Fundraising for Turkey

One of my oldest and dearest friends, a Real Live Archaeologist, has been spending her summers for the last many years at a dig site at Zincirli Höyük, located in southern Turkey not far from the Syrian border. The site, as well as the village of Zincirli itself and the nearby town of Fevzipasa, is located about eight miles from the epicenter of one of the earthquakes that struck the area yesterday. The dig has operated there since 2006, and over the years she has gotten to know nearly everyone in Zincirli Village and half of Fevzipasa, which is where she stayed during her visits. The building where they lived collapsed in the earthquake, and she was in contact with friends over there as recently as Sunday night. Her daughter, now almost a teenager, took her first steps in Fevzipasa. There is, understandably, no clear word on just how hard the area was hit as of yet, but they have already heard about casualties among people affiliated with the dig.

The co-director of the dig has started a GoFundMe which has, as of this writing, raised over $20,000 in the short time since the quake hit. The funds raised are to be directed straight to residents of Zincirli Village and Fevzipasa. I donated just now, and if any of you happen to have any spare funds and were looking for a way to make an impact, this will be direct relief to people impacted by this tragedy. There are more details on the GoFundMe site, and I would encourage everyone reading this to take a look and consider donating. Thank you.

Syria and the limits of my knowledge

SIRIA_-_TURCHIA_-_RUSSIA_-_pace_paese.jpgI’ve kinda had my head in the ground for the last couple of days; I’m sort of still there, as it’s taken me a good five or six minutes just to write this sentence.  It’s been a shitty few days to be an American, or at least to be a sane one.

(It’s been a worse few days to be a Syrian; I hope that I didn’t need to clarify that, but I’m going to anyway.)

I’ve been very clear here on multiple occasions about how I feel about how this country should treat Syrian refugees.  What I’ve been less clear on– in fact, I don’t know that I’ve really addressed it at all– is how we should treat Syria.  There’s a good reason for that; I know when I’m in over my fucking head, and this is absolutely one of those times.  Even before we get into “Should America take a side in the Syrian civil war?” there is the very important “Can America do anything about the Syrian civil war?”  There is also the minor fact that the Russians are involved and anything we do with Syria runs the risk of provoking Russia, which is something I suspect all of us would like to avoid.

I don’t know what to do about this, except for the part that is both relatively uncomplicated and morally clear: we should accept every refugee from this conflict that we possibly can.  Period.  I don’t have the tiniest idea what the hell to do about the rest of it.  I don’t feel bad about that.  I’m a fucking furniture salesman from Indiana.  There are people for whom figuring this shit out is their jobs.

Which, speaking of that: another thing I am absolutely certain of is that none of the gang of scam artists, poltroons and quarterwits currently occupying the White House have the vaguest fucking clue what to do, and I don’t trust them even the tiniest little bit to get any aspect of this shit right.  Barack Obama went to Congress to authorize military action and they turned him down; the shitgibbon fires fifty Tomahawk missiles at an airport, warning the Syrians and the Russians first but not bothering to notify Congress, and somehow fails to even disable the airport.

That is a failure of such epic proportions that it simply had to be intentional.  The point was to make a bunch of noise and waste a bunch of money but not to actually do anything worthwhile.  I suspect when Obama asked for Congress to authorize military action this was not what he had in mind.  Was what he wanted the right thing to do?  I have no idea.  I know that I trust Obama’s judgment infinitely more than I do the shitgibbon’s.  But that doesn’t mean he was right either.  For all I know there may very well be no way to cut this particular Gordian knot.

Fuck ’em for the stolen Supreme Court seat, too.  Which doesn’t really fit in this post but I’m including it anyway because it’s my blog.

On refugees and Christianity, again

On the right, Rouwaida Hanoun, a Syrian five-year-old who is, as far as I know, still alive.  On the left, Anne Frank, who is not.

There are– it is horrifying to think, but it is true– people who believe that the orange fascist currently occupying the White House is a Christian.  Many of these people are the same people who believed Barack Obama to not be a Christian, so it’s immediately and apparently clear that when they say “Christianity,” what they mean is “White supremacy,” and they have little to no idea of what Jesus actually preached, what he might have believed, or– rather importantly– what he looked like.

I noticed this morning that the post I wrote about refugees last year is spiking in page views again, which is not surprising.  The monster in the White House has chosen to ban desperately frightened and endangered people– the “least among us” who Jesus spoke of– from our country, has deliberately decided to let children die rather than incur even the slightest risk to people who look like him.  He has, of course, excluded his business partners from these calculations; if  you are wealthy enough for him to have business dealings with, you are a Person, of course; Rouwaida Hanoun is not.  When I wrote the post last year we had a President who, while he made bad decisions in any number of ways, I believed fundamentally cared about people.

Unfortunately, that is no longer remotely true, and the man who was trying to keep Syrian refugees out of my state at the time is now Vice President.  Most of the time, I have trouble believing our current President is actually human.  It takes every bit of moral strength I have to recognize that the demented narcissist in the White House deserves as much compassion and dignity as anyone else by simple virtue of having been born a person.  Somebody or something fucked this man up; I don’t believe he was born this awful.

