Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Let the Cuban Migrants Come -- Even if it's 44,000 Per Year

   Which refugee crisis impacts us more, in terms of numbers? Is it be the 10,000 Syrian refugees that might come in a year's time, which we are hearing so much about, or the 44,000 Cuban that came in a year's span, which we didn't hear so much about?
   I wonder at a news story I did see on the Cubans. It said they are coming overland, by traveling to Ecuador, then through Central America. Excuse me? That makes it sound like Ecuador is the starting point. How does that work? Ecuador is on the opposite side of South America and south of Cuba.
   At any rate, whereas Cubans came via boats to Florida all these years, now they are taking a much more circuitous route. Why? It might be because the Coast Guard is intercepting them if they come straight up to Florida. The Wet Foot, Dry Foot policy says that if they reach our borders, they will be accepted, but if they are caught at sea, they are sent home.
   So, with the Coast Guard catching them at sea, they are swinging through a different route.
   At any rate, now we have a second group of migrants to decide if we should accept. Now that we have normalized our relations with Cuba, do we change our policy of allowing any who reach our shores (our borders) entry?
   Off top, I would like to see us continue to accept the Cubans. Of course, though, I would like to see us accept migrants from any country. Some argue we cannot sustain unlimited entry of migrants. I wonder.
   Then, there is the question of what might become of Cuba. If we let as many in as want to come, does that somewhat empty that country out? If a Cuban is given the choice of living in terrible economic conditions in Cuba, or coming to the U.S. where things are better, how many stay in Cuba? It's a country of more than 11 million. The upswing in migrants from Cuba is due to their concern that the policy of being accepted if they reach our border is going to end. For all these years that we've had the Wet Foot, Dry Foot policy, it never resulted in emptying the bulk of Cuba. So, it shouldn't now, either.
    There is also the question of why they are coming to the U.S., as opposed to stopping once they've reached Ecuador, Costa Rica, Mexico, or wherever. Do they simply want to come to America because, like immigrants all along, they cherish America is cherished as the land of liberty, opportunity and prosperity?
   Or, are they eyeballing our social services? I say, let them come. But, we should revamp our social services programs to allow people to work for what they get, and to use more private charity help rather than government payments. The programs need to be more self-sustaining.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

It Takes but One Hero to Make a Difference in Right and Wrong

   Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke gets out of his car, and empties 16 rounds at Laquan McDonald, while McDonald was walking away from officers.
   Van Dyke's attorney is saying this is not a case that should be tried in the news media, nor on Facebook. But, one wonders. One wonders but what this case is exactly why the Constitution wisely calls for our trials to be public.
   It took prosecutors 13 months to arrive at the decision to file charges against Van Dyke. One wonders about this, too. One wonders if this case is exactly why there is wisdom in the Constitution's calling for a speedy trail.
   Van Dyke's attorney says Van Dyke was fearful. One wonders. One wonders at how so often the defendants invoke that defense. Is it sometimes a defense without warrant? Do defendants sometimes abuse this defense?
    McDonald's family did not want the video released? They had a large settlement? One wonders at the wisdom of allowing settlements to block what goes on in our courts. It seems, if you want to pay the family for damages, do so, but that should not have any impact on whether the officer is charged. If he committed a murder, no amount of money should have any influence on whether he is charged and whether the case goes to court.
    Maybe the settlement didn't have anything to do whether the case being strung out for 13 months before charges were filed. But, at this point, and knowing what little we do know, it all seems to be a matter that should be investigated.
   Van Dyke stayed on the job. He moved to a desk job, but he stayed on the job. One wonders.
   Van Dyke's attorney says his client was justified. He says the video does not tell the full story. One wonders. One wonders. Perhaps. It is seems highly unlikely. Highly. Yet, we shall see.
    So far, there is one hero in this case: the judge who ordered the video released. One wonders what would have happened -- or not happened -- if the video had not been released. Sometimes it takes but one hero, one person standing up for what is right, to make a difference in a matter.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Seeing Those Who Would Help Gratifies Me

   I am gratified by the number of voices I see (in the media, letters to the editor included) calling for helping the Syrian refugees. I agree with the sentiment I hear, that we simply cannot refuse to help them. These are people in much need. They are in harm's way. We cannot look the other way.
   I am grateful I live in a world where so many people do care, where so many people do mourn for the privations being suffered by those fleeing war-torn Syria.

