Sunday Evening Open Thread: Look for the Helpers

A happy story, for a change. Took the liberty of stripping out the intermediate twitter-headers, for easier reading…

It was my second day at the biology class. There was a quiz. My bio teacher, Ms. Gallagher, told me I didn’t have to worry about the quiz since I just got to the class, but gave me the quiz sheet anyway.

This is more than 20 years ago, but I still very clearly remember every detail of that quiz sheet. The quiz was about photosynthesis. It had a diagram of a leaf, and I was supposed to write what kind of gas comes to the leaf, what is expelled, etc.

I remember staring at it for about five minutes, slowly getting angry with frustration. I was mad because the quiz was easy. I learned about photosynthesis in Korea as a 7th grade. I knew all the answers. Just not in English.

The quiz was my new reality. I hope you all have a chance to experience this: the experience of suddenly becoming stupid, suddenly having all of your knowledge turning into dust, useless and inaccessible in a new environment with new language.

After five minutes, I just decided to write in the quiz in Korean. It didn’t matter that Ms. Gallagher told me the quiz wouldn’t count; I wasn’t going to turn in a blank quiz sheet. I just had to prove to myself that I didn’t suddenly become stupid.

Two days later, Ms. Gallagher handed out the graded quiz. Then she announced to the class: “[TK] has the highest grade. He had the perfect score.” What – I looked at my quiz sheet. She graded my quiz in Korean, and gave me all the check marks.

I asked Ms. Gallagher (somehow) how she managed to grade my paper. Turned out Ms. Gallagher took my quiz to a Korean Am math teacher at my school. The math teacher’s Korean wasn’t great either, but she looked up the dictionary to help my bio teacher grade my quiz.

I get more emotional each time I think about this. Because the older I get, the more I realize what an extraordinary step Ms. Gallagher took for the sake of her student. She already told me the quiz wouldn’t count. She didn’t have to go through the trouble of grading my quiz.

But Ms. Gallagher graded my quiz. I truly believe that moment changed the trajectory of my immigrant life in the United States. Thanks to my teacher, I was able to prove to myself that I didn’t suddenly turn stupid. I just had to learn the new language.

So I did. I learned English, I studied hard, and graduated second of my class. My graduation speech was like a scene out of Napoleon Dynamite–it was so rambling and so terrible and so accented, my classmates were so confused. They were kind enough not to boo me off the stage.

I moved onto a good college, then a good law school. Now I’m a lawyer and writer who engages the world via my writing. I’ve had writing professors telling me they use my English writing as a model for their students. That blows my mind every time I hear it.

So. Every time a fuckshit like John Kelly talks about non-English speaking immigrants not assimilating to America, I think back to Ms. Gallagher. I remind myself that America has way more Ms. Gallaghers than John Kellys.

130 replies
  1. 1
    satby says:

    I thought I was the only jackal left behind after the rapture I obviously missed.

    Great story.

  2. 2
    JanieM says:

    This made me cry.

  3. 3
    Fair Economist says:

    I would expect the rapture would leave a lot of jackals around.

  4. 4
    Corner Stone says:

    John Kelly is just a garbage human being. He is exactly where he is supposed to be. May he suffer more humiliations at the hands of an idiot moron revealing who he is.

  5. 5
    Yutsano says:

    Gonna try to get wifey back over here to give some perspective on this. Granted she pretty much grew up in the US but her brother struggled with English at first. Lemme work on her.

  6. 6
    Corner Stone says:

    It’s a great story, but schools have been hollowed out of all the Ms. Gallagher’s since that encounter.

  7. 7
    satby says:

    @Yutsano: tell her we miss her.

  8. 8
    zhena gogolia says:

    I remind myself that America has way more Ms. Gallaghers than John Kellys.

    That is true. Many, many more. But THEY (WE) ARE NOT IN POWER NOW. How did we let this happen? How do we undo it? The damage they are doing to our country every minute of every day makes me despair.

  9. 9
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    That story brought me to literal tears, especially the line:

    I remind myself that America has way more Ms. Gallaghers than John Kellys.

    Amen to that, and let’s all aspire to Ms. Gallagherdom every day.

  10. 10
    Lapassionara says:

    What a great story! Thanks for sharing.

    I am seeing people on twitter looking up the ancestors of prominent xenophobes, like Kelly and that blonde Fox personality. They both have grandparents who spoke languages other than English. They are unAmerican. How did this wave of disgusting hatred become so accepted?

  11. 11
    JPL says:

    @Corner Stone: fuckem. He’s a lying racist like his boss.

  12. 12
    Rusty says:

    This morning we attended services at our Lutheran Church. The church dates from the 1880’s. From its founding to WWI, the services were conducted in German. They only changed to English to be patriotic. Do we think of German immigrants not assimilating? This is the nature of immigration. John Kelly is a complete ass.

  13. 13
    Jeffro says:

    @Corner Stone: Co-sign.

    Is anyone seeing this wacko Trumpov/ZTE business? (perhaps it was covered in the last thread?)

    President Trump pledged on Sunday to help Chinese telecom giant ZTE return to business, days after the company said it would cease “major operating activities” because of the U.S. government’s recent trade restrictions, a dramatic shift in tone for a president who has long accused China of stealing U.S. jobs.

