I went back and read the reviews it got when it was first published. So many were superior and casually dismissive. We could afford to be dismissive of dystopias, back then.
At any rate, it's a book that should be read, loved and wept over.
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The White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, said on Tuesday that the president wanted to “take the shackles off” of agents, an expression the officers themselves used time and again in interviews to describe their newfound freedom.These are your American gestapo. I'm sorry to have to bring that allusion into it, but there's just no avoiding it.
“Morale amongst our agents and officers has increased exponentially since the signing of the orders,” the unions representing ICE and Border Patrol agents said in a joint statement after President Trump issued the executive orders on immigration late last month.
Two memos released this past week by the Department of Homeland Security, the parent agency of ICE and the Border Patrol, provided more details about how it would carry out its plan, which includes Mr. Trump’s signature campaign pledge — a wall along the entire southern border — as well as speedier deportations and greater reliance on local police officers.
But for those with ICE badges, perhaps the biggest change was the erasing of the Obama administration’s hierarchy of priorities, which forced agents to concentrate on deporting gang members and other violent and serious criminals, and mostly leave everyone else alone.
A whirlwind of activity has overtaken ICE headquarters in Washington in recent weeks, with employees attending back-to-back meetings about how to quickly carry out President Trump’s plans. “Some people are like: ‘This is great. Let’s give them all the tools they need,’” said a senior staff member at headquarters, who joined the department under the administration of George W. Bush.
But, the official added, “other people are a little bit more hesitant and fearful about how quickly things are moving.”
Two officials in Washington said that the shift — and the new enthusiasm that has come with it — seems to have encouraged pro-Trump political comments and banter that struck the officials as brazen or gung-ho, like remarks about their jobs becoming “fun.” Those who take less of a hard line on unauthorized immigrants feel silenced, the officials said.
ICE has more than 20,000 employees, spread across 400 offices in the United States and 46 foreign countries, and the Trump administration has called for the hiring of 10,000 more. ICE officers see themselves as protecting the country and enforcing its laws, but also, several agents said, defending the legal immigration system, with its yearslong waits to enter the country, from people who skip the line.
John F. Kelly, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said in a statement after the first large-scale roundups of the Trump administration: “President Trump has been clear in affirming the critical mission of D.H.S. in protecting the nation.”
“There is no greater calling than to serve and protect our nation,” he added, “a mission that the men and women of ICE perform with professionalism and courage every single day.”
Agents are, in fact, predominantly male and have often served in the military, with a police department or both. New agents take a five-week Spanish language program as well as firearms training; they also learn driving maneuvers and have to pass seven written examinations and a physical-fitness test that includes an obstacle course.
The element of surprise is central to their work, and the sight of even a single white van emblazoned with the words Department of Homeland Security can create fear and cause people to flee. To minimize public contact, the arrests are frequently made in the early morning hours.
A supervisor in Northern California described a typical operation, with teams of at least five members rising before dawn, meeting as early as 4 a.m. to make arrests before their targets depart for work. To avoid distressing families and children, the agents prefer to apprehend people outside their homes, approaching them as soon as they step onto a public sidewalk and, once identified, placing them in handcuffs.
But arrests can appear dramatic, as agents arrive in large numbers, armed with semiautomatic handguns and wearing dark bulletproof vests with ICE in bright white letters on them. When they do have to enter a home, officers knock loudly and announce themselves as the police, a term they can legally use. Many times, children are awakened in the process, and watch as a parent is taken away.
Some of the more visible ICE operations in recent weeks have ricocheted around the internet, and sometimes drawn a backlash. At Kennedy Airport, Customs and Border Protection agents checked documents of passengers getting off a flight from San Francisco because ICE, a sister agency, thought a person with a deportation order might be on the plane. They did not find the person they were looking for.These are customs agents forcibly checking the ID of every passenger deplaning from Delta flight 1583 tonight at JFK. A domestic flight. pic.twitter.com/fHMgyzCjo5— Britton Taylor (@brittontaylor) February 23, 2017
After the arrests outside the church in Alexandria, Va., Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, wrote a letter to Mr. Kelly, saying the action “raises a concern that, unlike previous actions, ICE agents are detaining Virginia residents without cause or specific allegations of criminal activity.”
