every friendless name the friend.

Yet still he fills Affection’s eye,
Obscurely wise, and coarsely kind;
Nor, lettered Arrogance, deny
Thy praise to merit unrefined.

When fainting Nature called for aid,
And hovering Death prepared the blow,
His vigorous remedy displayed
The power of art without the show.

In Misery’s darkest cavern known,
His useful care was ever nigh,
Where hopeless Anguish poured his groan,
And lonely Want retired to die.

No summons mocked by chill delay,
No petty gain disdained by pride,
The modest wants of every day
The toil of every day supplied.

His virtues walked their narrow round,
Nor made a pause, nor left a void;
And sure the Eternal Master found
The single talent well employed.

The busy day, the peaceful night,
Unfelt, uncounted, glided by;
His frame was firm, his powers were bright,
Though now his eightieth year was nigh.

Then with no throbbing fiery pain,
No cold gradations of decay,
Death broke at once the vital chain,
And freed his soul the nearest way.

 

— Samuel Johnson, “On the Death of Dr. Robert Levet”

 

 

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Robert Levet (1705–1782), described in an obituary as “a practitioner in physic,” was an unlicensed medical practitioner in London during the eighteenth century. Levet was befriended by Samuel Johnson. He lived in Johnson’s home for many years. He practiced medicine among the poor and destitute of London, for modest fees.

 

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A few observations on the poem, and a few platitudes of my own. It is good — following the example and preaching of Jesus — to assist, and not to shun, the needy and downtrodden; and it is good — as exemplified not only by Levet, but by Johnson, in befriending Levet (who was regarded by some of Johnson’s friends as being coarse in manner and who was of humble origins himself) — to show kindness and solicitude for those whom one encounters in the byways, so to speak, of daily life, on our journey through it.

This is essentially what the poem says to me. I could relate it to my own experience and, for me, that matters a lot when it comes to reading and literature.

 

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   October 2020

Meister Eckhart’s “golden rule”

 

 

You must love all men equally, respect and regard them equally, and whatever happens to another, whether good or bad, must be the same as if it happened to you.

— Meister Eckhart, “in hoc apparuit caritas dei in nobis, quoniam filium suum unigenitum misit deus in mundum ut vivamus per eum” (1 John 4:9); Predigt Dreizehn (Sermon Thirteen) (a); in The Complete Mystical Works of Meister Eckhart, translated by Maurice O’C. Walshe (New York: Crossroad, 2009), pg. 105

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   October 2020

 

 

Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra

Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra in front of Yankee Stadium, 1956

This photograph from yesterday’s New York Times spoke to me.

A great photo. It took me back. To my boyhood days. When the Yankees had such a great team, when New York was the capital of the baseball world; and yet, I hated the Yankees (while admiring them); they always won; my Red Sox always finished third or lower.

Back to the 1950s and my parents’ generation. There was a confidence about that generation and a sense that things were as they should be. That hard work and ambition would bring success. It was a time of rising prosperity and social cohesion (from the perspective, at least, of my world, environment). Of course, I wasn’t looking at things analytically then. I was in the fifth grade.

Mostly I remember this time not from the vantage point of myself, or not entirely so, but from that of my parents and their generation, and what wonderful people they were. I miss them and their times. And, by the way, New York City in the 1950’s was at its zenith, an exciting, livable (and affordable) place. I have read about it.  My friend Bill Dalzell told me so.

— Roger W. Smith

   October 2020

family separation repost XI (the family separation policy was deliberately implemented under Trump’s orders … officials who later denied it were fully aware … the Justice Department was instrumental from the outset in its implementation and demanded compliance from government prosecutors)

 

 

‘We Need to Take Away Children’ – NY Times 10-6-2020

 

 

Posted here is a self-explanatory news story from today’s New York Times:

 

‘We Need to Take Away Children,’ No Matter How Young, Justice Dept. Officials Said

Top department officials were “a driving force” behind President Trump’s child separation policy, a draft investigation report said.