    “President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast,” Trump tweeted. “Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!”

    The comment could presage a reversal of one of the Trump administration’s toughest actions to date against a Chinese company. Last month, the Commerce Department penalized ZTE for violating a settlement with the U.S. government over illegal shipments to Iran and North Korea, barring U.S. firms for seven years from exporting critical microchips and other parts to ZTE.

    As a result, ZTE halted major operations, stressing in a statement Wednesday that it is “actively communicating with the relevant U.S. government departments in order to facilitate the modification or reversal” of the Commerce Department’s order.

    Now the crisis for ZTE may be nearing an end, a development that stunned trade and national security experts. The Treasury Department and the Commerce Department had been strongly aligned against ZTE as recently as several days ago.

    It’s highly unusual for a president to personally intervene in a regulatory matter, which could undercut the leverage of Treasury and Commerce officials seeking to enforce sanctions and trade rules. It could send the signal to foreign leaders that anything can be put on the bargaining table as Trump seeks to cut trade deals, trade analysts said.

    “It seems to cut across the concern about tech competition with China, supplying Iran, and jobs in China, so it all seems pretty confusing,” Adam Segal, the director of the Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations, said of Trump’s tweet. “That’s why everybody’s so flabbergasted by it. We’ve had from the beginning of this administration an increased drumbeat of warnings about ZTE and Huawei and the threat to U.S. security by having any of their products in the United States or U.S. supply chains.”

    We penalized them because they were doing all kinds of things against our national interest. Someone (coughJaredcough) got to Trumpov and now he’s fired up to get the back up and running?!?

    Trump’s trying to…help out a Chinese phone maker that ran afoul of US law by supplying…Iran…and North Korea???

  14. 14
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @Corner Stone:

    but schools have been hollowed out of all the Ms. Gallagher’s since that encounter

    Demonstrably false.

  15. 15
    HAL says:

    I did not realize until listening to a podcast yesterday that Trump’s admin was threatening Europe with sanctions if they stay with the Iran deal. I’m honestly mind boggled that this tactic is even being remotely considered. Seth Myers and Obama really hurt Trump’s feelings at that White House Correspondence dinner, huh?

  16. 16
    Josie says:

    1. John Kelly has obviously not lived anywhere close to recent immigrants (particularly Latino, in my experience) or he would not have made such a stupid statement.
    2. I also think that John Kelly would not be able to assimilate with any group of thinking individuals.

  17. 17
    dmsilev says:

    @Jeffro: If nothing else, this episode proves (as if it needed proving) just how little he actually cares about economic sanctions against Iran per se. It’s all about ripping up one of Obama’s accomplishments and listening to the sweet warmongering coos of John Bolton and Bibi Netanyahu.

  18. 18
    Another Scott says:

    @zhena gogolia: (As we all know,) The first step is voting out the monsters and voting in sensible people.

    177 days to go.

    Let’s make sure we do everything we’re able to make the future we want…


  19. 19
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    On a somewhat more mundane note: because I neither am nor have a mother, I took myself off to the nearest Fathom Events cinema for this month’s TCM Classic, Sunset Boulevard. For unknown reasons, it’s another great film that I had never seen. Didn’t even know the context of the famous “ready for my close-up” line.

    This is why I so appreciate the TCM series. In just the past year, as several of you may recall, I saw for the first time in my life The Godfather, The Princess Bride, and now today Sunset Boulevard — as well as plenty of other films I know and love but maybe haven’t watched on a big screen for half a century or so.

    Next month, a favorite: The Producers :-)

  20. 20
    Jeffro says:

    @dmsilev: Exactly. We could ask him about it at a press conference…oh wait, that’s right, he doesn’t do those…and hasn’t for what, two years?

    “president* Trumpov, could you tell us why you’re eager to help out a Chinese company that was penalized for trading with Iran in violation of US sanctions?”

    He really is going to try and sell out every last bit of this country.

  21. 21
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Corner Stone:
    You’re just a bundle of sunshine today, aren’t you?

  22. 22
    Baud says:

    I hope you all have a chance to experience this: the experience of suddenly becoming stupid

    Every day!

    Great story.

  23. 23
    Mary G says:

    @Jeffro: Don’t know if it’s true, but have also seen allegations that the Chinese government had them install spyware in their phones sold here, and I imagine everywhere, so they can track and easedrop on all users.

  24. 24
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Another Scott:

    I’m in Connecticut. We don’t count.

  25. 25
    El Caganer says:

    @Jeffro: Hey, there are $$ to be made here – forget sanctions and that shit.

  26. 26
    cmorenc says:

    My paternal grandmother Pauline arrived in the USA from Germany via Ellis Island in 1912 as a frightened 13-year old girl who didn’t speak a word of English and with only the equivalent of a 6th grade education, paid for by what was essentially a four-year contract of indentured servitude to a dairy farm in Massachusetts. She was accompanied only by her 15-year old sister “Tunta” who also spoke no English when she arrived, her passage similarly paid by what amounted to a contract for indentured servitude.