Bystanders are now being taken in if they are suspected to be undocumented, even if they have committed no crime, known within the agency as “collateral” arrests. While these arrests occurred under the Obama administration, they were officially discouraged, to the frustration of many agents. “Which part of illegal don’t people understand?” an agent in Arizona asked.
But officers said their work had become more political than ever, and they bristled at what they considered stereotypes of indiscriminate enforcers who want to sweep grandmothers off the street or separate families.
Perhaps their biggest challenge, said the supervisor in California, is the agency’s steadily deteriorating relationship with other law enforcement agencies, especially in liberal-leaning cities that have vowed to protect immigrants from deportation, known as sanctuary cities.
In one city alone, the supervisor said, the police once transferred 35 undocumented immigrants a day into federal custody, compared with roughly five per week during the final years of the Obama presidency.
On Thursday, Los Angeles, a sanctuary city, asked that ICE agents stop calling themselves police officers, saying it was damaging residents’ trust of the city’s own police officers.
Although all of the agents interviewed felt the old priorities had kept them from doing their jobs, John Sandweg, an acting director of ICE in the Obama administration, defended the rules as making the best use of limited resources. Without them, he said, fewer dangerous people might get deported. “There are 10 seats on the bus, they go to the first 10 you grab,” Mr. Sandweg said. “It diminishes the chances that it’s a violent offender.”
He said that he had spent a lot of time on the road, speaking at town halls where he heard a great deal from the rank-and-file agents about the priorities. “Certainly they were not terribly popular,” he said. “They wanted unfettered discretion.”
Agents said that even with the added freedom, they would still go after the people who presented the greatest danger to the public. And what Mr. Sandweg called unfettered discretion, they called enforcing the law.
“The discretion has come back to us; it’s up to us to make decisions in the field,” a 15-year veteran in California said. “We’re trusted again.”
“Uh,” Geralt said, staring down at the glass case.
“Ribbit,” said the frog.
The son of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali was detained for hours by immigration officials earlier this month at a Florida airport, according to a family friend.
Muhammad Ali Jr., 44, and his mother, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, the second wife of Muhammad Ali, were arriving at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Feb. 7 after returning from speaking at a Black History Month event in Montego Bay, Jamaica. They were pulled aside while going through customs because of their Arabic-sounding names, according to family friend and lawyer Chris Mancini.
Immigration officials let Camacho-Ali go after she showed them a photo of herself with her ex-husband, but her son did not have such a photo and wasn't as lucky.
Mancini said officials held and questioned Ali Jr. for nearly two hours, repeatedly asking him, "Where did you get your name from?" and "Are you Muslim?"
When Ali Jr. responded that yes, he is a Muslim, the officers kept questioning him about his religion and where he was born. Ali Jr. was born in Philadelphia in 1972 and holds a U.S. passport.
"To the Ali family, it's crystal clear that this is directly linked to Mr. Trump's efforts to ban Muslims from the United States," Mancini said, referring to President Trump's executive order signed Jan. 27 that instituted a ban for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries.
A visiting scholar to Texas A&M was detained by customs officials in Houston this week while on his way to speak at a symposium in Aggieland, officials said Friday at the conference.
Henry Rousso was flying in from Paris to participate in the Hagler Institute Symposium when he was “mistakenly detained” Wednesday evening upon his arrival, according to Richard Golsan, director of the Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research at Texas A&M.
“When he called me with this news two nights ago, he was waiting for customs officials to send him back to Paris as an illegal alien on the first flight out,” said Golsan during his introduction to the session which Rousso was set to participate in.
After learning about the dire situation, Golsan said he immediately called university officials, leading A&M President Michael K. Young to enlist the help of Texas A&M Law School professor and director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic Fatma Marouf.
“Due to her prompt and timely intervention, Rousso was released,” Golsan said.
Rousso, 62, is a senior researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research, or CNRS, which the Egyptian-born scholar and author joined in 1981.