Science, I have some Questions for You

   Perhaps I have a few questions for Science. And, I believe it is advanced enough that it should have answers. If it does, however have answers to all my questions, it seems we would be further on the road to figuring out good health and maybe even longer life.
   Science: We are discussing muscles. First, how are muscles built, exactly? When I exercise, it seems the exercise, itself, might condition the muscle. How does it do that? I assume the muscle contracts. What of food, and nutrition? Does the exercise serve to draw the food into the muscle, or does exercise not have anything to do with the transfer of food to the muscle?
   What is the condition of a stiff muscle? Is it contracted? When we stretch and flex, what do the muscles do? Do they expand, become longer, what? How does blood flow and circulation interact with the muscles? Do the veins and arteries leak blood to the muscles? For if the veins and arteries contain the blood without any seepage, then it would seem the muscles have no interaction, no way of taking the nutrients in.
   What impact does oxygen have on the different states of the muscle? When the muscle is stiff, does it have less oxygen in it?
   Do muscles wear out through continuous use, or can they forever be rejuvenated? What is the condition of a worn-out muscle? Is it brittle, limp, what? Can the limpness be altered, so the muscle remains healthy?
   I do not think it impossible for the human to live indefinitely. But, to do so, it must remain in good condition, obviously. Having muscles that do not deteriorate seems to be one piece in the puzzle for keeping our bodies in functioning form indefinitely..

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Humble Yourself as a Little Child

   Children are of the kingdom of heaven. What does that mean?
   "Suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 19:14
    Does it mean we should become like little children, if we are to enter God's kingdom? Surely, it does. The disciples came unto Jesus, and asked him who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. In response, Jesus called for a child, and sat him before them, and said, "Verily, I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."
   And, then, this: "Whosoever therefore," Jesus continued, "shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
   Little children defer to adults. They obey. Theirs is to learn, not to teach.
   They are humble.
   If Jesus said this thing, that we must humble ourselves as little children if we are to be great in the kingdom of heaven, then it is so. We should ask ourselves if we are so humble. And, we should endeavor to become so.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

To See a Bird, Come to Salt Lake

   To see a bird, come to Salt Lake. At times, there are more than 7.5 million of 'em at the Great Salt Lake. Pelicans, songbirds, eagles, gulls, and swans -- they're all there, more than 250 different types of birds.
   So, if you want to see a bird, come to the Great Salt Lake. I wonder if we could do more to market this to tourists. Is the Great Salt Lake as great of a place to see birds as there is in America? I don't know. I do know the lake is known around the world for its wetlands. There are 257 different kinds of birds. Wadepipers? There's a beautiful bird. There are a half million of them. At times, a third the world's population migrate to the Great Salt Lake. Grebes? They are pretty, as well, and are wonderful swimmers. There can be 2.5 million of them, as about a third of the North American population migrates to the Great Salt Lake.
   It is claimed by some that more people come to see the birds than come to the Great Salt Lake for any other reason.

Now is not a Time for Bureaucracy

   So, I read it will take a year or two for those Syrian refugees currently in temporary facilities in Europe to arrive in the U.S.
   Vetting or no vetting, that is too long.
    This is not a time for bureaucracy, it is a time for finding a way to cut through bureaucracy. A year or two in holding spots, in refugee camps? What do they do while they wait? Are they working? Who foots the bill for their food and shelter?
    Yes, vet them, what little you can. But, do not detain them near so long. When someone is knocking on your door for help, don't take a year to answer.