Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Words of the First Amendment are Easy Enough to Understand

   How is it that the First Amendment is so misunderstood? The words seem to be straight forward enough.
   Yet, on one side, there are those who say it means there shall be a separation of church and state. And, on the other side, people say it means government shall not pick and favor one religious denomination above others.
   In fact, I don't see it saying either one of those things.
   Read the First Amendment (the part on religion), and see if it says either of those things. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." That's it. Where's the part on separation of church and state? And, where's the part that says one religion shall not be favored above another?
  The word "respecting" means "concerning" in the way it is used in the First Amendment. Respecting what we are talking about, it means "in regards to." In respect to this, I say that this is a common usage. Respecting all the meanings being pulled out of the First Amendment, I hold that this is all the word "respecting" was intended to convey.
   The First Amendment does not say, "A law is hereby made that church and state shall be separate." I don't even see a way for reading the First Amendment to come away with that meaning. It just isn't there. There may have been Founding Fathers who felt that way, but they didn't put it in the First Amendment.
   Nor do the words in the First Amendment say one religious establishment shall not be respected above another. That just isn't the way the word "respecting" is being used. Though I would guess the Founding Fathers did not want any single denomination to be lifted above others, they didn't address that when they wrote the First Amendment.
   So, if some Muslim students in Phoenix want to pray during a break in school, remember the law of the land is that we should not be "prohibiting the free exercise" of religion. If a child in Florida wants to read from the Bible during free reading time, then bear in mind that the First Amendment says we should not be "prohibiting the free exercise" of his doing so.
   And, if city council members decide to have prayer at the beginning of a meeting, let them, for the First Amendment says not to prohibit the free exercise of religion.
   So, though the wording in the First Amendment seems clear to me, those who are on one side never get it right and some of those on the other side often to not get it right, either.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Healthy Utah Would Put all These Health-Care Recipients to Work?

   I applaud Gov. Gary Herbert for his stand that those receiving a proposed health care coverage be required to work. Herbert is proposing a program called Healthy Utah that would provide coverage to those at a certain lower income level.
   He says the Obama administration, which will need to give Utah permission to go with Healthy Utah instead of having those people on Medicaid, has balked at the suggestion that the recipients work.
   I think it a great idea, to have them work. Speaking at a monthly press conference Thursday, Herbert said if you are going to get free or subsidized help, then, "at least as a minimum requirement, you ought to let the state of Utah help you find a job." (Quote from a Deseret News article.)
   What? Mean the state would actually go out and find them jobs, and place them in jobs? That is a rather big commitment. It seems the Obama administration should be jumping to commit Utah to it. The administration should be saying, "If you wants to guarantee people jobs, by all means, go for it. Don't let us stop you."
   What, with unemployment rates as they are, to take a whole economic category of people and place them all in jobs? Who would ever say "No" to such a thing?
   I like it that people work for what they get. I believe more -- perhaps all -- of our public assistance programs should be attached to work requirements.
   Well, Herbert's work stipulation wouldn't apply to all those in the Healthy Utah program. Some would be deemed unable to work. Still, the requirement would result in a fairly large share of people being inserted into the workforce. Herbert suggested only two-thirds of those in this income bracket currently are working. The rest -- a third -- either would be judged as unable to work or given jobs.
   That should be a fairly significant number of people being placed in jobs. It will make for a "healthier" state. Let's do this.
   (Post was added upon 8/30/14.)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I'm Thinking Alicia Should be Held Accountable for Attempted Murder

   Alicia Marie Englert, the lady with disabilities who tossed her newborn out in the trash, what should be done with her? I'm guessing, the norm in handling cases where the offender has disabilities is to charge them and let the courts sort out if the mental disabilities should excuse them.
   Not guilty by reason of insanity? I do wonder if, even if they do have mental disabilities, they should still should be held accountable for what they do. I don't know, maybe you lesson the punishment, but I'm thinking they still should be held accountable, at least in many cases. It seems probable that Alicia should have been able to realize killing a baby was not a good thing to be doing.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Lady Who Tossed Baby in Trash Might be a Kindly Person, Despite it All

   When we judge, we sometimes judge wrongly. If you live in Salt Lake, you probably heard of the lady who tossed her newborn out in the trash. Of course, we all judged her to be of a vile nature.
   Then comes word today that she is disabled. Her dad, Robert Englert, who recovered the baby from the trash, not knowing at the time that it belonged to his 23-year-old daughter, says she has a learning disability that prevents her from comprehending the significance of what she is doing.
   Well, I do not know whether she should be let off the hook or not. I feel for the police and the prosecutor's office, who have to make that decision. Bless the baby that it may live.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Man Who has Your Ear, has Your Heart

