Feb. 5, 1917: Immigration Act Passed Over Wilson’s Veto

5 Feb 2016 /

On this date in 1917, Congress overrode President Woodrow Wilson’s veto of the previous week and passed the Immigration Act of 1917, which, among other provisions, introduced a period of near complete exclusion of Asian immigration to the United States.

Not that life was a bed of roses for Asian immigrants before 1917. Asian laborers were sought out for demanding and dangerous railroad jobs involving explosives. The phrase “Chinaman’s chance,” meaning little to no chance at all, dates from this period. Asians were not allowed American citizenship and were frequent victims of hostility and violence with no legal recourse.

For example, in 1854, George W. Hall was convicted of murdering a Chinese man. On appeal to the State Supreme Court the decision was overturned because all of the evidence against him was from Chinese individuals.

Not a Chinaman's Chance by Charles M Russell 1894

According to the Supreme Court ruling, the Chinese “recogniz[ed] no laws … except through necessity, [brought] with them their prejudices and national feuds, in which they indulge[d] in open violation of law.”

The court also noted that their “mendacity is proverbial; [that they were] a race of people whom nature has marked as inferior, and who are incapable of progress or intellectual development beyond a certain point … [and they would not be granted] the right to swear away the life of a citizen, … [or] the … privilege of participating with us in administering the affairs of our Government.”

After the Immigration Act of 1917, existing Asian immigrants were excluded from employment by racial hostility and increasingly moved into self-employment as laundry workers, store and restaurant owners, traders and merchants. Chinese immigrants congregated in Chinatowns established in California and elsewhere.

 

Between 1942 and 1946, 110,000 to 120,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated in internment camps. About two-thirds of those interned were second- and third-generation citizens by birth.

Newspaper headlines of Japanese Relocation - NARA - 195535

Sixty-two years of Chinese exclusion ended in 1943 with the passage of the Magnuson Act, which allowed a quota of 105 persons to immigrate each year. Yes, that is the correct number — 105 Chinese immigrants per year. In 1946, the Luce–Celler Act provided for an annual quota of 100 immigrants per year from the Philippines and India.

Token immigration quotas remained in effect until the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 abolished the quota system based on national origins.

 

In the last 50 years, Asians have risen to the top socio-economic levels of American society, proving once again that what happens to you is not nearly as important as how you react to it.

Asian-Americans seem to be focused on keeping their families together and making sure their kids get a good education, rather than peddling grievances about the past or even the present, e.g., Why are Asians not being nominated for Academy Awards? or Why has there never been an Asian president?


Free Advice on Free Advice

5 Feb 2016 /
Shoulder pain

Today a colleague offered to fix the pain in my shoulder. “Sounds like a problem with the connective tissue,” he said. “I can push it back into place.”

“No,” I said. “No no no no no no no.”

“Why not? Are you homophobic?”

“Not wanting you to touch my shoulder is not homophobic.” Also this guy is not gay.

“You don’t trust me?”

“I was trying to think of a nice way to say that.”

“I have a gift for this. I’ve helped a lot of people.”

“You might be able to fix it. Probably you could. On the other hand, you might, just perhaps, push on it the wrong way and I lose the use of my left arm. Not worth the risk.”

He then recommended that I go to a health food store and buy some red something-or-other algae to use as an anti-inflammatory.

Which I’m not going to do . . . If someone recommends a movie I should see, I might check that out. Even if it turns out to be terrible, which it usually does, I’ve only lost a few bucks and a couple hours of time. Same with a restaurant. Or a book.

But on medical matters, when someone says “You should go to a health food store and buy some of this product and eat it,” I’m not going to do that because if I do that, and I die . . . because the recommender didn’t know anything about my health condition, medical history, medications I might be taking, didn’t know anything about chemistry, biology, pharmacology . . . I’m dead and the person who told me to do that is scratching his head going, “Hmmmm, that never happened before. Maybe I should have gone to medical school to actually learn something.”


Feb. 5, 1631: Roger Williams Arrives in America

5 Feb 2016 /
Roger Williams

Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island, meeting with the Narragansett Indians

It’s hard to imagine the sense of infinite potential accompanying the arrival on the North American continent in the 1600s . . .

Roger Williams came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in Boston from England. Four years later, in 1635, he was banished from the colony for, among other things, speaking out against the right of civil authorities to punish religious dissension.

After leaving Massachusetts, Williams, with the assistance of the Narragansett tribe, established a settlement near Narragansett Bay, located in present-day Rhode Island. He declared the settlement open to all those seeking freedom of conscience and the removal of the church from civil matters.

Williams named the community “Providence.”


Eliminate the Handshake Line?