By Michael D. Shear, Katie Benner and Michael S. Schmidt

The New York Times

October 6, 2020

 

 

 

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A few noteworthy items (among other disturbing ones) in the Times story:

 

“Gene Hamilton, a top lawyer and ally of Stephen Miller, the architect of the president’s assault on immigration, argued in a 32-page response that Justice Department officials merely took direction from the president. Mr. Hamilton cited an April 3, 2018, meeting with Mr. Sessions; the homeland security secretary at the time, Kirstjen Nielsen; and others in which the president ‘ranted’ and was on ‘a tirade,’ demanding as many prosecutions as possible.” (Note blame-shifting. But, of course, Trump, who actually took credit later for ENDING the policy, blaming Obama for it, was the leader responsible for it.)

“Alexa Vance, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, disputed the draft report and said the Homeland Security Department referred cases for prosecution.”

‘The draft report relied on for this article contains numerous factual errors and inaccuracies,’ she said. ‘While D.O.J. is responsible for the prosecutions of defendants, it had no role in tracking or providing custodial care to the children of defendants. Finally, both the timing and misleading content of this leak raise troubling questions about the motivations of those responsible for it.’ ” (This is devious blame-shifting. What she in essence is saying is that once the children were separated and caged, DOJ was not responsible for what happened to them. As a matter of fact, no one in the government bothered to keep RECORDS of separated children and their parents, so that when a judge order reunification, no one could find them.)

“Government prosecutors reacted with alarm at the separation of children from their parents during a secret 2017 pilot program along the Mexican border in Texas. ‘We have now heard of us taking breastfeeding defendant moms away from their infants,’ one government prosecutor wrote to his superiors. ‘I did not believe this until I looked at the duty log.’ ” (The secret pilot program was revealed in November 2017 by Houston Chronicle reporter Lomi Kriel. See my post “Family Separation: A Daily Diary.”)

 

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

    October 2020

Bob Gibson

 

 

Bob Gibson pitching against the Detroit Tigers in the 1968 World Series

 

 

Don’t ask me why — the photo seems a bit fuzzy and too bright, and I am not a photography expert — but this photo of Bob Gibson pitching in the 1968 World Series says something to me. About the beauty of baseball. How satisfying it is aesthetically. About Bob Gibson’s athleticism. His grace and power on the mound.

Okay. Here are a couple of footnotes that no one asked me for. I best remember Gibson, for some reason, pitching in the final game of the 1964 World Series against the Yankees. He was obviously tiring. Two light hitting Yankee players, Clete Boyer and Phil Linz, homered off Gibson in the top of the ninth. But manager Johnny Keane let him finish the game. (This would probably never be the case today.)

Bob Gibson passed away on Friday. His pitching records were phenomenal. Something else in the obituary struck me, something I didn’t know. He hit twenty-four regular season home runs, plus two in the World Series.

Some athlete, indeed.

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

   October 4, 2010

new post: “Perhaps the most wonderful Sunday of my life!” (a Henry Miller letter)

 

 

 

Please see my post

 

“Perhaps the most wonderful Sunday of my life!” (a Henry Miller letter)

 

at

 

“Perhaps the most wonderful Sunday of my life!” (a Henry Miller letter)

 

— Roger W. Smith

Found! A “worthy successor” to Mayor Shinn.

 

 

 

Mayor Shinn (Paul Ford in “The Music Man”)

 

 

“You know, the thing about the Voting Rights Act it’s, you know ? there’s a lot of different things you can look at it as, you know, who’s it going to help? What direction do we need to go with it? I think it’s important that everything we do we keep secure. We keep an eye on it. It’s run by our government. And it’s run to the, to the point that we, it’s got structure to it. It’s like education. I mean, it’s got to have structure. Now for some reason, we look at things to change, to think we’re gonna make it better, but we better do a lot of work on it before we make a change.”

— former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, responding to a question from a caller about his support for the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2020

 

Tuberville, a Republican, is running against Alabama Democratic Senator Doug Jones for election to the US Senate. He was asked his view on the Voting Rights Act during a Zoom meeting with the Birmingham Rotary Club on September 1, 2020.

 

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The Music Man is a musical with book, music, and lyrics by Meredith Willson, based on a story by Willson and Franklin Lacey. The story takes place in River City, Iowa.

The town’s Mayor, George Shinn (played by Paul Ford in an unforgettable performance in the movie version), is a pompous local politician given to making rambling speeches that go nowhere.

 

posted by Roger W. Smith

   September 2020