   The man who has your ear, has your heart. If someone is not in good favor with you, often that would change if you gave them audience, listening to them and learning why they do what they do.
  You are more likely to dislike someone being talk about than someone you take the time to talk with.
  There are two sides to every story, it is said. Yet, too often, we come to judgement after hearing only one side. We believe the face before our face and agree that the other party is guilty.
   What can we learn from this? If you are a person who sits over others, having a position of judgement or leadership, know it is wise to bring the accused in and hear their side of the story. And, if you are anyone who hears negative things of others (that includes us all), if you are inclined to act upon negative information, either by treating the person illy or by passing the gossip along, first talk to the person and learn their reasons and situations.
   And, if you are on the other side, if you are the person being gossipped about, and seek fair treatment, get before those who you fear may wrongly judge you, and explain yourself.
   (Updated 8/27/14)

Monday, August 25, 2014

'Nothing Touched the Trigger, but the Devil's Right Hand'

   Let a great singer teach you the danger of guns. Steve Earle. The character in his song spots his first pistol when just a boy, and figures it the finest thing he ever has seen. He asks if he can have one once he grows up, and his mama drops the eggs she is carrying and blows up, telling him the pistol is the devil's right hand. Well, he ends up getting a gun, anyway, the first one being a cap and ball Colt. The song preaches that, "It can get you into trouble, but it can't get you out," words that speak the truth of the gun, if it is to be used for more than self defense. The second gun he buys is a Colt 45, "called a peacemaker, but I never knew why. Never knew why. I didn't understand, 'cause Mama said the pistol is the devil's right hand."
   Well, Steve Earle's songbook character ends up in a card game, and his opponent cheats, so he shoots him dead. They drag him into court the next morning, and ask him how he pleads. "Not guilty," he says. "You've got the wrong man. Nothing touched the trigger but the devil's right hand."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VW5E8noEbn4

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Carrie, Elvis and 'How Great Thou Art'

   A song so wonderful, one wonders (I do, anyway) if it isn't the greatest song ever. Neat that Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill (Carrie singing, Vince picking on the guitar) performed "How Great Thou Art" at the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2011. It ranks as one of the most-famous performances of the song ever.
   Elvis. Elvis sang the song a number of times, and his performances are also wonderful. From what I can see, Elvis came closer than any artist ever to claiming the song as his own, so many times did he perform it. He won three Grammys, but none were for rock performances. All three were for gospel music and two of them were for  album of the year for "How Great Thou Art" in 1967 and song of the year for "How Great Thou Art" in 1974.
   Carrie and Elvis both grew up singing gospel music, with the influence spilling into their careers.
   Wonder who else has sang "How Great Thou Art"?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLLMzr3PFgk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yQPce84RC8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fazy_kzuziQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xAGZo5_OjI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1hVY7bmqsA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LswawDxfGrw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oO5QQemlmBg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LG3Adej9Je0

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Ferguson: A Quick Assurance was Needed

   A quick, quick assurance was needed. The protesters would have been less likely to protest, and the rioters would have been less likely to riot, had there just been an assurance that justice would be served.
   Someone needed to say, "We take gravely the possibility that the killing was unjustified. Justice will be served. If the officer is guilty, he will be held accountable. Justice must be served."
   And, right from the git-go, there needed to be the officer's justification. He needed to say why he shot Brown and why the shooting was justified.
   If there was such assurances, I did not hear of them more than a week into this affair. Then, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon stepped up to call for justice for the deceased's family. "A vigorous prosecution must now be pursued," he declared. His website would state that use of the word "prosecution" was not meant to prejudge the case, but referred to all duties and responsibilities of the prosecuting attorney. If that was what he meant, it would have been good had he been able to communicate it better, for it did come off as if he was saying officer Darren Wilson is guilty.
   An assurance from Wilson that he was justified? Finally, word came this week that he is contending Brown was rushing at him. If this is true -- if defending himself from Brown trying to wrestle the weapon from him, or defending himself against fist blows, or defending himself against Brown rushing toward him were truly the reason or reasons for killing Brown, that should have been stated from the git-go in hopes of dampening the riots and protests that we've seen.
   From the witness accounts I've seen, yes, I am concerned the shooting was unjustified. Yes, I can see cause for outrage. Not addressing that outrage, not promising justice, was a mistake both in terms of how to handle a volatile situation and in terms of showing respect for the concerns of the protesters.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Economy: Give it Freedom, or You Might Give it Death

   Freedom of religion, freedom of speech . . . freedom of economy. That last one never quite made it into the Bill of Rights. Nor has it been protected as well as many of our other freedoms.
   "One out of three jobs requires a government license -- government permission just to work," Sen. Mike Lee said Thursday.
   "And, once you have a job, there are thousands of pages of, 'Don't do this. Not like that. That's not approved." Lee said.
   Regulations stifle job creation, and enterprising efforts. In a Nation that stands upon freedoms, it is ironic that America's economy seems to have as many restrictions placed upon it as does that of any nation in the world.
   Give it freedom, or you might give it death. Maybe not a complete death, but America's economy will never know the full life it could have unless it is freed from government regulations.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Why do not the Gazans Flee?