    Back c. 2000, I visited Ellis Island and stood on the balcony above the very huge intake processing room where my grandmother had passed just feet below me nearly 90 years earlier. I was not prepared for how emotionally moving an experience it was – it evoked a vivid imagination of those two young girls, my own grandmother and her sister, trying to cope with the terrifying, yet exciting experience of starting anew in an unfamiliar country with unfamiliar customs. Taking a huge chance to make a new life and opportunities for herself, rather than staying back in Germany in circumstances where her family was scraping by so marginally that they sent their early-teens daughters abroad to America.

    Just like the sorts of impoverished, non-English speaking immigrants Kelly says have poor prospects for integrating, only they have browner skin than my grandmother and mostly speak Spanish instead of German.

    BTW: my grandmother had three sons, all of whom served in WW2, one (my father) who became an M.D physician who graduated Phi Beta Kappa from college on the GI bill, one of whom graduated in electrical engineering, and one who became an accountant / business consultant, all of whom did very well.

    Just as will likely many of the sons and daughters of the immigrants Kelly spoke so dismissively of.

  27. 27
  28. 28
    Mary G says:

    @Corner Stone: @Smiling Mortician: Teachers have been striking in deep red states. They care about kids.

  29. 29
    Phylllis says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: And The Big Lebowski in August.

  30. 30
    Corner Stone says:

    @Smiling Mortician:

    Demonstrably false.

    Demonstrably false.

  31. 31

    Lovely tweet thread, thanks for highlighting (and de-tweetifying!) it.

    I finally wrote about day 2 of last month’s japan trip.

  32. 32
    JPL says:

    @Jeffro: Adam or Cheryl can chime in, but the only thing I can think of is Xi will lift the tariffs against soybeans. The soybean farmers might be more important to the asshole than national security.

  33. 33
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jeffro: Somebody’s getting the Big Grift, Hopefully, because they are so damn incompetent, we may find out sooner rather than later who that is.

  34. 34
    Mary G says:

    If you want to put a long Twitter thread all in one document, tweet @threadreaderapp unroll. It’s a bot that will make a web page with each tweet as a paragraph. Somebody did it for the above thread:

    Hello please find the unroll here: Thread by @AskAKorean: "As a formerly non-English speaking immigrant, here is a story I cherish. It's 1997. I just moved from Korea to Los Angel […]" a good day. 🤖— Thread Reader App (@threadreaderapp) May 12, 2018

  35. 35
    dnfree says:

    @Corner Stone: Two of my grandchildren attend a school in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with a lot of immigrant students and families, of various backgrounds. In fact, it’s a consciously bilingual school–everyone there takes classes taught in English half the time and in Spanish the other half. (Some kids don’t speak either as their native tongue.) The cafeteria has a border consisting of the flags of all the countries their students come from.

  36. 36
    jl says:

    Thanks for an inspiring story. Great that the student T.K. of AAK (? wha? the twitter handle, right?) was so inspired.
    I spend about a third of my time teaching, so I also need to remember the example of Ms. Gallagher.

  37. 37
    Millard Filmore says:


    I thought I was the only jackal left behind after the rapture I obviously missed.

    Did you miss the announcement? This year’s rapture will be in July.

  38. 38
    Corner Stone says:

    @dnfree: That’s great!

  39. 39
    chopper says:


    that’s likely it. china’s getting him to cry uncle.

  40. 40
    Baud says:


    It could send the signal to foreign leaders that anything can be put on the bargaining table as Trump seeks to cut trade deals, trade analysts said.

    Including several states.

  41. 41
    Brachiator says:


    Do we think of German immigrants not assimilating?

    Yep. Absolutely. In the run-up to WWI most recently.

    This story of the Korean immigrant is wonderful and inspiring.

    It is also a reminder of the values we must fight for. We can and will defeat this resurgence of bigotry. We’ve done it before, and we can do it again.

  42. 42
    JPL says:

    @chopper: Unfortunately, his voters in rural America could care less that our national security is at risk.

  43. 43
    Mary G says:

    The Trump Administration is sending these talking points on Iran out to surrogates. “Is the U.S. now safer?”“The real answer is, we don’t know.”That’s a hell of an admission.— Jeffrey Lewis (@ArmsControlWonk) May 13, 2018

    My poor desk has a big hole worn in it.

  44. 44
    Best Peasant says:

    What a wonderful story!

  45. 45
    jl says:

    T.K. of AAK has an interesting blog. Doesn’t pull any punches.
    Doesn’t like SK conservatives. Claims corruption in SK conservative party messed up some of their own home grown Trumpist BS symbolic policies. Says the speakers aimed at NK that they took down in DMZ didn’t work because previous conservative government embezzled too much money to buy good ones.

    Don’t know if true, but I think I’ll remember to check the blog from time to time while the Korean drama unfolds.

  46. 46
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Thanks, yes, I plan to.

  47. 47
    efgoldman says:


    as a frightened 13-year old girl who didn’t speak a word of English and with only the equivalent of a 6th grade education,

    My paternal grandparents came here (to Boston) separately as adolescents around 1905; he from St Petersburg, she from a shtetl somewhere in Byelorussia. Girls where she grew up received no formal education. .By the time I knew them, both were literate in five languages and read five newspapers in Englsh, Hebrew, and Yiddish every day.

