Posts Tagged ‘international travel’

Judge Ends Trump’s Granny Ban

July 14, 2017

Judge Ends Trump's Granny Ban
On Thursday evening Federal District Court Judge Derrick Watson exempted grandparents and grandchildren from the latest version of President Trump’s travel ban. The revised “Muslim Ban” had a definition of “close family” that excluded many relatives.

Judge Watson wrote that “the Government’s definition represents the antithesis of common sense. Common sense, for instance, dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents. Indeed, grandparents are the epitome of close family members. The Government’s definition excludes them. That simply cannot be.”

So if Granny lives in any of six majority-Muslim countries, she can now visit you. Put clean sheets on the guest bed!


“Judge in Hawaii rules grandparents are exempt from Trump travel ban,” Samantha Schmidt, Washington Post

“U.S. judge narrows travel ban in defeat for Trump,” Dan Levine and Mica Rosenberg, Reuters


“Appeals Court: Grandparents Not Part of Trump’s Travel Ban,” Gene Johnson, AP via New York Times

“Supreme Court won’t let Trump travel ban hit grandparents,” Josh Gerstein, Politico


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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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Trump Travel Ban Protects US From Terrorist Grannies

June 30, 2017

Trump Travel Ban Protects US From Terrorist Grannies

The U.S. Supreme Court, now with Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch on board, has ruled that a modified version of Donald Trump’s travel ban can go into effect for 90 days, as of yesterday evening. Travelers from six majority-muslim countries, none of whose citizens have committed terrorist acts on United States soil, must now document “bona fide relationships” with U.S. persons, companies, or institutions in order to travel to the USA.

The Trump administration has issued directives defining “bona fide relationships,” and the weirdest ones involve families of of U.S. citizens and legal residents. Some relatives may travel to the USA: Spouses, children and stepchildren, siblings and stepsiblings, parents and step-parents, father-in-laws and mother-in-laws, fiancées and fiancés. Who may not travel: Grandparents, grandchildren, sister-in-laws and brother-in-laws, uncles and aunts, nieces and nephews, or cousins.

This is a pretty strange definition of “family” by any standards. Remember, little Donnie Trump grew up across the street from his own immigrant grandmother in Queens, NY.


At the last moment, fiancées/fiancés were added to the good-to-go list, perhaps after lobbying from the mail order bride industry or because the president likes to marry foreign models?), and text above has been updated. But how can these relationships be documented? The Bridal Registry at Crate & Barrel? Engagement ring receipts from Kay Jewelers?


“Stepsister, Yes; Grandma, No: U.S. Sets Guidelines for Revised Travel Ban,” Gardiner Harris and Ron Nixon, New York Times

“Travel ban’s ‘bona fide relationship’ test could open legal floodgates,” Lauren Pearle and Connor Finnegan, ABC News

“The Supreme Court Partially Allowed Trump’s Travel Ban. Who Is Still Barred?” Alicia Parlapiano and Anjali Singhvi, New York Times

“The travel ban going into effect would have saved zero lives from terrorist attacks in the last 20 years,” Philip Bump, Washington Post


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Image: If Granny Clampett is Muslim, she can kiss Beverly Hills goodbye.

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Trump: Yes, It Is a Muslim Ban

June 6, 2017

Trump: Yes, It's a Muslim Ban
President Donald J. Trump commemorated Saturday’s tragedy in London by tweeting a renewed call to ban travel to the US from six predominantly Muslim countries. A second version of his presidential order (he now calls it “watered-down“) is headed to the Supreme Court, and this presidential tweetstorm may have doomed the administration’s case. Even Kellyanne Conway’s husband thinks so.


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Top image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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Airplane Poop and Public Health

August 16, 2015

Airplane Poop and Public Health

“Pooping on that 12 hour flight may be a public health service. Researchers from the Technical University of Denmark are siphoning off the sludge from international airline flights and using it to study the spread of infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance.

In a study in Scientific Reports, they break down their analysis of 18 different airplanes that arrived in Copenhagen from nine different cities around the world, looking for the presence of things like Salmonella and Clostridium difficile.

The team found that Salmonella was more prevalent in poop arriving from Southeast Asia, while the sludge from planes arriving from North America was more likely to contain C. difficile (a bacteria that causes a nasty drug-resistant infection). Planes arriving from Asia had higher rates of DNA from drug-resistant bacteria strains overall.”

— “Pooping on Airplanes Could Contribute to Public Health Research,” Shaunacy Ferro, Mental Floss