   Why do not the Gazans flee? Syrians flee. Kurds flee. Hondurans flee. Why is it Gazans stay put instead of fleeing the country? Have they no country to flee to?
   I do a quick word search and it pops up their fleeing to a U.N. site, but that would be right there in the Gaza Strip. And, I see how Israel asked them to flee, but Hamas told them to stay put.
   What kind of government, if it were intent on the safety of its people, would tell them to stick around and get shelled?
   Perhaps the answer is in that they are there not simply to have a place to live, but to be staking out a place in Israel. And, to leave would be abandoning their mission. Or, perhaps it is that other Arab countries will not have them. I am just not in the know. I do not know the answers as perhaps some of the readers of this blog do. Englighten me, then.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Steps of Repentance and the Prisoner Who Could Use Them

   If remorse is a step to overcoming sin, isn't it also a step to reforming a person of criminal conduct? And, is there anything society can do to encourage remorse when the prisoner is in jail?
   One thing might be to have the prisoner learn about the victim, learning about the needs, the good works, and the dreams of that victim, all in hope the criminal might recognize the harm he has done. The criminal needn't be given details he doesn't already have, such as where the victim lives. Also, the criminal could be given case histories from other similar crimes, showing how harm was done.
   If the idea is to reform the criminal, it seems the criminal needs to repent. If so, what of the steps of repentance: (1.) feeling remorse, (2.) offering a confession, (3.) asking for forgiveness, (4.) rectifying the harm, as much as possible, and (5.) not repeating the crime. If these are true principles, it seems they should be used to help reform criminals.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Teach Prisoners the Same Way We Teach Children

   The art of correction is perhaps no where better practiced than in the home, raising children.  What society has learned to do there should perhaps be transferred to how we correct criminals. We do often call our prison systems, departments of correction, so let them draw on the expertise of those who have the most experience in the art of correction.
   Parents.
   The parent encourages certain behaviors, such as treating brothers and sisters well, sharing, learning things, being honest, working, helping, and so forth. To facilitate the learning, the parent corrects the child when the child does wrong, and rewards him when he does right.
   It would not be so wrong to train our criminals this same way. Teach them to be honest, to share, to help, and to treat others well. When they do well, reward them. When they do not do well, off to "time out" they go. These are traits (sharing, helping, honesty, etc.) criminals often lack. Will not having them contribute to reforming the criminal?
   If you are going to make a better person, you have to make a better person. You have to teach him to love and to care and to be a better person. Sitting him down in a prison just to sit there and expecting that he will  exit the prison a better person is a little akin to placing a book on ones head and going to sleep and expecting to learn by osmosis.
   If we want the criminal to exit prison as a better person, we have to provide that training that will make for a better person.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Lessons from Ferguson

   Lessons from Ferguson, in the spirit of the old adage that those who refuse to heed history are likely to repeat it.
   One, Don't overmilitarize your response to public protest. Don't use rubber bullets and tear gas unless necessary. This lesson is getting lots of attention.
   Two, Body cams on officers deter police overreach, making police officers more accountable for what they do. Their use in Rialto, Calif, is getting attention in the wake of the Ferguson uprising. It is said that in the first year after Rialto's police placed cameras on their officers, to record incidents, the use of force by officers declined 60 percent and complaints against police fell 88 percent. If we are serious about reducing police abuse, the body cams should be on all officers.
   Three, Where there are guns, there is a chance they will be abused. Now, not everyone who picks up a gun will abuse its power, but sometimes it can be hard to tell who will. A person might be law-abiding gun-toter year in and year out, before using the weapon in a way he or she shouldn't. Finding a way to change this might be difficult, though, for it would seem we cannot fail to arm our peace officers.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Keep Chief Jackson in Ferguson

   Rumors swirl wherever there are waters of controversy. Today, I heard that Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson had resigned and that there was a call for Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to resign. I think the rumor about Chief Jackson stemmed from the Missouri State Highway Patrol taking over much (all?) of the patrol responsibility for the protesting. Calls for the governor to resign? I doubt there are many voices calling for that.
   I also thought today on whether Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Michael Brown, might be without culpability? If he shot an unarmed man, especially a retreating unarmed man and one with his hands up, it might seem there is no way he is not at fault? But, what do I know of the fear that he might have been under. Fear is the father of irrational behavior, and perhaps the investigation will determine Wilson had good cause to fear for his own life, even though Brown and Johnson (Dorian Johnson was the person with Brown) did not have guns. Yes, I'm doubting that. But, who knows.
   And, I had thoughts today on whether Thomas Jackson should resign. After all, there is the over militarization of the crowd-control efforts, there is the lack of confidence with the community, and there are questions about whether his officers treat suspects humanely.
   As I listened to a Sean Hannity interview of him, I began to wonder but what Jackson might be a very decent person, a good police chief, and not at all someone who should be pushed out of his job. There may be faults within his department. And, the militarization was a mistake. But, whether you get rid of Jackson should be based on whether he is an honest and good chief, not just whether a head should roll because someone has to be made accountable.