His work centers on the history and memory of traumatic pasts, France in WWII and the post-war period, his profile on the CNRS website says. Rousso's current study involves the relationship between history, memory and justice.
Some of the best slaveholders will sometimes give their favourite slaves a few days' holiday at Christmas time; so, after no little amount of perseverance on my wife's part, she obtained a pass from her mistress, allowing her to be away for a few days. The cabinet-maker with whom I worked gave me a similar paper, but said that he needed my services very much, and wished me to return as soon as the time granted was up. I thanked him kindly; but somehow I have not been able to make it convenient to return yet; and, as the free air of good old England agrees so well with my wife and our dear little ones, as well as with myself, it is not at all likely we shall return at present to the "peculiar institution" of chains and stripes.The first-person account is tense and swift. The structure is little rocky, as the Crafts felt it necessary to pause on occasion and build their case against slavery, but the explanation of current law adds necessary context to their story, and was especially helpful for this modern reader.
Between 1525 and 1866, in the entire history of the slave trade to the New World, according to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, 12.5 million Africans were shipped to the New World. 10.7 million survived the dreaded Middle Passage, disembarking in North America, the Caribbean and South America. The Root, Jan 6, 2014Millions.
John Childermass dies of his gunshot wound. But he is being watched over, nonetheless.
Words: 1199, Chapters: 1/1, Language: English
This morning, Facebook reminded me that it’s been two years since my last chemotherapy session.
And how am I doing now? Fine, just fine, medically speaking.
Well, I’ve got the scars. And a sort of… call it a divot. Because the chemo was so successful, I didn’t need the full mastectomy that we all expected at first. They ended up removing so little tissue that under most circumstances the divot isn’t even noticeable at all. The site aches a bit when I move in certain ways, but not enough to limit my motion at all.
I’ve been lactose-intolerant as a result of chemo for the last two years or so, but it actually seems like that’s starting to back off. I might be free of it, soon.
I have some residual numbness in my fingers and feet, also a known side-effect of the really aggressive course of chemo we took. It’s weird, but manageable: sometimes things can slip from my grip, especially very smooth things. I just have to pay closer attention than I used to. I have to watch out for bruises and cuts on my feet in places I can’t feel, and be careful of over-flexing. (Which always reminds me of Cordwainer Smith’s story, “Scanners Live in Vain.” I have to scan.)
And I have periodic check-ups from my oncologist and surgeon. But these are being scheduled at longer and longer intervals.
So… No problems. Two years later, no real problems.
When I reread the blog posts from the time of my treatment, it seems as if I was perky and cheerful for most of the experience — but I know that much of that is illusion, caused by the facts that a) I used my blogging to cheer myself up and stay positive, and b) when I felt really unhappy, I just didn’t blog at all. But trust me: I experienced the full range of possible emotions during that time. Including some that defy description.
I got a lot of support and encouragement from the comments and emails from all of you, by the way. I can’t express how much it helped me to know you were out there rooting for me.
Of course, my sister Sabine was my main support person, and I was so lucky to have her. Still am, generally, by the way — but especially during that time. I can’t say enough good things about her and how she helped.
I had many things planned for that time, most of which had to be abandoned, or changed, or postponed. I was barely able to write during that period. Some writers and artists actually manage to maintain (or even increase!) their creative output during cancer treatments. I was not one of those. The emotional limbo interspersed with periods of stabbing angst were not, I found, particularly conducive to maintaining the clarity thought and steadiness of imagination I needed to make serious progress. I had some spurts, but nothing I could maintain for long.
However, one thing that I did manage during all that was the publication of the ebooks. For the most part, the process was straightforward dog-work — tedious, but doable. And with no set schedule and no deadline, I could do as much as my strength and mental acuity allowed at any particular time, and set it aside whenever I wasn’t up to the effort.