  48. 48
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Yup, never seen that either! In my calendar!

  49. 49
    jl says:

    @Brachiator: I think a higher proportion of German-Americans were sympathetic and took action to aid their side in both WWI and WWII than Japanese-Americans in WWII. That is a low bar, since Japanese-American treachery was almost zero.

    There was quite a lot of tolerance for minorities keeping their culture in the US, if it was not perceived as being a threatening culture. So I think it was considered no big deal if Germans, Swiss-Germans, Norwegians, Swedes (remember Scandinavia was a bunch of shithole countries sending a lot of impoverished malnourished rural folk that did weird folkloric shit and ate crummy food back in the day) , wanted to keep their language in church services and in local communities. And that group included Mexicans in the SW back in the day. When the feds did remember to include them in immigration quotas they weren’t enforced much.

    But IIRC correctly the feds went on an anti-German propaganda campaign, and discrimination against German culture in the US during WWI was ferocious. Some of my Swiss-German ancestors changed their names during WWI since the average person couldn’t tell Germans from Swiss-Germans and probably wouldn’t care anyway. All of that filth was the same Hun threat, back then.

  50. 50
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Mary G:

    My poor desk has a big hole worn in it.

    How’s your forehead holding up?

  51. 51
    Peale says:

    @Jeffro: so not only was the Iran deal a bad deal, now the sanctions that led up to the Iran deal were a bad deal. But then that’s always been the case I suppose since the people in 2010 clamoring about starting a war with Iran over its nuclear program were passed off about the sanctions since they prevented the need for war. It’s almost as if they want war, but no wealthy people to be put off by it.

  52. 52
    Yarrow says:

    Michael Avenatti follows up on his earlier tweet with photos of the Trump tower lobby on Dec 12, 2016

    Why was Ahmed Al-Rumaihi meeting with Michael Cohen and Michael Flynn in December 2016 and why did Mr. Al-Rumaihi later brag about bribing administration officials according to a sworn declaration filed in court?— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) May 13, 2018

    A good lawyer won’t ask questions he doesn’t already know the answer to.

  53. 53
    jl says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I thought the BJ commentariate was a hard headed lot. Some crummy desk is gong to cause problems?

  54. 54
    sukabi says:

    @Jeffro: Drumpf has been creating jobs all over the world- Russia, China, ect…just not many here…those countries will gladly fill his pockets with cash and keep his dirty secrets…he’s just got to gut the US.

  55. 55
    Juice Box says:

    The US Constitution does not specify a national language because only half the country spoke English at the time of the constitutional convention. To further reject the UK, Benjamin Franklin argued in favor of adopting the language that the other half of the population spoke, German, even though he didn’t speak it himself. I have multiple ancestors who fought in German speaking units during the Revolutionary War and five generations of my family were educated in the German language schools that were plentiful in Pennsylvania and the upper midwest. This country has never been a monolingual, English speaking country.

  56. 56

    The story of knowing something but not in another language reminded me of a student I had at GMI. It was a wholly cooperative engineering college and this young woman was co-oping at the Army Tank and Automotive Command. Some French military people were visiting and she was tapped to accompany them around the facility because her mother was French and they spoke it at home. But she discovered that despite the fact that she’d been designing and testing tank parts, she didn’t know the words for them in French. That never came up at her mother’s dinner table.

  57. 57
    jl says:

    Wiki has a nice article on anti=German propaganda in WWI, with some cool posters.

    Anti-German sentiment

    I guess would have been ferocious anti-Italian propaganda too, but IIRC, the Entente countries bought off Italy early in the war with promises of territory after victory, and they switched sides. I hope that is correct, but I don’t have to check before heading out.

    Edit: I decided I had time to check, to avoid humiliation by the ace commenters here. Italy didn’t switch sides, just didn’t enter the war at first since it felt WWI was not started on terms that obliged it fight with other members of the Triple Alliance. But some promises of war spoil changed its mind. WWI was a very high minded war, don’t you know? So, my comment on Italy was inaccurate.

  58. 58
    Ruckus says:

    Someone else asked this question in an earlier post. Here’s my answer.
    Because there might be something in it for him? Or better yet….. What has he been promised by some other sleaze to get him to do that?
    At least we can be sure that he did it out of the kindness of his wallet. He has no other motivation. OK that’s only partially true, he has both lust and hate.

  59. 59
    Mike in NC says:

    Local TV news just did a bit about a state rep calling out teachers as “unionized thugs”. Of course he’s a Republican.

  60. 60
    sukabi says:

    @Yarrow: down in that thread another part of the Steele dossier is confirmed.

    Former Qatari diplomat, and now the head of a $100B Qatari Investment Fund, admitted to bribing Michael Flynn and tried bribing Steve Bannon.

    Who is buying that 19% stake in Rosneft? You guessed it, this fund.

    Steele Dossier Verification?!?!.

    Court documents embedded at link.

