Daily Bread for 12.25.20

Good morning.

Christmas Day in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of twenty.  Sunrise is 7:24 AM and sunset 4:26 PM, for 9h 02m 37s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing gibbous with 81.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is both the one thousand five hundred eighth day and the forty-ninth day. 

  On this day in 1776, Washington and the Continental Army cross the Delaware River at night to attack Hessians serving Great Britain at Trenton, New Jersey, the next day.

Recommended for reading in full — 

 Greg Sargent writes The Biden team does not seem spooked by the ghost of Stephen Miller:

When it came to asylum seekers and refugees, President Trump’s agenda, crafted by adviser Stephen Miller, was largely animated by a few core principles.

Among them: Migrants are primarily a threat, and should above all be feared. They’re largely driven by nefarious motives, looking to scam their way into the United States and get over on us, rather than being driven by larger forces that rendered their decisions to migrate understandable, earning them just treatment.

And because of those, their efforts to migrate must above all be crushed through the deterrence of maximal cruelty and hardship, and migration flows must be mercilessly reduced to the lowest levels possible.

President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team is sending early signs that the break with this worldview will be comprehensive, substituting an entirely new vision. And the rough outlines of this vision are heartening, though details will matter greatly.

On Monday, top Biden officials gave a briefing to reporters on their thinking about migrations from Central America. The New Yorker’s Jonathan Blitzer offered a good thread reporting the details.

First, Biden officials said their intention is to “expand legal pathways for migration,” including “allowing people to apply for refugee resettlement.”

That’s important. It means they will seek to create pathways for would-be asylum seekers to apply for refugee status from home countries. That seems to mirror a Democratic proposal that would expand the number of refugees the U.S. takes in from Central America in particular.

The principle underlying this is that it’s good policy to create ways for people to more easily seek protection here, to relieve them from having to make the arduous, dangerous trek. This would also enable us to manage migration more effectively, allowing for evaluation of cases before migrants make the trip.

 Sam Anderson writes Watch This Snowball Fight From 1897 for a Jolt of Pure Joy:

We are so clearly living through the worst chapters of a civics textbook. Even as we suffer, we know that our hyperventilations and breakdowns will be archived and studied by some patient people in a saner future. And so we feel displaced. We have become living fossils, ancient even to ourselves. Still, somehow, there is so much fresh pain.

Over the last month, as a coping mechanism, I have been watching the same viral video over and over and over. It is not a campaign ad or a supercut of triumphant congressional zingers. In fact, it is the opposite: a brief clip of old-timey French people pelting one another with snowballs. This is my favorite film of 2020 — a tiny masterpiece that perfectly distills not only our current mayhem but also, more profoundly, our baffling displacement in time.

The footage was captured in Lyon, in 1897, by the Lumière brothers, who were among the world’s first filmmakers. It was originally black and white, of course, and herky-jerky because of the low frame rate. But this snowball fight has recently been colorized and smoothed, and the result is shockingly modern.

 Snow Fight (Lumière 1897. Colorized):

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