To: the world. From: The U.S. We apologize on behalf of our President

By Caitlin Kelly



One of the pleasures of producing this blog is the incredible range of visitors who end up here — in the past three days alone, from Kazakhstan, Trinidad and Tobago, India, Malaysia, France, VietNam, Brazil and a dozen more.

My goal, always, is to civilly engage with readers from around the world. Having been to 40 countries (so far!) and having lived in five, I’m deeply aware of how interconnected we are.

I now live in the U.S., although born and raised in Canada.

I moved to New York in 1989 and have, until the election of Donald Trump — a lying, cheating racist real estate developer who was a pathetic joke for years to anyone near New York City — enjoyed living in this nation.

Today, along with millions of others here (and everywhere!), I’m cringing in embarrassment and shame at his latest outburst, using language no other President has stooped to before publicly.

Here’s a brief report:

Mr. Trump grew angry as the group detailed another aspect of the deal — a move to end the diversity visa lottery program and use some of the 50,000 visas that are annually distributed as part of the program to protect vulnerable populations who have been living in the United States under what is known as Temporary Protected Status. That was when Mr. Durbin mentioned Haiti, prompting the president’s criticism.

When the discussion turned to African nations, those with knowledge of the conversation added, Mr. Trump asked why he would want “all these people from shithole countries,” adding that the United States should admit more people from places like Norway.

About 83 percent of Norway’s population is ethnic Norwegian, according to a 2017 C.I.A. fact book, making the country overwhelmingly white.


It is hard to anyone living beyond the U.S., perhaps, to even fathom how a man like him could win the Oval Office, and with another three years in his term, with only the 25th Amendment a way to impeach (i.e. get rid of) him. It allows for the removal of a sitting President only if he is deemed unfit to serve, a term vague enough no one has dared try to use it.



I write this post only to say — we’re sorry!

By “we” I mean millions of Americans (and those living here) who find this man utterly contemptible in every possible way: racist, rude, deliberately ignorant (he boasts of never reading), sexist and crude.


But there he sits, aided and abetted by a Republican House and Senate reveling in their power to stick it to a country they disdain as weak and lazy  — now proposing to require the poor receiving Medicaid (free medical care) to work to “earn” it.

Just know this, please: millions of voters are appalled, furious — and, for the moment, politically impotent.

Do not think, for one minute, that he and his views and his behavior, represent what many Americans want the world to respect and admire.


He is an abomination.


Herring Does It For Her — What's Your Comfort Food?

A fun story from The Guardian about one woman’s return to her native Norway, where she indulged in herring, a childhood favorite:

Herring are hard to come by in contemporary Oslo. At every meal during our gourmet weekend return to my birthplace I’d enquire hopefully “Any chance of a herring”? but the reply was always no. Back when I was a child they were 10 a penny, you could barely walk 10 yards through the city without being offered a sild of one sort or another. Pickled sweet or sour, grilled with butter, they even used them as a garnish but nowadays the love affair seems to have ended.

These days you can walk the length and breadth of the city, eat in modern new restaurants or old-style cafés and in every one people will look at you when you mention the H-word as though you’ve had the audacity to order crack cocaine. The level of unease when herring came up reminded me of a trip I once made to Iowa, landing between hundreds of miles of cornfields but when I asked about the possibility of ordering a cob or two at a local restaurant the staff were aghast. “Corn?” they responded, a look of bemusement on their faces as though nowhere on earth were less likely a place for it. The scorning of the humble herring was an easy absence to identify, while more fundamental changes to the city I left when my family emigrated to Ireland in 1969 were harder to identify.

Scientists will argue it’s nonsense but as soon as I set foot in Scandinavia, and Norway more precisely, I am overcome by an inexplicable wash of familiarity. Not in a proprietorial, “the blood of this land flows through my veins” sort of way, nor by any compulsion to slip into a Puffa jacket to embrace my latent Scandi fashion sense but more a contented relaxing of the shoulders, a feeling that I’m somewhere I belong.

I ate out tonight with fellow members of the ASJA board, after our semi-annual all-day meeting, in midtown Manhattan. Still on my loathed diet, I watched everyone tackling huge slabs of cheesecake, each the size of North Dakota. I ate…strawberries.

My comfort foods are not sensible things like celery or rice cakes — but creamy rice pudding with cinnamon, a great homemade spaghetti sauce (also with a dash of cinnamon) and fresh, chewy bread, like a sourdough. And, sue me, a ripe wedge of Brie so gooey you really just have to lick your fingers.

What about you?