3 Feb 2016 /

After an Iona basketball player slapped a Monmouth player in the face in the post-game handshake line, a Sporting News writer says we should eliminate the handshake line.

As further evidence, he cites “the Detroit Pistons who walked off the court with time remaining in the 1991 NBA playoff loss to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls, Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins refusing to shake Xavier coach Pete Gillen’s hand at the end of the 1994 Crosstown Shootout, LeBron James walking off without a handshake in the 2009 conference finals against Orlando and Indiana coach Tom Crean’s harangue of Michigan assistant Jeff Meyer following a 2013 regular season game.”

Ha ha, that’s great stuff! That’s the argument against the handshake line?! We need more of that . . . it’s a good thing for all of us.


What Would We Do Without Consultants?

2 Feb 2016 /
The Dark Side

Digital technology? You mean, like — computers?


Spartans Are Overrated

1 Feb 2016 /
Spartan Race logo

Some of my work colleagues participated in a Spartan Race this past weekend, which seems like a good way to acquire a bacterial infection but to each his own.

Slightly off-topic but Spartans didn’t fight very well and instead of fleeing, they let themselves all be killed by Persians . . . so I’ve always wondered why Spartans have become synonymous with positive qualities like commitment and toughness and resilience, instead of being remembered as milksops with cool headgear . . .


The People v. O.J. Simpson

31 Jan 2016 /
O.J. Simpson

There’s a miniseries coming out called The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. I’m not going to watch it, not for any singular reason — I don’t watch other TV shows either — but I don’t remember the Simpson trial having a great deal of entertainment value.

  1. The trial proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Simpson was guilty, even though a guilty verdict was not returned.
  2. Eight of the 12 trial jurors were black women. The prosecution believed that the jurors would identify with the female victim. The defense team believed that the jurors would identify with the black murderer. The defense was right.
  3. Conventional wisdom says that anyone who can’t get out of a lengthy term of jury service is not very bright. Only two of the Simpson jurors had a college degree. One never finished high school. The prosecution bored and confused them with DNA evidence. The defense gave them a nursery rhyme. You know the result.

Michigan Man Dies in Crash While Masturbating to Porn Video

31 Jan 2016 /
Grim Reaper

Michigan man dies in crash while driving and masturbating to porn on his phoneNY Daily News

Years ago, I was in a public restroom stall in an office building when I felt a mild earthquake. It occurred to me that a bad way to die would be to have a building collapse on you while sitting on a toilet, only to be pulled out of the rubble on the evening news with your pants around your ankles, covered in excrement.

But even that ignominious scenario pales in comparison to the egress of Clifford Ray Jones, age 58, who was driving down I-75 in Detroit with his pants off, watching a pornographic video on his phone. His hands were somewhere other than at the recommended position of 10 and 2 on the steering wheel when he crashed his 1996 Toyota and was hurled out the sunroof.

It’s embarrassing enough to be 58 years old and driving a 20-year-old Toyota, but to be hurled out the sunroof and killed sans pants, that’s the ultimate.

I told my wife, “If this happens to me, when someone asks ‘How did your husband die?’ please make something up. That’s my final request.”


A Different Kind of Voter

26 Jan 2016 /
Trump yard sign

[A Republican political operative] described driving down a street on the west side of Manchester[, N.H.], checking out the houses. He noticed Trump signs in front of houses that he knew had never displayed signs before. Seeing that, he began to think that all the talk about Trump appealing to a different kind of voter might be true.

National elections amount to a choice of which gang of thieves you’d prefer to be robbed by. So of course a lot of people opt out of the process. What is the point?

The “different kind of voter” that Trump appeals to is the voter who is equally disgusted with both parties and would prefer to vote for a second American Revolution.

Trump appeals to the voter who objects to being told by those in power, “You cannot vote for this outsider, this new person, who has not built up your hopes and let you down your whole life like we have.”

I think there are a lot of people like that.


More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of

22 Jan 2016 /

If you’re a fussy germaphobe who refuses to eat anything with your hands, please learn to chew with your mouth closed. You’re way too annoying to be around already.

Resemblance to a real person would be a coincidence.


I Was Young Then

20 Jan 2016 /

I wonder if the face of the young man I used to be still lives on in someone’s memory?

I was young then ...


Sarcasm Detection Technology

20 Jan 2016 /

Quartz: Researchers have developed an extremely effective “sarcasm detector”

Sure they have . . .


Why Don’t Asians Care About the Oscars?

19 Jan 2016 /
Academy Award

From the Washington Post:

Very white Oscar nominations leave Academy president ‘heartbroken and frustrated’

From the Los Angeles Times:

Oscars 2016: It’s time for Hollywood to stop defining great drama as white men battling adversity

From the Wall Street Journal:

Black Actors and Directors Shut Out of 2016 Oscar Race

Why don’t Asians seem to care about the Oscar whiteness crisis that continues to rage unabated? Maybe they’re too busy with jobs and school . . .


