Last week’s threats, and a little history

From the Associated Press:

A student at the University of Oklahoma was temporarily suspended and police are investigating a threat against a Muslim student near the University of Michigan amid racially charged outbursts at schools and universities across the country following Donald Trump’s presidential election.

The Associated Press and other local media outlets identified several reports of racist incidents at schools since Tuesday, including a group chat that the Oklahoma student got involved with aimed at black freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania, Trump’s alma mater.

The chat contained “violent, racist and thoroughly disgusting images and messages,” and Penn is “appalled” its students were added to the GroupMe account,” UPenn President Amy Gutmann said. Gutmann said UPenn police have been working with the FBI. She earlier said officials had increased campus safety and were “reaching out to support the affected students.”

University of Oklahoma President David Boren in a statement said the student has been temporarily suspended as the school investigates further.

“It would appear this matter did not originate at the University of Oklahoma, but started elsewhere,” Boren said in a statement.

In Ann Arbor, Michigan, police are looking into a report of a man who threatened to set a Muslim student on fire with a lighter if she didn’t remove her hijab on Friday. The incident apparently happened near the University of Michigan campus, according to Ann Arbor police Sgt. Patrick Maguire. He added that the department is “investigating it actively … and soliciting information from anyone who may have witnessed anything.”

A crime alert issued by the university said the woman took off her hijab and left the area. Witnesses told police the man was white with an “unkempt appearance” and “intoxicated with slurred speech.”

The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called Saturday for the incident to be investigated as a hate crime, saying the “alleged attack is just the latest anti-Muslim incident reported since the election of Donald Trump as president.”

In other news, last week marked the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht:

Kristallnacht, literally, “Night of Crystal,” is often referred to as the “Night of Broken Glass.” The name refers to the wave of violent anti-Jewish pogroms which took place on November 9 and 10, 1938. This wave of violence took place throughout Germany, annexed Austria, and in areas of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia recently occupied by German troops.

Kristallnacht owes its name to the shards of shattered glass that lined German streets in the wake of the pogrom—broken glass from the windows of synagogues, homes, and Jewish-owned businesses plundered and destroyed during the violence.

But we’re told “It Can’t Happen Here.”

A brief reading list to prepare you for Jan. 20 and beyond

Here are a few books to prepare you for the next four years in America:
1984 by George Orwell
Black Boy by Richard Wright
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis
The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
Nixonland by Rick Perlstein
Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

A couple of plays:
The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman
The Crucible by Arthur Miller

And a couple of graphic novels:
March: Book One by John Lewis
Maus by Art Spiegelman

When you click on some of the titles, you’ll get to read an excerpt from the book. In a couple of cases, if you have a Kindle, you can get the book free.

Read them now, so you know what you’ll be up against. And get them before the Pump Truppets start burning them.

(Other suggestions are welcome)


Hillary had dinner with the ADHD poster boy last night

There’s something called the Al Smith Dinner each year in New York, where the New York elite gather to raise money for the archdiocese to help poor children. But it’s also a time with political figures are invited as speakers to tell jokes about each other.

So guess who showed up:

I really enjoy how she’s being a nasty girl to the thin skinned kumquat, and I really like how she made Rudy Giuliani look like his head was going to explode. But if this is the only speech you see from the dinner, you probably think she’s being extraordinarily mean, or as Barbara Bush once said, “It rhymes with rich.”

But her opponent was on the dais before her and had a few things to say. Ladies and gentlemen, I now present you the best the Republican Party has to offer.

Here’s the thing. I really believe he thinks these jokes are hilarious. Because he’s from alt-right land, where they speak their own language, all of it horrible. To that basket of deplorables, this is the epitome of comic wit.

Honestly, I see this guy and the people who support him and I feel like I accidentally wandered into the bonfire rally in “Lord of the Flies.”

(That, my friends, is another obscure literary reference that will go over the heads of the passengers on the GOP trolley to doom. Because every literary reference to that crowd is obscure, including “The Grouchy Ladybug,” which bears a striking resemblance to the Republican standard bearer.)

A few words from the Nobel Prize winner

This is from the 1976 Rolling Thunder Review. I saw it when it hit Madison Square Garden. It highlighted the imprisonment of the boxer Hurricane Carter, who was railroaded into jail on a murder charge.

Hurricane Carter was freed years later and died in 2014.

One of the things about a Dylan concert is he doesn’t always play songs the way you know them. He can be halfway into the song and you realize, “Oh, this is ‘Tangled Up in Blue.'” And he changes the lyrics on you or, as in this case, drops an entire verse.

Anyway, Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for literature yesterday.