Can People Please Make Accurate Arguments

There’s a story in the news about a soon to be deported wife of a former Iraqi Vet, and also, the vet voted for Trump.  They’ve been married a long time (they have 16 and 8 year old daughters).  Her story is complicated by the fact that she has entered the U.S. illegally not once, but at least twice. The first time she was deported she signed a paper promising not to enter illegally again, and yet she did just a short time later. She says she was a teenager and was lied to about what she was signing and she didn’t speak English well enough to understand what she signed.  I can easily believe this to be true.  The problem is, I can also easily believe it to be what you would say if you changed your mind and needed to say something to make your previous promise go away.  Either way,  it’s a hard and sad story and I hate this for the kids especially.

But the world is a fallen and broken place full of hard and sad stories and we often are backed into a corner trying to come up with ideal solutions for things that are where they are because of less than ideal decisions made before us that we had no control over, and in an ideal world we would not need solutions at all.  And also, I get frustrated by the arguments on both sides.


Below are the typical twitter arguments and what I want to say to them.  The arguments are presented in no particular order and it’s my paraphrases, not exact quotes.

This doesn’t make sense. They’re married and he’s a citizen so she should be automatically granted a permanent residency (or citizenship, I’ve seen people insist this is The Rule both ways).  Something is fishy here.

See, that’s a Sandra Bullock movie, not a legal fact. Marriage to a citizen does not convey automatic residency rights to non-citizens. I don’t think it ever has in this country, or at least not for quite some now.  There are still processes to go through, questions to answer, facts to prove, hoops to jump.  It’s not fishy at all.  Happens all the time.  Maybe you think that’s how things should be, in which case, lobby your Congress critters to make it so, but some of you dismiss the story because you believed in an immigration fairy tale, and some of you want to blame the Trump administration for violating some imaginary status quo that never existed, and it’s super irksome on both sides. Forget about what you wish were true or what you’re willing to believe about Trump because you hate him and base your position in reality AS IT IS.

In fact, I did reply to three or four of these mistaken claims that marriage= legal status for illegal aliens and was told variously: thanks, that’s interesting, WHERE IS YOUR COMPASSION, so you’re just saying don’t fall in love with illegal aliens, right, and but what about Melania?

I am not making that up.

My replies: 1. you’re welcome, 2. in my left pinky toe which is obviously a larger compartment than the one for your logic 3. No, I didn’t say that, I just said that being married to a citizen is not automatic legal status for noncitizens 4. What? I have no idea what about Melania and I don’t care, either, but I do know she didn’t become a citizen just because she’s married to Trump. Sheesh.

Those were not all my replies, btw.  Especially not to the second question.  My answer to that was more along the lines of ‘I didn’t say anything about whether any of this is right or wrong or kind and good or evil. I just pointed out it’s an error to claim being married to a citizen conveyed any kind of legal resident status on her or anybody else.

I know I must be a cyborg compared to all the super feelings based emotional types on the internet, but I really just don’t even understand this approach.  Compassion has nothing to do with correcting this misinformation, it was merely a statement of what *is* to correct your statement about something that *is not*.

It’s not really compassionate, btw, to blather away about how marriage conveys citizenship so Trump is doing them dirty by denying her ‘right’ to stay when there is no such right or legal practice.  It’s bad advice, dangerous if somebody were stupid enough to trust you, and leading to a complacent sense of wellbeing in people who want to believe it’s true because it’s easier and sounds nice and comforting and how they wish things were.  But reality does not care about your comfort or your wishes.  Wherever you stand on immigration, and on this specific family and what’s happening to them, spouting things that are wrong about marriage conveying legal status automatically does not help anybody and facts are facts.

Tough luck, she had years to become a citizen and she didn’t do that.

I want a wall, but I hate this argument. It’s also wrong.  It really is not that easy. Becoming a citizen legally takes a lot of time and a lot of money, and they just might not have had enough of either.  Our legal pathway to citizenship is a lot more complicated and difficult than most people realize, and some people who think they want a wall wouldn’t want one at all if they realized how hard getting legal status is.

Furthermore, in her case, that piece of paper she signed promising not to return to the U.S. illegally probably stands between her and any attempt at the citizenship process.  She very well may not even have been eligible to try.

He’s served his country so she should automatically be granted citizenship.

On the one hand I am at first glance deeply sympathetic to this view.  On the other hand, after about ten seconds of thought I have to ask if you could join me in thinking about this more logically?  Can we stop and consider just why we might not to want to grant automatic legal status to just anybody who illegally enters the country and manages to snag a soldier?  Shouldn’t we investigate and be sure that people who have access to deployment plans and military bases are not here illegally?  Can you really not think of why that might be a good idea?  How soon might it be before a terrorist or a spy or fifty took advantage of these easy, careless, no questions or paperwork pathway to legal status?  Remember the active duty terrorist who shot up people at Ft. Hood?  What if he’d married an illegal alien?  There are reasons we vet would-be legal immigrants, and there are reasons people cross over illegally and not all of those reasons are because everybody crossing the border illegally is innocent.  That is a fact and a piece of reality that we have to consider .