FlowingData: How You Will Die

Posted by on 19 Jan 2016

The 30 Most Anticipated TV Shows

19 Jan 2016 /
Thomas Jefferson

My fellow Americans —

I just saw a link to The 30 Most Anticipated TV Shows of 2016. How many TV shows do you people have if thirty of them are the most anticipated?!

Some despotic regimes around the world rely on starvation and threats of violence to keep the people in a state of submissive compliance. Here in America, the same collective stupor is effected via mindless entertainments and gadgetry.

I’d like to see my countrymen raise themselves out of depression, paralysis and failure and resist this massive government/corporate dystopia — But I might miss my TV programs, said the serfs and lackeys.

Thomas Jefferson


Tony Robbins’ Wealth-Building Tips Seem Pretty Useless

18 Jan 2016 /
Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins has 6 tips for Building Wealth Now. Let’s look at each of the tips and apply the “would anyone advise the opposite?” filter to assess the value of Robbins’ advice.

  1. Don’t lose money. I’m not kidding, that’s the first tip. Would anyone advise “Lose money”? No. So this “tip” is useless.
  2. Look for investments in which rewards far outweigh risks. Would anyone advise “Look for investments in which risks far outweigh rewards’? No. Robbins recommends using “the 5-to-1 rule,” in which the potential returns on an investment are 5 times greater than the potential losses. Why 5? Why not 10? Or 100? Where do you find these investments? I have no idea.
  3. Don’t overpay taxes. Would anyone advise “Overpay taxes”? No.
  4. Diversify. Would anyone advise “Don’t diversify”? Possibly. There’s a couple of schools of thought on diversification: 1) Don’t put all your eggs in one basket; and 2) Put all your eggs in one basket, then watch that basket. So there’s a tip for you: Diversify.
  5. Watch out for mindless spending. Would anyone advise “Spend mindlessly”? No. Robbins says if you spend $40 a week on restaurant meals, consider inviting friends over for a low-cost dinner at home instead. “In a year, you’ll have saved $2,000. If you invest that $2,000 every year, in 40 years you’ll have half a million dollars.” No, in 40 years you’ll have $80,000. Maybe. Given some assumptions about your rate of return, you might have half a million dollars, but on the other hand, you might make some bad investments and wind up with nothing.
  6. Stop sabotaging yourself. Would anyone advise “Sabotage yourself”? No.

Hillary Clinton, Angry Landlady

17 Jan 2016 /
Hillary Clinton

[Hillary Clinton] is especially poor at the podium, where, when she wants to emphasize an applause line, her voice becomes loud, flat and harassing to the ear. She lately reminds me of the landlady yelling up the stairs that your kids left their bikes in the hall again. Literally that’s how it sounds: “And we won’t let them roll back the progress we’ve made. Your kids left their bikes in the hall.”


January 15, 1559: Elizabeth Crowned Queen of England

15 Jan 2016 /
Elizabeth I of England, the Armada Portrait

Elizabeth I of England

We’re talking about Elizabeth I of course, not the current queen, Elizabeth II.

The reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603), now remembered as the Elizabethan Era, coincided with the flowering of the English Renaissance and is considered the golden age of England. The reign of Elizabeth II, meanwhile, has coincided with the decline of England into irrelevance and is unlikely to remembered by name in a fond way.


Another Thing I Like About Donald Trump

15 Jan 2016 /

Democrats don’t like him and Republicans don’t like him either.

The overarching theme of American politics is Democrats vs. Republicans, Team Blue vs. Team Red. It’s a freakishly expensive clown show for which we pay trillions of dollars a year to watch the Red clowns and the Blue clowns throw pies in each other’s faces.

Nobody really cares about truth, substance or common sense, only whether their team is winning.

When Obama replaced Bush, Democrats didn’t care that Obama kept all the same wars going and started a few new ones, kept the torture programs going, kept Guantanamo open, ramped up drone warfare, cozied up to Wall Street, etc., etc., etc. All the things they hated when Bush was doing them were okay now because their team was winning.

Elect Hillary Clinton and we’ll get four to eight years of trench warfare against Republicans. Elect a Republican candidate (other than Trump) and we’ll get four to eight years of trench warfare against Democrats. At a cost of trillions of dollars per year.

This election offers a unique choice — Trump — the best chance we may ever have to blow up the system and start over, which is long overdue.


Angel From Montgomery

12 Jan 2016 /

Just give me one thing, Lord
That I can hold on to
To believe in this livin’
Is just a hard way to go


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