Below: Links to the posts I made during my whole cancer experience. I just reviewed them myself, and found it pretty interesting…
12/23/2013: breaking the news
12/30/2013: First chemo
01/08/2014: A rant on pseudo-scientific bullshit included here
01/13/2014: losing my hair, but I don’t care…
01/19/2014: missing out on Boskone that year
01/28/2014: in the chemo suite
02/05/2014: health update inside ebook update
02/13/14: at the halfway point.
02/27/14 : one way you know you’re using the right chemo
03/12/14: Cumulative effects of chemo, including no guitar-playing
03/24/14: Just another day in the chemo suite
04/01/14: Chemo continues, despite blizzard
04/04/14: A hat. I wore a hats a lot during my treatment
04/07/14: Numbness side-effects of chemo, with drawings!
04/25/14: Gaining strength once the heavy-duty part of chemo is done
05/09/14: Surgery had to be postponed…
05/13/14: The body has a mind of its own
05/21/14: results of that biopsy
06/01/14: More delays
06/06/14: Just an update to say all went well
06/07/14: What the surgery entailed
06/15/14: Could not ask for a better outcome
06/24/14: Radiation therapy meant no WorldCon in London for me
07/08/14: Prepping for radiation therapy
07/17/14: Echocardiogram, because of Herceptin
08/28/14: A post mostly about a poll, but including info about radiation side-effects
09/07/14: And heading back to the day-job
12/29/14: An essay on radiation therapy
02/25/2015: Herceptin isn’t killer chemical like most chemo, so at some places they call a patient’s official Last Chemo the last of the heavy-duty chemo…. but at my hospital, they declared my chemo over with my final Herceptin infusion.
And that’s it.
Sometimes, looking back, it all seems sort of unreal. I remember it all quite clearly — but heck, I have a writer’s imagination. There are plenty of things entirely imaginary that exist in my mind just as clearly as if they happened.
I do know how to tell the difference, however. This was real. And… seems to be over.
In other news: Hey, I’m alive!
Used to be only religion reporters had to fact check the apocalypse https://t.co/SLmAjuezCx— Sarah Posner (@sarahposner) February 25, 2017
In President Donald Trump's estimation, the U.S. border isn't merely porous, it's "wide open." Darkness and danger are everywhere, even Sweden. American infrastructure isn't just in need of improvement but it's in "total disrepair and decay." The health law is not only flawed, but it's an "absolute and total catastrophe."
His apocalyptic view of everything he intends to fix leaves no nuance, but that's where reality often resides. For example, Trump himself actually likes parts of former President Barack Obama's health overhaul, such as the extended coverage for older children. And the U.S. remains an economic powerhouse able to transport goods in a stressed system of roads, bridges and ports that are not in total decay.
But the president is one to overreach for superlatives, whether describing the state of things as he found them or what he plans to do about them — or claims to have done already.
Some statements from the past week:
TRUMP: "Obamacare covers very few people."
THE FACTS: That's only true if you consider more than 20 million people to be "very few." That's how many are covered by the two major components of the law: expanded Medicaid and subsidized private health insurance.
The Medicaid expansion, adopted by 31 states and the District of Columbia, covers about 11 million low-income people, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The other, more visible, component is HealthCare.gov. The federal website and state-run online insurance markets have signed up 12.2 million people for this year, according to an Associated Press count this month, based on federal and state reports.
Altogether, since Obama's law passed in 2010, the number of uninsured people has dropped by about 20 million and the uninsured rate has declined below 9 percent, a historic low.
TRUMP, repeating a week-old assertion that Sweden is an example of violence and extremism due to immigration: "Take a look at what happened in Sweden. I love Sweden, great country, great people, I love Sweden. But they understand. The people over there understand I'm right."
THE FACTS: Trump was ridiculed in Sweden after he warned at a rally in Florida that terrorism was growing in Europe and something terrible had happened in Sweden the previous night. But there had been no extraordinary trouble that night in Sweden, a country welcoming to immigrants.
Two days later, though, a riot broke out after police arrested a drug crime suspect. Cars were set on fire and shops looted, but no one was injured. Attacks in the country related to extremism remain rare. The biggest surprise for many Swedes was that a police officer found it necessary to fire his gun.