Tough luck. He voted for Trump, so it serves them right.Deport them all.

And what a sweetheart you are.  So citizenship is something you would reserve only for people who vote the way you like, there are no other principles you hold to here?  That’s not a principle, and you and your ilk terrify me.


Oddly, this one often comes from the same people who are gloating over the family’s separation when they find out they supported Trump.  For me, I am a hard-eyed realist as well as a compassionate human being and what I wish is the case is far too often just not compatible with reality.  The real world, the world as it is, is a messy, complex, contradictory, and far from perfect place and sometimes we are trying to fix things, to unmake things, starting from a place we should not have to be at all.  I wish the family could stay together. I also wish she had obeyed the law all these years, and not crossed our borders illegally twice and already been deported (some stories say twice deported which is a bit excessive), and I wish she had given as much care and thought to her situation over the years as lots and lots of people are attempting to do now, and I wish there weren’t troublesome reasons why we need to vet people crossing our borders and I wish wishes were horses and that this family didn’t have to suffer.


This is no way to treat a war vet.

We can’t overlook the illegal behaviour of people based on who they married.  That isn’t compassion, it’s folly, and the sort of folly that can get people killed.

An unjust law is no law at all.

Sure.  But I do not believe that it is unjust for countries to have borders and laws about how to cross them and who may cross them and who can stay and how long.  Just stating unjust laws are bad doesn’t prove anything about this one.  That’s called begging the question, assuming as true the very point that you haven’t established is true at all ,the very point of discussion.

But it’s so sad.

Oh, it is.  It is very, very sad. I have to wonder why her illegal choices and his knowledge of them is now my fault, though.  They knew the risk they were taking, and I very much wish that had paid off for their kids, but I didn’t do this to them, and I’m not the cause of their suffering.  Start a go fund me to pay for transportation for the husband and teenager to join the family in Mexico, I’ll contribute.  Start a petition stating she has no other reasons to deny her citizenship and asking Trump to let her stay, and I’ll sign it.  Beat my chest and wear a hair shirt of guilt and agony over this, I will not. She broke the law and she knew she was breaking it and she knew she could be deported. So did he (he was also here illegally and he became a citizen just before joining the military).

But it’s not like nobody warned her she could be deported.  It had already happened, she knew it could happen again, and she chose that risk.  I’m not saying ‘well tough, she got what she deserved,’ but I am saying, “Why is this my fault?”

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Some of the things I missed when I was back in the U.S.
All the fruit

sari sari stores

convenient and cheap public transportation of trycicabs and the more expensive but still cheaper than U.S. taxis.

Friendly people and specific friends

The home-made ice cream sold by a guy on a bike in my neighbourhood

Having taxes already added in to the cost at the store, so if an item says it costs 50 pesos, that is exactly how much it costs.

cheap, small packaging- if I want a single envelope of flavoured instant coffee for about ten cents, that’s available. If I need just enough dish soap to get me to the next support check, that’s available.

The neighborhood rascals

Slower pace of life

Buko Pandan flavours as well as good pineapple rice

Fresh shrimp that does not cost an arm and a leg

sunset every day at 5:30

crispy kang kong

working with Koreans (I know this is available in other parts of the U.S. just not so much mine)

The sea

The view of Mt. Apo

lower cost of living




Some of the U.S. Things I Miss

My kids and grandkids

my mom ( I know they aren’t ‘things’ but you know what I mean)

clean bathrooms

being able to flush toilet paper in the toilet

Hot running water from every tap


certain spices and herbs, especially dill and cilantro

Berries, all the berries

good lettuce

cherry tomatoes and tomatoes with flavor

lower humidity

lightning bugs

mourning doves

clean roads, the litter and garbage here does get to me at times.

Being able to order something at a restaurant and ask them to change something up- not to put something on the plate that comes with a meal, or to have a sprite instead of tea (even if charged extra), or to order the hamburger meal but ask them to hold the bun or leaf the tomatoes off… to make such requests here is to send the entire kitchen staff into stress and panic and you’re not going to get what you asked for anyway.  It’s just not done, and so we don’t do it.  But it’s nice to be able to order just a meat patty and vegetables for the Cherub and have that treated like a normal and easy thing to do.

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Sarah Jeong, NYT’s new hire

Oh man, it’s kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old black men.