  61. 61
    Peale says:

    @jl: my grandmother started public school in 1921 and was the first kid in her extended family (of about 20 native born cousins by that time.) to attend the public school for English speakers. It was hard on my great grandmother since her side of the family cut off the family for that decision. I think they thought after the war, everything should go back the way it was, with kids studying the Bible in the original German supervised by pastors who only spoke German in church.

  62. 62
    Another Scott says:


    We’ve been thinking (for several years) about replacing J’s 2000 Corolla with an electric or plug-in hybrid car. I’ve been doing some reading, off and on, about the various issues. I noticed today that the $7,500 federal tax credit phases out for each manufacturer once they have sold 200,000 units. Tesla and Toyota are getting close (so it’s something to think about if you’ve been eyeing those manufacturers). The 2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid looks like an interesting car (Honda isn’t close to 200,000 units yet).

    I glanced at the warranty downloads and noticed their emission warranty (3 page .pdf):

    Emissions warranties are state specific. Refer to the years/miles1 columns below as follows:
    • A – Minimum coverage for all vehicles in all states.
    • B – Vehicles registered and normally operated in Oregon.
    • C – Vehicles that are registered and normally operated in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

    Most of the federal minimums are 3 years/36,000 miles (A). Most of the items for Oregon (B) are 3/50.

    But the California and hangers-on group (C) is 15 years/150,000 miles!!

    Take a look at all the items covered, and think about what it would cost if you had to replace them over 15 years… It’s almost enough to make one think about moving across the river to Maryland.



    Seriously, it’s obvious that Honda (and presumably the other manufacturers) are able to satisfy the emissions requirements for extended periods (15/150). They choose not to in most of the country. If I were benevolent despot, I would extend that warranty protection country-wide. It would help consumers, and would help air quality.

    It’s pocketbook issues that our elected representatives decide every day. We need to make things like this an aspect of the campaign – “The Teabaggers want to destroy the 15 years / 150,000 miles emissions warranties for California and 11 other states. We want to extend those warranty protections to you and everyone else across the country. Vote Team D to help it happen!!”


  63. 63
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @Corner Stone: Dude, you’re the one who made the absolute claim about schools being rid of “all” the compassionate teachers. A single example of a compassionate teacher proves you wrong. Pretty sure you’re wrong (speaking as a teacher, BTW).

  64. 64
    The Fat Kate Middleton says:

    @jl: One of the families that did that were the Bushes (the presidential family) – before World War I, their family name was Busch.

  65. 65

    It’s a beautiful story, and a great reminder of what we’re fighting for. I still believe that there are more of us than them, just have to outnumber them at the ballot box.

  66. 66
    The Fat Kate Middleton says:

    @Smiling Mortician: You’re right – he’s not. It’s what teachers do. As a teacher myself, i can testify to this.

  67. 67
    Peale says:

    @Ruckus: or it could just be that China told Adelson that if he wanted to continue to run casinos in Macau he needed to get that decision reversed

  68. 68
    jl says:

    @The Fat Kate Middleton: Some oldsters in my family who were into genealogy found it surprisingly hard after they got serious about it and went back to Civil War. All the original documents were in old very obscure Swiss-German dialects, stuff like birth and local business records and correspondence. All the ancestral oldsters who remembered anything about the lingo were long passed away. English was a second language when doing business with out-of-towners.

  69. 69
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @The Fat Kate Middleton: Thanks. And I’ll bet you can.

  70. 70
    Kathleen says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: One of my YMCA friends is a special needs teacher in Cincinnati Public School District, She had a student who should have never advanced but did assigned to her class. She said they hated each other. It was so bad the school psychologist told her to be careful. My friend knew of a program that she thought would be most helpful to him, and she lobbied and worked long and hard to get him placed there. He got into the program, his grades improved immediately and they became good friends, meeting for lunch at lunch time. Since his grades were now good he was qualified to join the track team, where he is one of the fastest runners. She said she goes to all of his track meets I gather his mother is not involved much in his life but I don’t really know anything about his home situation) and told him she would always be there for him as long as he continued to “do good”. That story made me tear up, as did this one.

  71. 71
    jl says:

    @The Fat Kate Middleton: Huh, so the Bush’s are vile barbaric Huns. That explains a lot. Should have kicked them out when we had a chance.

  72. 72

    @Jeffro: @JPL: Beats me. And others. The soybean hypothesis is the first I’ve seen that makes any sense at all. Here’s someone more informed than I am.

  73. 73
    Brachiator says:


    There was quite a lot of tolerance for minorities keeping their culture in the US, if it was not perceived as being a threatening culture.

    There has always been a swing between bigotry and tolerance in the US. Here’s a little tidbit I found in the Wiki about Been Franklin, who had published the first German language paper in the US.

    In a 1751 pamphlet on demographic growth and its implications for the colonies, he called the Pennsylvania Germans “Palatine Boors” who could never acquire the “Complexion” of the English settlers and referred to “Blacks and Tawneys” as weakening the social structure of the colonies. Although Franklin apparently reconsidered shortly thereafter, and the phrases were omitted from all later printings of the pamphlet, his views may have played a role in his political defeat in 1764

    I acknowledge and thank you for your comments about German Americans and the WWI era. Of course, the rise in bigotry became so bad that some people of German ancestry changed their name, and names like Donald suddenly became popular. In England, the royal family became Windsors.

