Sanctuary Cities

Federal law mandates the enforcement of immigration laws.  The Supreme Court, however, requires states (and thus municipalities) to make social services available to all residents irrespective of immigration status.  And – the high court prohibits the federal government from forcing states to enforce federal law (at their own expense).  Thus in America, some municipalities (and states) openly defy federal law.  And there’s the rub. . . . .

There are 1.2 billion people in Africa, India, China and the Middle East who would love to move to the United States.  Most are poor.  Some are homeless.  Many uneducated.  And unemployed (and unemployable).   The question is – should we open our borders to them?  All of them?  Those who sponsor “sanctuary cities” say “yes.”  Those who favor open borders say “yes.”  Those who push back on immigration regulations say “yes.”  

Some communities (and states) require no showing of legal residence to receive drivers licenses, free education, free hospitalization, food stamps, welfare, unemployment compensation, subsidized housing, the right to sue and so on.  A few states and cities open their arms (and wallets) to everyone.  Without limitation.  This leads to the logical question of who’s gonna foot the bill?   Do we open the doors to 1.2 billion people?  

Some well-meaning and ideologically-motivated people prefer uncontrolled handouts — without addressing — or solving — or caring about — the underlying problems faced by immigrants in their own countries.  And this has led to an unsustainable, divisive and costly dilemma.   So what do we do?  

The Star Thrower

(A repeat from April 21, 2013)

One of my favorite short stories is “The Star Thrower” by Loren Eiseley (1907-1977). The author gets up early one morning and goes walking a beach on the ocean. The gray fingers of dawn touch the horizon. It is dark but he can see that the sand is covered with starfish – live starfish being swept in by the tide. He keeps walking.

Off in the distance on the beach, he sees the shadow of a figure that stoops — and throws. Stoops — and throws. The author continues walking. And as he approaches the figure, he sees that it is a young man. Who is picking up starfish and slinging them back into the sea. As he reaches the young man, he stops and watches. The author looks at the young man and says “look at the beach. It’s covered with starfish. What you’re doing doesn’t make any difference.” The young man looked back as he picked up a starfish “you see this one? It makes a difference to him” and he threw the starfish into the waves.

This message is so powerful it brings tears to my eyes. What are your talents?  What lights your fire? What do you do to make a difference? We are each blessed with special gifts.  Abilities. We may not be able to throw a starfish into the sea. But we may be able to throw a lifeline to some person. With a kind word. A generous deed. It may not mean much to us. But it may make all the difference in the world to someone else.

Make Your Bed

I read the Wall Street Journal review of a new book — Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven.  Then I saw Admiral McRaven interviewed on television about his new book.  The t.v. interview prompted me to see what Amazon had to say.  94% of readers give his book 5 stars.  That’s pretttttty impressive.  And the book is now a best seller.  I figured if the book is so good, I gotta have one.  And maybe a few more to pass around.  So I ordered three copies.  And read one.  Gave away two.  Today, I just ordered four more copies.  

In 125 pages, Admiral McRaven shares with readers the “little things that can change your life . . . . and maybe the world.”  

Admiral McRaven’s book is based upon a commencement address he delivered to the University of Texas in 2014.  If you want to watch a 19 minute call to action – check out   

I don’t need to distill Admiral McRaven’s offering for you since if you get this book – you will be able to read it in two or three hours.  At least you can get an idea if you link to the video.  Is it worth it?  Yes.  Is it inspiring?  Yes.   Will it help you to change the world?   I believe it could.  But the “change” part is really up to you. . . . 


Please get out of your car

What are police to do? They clock someone driving 98 mph in a 45 zone. Weaving in and out.  They finally pull him over and ask him for his license. He refuses. They ask him to step out of the car and he responds with a #&*@ you. Bystanders begin filming the stop with their smart phones.  They begin taunting the police. The guy in the car is emboldened.   And arrogant.  You tell me — what do the police do? Do they drag the guy out of car?  Whack him around a bit if he resists?  Shrug their shoulders and leave saying “have a nice day“? 

What if the guy stopped is a suspect in a triple homicide?  Does that make a difference?  What if he’s got a gun?  Knife?  Baseball bat?  And he’s using – or has used – it?  

The headlines today often include videos of law enforcement officers throwing an offender to the ground. Or dragging him or her out of a car. Scandalous!  But in the vast majority of cases, the cop is justified in the stop.  But our “media” rarely shares context.  In most cases, the cop gets vilified by the press. And by onlookers (who may be chanting “kill the pigs“).

Let’s say you’re a cop.  Yeah you.  How would you react to situations like the above?  Seriously.   What should police do?  You tell me.      


(A repeat from 6/12/2014)

It’s quite possible that some of you reading this post will one day save a person’s life.   Maybe save the life of a child.   By prompt action and a knowing response.