Dumba… f…ing brown people marking up the internet with their opinions like dogs pissing on fire hydrants


I dare you to go on wikipedia and play Things Black People Can Definitely TAke Credit For. It’s Really Hard.

The NYT just hired Sarah Jeong, the person who wrote the above tweets  to their editorial boards.  There are people who object to her abject racism and giving that racism a platform on the NYT.  They are being called an internet outrage mob, because apparently objecting to bigotry for hire makes you a mob. The NYT defends their hire and says she was merely responding in kind to online racist harassment, which they do not support by any evidence (she shared two comments as examples, both of which came some time *after* her racist outbursts, so could not have been the cause.  Also, of course, there are many  claims the outrage mob is racist and is only harassing her because she’s an Asian woman.

I supposed I should now confess that I’ve altered her remarks every so slightly. I substituted black or brown where she was talking about white people.  Is it okay now?

For many people, yes.  There is in academia, bleeding out into the real world for some time now, a nonsensical notion that only white people can be racists, bigots, or prejudiced.  No other race has this ability.  The idea is supposedly related to power- only white people have power, no darkskinned people have the institutional or personal power to be racist. Not only is this straight out Orwel redefining of racism unacceptable nonsense, it is not even based on truth.  We had a brown president for 8 years, seriously, he had no power?  There are no black or brown employers, landlords, teachers, administrators, and bureaucratic human road blocks behind the desk of the DMV? Of course there are.  In the real world.  Racism is racism and anybody can be racist.


Sarah Jeong also joined the Twitter mob against Tim Hunt.


City University London journalism professor Connie St. Louis tweeted out that Tim Hunt had ruined a science conference by sexist remarks he made at a luncheon.   American science journalists—former New York Times columnist Deborah Blum and Retraction Watch blogger Ivan Oransky supported St. Louis’s rendition of Hunt’s comments.

Hunt’s wife, also a scientist, and several women scientists who had worked with him came to his defense.  Blum doubled down. She insisted his sexist remarks were as she had claimed and that others had reacted in stunned silence- St. Louis said a ‘deathly silence’ in a radio interview she gave.

And then it turned out they lied.  A European Union official in attendance had already given a very different version of Hunt’s remarks to his organization, and had also reported that afterwards  a woman from the Korean National Research Council of Science and Technology had told him she was impressed by Hunt’s warmth and humour in his off the cuff comments.  Russian science journalist Natalia Demina had been challenging St Louis’s claims from the start and she continued to argue that St. Louis was not accurately representing Hunt, and she was taking obvious joke comments and treating them as straight up sexist claims, and Malaysian science journalist Shiow Chin Tan shared that while St. Louis was correct that Hunt had suggested maybe segregating scientists by sex, it was a joke and he had immediately followed up by saying men would be the worst for it.  And then Natlaia Demina found a recording that included part of his speech- which showed warm laughter and not stony silence was the response to his remarks, followed by applause.

You can read more about the Hunt story here.

In the meantime, Hunt had been forced to resign from several positions, at least one invitation to speak was withdrawn (who knows how many will never be made), and his reputation smeared by a woman careless of the facts and refusing to accept any other version of them.   It is fortunate that a recording existed.

In this case, we have another sort of recording, Jeong’s own words.  The NYT can keep her, or not.  They have very little credibility anyway, regardless.  Just another example of the double standard in today’s media.


She also thinks men and cops should be killed.



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Audible Sale for Sci-Fi Fans

This sale is for members only.  Titles start at 4.95, so it’s cheaper to buy them outright than use your nearly 15 dollar monthly credit.  They have C.S. Lewis, Heinlein (inluding Star Troopers and one of his juveniles), LeGuin, Correa, The Hunger Games, Connie Willis, Orson Scott Card, Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. Le Guin, some of the dragon singer books, and many others more familiar to those of you who keep up with sci-fi and fantasy- most between 4.95 and 6.95. Sale lasts about 2 more days.

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A Riddle

Riddle me ree
Ridle me roh
Tell me something I want to know….

You know how impossible it is to get permanent marker out of your clothes?
I have a very pink cotton shirt that is one of my favourite shirts. It’s lightweight, cool, has sleeves to the elbows, covering my wobbling fat grandma arms but the sleeves are loose enough to move. I accidentally got a spatter of bleach on the front- so there is this little patch of bleached white pinpoint sized polka dots, but enough of them to be clearly visible. I have a hot pink permanent marker (doesn’t every-one?) and I used it to touch up each of those spots.

It came out in the very first wash. All of it. Every last hot pink mark. Easily, without strain or effort.

If I had gotten that pink marker on any other item of clothing it would have bonded to the substrate so permanently nothing but scissors would have taken it out.

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