But that’s beside the point.  When I wrote that post last year, I was trying to be nice and trying to be the voice of reason.  You may recognize the tone; I use it around here from time to time when I’m writing something I want to be taken more seriously than usual.  At this point, I’m going to take a different tack: if you don’t think these people should be allowed into the country, if you think refugees (and people with green cards!  People who have been here, and are now separated from their families simply by virtue of having been somewhere else when the ban went into effect!) should be banned from the United States simply because of their religion, you’re a fucking monster.  You’re not a Christian.  Christ himself would rebuke you– he already has, in fact, in clear terms in the Bible you claim to believe is divinely inspired and true in its every word.

You are a bad person if you agree with this ban.  You are a racist and a monster and a coward and every bit as much of a piece of shit as the people trying to keep the Jews out of the country in the 1940s were. You are the exact same people saying the exact same things for the exact same reasons, only with “Jew” crossed out and “Muslim” written in.  And while I don’t want this to be true and I try to be a better person, I really wish there was a Hell so I could see the look on your face when you end up there. Because Jesus has been clear on your responsibilities in this matter.  If you’re not a Christian, you don’t have to follow Jesus.  I certainly don’t.  But he was perfectly clear on this, and you are the bad guys.  

As I was writing this, word came through Twitter that the ACLU has won a stay against this executive order, which is good, as it was wildly illegal from the start.  I set up recurring monthly donations to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood today.  You should too.

In which I have no idea where I am or what’s going on

As of a couple of days ago, it’s been a solid two months since I managed anything like the work schedule I’ve grown accustomed to over the last 15 years, and as of right now it’ll be another two before I’m officially supposed to return.  Last weekend my brother and his fiancée were in town along with my best friend and we had Thanksgiving with my family a week early.  My son is on Thanksgiving break, and he’s home with me right now.

What this means is that I am a complete mess in terms of knowing what day of the week it is or when I’m supposed to be doing what or basically anything else.  I wrote the headline to this piece before I actually started it and I swear it was originally a #WeekendCoffeeShare post, meaning I thought it was bloody Saturday.

Thursday/Tomorrow is Real Thanksgiving, which will be celebrated with my wife’s family, and Friday through Sunday I’ll be at Starbase Indy in, well, Indianapolis.  I won’t be able to go anywhere or do anything tomorrow, though, so anything I need to buy or print or get done for Friday actually needs to be done today because everything righteous will be closed tomorrow.

That’s not helping.

So, yeah, today’s a weird day, and I have absolutely no idea what’s going on with my life right now.  I’m hoping the week after Thanksgiving holds a bunch of good news, but I’m not talking about that until it happens.

In other news, the Syria post had 10,316 views yesterday.  Remember when I was kvetching a little bit that it didn’t look like I’d get as many views this year as last year and that I really wanted 100K out of this year?  That post has been live for about exactly a week (within half an hour) as I’m typing this and it’s had 29,445 views, so so much for worrying about that.  It’s finally starting to show some signs of slowing down, and tomorrow is a major national holiday, so right now I’m guessing yesterday was the peak, but we’ll see what happens.

Much more to do today, so we’ll talk later.

In which my diamond shoes are too tight

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 8.34.25 AM.png

Damn post is wrecking my graphs.

It is Monday, which makes me feel like the traffic on the Syria post has got to slow down today, but the numbers so far show me differently.  On Saturday, I had 200 pageviews when I woke up in the morning and 500 by noon; on Sunday, 500 when I woke up and 1000 by just after noon, and today I had a thousand by 8:00 in the morning.  It’s 8:44 as I’m typing this.   That picture’s less than five minutes old and it’s 50 hits out of date already.

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This may end up too small to read, but look at that nonsense.  That 468 hourly high is after I went to bed, and I went to bed around 10:30, which means we had like ten straight hours of 350-400 hits per hour yesterday.  There should be a lull in the bell curve around midafternoon, and it ain’t there.  And that early-morning dip is probably still around 100-15o an hour.

The goddamn thing’s gonna catch and pass the Snowpiercer post today.  In six days.  Insanity.

I keep waiting for a troll invasion; I’ve stomped on one post where the person referred to “unvetted” refugees, demonstrating clearly that he had no idea how the refugee process actually works at all, and there have been a couple that I’ve laid a stinkeye on but have left alone.  I’ve made one alteration to the text where a mistake was pointed out and left another alone although I probably ought to edit it a bit.  I’m considering turning off comments today just because I legitimately have a shitton to do (this is my only day without the boy all week) and I don’t know how much time I have to wait for the racist hordes to land on my head.

Another interesting fact: Facebook continues to be just about the sole source for referrers.  You’d think that someone in there somewhere would have dumped the thing onto Zite or StumbleUpon or Reddit or something, but so far this is a Facebook party.  Which could be why I’m not seeing too many trolls; maybe they’re all staying on FB and yelling at people there.  Who knows.

(8:56 AM:  1318 views, meaning the post got 116 views in the less than fifteen minutes it took to write this.)