TRUMP: The U.S. is providing security to other nations "while leaving our own border wide open. Anybody can come in. But don't worry, we're getting a wall. ... We're getting bad people out of this country."
THE FACTS: His wide-open border claim is bogus. The number of arrests of illegal border crossers — the best measure of how many people are trying to cross illegally — remains at a 40-year low. The U.S. government under Presidents George W. Bush and Obama roughly doubled the ranks of the Border Patrol in the past decade or so.
In addition, the number of people expelled from the country since Trump took office Jan. 20 has not been disclosed. No available data support his claim, made Thursday, that immigrants in the country illegally are being expelled at a rate "nobody has ever seen before." Deportations were brisk when Obama was president.
Altogether in January, 16,643 people were deported, a drop from December (20,395) but a number that is similar to monthly deportations in early 2015 and 2016.
This month, Homeland Security officials have said 680 people were arrested in a weeklong effort to find and arrest criminal immigrants living in the United States illegally. Three-quarters of those people had been convicted of crimes, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said. The remaining 25 percent were not.
The government has not provided information about who was arrested in that roundup, so it's impossible to determine how many gang members or drug lords were in that group. It is also unclear how many of those "bad people" have actually been deported.
That roundup was largely planned before Trump took office and was alternately described by the Trump administration as a routine enforcement effort and a signal of his pledge to take a harder line on illegal immigration. During the Obama administration, similar operations were carried out that yielded thousands of arrests.
TRUMP: "We have authorized the construction, one day, of the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines. And issued a new rule — this took place while I was getting ready to sign. I said who makes the pipes for the pipeline? Well, sir, it comes from all over the world, isn't that wonderful? I said nope, comes from the United States, or we're not building it. American steel. If they want a pipeline in the United States, they're going to use pipe that's made in the United States."
THE FACTS: It's not that straightforward. Trump's executive order leaves lots of wiggle room on how much U.S. steel is actually used. The order states new, expanded or repaired pipelines in the U.S. must use U.S. steel "to the maximum extent possible" and allowed by law. That's not an all-USA mandate.
What's judged possible in the Keystone XL project remains to be seen. Pipes are already purchased. Contrary to his statement, Trump has not approved the project. Rather, he revived it by asking TransCanada to resubmit its application.
TransCanada did so in late January while saying it needs time to review how any buy-American plan would affect the company. It has said the majority of steel would be from North America, but that includes Canada and Mexico.
Trump's Jan. 24 order on U.S. steel has little effect on the Dakota Access project because it is nearly complete.
TRUMP on arrests of people in the country illegally: "It's a military operation because what has been allowed to come into our country, when you see gang violence that you've read about like never before and all of the things, much of that is people who are here illegally. And they're rough and they're tough, but they're not tough like our people. So we're getting them out."
THE FACTS: He was wrong in calling immigration enforcement a military operation.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, responsible for finding and deporting immigrants in the country illegally, is a civilian law enforcement agency. Military personnel were not responsible for recent raids that resulted in the arrests of 680 people. Planning for that roundup had been underway during the previous and was in step with large, periodic raids when Obama was president.
Kelly contradicted Trump on the nature of plans to step up border enforcement: "There will be no use of military forces in immigration," Kelly said. "There will be no — repeat, no — mass deportations."
TRUMP again claimed credit for a $700 million savings in the military's contract with Lockheed for the F-35 fighter jet. Speaking to the defense contractor's CEO Marillyn Hewson, he said: "Over $700 million. Do you think Hillary would have cost you $700 million? I assume you wanted her to win" — referring to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
THE FACTS: Cost savings for the F-35 began before Trump's inauguration and predate his complaints about the price tag.
The head of the Air Force program announced significant price reductions Dec. 19 — after Trump had tweeted about the cost but weeks before Trump met about the issue on Jan. 13 with Hewson.
"There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever of additional F-35 cost savings as a result of President Trump's intervention," said Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the aerospace consulting firm Teal Group. He said Trump appears to be taking credit for prior-year budget decisions and for work already done by managers at the Pentagon who took action before the presidential election to reduce costs.