    I’ve also read that this was a time when European ethnicity was dowplayed to a degree and people became “white.” The counter-reaction in the South was the rise of racial purity laws and intensified segregation.

  74. 74
    Corner Stone says:

    @Smiling Mortician: I’ll stand by the “hollowed out” part, based on multiple campuses across a couple different ISD’s. However, I retract the “all” part because I haven’t spoken with every teacher that exists.
    It seems fairly obvious that a multi-decade organized action against public schools and public education, education in general, has produced fruit over the last 15 years or so (?). The 2009/2010 belt tightening has yet to be recovered from. I have not been encouraged by what I have encountered, mostly anecdata but a few obvious, observable outcomes.

  75. 75

    Many thanks to Anne for this story. It’s been a crazy day, with contradictory messages emanating from the Trumpies on the Sunday shows. But there are more good people out here than bad. We’ve got to pull together and get the bad ones out of power.

  76. 76
    jl says:

    @Brachiator: That comment wasn’t aimed at you as if you didn’t know it.

    I for one am a proud BJ commenter who likes to spout on issues I think of general interest and on my list of current hobby horses.

    One of the issues of general interest and current hobby horses is the extreme ignorance, wrongheadedness bigotry and cynical manipulation (depending on which reactionary we are talking about) of the current race and ethnicity baiting coming from the GOP and Trumpsters.

  77. 77
    Ruckus says:


    Just as will likely many of the sons and daughters of the immigrants Kelly spoke so dismissively of.

    This is one of the things that people like Kelly are very afraid of. That someone with nothing will come to this country and run rings around people like them. They will be better, they will work harder, and they will be better citizens. Because they are better humans.
    Most of us older boomers had many friends/relatives whose parents came here with nothing more than the clothes on their backs, who worked hard and were successful good people. Hell a lot of people a lot younger know people like this, I also know a number of people who came here and have studied, worked hard and made a good life.
    My mothers mom is supposed to have come here as an infant from Sicily, my fathers family a couple of generations earlier from Scotland and Ireland.
    The reason people like Kelly think that immigrants come here to steal everything is that they think it’s alright to steal everything and can’t see why someone with nothing doesn’t think the same way. But even worse they see everything as Zero Sum. They really do not have any idea of how to make things work or make them better. They are the defective ones.

  78. 78
    RepubAnon says:

    @Yarrow: And Michael Avenatti is a very good lawyer. I expect he’s got the cancelled check, an the thank you note confirming the quo was received in exchange for the quid.

    No wonder Trump didn’t want anyone looking into his finances – he knew that was where the evidence of criminal activity would be found.

  79. 79
    Peale says:

    @HAL: yep. So ZYE will be given a pass while Germany is going to have to pay if Siemens does business in Iran. And if they ball, he’ll just humiliate Merkel by handing her another invoice for something.

  80. 80
  81. 81
    rikyrah says:

    From grammar school on, I grew up around classmates that were at most, second generation. Either their parents, but most certainly their grandparents didn’t speak English. Never occurred to me that they shouldn’t be here.
    Phuck all those racist muthaphuckas 😠

  82. 82


    Trump’s trying to…help out a Chinese phone maker that ran afoul of US law by supplying…Iran…and North Korea???

    You’re thinking in terms of a comprehensive foreign policy. Trump doesn’t do that. Trump specifically doesn’t believe in that, even if he were smart enough to keep one straight. Trump likes tariffs, for the bullying aspect and because they reflect his prejudices, but tariffs aren’t part of this deal. Trump likes negotiating specific deals, by himself. Trump hates regulations, hates them with an unholy passion that rivals his hatred of minorities. And of course, he’s corrupt as shit. If China offered to line his pocket personally in some way, this deal would be an easy sell to Trump.

  83. 83
    Brachiator says:

    I hope you all have a chance to experience this: the experience of suddenly becoming stupid.

    I’ve studied history more over the years and constantly run across stuff I never knew, or that I misunderstood.

    Quick example, brought to mind by this thread. For a long time, I didn’t know that the “Pennsylvania Dutch” were actually of German origin.

  84. 84
    Ruckus says:

    For drumpf it will always come back around to his wallet or who he hates, with hate a distant second. He’s making a change, there’s a reason and it’s money that benefits him somewhere. It could be money going to DB for loans he owes. It could be for his legal slush fund, that is going to need a lot more than it could possibly have in it now.
    But never forget it is always quid pro quo with him and not for any other reason. Always.

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  86. 86
    Luthe says:

    @Jeffro: How much did ZTE give Cohen? Inquiring minds want to know.

  87. 87
    Brachiator says:


    That comment wasn’t aimed at you as if you didn’t know it.

    Oh, no problem.

    Your comments remind me how pockets of immigrant culture remained in the US. For years, one of the local radio stations here in Southern California broadcast German music and cultural programs for a couple of hours during the weekend. Oktoberfest is still big, especially in Torrance.

    And I worked with a guy whose family was from a German American community in South Gate. Oddly enough, some of his family were strongly pro-German up to through the early years of WWII.

