Immigration Policy Crisis in America

 

 

No doubt there are many Americans who resent recent waves of immigrants because they worry that they will begin to feel like strangers in their own land. Since immigrant groups tend to form communities of folks from their parent nations, since they have struggles that they hold in common such as finding employment, learning a new language and new customs, there is comfort in struggling together. Assimilation always takes time. The problems immigrants must deal with in a new land are multiplied when they are in that land without having gone through the proper channels. They may only be able to find employment with fellow immigrants who came before them, or employment that pays under the table and offers no security or benefits. They need to keep a low profile so that they will not draw attention to their status. These factors and more (economic and geographic) tend to keep new immigrants separated from middle class white Americans. Since new immigrants do not get to mingle with very many suburban Americans the groups fear each other and put up defenses against what they may feel are existential threats.

This has been true as each new wave of immigrants settled in America driven by challenges in their home nations to find more economic security or freedom. People did not welcome Chinese immigrants or Japanese immigrants, Italian, German, or Irish immigrants. And there was never a question that these folks would change the language or the “complexion” of America. Recent waves from Spanish-speaking countries and tropical nations with folks with more pigmentation are forcing Americans to face the fact that we might have to learn more than one language and accept an American that looks more like the melting pot that we have always claimed to be.

There is another aspect to this and it is that these “new” arrivals are competing with already established Americans for jobs opportunities that are more limited than in the past and that people believe the government is giving out benefits to these folks paid for by our tax dollars. Even worse, Americans feel that people who are here without permissions are also partaking of benefits even as our government is threatening to cut or do away with them altogether. People worry that the pie is being cut into too many pieces and people are standing in line who have no right to a piece of the pie at all.

But coexisting with what we do and say and feel are the ideals we treasure as Americans and that we praise ourselves with when we are feeling patriotic. We still hold to the plaque on the Statue of Liberty which classifies us among the most humanitarian of nations, with a compassionate heart for the suffering people living in nations that seem not as blessed as ours (the war torn, the poor, the starving, those struck by disaster).

We cannot be both champions of human rights and white nationalists. I hear people trying to disown the words on the Liberty plaque. I hear people applauding a campaign to roust immigrants who have been here for years and send them home to uncertain fates. I feel the parallel to the Nazi round-up of Jewish people which we now find abhorrent. We always told ourselves in our American hearts that we could never hunt people down and take away their belongings and eventually their lives. But it is happening right now all over America in the early morning hours when ICE agents raid 7-Elevens to haul away people working without documents or in the late-night hours when they arrest someone out for a walk and some father just never comes home to his family who wait and suffer.

I know that the world is chaotic. I know that there are those who like to terrorize us and plant fear in our hearts. I know that right now most of these terrorists happen to be from Muslim or Middle Eastern nations, nations that have been destabilized by us and our allies, nations where ancient animosities have been set free to be pursued again in modern times. This sets the stakes of immigration even higher. A nation has a right to have rules about immigration.

We have had terrorist attacks on American soil, starting with the horrific attacks on 9/11. I understand the urge to safety, to expel recent immigrants without documents from our shores, to build walls. I see Europe paying a price for their humanitarian decisions, although not as all-encompassing as we might fear. Are we as brave as the Brits or the French, are we as defiant in the face of mayhem? I believe we are? Europe is not threatening to build a wall or send people back to war and death.

Our President is feeding our fears. He is feeding our resentments. He is promising to keep us safe from terrorists and people of color and bring to our shores only the best and the brightest people provided they are Europeans (why would these folks want to come here?). What will the American people settle for? Do they insist on sending everyone who entered without documentation or overstayed their documents home? Do they insist on the wall? Do they insist on sending home the children who came here in all innocence and to whom promises were made? Do we send home people we promised to give Temporary Protective Status (TPS) to (Salvadorans, Haitians)? How do we rip them from their lives now? They are embedded in our culture. They have businesses, jobs, children in schools. Do we really say “out, get out”? How do we square this with our consciences? How do we square this with our American ideals? Will the damage to the world’s image of America be temporary or permanent? How will we like being a global social pariah? Isn’t this kind of safety and identity protection cowardice? Won’t we eventually pay a price? Isn’t it better to throw our future in with the rest of the planet instead of trying to wall ourselves off in a world full of planes and drones?

Here is how this thing looks on a very personal level. This is the contents of an email I received from the local resistance which puts a face on the President’s immigration pogrom.