I get on the train every day and pass by a panel which announces the location of an “AED” unit (“Automated External Defibrillator“). I’ve seen this notice time and time again. My eyes glaze over and I move to my seat. And pull out my newspaper.  

In my post of October 21, 2011, I recounted that the best course I ever took in college was a year-long tutorial on advanced first aid (it has come in very handy over the years). Thus, a few weeks ago when I looked at the AED sign, something clicked.  I oughta figure out what this “AED” thingee is.  So while having lunch at my desk – I logged onto a YouTube video which told the story of the AED (see ).  I’ve got a better idea now of what an AED does.  And how it works.  I would urge those reading this post to spend 4 minutes and learn about the AED.

And while you’re at it, why not learn the Heimlich Maneuver? I’ve done it twice – successfully. See

A baby choking? See

How about CPR (“Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation”)? See

Heavy bleeding? See

Rescue breathing?  See  

If you watch all of these videos (if they don’t “link” just paste them in your browser), you will spend maybe 35 minutes. It may be the most valuable 35 minutes you ever spend. And someone – maybe you – will be eternally grateful.

April Fools!

(A repeat from August 30, 2011)

The first mention of “April Fools Day” as being on April 1st was in Chaucer’s Canturbury Tales in 1392 (in the “Nun’s Priest’s Tale“).

Jonathan Swift (1665-1745) was the foremost prose satirist for the English language. And he was also a twinkle-in-the-eye practical joker who authored a doozy of an April Fools’ prank bringing the tradition to a whole new level. In February 1708, using the name “Isaac Bickerstaff,” he published an article solemnly predicting that John Partridge, a local author of astrological almanacs, would die at 11:00 p.m. on March 29, 1708. All of London held its collective breath. When the fateful day arrived, Swift – still writing as Isaac Bickerstaff – penned a moving obituary announcing the death of Partridge at 7:05 p.m. — four hours earlier than predicted.

Of course Mr. Partridge was very much alive – and outraged over Swift’s prediction and the false reporting of his death. Because the story of John Partridge’s demise was printed on April 1st, there was ignition and lift off for a new – and more creative – breed of April Fool pranks. I think I’d like to have Jonathan Swift join Aristophanes and me for that very special dinner. . . .

The Antique Crutch

(A repeat of November 7, 2011)

Shortly after Donna and I were married, we took a drive out to Western Illinois. We stopped at an antique shop outside of a small town. After wandering around – and finding nothing – we strolled outside and headed to the car. Suddenly we heard shouts and yells from the store. The door banged open and a man – running – burst out covering his head. He was being chased and pummeled by another man with an antique crutch(!!). Whack! Whack!

Having no clue what to do – if anything – I pointed and yelled “YOU’RE UNDER ARREST!” The two stopped – one in mid-swing – and turned toward me. Like deer in the headlights. I yelled and pointed “YOU – OVER THERE. AND YOU – OVER THERE.” The two parted and began babbling animatedly – and angrily – what the other had done (“he was. . . .” “no you were. . . .”). A woman came out on the porch of a house – I pointed at her and yelled “YOU – CALL THE POLICE.” She immediately popped back into the house. The two men continued to explain whatever the issue was. But I sensed they were starting to wonder – “who is this guy?”

After a few minutes, and off in the distance, I saw a police car – emergency lights flickering – speeding down the road. Under my breath I hissed to Donna “get in the car.” She did. And I calmly walked to the car got in and drove away – just as the police car pulled into the driveway. I really had zero curiosity about staying – to find out how it all turned out.

Happy Socks

Over the years, my feet have become increasingly unhappy. I won’t bore you with the pathology of my paws but suffice to say I have grumpy feet.  But I walk.  I wear shoes.  And I wear socks.  

In my post of November 14, 2013, I lamented the chaos in pulling open my sock drawer.  And I reported on the fix.  If you want some real captivating reading, check out that post. . . . .  My sock drawer has improved but the colors have remained lackluster.  That is until last Christmas.  

My granddaughters presented me with 6 pair of colorful “Happy Socks” (I’m wearing them as I write).  Eve and Elin are aware that Popi’s feet need help.  So they concluded that Happy Socks may be just the ticket.  

Happy Socks is a brand – started in 2008 by two Swedes – Viktor Tell and Mikael Söderlindh.   They wanted to build a brand that would be a “breath of fresh air” for one’s attire.  In looking at my sock drawer upgrade – they have succeeded.  My Happy Socks are a cacophony of color which help put my feet into a more neutral – if not happy – mood.   According to the London Evening Standard, Happy Socks are known for their “bold, colourful designs [which] tread precariously close to garish.”  

I now wear Happy Socks almost all the time.  Next time I wear my tux, I will likely be wearing socks that look like a Jackson Pollock painting.