Weekly Meanderings, 17 December 2016

photo-1414541944151-2f3ec1cfd87d_optYou go Bronson Koenig:

They had traveled more than 100 miles to visit with him for just a few minutes, but he had no desire to talk, no idea what to say. Still, his mother had asked him to follow through on his commitment, so Bronson Koenig walked into a small conference room at the Holiday Inn in Lincoln, Neb., and sat across from the basketball players from Winnebago (Neb.) High. It was March 2014, and Koenig was a freshman point guard for Wisconsin, getting ready to play the Cornhuskers. Besides being fellow players and Native Americans, Koenig felt a special kinship with the young men at the table. The Winnebagos are a sibling tribe to Koenig’s own Ho-Chunk Nation. They were family and deserved his full attention.

He hadn’t prepared any remarks, so he just spoke from his heart and answered questions for about a half hour. The talk went well, but the game didn’t. Koenig played 13 minutes and failed to score as the Badgers lost by nine. He was disappointed in how he played, but he didn’t worry that he had let those boys down. “Not at all,” he says. “I know they’ll love me forever, no matter what happens.”

Native Americans have flocked to Koenig’s games since before he started high school in La Crosse, Wis. They come to the Kohl Center in Madison and also show up at his road games, often presenting him with gifts and beadwork crafted just for him. Last season Koenig (pronounced KAY-nig) was one of just 21 Native Americans out of approximately 5,000 Division I men’s basketball players. He was also by far the best. Now a 6′ 3″, 190-pound senior, he has played in two Final Fours and had started 69 games through Thursday for the Badgers, who are 8–2 and ranked No. 17. His dream is to make the NBA, not only for himself but also for the Native Americans who support him so unconditionally. Like them, he knows what it feels like to be the odd man out. “All the other players I’ve seen my whole life were white or black, or maybe Hispanic,” he says. “I’m the only person out there who looks like me.”

Beautiful act of generosity:

The London restaurant’s offer started with a simple note, handwritten on a sheet of white paper.

“No one eats alone on a Christmas Day!” it read, with the exclamation point modified so that it included a heart. “We are here to sit with you. . . . Any homeless or elderly are welcomed.”

The note went on to outline the three-course meal the Turkish restaurant would serve from noon to 6 p.m. on Christmas (“FREE OF CHARGE,” double-underlined): soup and cacik, a Turkish herb-and-yogurt dip, to start; the choice of chicken casserole, vegetarian casserole or chicken shish for the main course; and rice pudding for dessert.

The sheet was posted last month on the windows of the Shish Restaurant, a Muslim-owned eatery in southeast London. The restaurant also posted a picture of the sign on its social media pages in mid-November, encouraging people to share it with anyone who might be alone on Christmas.

Any other year, the restaurant’s offer of a free Christmas meal might have been quietly acknowledged as one in keeping with the holiday spirit of generosity.

This year, however, it seems to have taken on extra meaning: The restaurant is owned and managed by Muslims, and its kind offer comes at a time when a record number of Islamophobic incidents have been registered in Britain in the wake of the bitter “Brexit” referendum in June.

Do you know about Coptic Christianity? Joanne McPortland does.

Bill Hull:

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Good for them! Tim Rearden

Employees at a Best Buy decided to chip in to buy a WiiU for a child after they noticed he was coming into the store daily to play the free display.

Video posted to YouTube by Rahiem Storr, a man who identified himself as a manager at Best Buy, shows an employee approaching a child who is playing a WiiU at a Best Buy in Valley Stream, New York.”On behalf of all of us here at Best Buy, we got you a WiiU,” the employees told the child. “This is something we did for you. Everyone here that you see, we all got together and chipped in so you could have it.

“The child appeared to question the kind gesture at first, but the employee assured him it wasn’t a joke.”No for real, this is for you. Consider it an early Christmas present,” the employee said.

Storr wrote on YouTube that his employees also bought him the new Super Smash Bros. game and then gave the child a ride home so he wouldn’t have to walk along the streets with his new WiiU.”The employees in this store saw an opportunity to make a child smile and did just that,” Storr wrote.

He also said the child’s parents took him back to the store the following evening and it appeared he truly enjoys going to the Best Buy.

Brian Wesbury:

Assuming Congress confirms President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks, the new Trump Administration will represent arguably the most dramatic shift in leadership the United States has ever seen.

As a rule, the Obama administration is staffed by the crème de la crème of academically trained policy and legal scholars. Harvard is the number one school represented. Columbia is second. Law schools and schools of public administration are the majority. A vast (and we mean vast) portion of the current administration’s work experience has been in politics and government. In other words, they are professional bureaucrats, trained by academics in the process of government.

The Trump administration is virtually the opposite. Military, medical, and business backgrounds are the norm. These individuals went to school all over the country — Alabama, Kansas, Ohio, Michigan, and South Carolina to name a few. Some have spent time in politics, and some went to liberal strongholds like Harvard and Yale, but these pedigrees are the exception rather than the rule. For the most part, the Trump administration are the type of people you would see as adjunct professors — the ones who come into a classroom to help bridge the gap between theory and the real world.

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