 

“Community Outreach & Defense urgently calls your attention, this week, to the work of the coalition’s Rapid Response Committee. The Rapid Response Committee exists to immediately respond to immigrant detentions in the city of Syracuse and to provide support to those who are facing possible deportation. Just days before Christmas, on December 21st, 2017, the Rapid Response Team responded to the detention of Workers’ Center member Hector Navarro, husband of Arely Tomas. Later that day, the family’s ongoing fundraising page was updated with the following statement:

“Today on December 21st, Arely’s husband Hector–father to their 3 kids, a worker, and longtime community member, was detained by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) outside of their home after taking Arely, to work. He was taken to and detained at the immigration office at 401 S. Salina Street (which is right behind Katko’s downtown office) this morning. The Syracuse Rapid Response Team and the Workers’ Center of CNY held a protest outside demanding Hector be freed and to speak out against this grave injustice. It is completely and utterly unconscionable that this barbaric and unjust immigration system will be keeping Hector away from his wife, Arely, and their three kids on Christmas. This is a double blow as their family has already been rocked by Arely’s fight against deportation as well. We have increased the fundraising goal as Hector and Arely’s family will now need funds to help cover rent, utilities, and other necessities for their family. Please show your solidarity with their family in this truly harrowing time.”

Hector is currently being held in immigrant detention in Batavia, NY.

There are three ways the broader coalition can amplify the work of Rapid Response and directly support Hector Navarro:

1) Please consider contributing to Arely’s fundraiser to pay for legal fees for herself and Hector, as well as for basic living expenses. You can donate to the fundraiser by clicking here. It is also possible to pay by cash or check made out to Arely Tomas, which can be dropped off at or mailed to WCCNY/Hector and Arely Fund at 2013 East Genesee St. Syracuse NY 13210.

2) At this Sunday’s full Coalition meeting, a letter will be circulating for folks to sign in support of Hector. For those of you who do not know Hector personally, here is some more background information about him and his family, written by Rebecca Fuentes, director of the Workers Center of Central New York:

“Hector has been a source of strength and support for Arely on her own immigration case. Both of them have complied with everything ICE has asked of them. Hector case was administratively closed on January 2017, so his detention was totally unexpected and devastating for their three US children who live in Syracuse and their two children who are in Guatemala. Hector has volunteer his time at the Workers Center in events like our yearly soccer tournament and workers rights trainings. He likes to play with his children and spend time with his family as much as possible. Hector does not have any criminal record. He has lived in Syracuse since 2009.”

3) If you know Hector or Arely personally, we are encouraging individuals to write your own letters of support if you have not done so already. We are trying to collect as many letters as possible so that we can show the judge that Hector is a cherished and vital member of our community and his family.

As a reminder, a key value shared by the members of the Community Outreach & Defense Committee is that those most directly affected by an issue are the ones that know the best solutions to that issue, and for that reason we must center and uplift the work done by immigrants to defend themselves and their community. The Rapid Response Team works closely with the Workers Center of Central New York and makes efforts to remain accountable to immigrant leadership. If you are interested in getting involved in the Rapid Response Committee, please email me at dragonettij2@gmail.com. We need all the help we can get.”  (Since this email asks for support I assume it is acceptable to repost it.)

 

What I don’t understand and can’t understand is why we must disrupt people who have already found a productive place in America, regardless of how they got here. This is a case where the treatment is worse than the disease. We’re doing this because some Americans are ticked off and jealous and because our white supremacist President wants to turn America lily white again, which is apparently what Make America Great Again (MAGA) means. We’re doing this even though 2/3 of Americans are vehemently opposed to it and ethically embarrassed by it. We’re doing this although it undoes all the shock and horror we felt when our troops liberated the concentration camps after World War II and we could no longer deny the genocide, the pure inhuman carnage.

If we cower behind a wall and empty our country of these people who have become our neighbors, or our employees, or our colleagues, and fellow students will we lose our collective soul?

This is a view from the cheap seats.

 

 

Facebook Community Standards – Censorship?

 

Background

I have a Facebook account which is a public account, but only my friends, family, Facebook, and advertisers can post on my timeline. I keep my politics separate from my main Facebook account. I do have a second Facebook account for my blog, The Armchair Observer.com but it is walled off from the account for family and friends. I found this perfectly acceptable because politics is such a hot button issue right now and I don’t want to have to block family and friends or be blocked by them. My blogs are not automatically published to my timeline so family and friends do not have to read or even see them. It’s a bit sad when you can’t share what you do with family but it works and I am OK with it.

