CSotD: Abroad Thoughts From Home

When Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese, Congress moved to allow 140,000 refugees to settle in the US, a number that swelled to about a million as boat people and other escapees came to our shores. My recollection of the times was that, while not everyone here was thrilled at the influx, the only overt racist response of any magnitude was among shrimp fishermen in Texas.

Now we’re expecting Afghan refugees and, as Joe Heller suggests, we don’t seem ready for them, and I’d suggest that organizational plans should be the least of our concerns, because, while we were far from perfect back in the 1970s, our most vile racists were still dwelling under rocks, in a world before Hate Radio, Fox News and the open sewers of social media.

We’re seeing some pushback. The Albany Times-Union wrote a forthright editorial in response to Elise Stefanik’s openly racist attack on immigrants.

But, while it’s good that they stood up to her despicable comments, it’s distressing that they had to. Perhaps the reason Vietnamese refugees didn’t face so much open hatred was that we were trying to put behind us the blatant, hate-filled rhetoric of politicians who had defended a dying Jim Crow.

It would be nice to think that, a few years from now, we’ll be twice as nice because we want to forget the appalling proponents of “Replacement Theory” like Stefanik, Tucker Carlson and their ilk.

But that pleasant wish doesn’t help the Afghans today, does it?


This Rico Schacherl panel is comforting in the sense that it’s nice to see that workers — even ones in suits and ties — are being as shamelessly exploited in South Africa as they are here.

I’ve timed my life well. I entered my teens just as the British Invasion hit, spent them in the heart of the 60s and exited to adulthood just as the Beatles disbanded, which was a lot of fun, but the real master stroke came in reaching retirement about a year ago, not only just before the pandemic struck but just as the economy in general and newspapers in particular were doing a face plant.

I’m no genius, nor am I alone: In case you haven’t been getting into the depths of the current labor shortage, part of it stems from people in my demographic who have said to hell with it and aren’t interested in doing three times the work for two-thirds the salary.

What I find interesting is the number of people who aren’t old enough to retire but who have discovered ways to abandon the creeping meatball anyway.

Constant Readers have heard this quote from “War and Peace” before, but it’s particularly apt here, because Pierre spends three-quarters of that massive novel wandering around trying to figure out what to do with his life, entering into a bad marriage and all sorts of foolish distractions, until he becomes a POW and is forced to endure Napoleon’s horrific retreat from Moscow, at which point there is no further place for foolishness.

Later, he reflects upon it:

If you are offered a chance to do three times the work for two-thirds the pay, I recommend, instead, that you take a barefoot stroll in blizzard conditions, on a diet of weak barley soup and rancid horseflesh.

Meanwhile, among young lordlings who have never been forced to march through the snow, Morten Morland notes that Prince Andrew has been served with a summons to appear in a US court by a young woman who was a lot younger back in the days when HRH was hanging around with Jeffrey Epstein.

Not that he could be extradited over a civil lawsuit, mind you, but it’ll keep him over there and not over here, and that’s something.


Some other little American girls got a chance, not to sue the man who sexually assaulted them, since he’s already ruined, but to testify in Congress about the people who failed to protect them, including the FBI.

There have been several cartoons about the futility of it all, but Lee Judge (KFS) doesn’t make any predictions about actual results. He simply celebrates their testimony against a system that didn’t care, and didn’t try.

“Women’s” gymnastics have, over the past several decades, turned into sexualization of pre-pubescent little girls, and I’d further note that we’ve known about Nadia Comaneci’s sexual abuse by her coach for decades, which should make the experiences of our own Olympic standouts hardly a surprise.

And yet we are shocked, shocked.

I agree with Judge that their frank testimony is worth celebrating, if it leads to a world in which, in the words of James Thurber, “It is not so easy to fool little girls nowadays as it used to be.”


Juxtaposition of the Antipodes

(David Rowe)


(Peter Broelman)


(Matt Golding)

Meanwhile, on the southside of the globe, we’ve managed to piss off the French — which is too easy to brag about  — by selling some nuclear-powered submarines to the Aussies and, along with Britain, creating an alliance mostly dedicated to opposing China’s ongoing territorial claims in the South China Sea, which has pissed them off, too.

The French are upset because Australia canceled a $30 billion deal to have them build subs, and has withdrawn its diplomats from Britain and the US, but we should remember that those fries were invented in Belgium and are only called “french” because of the way they’re cut.

I didn’t say it was relevant. I just think we should remember it.

However, I note with some sense of hegemonic guilt that people in Australia know about Subway, which raises the question of whether we’re selling them 0.3048-metre-longs?

Never mind — Boris is on it.

In fact, converting the Aussies back is probably his contribution to the deal.

UPDATE: The Bulwark offers a concise, excellent rundown on this.


Finally today, my first reaction to Mr. Boffo was that they’ve removed the Circles of Death from most playgrounds as part of the Attorneys’ War on Fun.

My second reaction was that I’m glad I got to go to the Fun House at Hershey Park before the lawyers ruined that, too.

Clara Bow and Antonio Moreno face the Circle of Death, and more — all with a distinct lack of social distancing, at least until the end.


2 thoughts on “CSotD: Abroad Thoughts From Home

  1. Creeping meatballism continues to be a growing threat. It’s good you point that out.

    If playgrounds really want a whirling circle of death, they could spring for some of those poles with the chains hanging off of them that introduced so many kids to the ER, back in the day. To me, the park merry-go-round will always be what Cosby called it, “that thing where you spin around and around and throw up.”

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