  88. 88
    Ruckus says:

    That is an epic twitter thread.

  89. 89
    Corner Stone says:


    “Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!”

    If Trump had said nothing else, or even lots else, this simple two sentence part would still never make sense. It is completely unparsable.

  90. 90
    Brachiator says:


    Just as will likely many of the sons and daughters of the immigrants Kelly spoke so dismissively of.

    This is why Trump and the Republicans have to be defeated. Otherwise, they will turn their bigotry into immigration law, and many people will never have the opportunity to prove Kelly wrong.

  91. 91
    dnfree says:

    @Brachiator: Yes, my mom was “Pennsylvania Dutch”, and she explained that it was actually “Pennsylvania Deutsch”.

  92. 92
    Ruckus says:

    @Corner Stone:

    It is completely unparsable.

    So no different than anything else the moron utters?

  93. 93
    Suzanne says:

    @Corner Stone:

    It’s a great story, but schools have been hollowed out of all the Ms. Gallagher’s since that encounter.

    There are still plenty of great teachers. A bunch of them went on strike this year.

  94. 94
    Brachiator says:

    Meanwhile, conservatives try to re-write history. From HuffPo.

    Conservative pundit Tomi Lahren attempted on Saturday night to defend controversial remarks from White House chief of staff John Kelly by rewriting American history to claim low-skilled immigrants have no place in the U.S.

    “You don’t just come into this country with low skills, low education, not understanding the language and come into our country because someone says it makes them feel nice. That’s not what this country is based on,” Lahren said in an appearance on Fox News, adding: “We don’t believe in importing poverty.”

    Oh, the irony:

    Lahren herself appears to be the descendant of an immigrant born in the Russian Empire who forged an immigration document to try to secure his status.


  95. 95
    Gretchen says:

    @Major Major Major Major: lovely pictures but what is that fried thing you’re eating? Did it taste better than it looks?

  96. 96
    debbie says:

    That story proves yet again that our teachers are one of our greatest treasures.

  97. 97
    Gretchen says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor (formerly Iowa Old Lady): I used to work at that Michigan Tank Command!

  98. 98
    Corner Stone says:

    Speaking of car wrecks. This may leave a mark.
    USAToday link:
    Tesla with Autopilot slams into truck stopped at red light
    “A Tesla sedan with a semi-autonomous Autopilot feature has rear-ended a fire department truck at 60 mph (97 kph) apparently without braking before impact, but police say it’s unknown if the Autopilot feature was engaged.”
    I mean, I guess if you have to slam into somebody then a fire truck sounds like a decent choice.

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    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor (formerly Iowa Old Lady):

    I’ve never asked you before, but am curious: when you taught at GMI, where did you live?

  100. 100
    gene108 says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    So just another move to undo what Obama did.

    The history of this era will be interesting, because it will be written by the political victors.

    Either the decline US standing in the world begins with Bush, Jr lying us into the Iraq war or it begins with Obama starting his Presidency with a “global apology tour”.

  101. 101
    Jager says:

    @Another Scott: We have a Volt, get one. It’s a great car. Charging it daily, upped our power bill an average of 28 bucks a month. The gas engine in the Volt is a generator, if you run out of electric power, it starts and makes more juice. The Volt is the perfect step to take before full electric cars increase their range and knock off the anxiety factor of driving them. Our Volt has been a perfect commuter car for Mrs. J for over 4 years. Drive one you’ll like it, a lot.

  102. 102
    J R in WV says:

    Frankly, if I was a nation in the EU, I would tell Trump that sanctions can work both ways.

    Want French wine, German cars, Italian food, vacations in Europe? Ease up or do without.

    Want to visit Europe? Apply for a visa, and include your voter’s registration documents… R’s need not apply. Learn to fight dirty when you have to fight a pig.

    A lot of Trump’s supporters can’t live without French and other EU locale food stuffs. Make them squeal.

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    Corner Stone says:

    Got no sympathy for these fucking crab industry Trump voters in MD.

  104. 104
    rikyrah says:

    I love that story. Thanks😥😥

  105. 105
    rikyrah says:

    @Corner Stone:
    Absolute garbage😠😠

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    Mayim says:

    @Another Scott:

    What’s really interesting? I could have predicted the group C states with about 90% accuracy. Would have possibly added Hawaii, and possibly expected Oregon to be in C rather than its own category.

    But otherwise, yup. CA and WA, then all of New England (except usual hold out NH), then the other northeastern states.

    A frequent pattern of how good laws expand their reach in the U.S.

  107. 107
    rikyrah says:

    I love people bringing receipts on these muthaphuckas😠

  108. 108
    rikyrah says:

    @Corner Stone:
    Not one ounce of sympathy😒

  109. 109
    Another Scott says:

    @Jager: Thanks for the report! Appreciated.


  110. 110
    rikyrah says:

    We were smart enough not to vote for a grifting TRAITOR
    So, Phuck You and Your Mother

  111. 111
    Ohio Mom says:

    @rikyrah: My maternal grandmother came here from Hungary as a teenager between the World Wars. Her older sister had married a dentist and as a result, there was no money left to provide a dowry for my grandmother — you had to cough up a lot of dough if you wanted someone with the status of a dentist to take your daughter off your hands.