Facebook likes to make money from its business sites (which is how they categorize a blog site). They will push my blog posts out to a target audience for a fee to help me “sell” more. Sometimes I use this feature to try to find more readers. I find that most people only look at the title and the pictures and then either like a post or not. I have slowly increased my number of followers, very slowly. For the most part, the most active responders are “pod” people, right wingers who like to label my posts as “fake news” and then try to sway me with their brilliant Fox-generated arguments. I engage for a while to try to convince them to see another point of view but it is too frustrating, and will continue indefinitely because they always need to have the last word. The Facebook “sales” model doesn’t work as well when you are selling words (ideas, opinions). I feel that I base my opinions on facts, but of course right wingers have their own facts. I don’t feel quite right selling my opinions and I don’t have enough readers to make it profitable so I haven’t tried to monetize my blog.

Facebook has been under pressure from the Trump administration to track down “fake news”, trolling behaviors such as hate speech, and phony posts representing foreign meddling in American politics. Due to government pressure Facebook has been posting new rules. For example, the folks at Facebook ask lots of questions on my timeline about my privacy settings. I usually post inane things on my timeline such as images I think family members will enjoy, mostly of nature, florals, and gardens, birds and music/dance videos. I comment on the posts of the grandchildren and the great grandchildren and enjoy keeping in touch with distant family members. Once in a while, I post a glimpse of my personal life, but rarely.

Why I am Worried About Facebook Community Standards

Recently Facebook posted (on my timeline) their new Community Standards and these standards leave lots of room for subjective judgements made, I assume, by algorithms and/or people at some undisclosed location. Hopefully the policies will be applied to the most egregious offenders, but only future practice will reveal whether this will be a useful information sorting tool or arbitrary censorship. Offenders can be suspended from using Facebook, which I suppose is not the end of the world. Facebook sent me one of those memories they like to post on your timeline from something I posted a year ago. My niece sent out a plug for her travel website and I reposted it. So, when the memory (I imagine generated by Facebook) appeared I shared it again, since her website is still up and running.Facebook sent me a return message asking if my post was spam. Are they using a form of entrapment? IDK

Although I am mystified by my inability to grasp the intricacies of the privacy policy that Facebook keeps posting on my timeline, I more leery of their Community Standards. A lot can go awry when algorithms are used to attempt to make judgement calls by parsing complex content using code and mathematical methodologies. Even if there is an employee panel somewhere that is also involved in these judgements Facebook is likely to face personal pushback and, perhaps, legal issues. Depending on the stringency with which the standards are applied, free expression by sincere Facebook users may be censored along with posts by abusers.

You can find the Facebook Community Standards here: https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards

The most problematic section of the standards says:

“Our mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. Every day, people come to Facebook to share their stories, see the world through the eyes of others and connect with friends and causes. The conversations that happen on Facebook reflect the diversity of a community of more than two billion people.

We want people to feel safe when using Facebook. For that reason, we’ve developed a set of Community Standards, outlined below. These policies will help you understand what type of sharing is allowed on Facebook, and what type of content may be reported to us and removed. Sometimes we will allow content if newsworthy, significant or important to the public interest – even if it might otherwise violate our standards. Because of the diversity of our global community, please keep in mind that something that may be disagreeable or disturbing to you may not violate our Community Standards.

We remove content, disable accounts, and work with law enforcement when we believe there is a genuine risk of physical harm or direct threats to public safety. Learn more about how Facebook handles abusive content.

 

  • Overview
  • Direct Threats
  • Self-Injury
  • Dangerous Organizations
  • Bullying and Harassment
  • Attacks on Public Figures
  • Criminal Activity
  • Sexual Violence and Exploitation
  • Regulated Goods”

There is more to the Standards and you can follow the link above to see the entire document including instructions for reporting material that you think breaks the rules. I guess that most of this does not apply to me except the “attacks one public figures” standard. It is unclear what is meant by an attack on a public figure. Does this include writing that is critical of the decisions, behaviors, or actions of a public figure. If I push out a blog post and a right winger objects can they file a report about my post? How close to the censorship line is Facebook likely to walk? Could this possibly squelch legitimate free speech? I do not believe that Facebook would have to make such a set of standards if our politics were not so fraught. I am interested to see how this plays out. Will I feel the sting if I am suspended by Facebook? Will I try to fight it? Will I just let it go? I do have some sympathy for Mark Zuckerberg, caught between a rock and hard place.And I would miss Messenger the most because it allows a far flung family to stay in close touch with each other, especially in times of family events or family crises.

 

 

 

 

Unseating an American President

Many Americans find our President crass, an ego-driven male drama queen, and an embarrassment. He has us frequently careening along a risky edge, using tactics (or reactions) that might be either purposely or accidentally brilliant, or exactly as overly inflammatory as they appear to be. Are we being led over the brink into World War III or will 45 somehow turn authoritarian world leaders into devoted Trumpers (heaven forfend). Just what we need, an alliance of sharks. What could go wrong? Perhaps we have taken our freedoms for granted. Perhaps we have demanded too many human rights.

Unseating an American President

Many of us like to think that we can find a way to unseat a President we feel is unfit to serve and who we feel will teach us hard lessons about how important our freedoms are and how there is no such thing as asking for too many human rights, until all humans own the rights to a productive life. We pin our hopes on the only Constitutional measures we have, impeachment or the 25th Amendment (a President can be removed if he proves unfit to serve). But you cannot impeach a President unless Congress wishes it and will vote for impeachment. With the Republican Party in charge of Congress and becoming more and more the President’s party, we understand that impeachment is not a possibility. The problem with the 25th Amendment is the pesky little detail that the President’s unfitness to serve must be provable. Proof of someone’s mental state is highly subjective unless they are incoherent or involved in harmful anti-social behaviors (and most adult Americans would have to agree about this).

Since this spoiled man-child also seems to have done an end run around the emoluments clause in the Constitution which prohibits a President from making money from foreign entities while in office, our next move has been to get shut of a person who does not have the moral fiber to be President. Previously Presidents have made trusts for their businesses to wall them off so that their personal money cannot be used as a lever of power against American interests. Previously Presidents also have been willing to present their tax returns in the interests of transparency. It bothers many of us that Trump flouts Constitutional law and tradition as he does, but our documents do not suggest repercussions.

There is also the problem that this American President, even before his election, stepped around our allies and embraced America’s enemies. He asked a nation like Russia, who we have no reason to want to be beholden to, for favors, and then used his favorite way out – consistent and vociferous denial –  until we question our own sanity. We worry that we may have elected an actual crook, involved in money laundering, to sit in our oval office. We look to Robert Mueller to prove that our President did anything at all that could be proven to be illegal, or, perhaps, treasonous, but many warn us that Trump may not be caught in this web and that he does have ways to stop this investigation however terrible the optics of this would be. Mr. Trump seems unconcerned about optics.

Other strategies

Since we seem unable to inspire our President to use a style of governing that is less hair-raising, less slash and burn, the Democratic Party has put in some solid work to recruit new, younger, and more diverse Americans to run for office on the left and to flip the majority in, at least, the House – to take back one branch of government, to restore our system of checks and balances. Will it be too little too late? Have the Dems let the GOP get away with their seditious machinations for too long? The 2018 election looks to be the best of all our options, a “blue wave” as they say, is essential to keeping this President and the GOP from wreaking havoc on our Democracy, a path he is already blazing with a vengeance.

Threat Levels and “Spidey” sense

Should Democrats and their allies be setting the threat level of the Trump-GOP government at Def Con 1 or are the Dems overreacting? Government-by-Tweet is one facet of the Trump Presidency that ups the threat level, but it’s difficult to tell if this is dangerous or just un-Presidential. However, our “Spidey” sense tingles.

We see our American President seeming to cozy up to Russia, China, Turkey, the Philippines, all nations with authoritarian leaders, and excoriating our old and loyal allies and world organizations that have backed and multiplied our power, such as the UN and NATO. Up another threat level.

We see a man who honors no bargains made by anyone except him, willing to alienate anyone in the interests of negotiating simply to prove how good he is at “the art of the deal”. The Paris Climate Agreement Accord, an admittedly toothless agreement, at least consolidated a global commitment to acknowledging and attempting to address possible causes of global warming and climate change, has been abandoned and disrespected by our chief deal maker. This seems like another attack on the other 190+ nations who signed on. He puts his marker on a denial of science, but what if he is wrong (which evidence suggests he is)?

In fact, insulting friends and even some of our rivals seems to be our President’s main MO for keeping everyone riled up, while fomenting uncertainty, and even astonishment, seems to be his sole negotiating style. He is not a nimble negotiator, switching tactics or using subtlety; he is a thug using language to belittle and then clubbing away at whatever matter he wants to change, hoping to beat everyone around the head and shoulders and pout and accuse until he gets his way. What do we gain by alienating everyone on the planet? It seems we don’t get good deals and we lose anyway in the end (as in win a battle, lose the war). Are your senses tingling yet? Does this kind of thing raise the Def Con level?