    So my grandmother came here and worked as a sort of informal indentured servant to some distant relatives who were already settled here before moving on to other things.

    All this of way as saying, Tomi Lahren has it backwards. People who were comfortable in Europe did not uproot themselves. It was the poor people who were motivated to give up everything they knew and had to cross the ocean.

    (The epilogue to this story is that my grandmother was safely ensconced in the Bronx while her sister and her dentist husband perished in the Holocaust. Their daughter survived and eventually came here.)

  112. 112
    frosty says:

    @Jager: I agree. My brother has a Volt, loves it. AFAIK it’s the only serial gas-electric hybrid instead of parallel. Which means, like you say, the gas engine doesn’t drive the wheels, it charges the batteries. All the others have two drivetrains in parallel, which seems needlessly complicated to me.

  113. 113

    @SiubhanDuinne: Birmingham. Mr DAW commuted the other way to Redford. Before that, we lived in the city near 7 mile and Woodward.

  114. 114
    CliosFanBoyNeeWoodrowfan says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    All this of way as saying, Tomi Lahren has it backwards. People who were comfortable in Europe did not uproot themselves. It was the poor people who were motivated to give up everything they knew and had to cross the ocean.

    Bill Murry’s speech from “STRIPES” (SFW)

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    CliosFanBoyNeeWoodrowfan says:

    @Jager: seconded. A colleague has one, which they recharge at work everyday. They love it.

  117. 117
    Brachiator says:


    We have a Volt, get one. It’s a great car. Charging it daily, upped our power bill an average of 28 bucks a month.

    What’s the net monthly energy cost or energy savings?

    What is the rang of the vehicle?

    Do you use it mainly for daily commute? Short trips?

  118. 118
    J R in WV says:

    I must say, I’m loving all these right-wing bigots who preach about foreigners who don’t speak English and will never adapt, who then get to read about their ancestors who snuck in, didn’t speak English, sold fruits, and wound up doing very well.

    Screw those bigots. My grandfather didn’t speak any English until he first went to school, lost his leg in a farm accident at 13, which meant he lost his job! and still did very well indeed. He wound up a successful businessman with many employees who loved working for him.

  119. 119
    HILFY says:

    @Ruckus: What is the DB to which, or whom, Trump owes money? Thanks. Deuche Bank?

  120. 120
    Peale says:

    @HILFY: yes. Deutsche Bank.

  121. 121
    Chet Murthy says:

    @HILFY: DeutscheBank

  122. 122
    frosty says:

    @Brachiator: Range is like any other gas powered car. My brother has driven from his place to mine, 225 miles, no sweat. He plugs it in here overnight. I don’t know the range of electric-only, but if he only uses it for commuting, he doesn’t buy gas more than once a month or so.

  123. 123
    Mel says:

    @Corner Stone: Not all. As miserable as things are for teachers, many Mrs. Gallaghers are still hanging in there, fighting for their kids. We have to fight with them and for them.

  124. 124
    Vhh says:

    @Jeffro: ZTE bribed Trump Org. Same as what Europe will do. Same as Qatar. Putin does the same with the oligarchs. Trump, like Putin, is a mob boss, a thug.

  125. 125
    gwangung says:

    @Brachiator: This grandson of a Chinese immigrant looks at my grandparents….and laughs at the stupid bwok gwai.

  126. 126

    I hope you would be the Ms. Gallagher to someone else.

    If we all strive to be the light in the darkness, the darkness goes away.
    It also helps if we pay our teachers more.

  127. 127
    Tehanu says:

    My grandmother’s family came from Romania around 1906, when she was 10. Her generation were mostly seamstresses, deli cooks, newsboys, secondhand furniture peddlers. Their sons and daughters became teachers, college professors, lawyers, and doctors, and their kids — my generation — the same, with “computer professional” added in. But I think the seamstresses and newsboys contributed to America as much as their better-educated kids, because they truly valued education and upheld good ethics — which is more than John Kelly has ever done.

  128. 128
    Anne Laurie says:


    From grammar school on, I grew up around classmates that were at most, second generation. Either their parents, but most certainly their grandparents didn’t speak English. Never occurred to me that they shouldn’t be here.

    You reminded me — in the sixth grade, our class of 50 did some ‘melting pot’ research; exactly *one* of our classmates had four grandparents who were born in America. (Which is, IIRC, not something Donald Trump can claim, either.)

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    varmintito says:

    When I taught middle school (20+ years ago), about 1/3 of the kids were either first or second generation, mostly from central america or east asia, but plenty of other places as well. I taught a girl who had spent much of her childhood in a refugee camp in Afghanistan, the daughter of an Egyptian diplomat, and the son of a deposed west African dictator, as well as lots of kids from El Salvador, Korea and Vietnam.

    It was probably my favorite thing about the school. I had considerable autonomy over my lesson planning, and I spent a great deal of time studying the history of the many waves of immigration to this country. I had the privilege to know hundreds of living refutations of Kelly’s lies and bigotry.

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