Our President cannot even seem to honor a tiny promise made by a previous President to a group of children and young adults, brought here by parents when they were too young to even understand their parent’s actions, the Dreamers. When did we start backing out of agreements made with children, a promise to let them stay in America if they are in school or have a job? Why is the DACA agreement being used as a bargaining chip to force Democrats to stop trying to block policies that are against their ideological mindset; to coerce them to look like there is bipartisanship when it is convenient to the GOP, even after the shoddy treatment offered up by the GOP over the entire duration of the Obama administration? (You could replace Dreamers and DACA with CHIP and this would still make sense.)

We are back to threats such as shutting down the government as another way to coerce Dems to look like they will bend over when even a very small, withered carrot is held out (although there is always the possibility that it will be yanked back at the last second, like that football that Lucy taunts Charlie Brown with). Do we dare extend a hand when it will likely be rejected? If we allow ourselves to be insulted at a moment when power is so one-sided, when our anger is likely to be unrequited, how much face do we lose. Should the Democrats knuckle under and let the Republican/Conservative way play out? Will it be as disastrous for America as we think it will be? Even if the Conservative way will play out regardless of what Dems do isn’t it better to be on record with our heartfelt objections and our warnings about the dangers faced by our Constitution and therefore our Democracy/Republic? Perhaps we are only at Def Con 2.

We wish that the book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House had been written by a more reputable person than Michael Wolff. It is telling that so many insiders seemed to make the same judgements about the President’s unfitness to serve. But since we are not sure about the author, and it is difficult to prove that insiders said the things that the book claims they said, this book is unlikely to get us any closer to unseating this President than have his refusals to honor the traditional interpretations of the Constitutional admonitions for proper Presidential behavior.

Not Everyone is On Board

Clearly, from my recent interactions with family and friends over the holidays and a few other family rituals, there are many Americans who are not at Def Con 1 or even Def Con 5. They claim that they hate politics, that they are not political (although they are, and vehemently, if you offer up any criticism).

They use evidence from what they see around them in their everyday lives, lives which are circumscribed by their finances and their neighborhoods. They see an improvement in the economy and they see rising employment. They are almost all retired. They do not have to work. They have health insurance. They have grandchildren who are turning out well, with a few worrisome exceptions. Most of the parental generation did not go to college but their children did. Their children were too young to be parents of millennials and just old enough to have stepped out of college into the job market while it was still strong. These offspring possess skills that have kept them employed. The “kids” have been promoted and their salaries have risen with their promotions.

Members of the parental generation are worried about rising health care costs but they blame Obamacare and immigrants/refugees and are happy with Trump’s hard line on immigration, although they may no longer be quite so gung ho about repealing Obamacare.

Their conclusions about America are based on anecdotal observations in their everyday lives and by their own feelings of well-being. It’s a small sample, perhaps 100-200 individuals and not a very diverse sample. But there are other circles of friends and family all over America who describe the same experiences, which offers them proof that Trump and the GOP are doing a good job.

Too many of them listen to FOX News or are too busy to pay much attention to any news. Their desires are simple and involve hanging onto financial and physical comfort and enjoyment of their growing small family dynasties. Vacations and socializing play a big role in the life of retirees who can afford it, which adds to their sense that all is well Their “Spidey” sense is not tingling. The contentment and complacency, along with effective propaganda which supports it, make it more difficult to communicate a sense of the danger. It is difficult to convince people who have not yet experienced even the future negative effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that our Democracy seems to be under a rather extreme renovation, a reconstruction, which could leave us with an America which would be unrecognizable to our forefathers and eventually even to us.

Where Does that Leave Democrats?

So, the hair-on-fire Democrats, the Democrats who feel the threat level rising are finding the resistance movement or even a clarion call for a blue wave is missing people who should be on board but who have not had enough of a shift in their fortunes, or who have been convinced to blame those who have already felt that shift. We cannot count on most of white America to assist in the blue wave we need in 2018. Fortunately, there are many folks with college educations and minority folks already impacted by Conservative racism and “othering” to turn the tide given a fair election. Although things feel quite urgent, our Democracy may prove to be more resilient than we think. But if we become the CSA (Conservative States of America, funny, same as Confederate States of America) it may be decades before we are able to turn things back around to offer opportunities to advance for the middle classes and the poor.

This is a view from the cheap seats.

 

January 2018 Book List

January 2018 Book List

 

Amazon

 

Literature and Fiction

 

Red Clocks: A Novel by Leni Zumas

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson

Green: A Novel by Sam Graham-Felsen

The Boat People: A Novel by Sharon Baia

Heart Spring Mountain: A Novel by Robin MacArthur

Oliver Loving: A Novel by Stefan Merrill Block

The Music Shop: A Novel by Rachel Joyce

A State of Freedom: A Novel by Neel Mukherjee

This Could Hurt: A Novel by Jillian Medoff

 

Biographies and Memoirs

 

The Most Dangerous Man in America: Timothy Leary, Richard Nixon and the Hunt for the Fugitive King of LSD by Bill Minutaglio, Steven L. Davis

Here’s the Real Magic: A Magical Search for Wonder in the Modern World by Nate Staneforth

Winter by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Brave by Rose McGowan

The Epic City: The World on the Streets of Calcutta by Kushanava Choudhury

The Stowaway: A Young Man’s Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica by Laurie Gwen Shapiro

When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors, ashe bendele

The Wizard and the Prophet, Two Remarkable Scientists and their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow’s World by Charles L. Mann

Furnishing Eternity: A Father, A Son, a Coffin and a Measure of Life by David Giffels

The Girl on the Velvet Swing: Sex, Murder and Madness at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century by Simon Baatz

 

Mysteries and Thrillers

 

The Wife: A Novel of Psychological Suspense by Alifair Burke

Robicheaux: A Novel by James Lee Burke

The Woman in the Window: A Novel by A. J. Finn

Gnomon: A Novel by Nick Harkaway

The Bomb Maker by Thomas Perry

Anatomy of a Scandal: A Novel by Sarah Vaughan

Need to Know: A Novel by Karen Cleveland

The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey

Munich by Robert Harris

The Chalk Man: A Novel by C. J. Tudor

The Wife Between Us: A Novel by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen

 

Nonfiction

 

The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life by Kevin Simler and Robin Hansen

The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam by Max Boot

When: The Scientific Study of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow’s World by Charles L. Mann

The Deepest Will: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity by Nadine Burke Harris, MD

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter by Margareta Magnusson

Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say by Kelly Corrigan

Saving Tarboo Creek: One Family’s Quest to Heal the Land by Scott Freeman, Susan Leopold Freeman

Achtung Baby: An American Mom on the German Art of Raising Self-Reliant Children by Sara Zaske

Uneasy Peace: The Great Crime Decline, the Renewal of City Life and the Next War on Violence by Patrick Sharkey

The New York Times Book Review (Abbreviated Lists at Christmas Time because Special Seasonal Books are Reviewed, which I won’t list here)

 

December 17th

 

Nonfiction

 

Cartoon Country by Collen Murphy

Vacationland by John Hodgeman

The Gifted Generation by Daniel Goldfield

A Promise at Dawn by Romain Gary, translated by John Markham

The Kites by Romain Gary

The Vanity Fair Diaries: 1983-1992 by Tina Brown

Bloodlines by Melissa del Boque

The Trade by Jere Van Dyk

 

Fiction

 

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

Timeless by Armand Baltazar

 

December 24th

 

Nonfiction

 

God: A Human History by Reza Aslan

What the Qur’an Meant by Garry Wills

Belonging: 1492-1900 by Simon Schama

The Book of Separation by Tora Mirvis

The Great Shift by James L Kugel

The Exodus by Richard Elliott Friedman

The Abu Dhabi Bar Mitzvah by Adam Valen Levinson

Martin Luther by Eric Metaxas

Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts by Christopher de Hamel

Bethlehem, Tracing the Life of a Storied Little Town by Nicholas Blincoe

Heaven on Earth by Michael Shermer

Finding Oneself in a Coffin by David Giffels

 

Fiction

 

Crimes of the Father by Thomas Keneally

By the Book by Francis Ford Coppola

 

Found object

 

Harriet Tubman’s hymnal

 

December 31st

 

Nonfiction

 

Windfall by Meghan O’Sullivan

Megafire by Michael Kodas

Firestorm by Edward Struzik

The Great Quake by Henry Fountain

Quakeland by Kathryn Miles

The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans and Our Quest to Understand Earth’s Past Mass Extinctions by Peter Brannen

Woolly: The True Story of the Quest to Revive One of History’s Most Iconic Extinct Creatures by Ben Megrich

Understanding the Mammoth: A Tale of Giants, Unicorns, Ivory, and the Birth of a New Science by John McKay

The Only Girl in the World by Maude Julien

The Doomsday Machine by Daniel Ellsberg

Inheritance of the Earth by Chris Thomas