Friday, August 15, 2014

One Wonders at the Ferguson Police Department

   One can wonder, was it a police department so removed from justice, that the whole department ended up being removed from duty? Or, was it just that they had lost the faith of the city's residents, and they were relieved only for that lack of good relations with the public?
   I speak of the Ferguson Police Department.
   When the Missouri Highway Patrol was handed charge, did they get all law enforcement responsibilities in Ferguson, or just the charge to patrol the protests that have erupted in the wake of the Michael Brown shooting? I don't know. But, I ask, how often is a police department relieved of any such responsibility?
   To look at what is on the table, is to wonder but what the Ferguson Police Department, indeed, should have been relieved of duty.
   Wonder. We don't know all yet, but we know enough to wonder.
   There is the shooting, itself. Even if you go by the police account of what happened, you wonder how shooting and killing an unarmed man is going to be justified. You wonder why the person with Brown, Dorian Johnson, was not quickly interviewed instead of having to go to the police station on his own to make a statement.
   You wonder at the police department's crowd-control efforts during the protests. Too over-the-top? Too militarized? Too quick to gas and punish?
   You wonder at the dragging of two national journalists out of a McDonald's and the arrest of them.
   You wonder at the account given by one of those journalists, of how, while being arrested, he witnessed another arrestee's plea for air lest he die, without any resulting move to help him.


http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/11/us/missouri-ferguson-michael-brown-what-we-know/index.html

Thursday, August 14, 2014

We Haven't Figured Out How to Reform the Criminal

   What are we going to do about all the jailbirds? my roommate asks.
   My take is that, we, as a society, miss on a lot as we try to deal with the "jailbirds." Yes, I think some answers stare us right in the face, but we never see them.
   We need to give them jobs, I tell my roommate. Not just tell them to go find jobs, but actually provide the jobs for them. Companies often don't hire criminals. Yet, if we are to reform them, having them in jobs is a must. Can we expect a person who can't pay his bills, who can't put food on the table, not to fall back into crime? Sometimes, crime is all he knows and all that works. Of course he will fall back into it.
   There might be some states, some governments that provide jobs for those after they leave prison, but I suppose I've not heard of them. If they exist, I've not run across them.
   So, I say we, as a society, haven't figured out how to deal with crime and how to reform the criminal. We miss on some very basic principles.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Part Military, and Part Humanitarian, Perhaps Obama has Gotten it Right

   To war, or not to war, to help another people. President Obama's response to the crisis in Iraq has been part military, and part humanitarian. And, at least for what he has done the past week, I think he has gotten it right.
   We air dropped life supplies to the Yazidi people on the mountain. Then, our war jets struck at ISIS military positions. Then, we sent in soldiers to assess the needs of the Yazidi refugees as Obama considered a rescue. The soldiers reported the air shellings had given most of the Yazidi refugees cover to flee the mountain on their own, and now no rescue is needed. I would say, if those still on the mountain -- though small in number -- need rescue, then rescue them, but perhaps they are no longer in danger.
   It strikes me as noble that Obama sought the safety of the refugees. And, perhaps unusual. It would make for an interesting news article to review the times military forces have air dropped supplies or evactuated people to safety. It seems more common to say the offenders must be punished, and to mount an all-out attack on the likes of ISIS.
   Not that our air strikes were not a military response, but that military response was coupled with a humanitarian effort. If you can help a people, you should, and that is what Obama has done.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Whether to Fight for Others has a likeness to Whether to Take in Immigrants

   There be a common point in these two questions, whether we should go to war in the Middle East and whether we should take in a lot of immigrants. Just as many say we should not police the world, but stick to ourselves, so is the argument against immigration: We should take care of our own before we take care of others.
   I think of injunctions that we should think on the welfare of others as much as we do on our own welfare. If they are in jeopardy, and if they want our help (sometimes we assume they want freedom when actually it might not be a value they have), then we should, when we can afford it, come to their aid.

Monday, August 11, 2014

If We can Afford to Fight for other Nations, We Should


   The pondering I did yesterday probably will stand to help guide me on whether I think certain wars are acceptable. We should not be the world's policeman? I now more definitively disagree. If we can afford it, we should. I suggest we have some responsibility to be the world's policeman, for if we can help another person (another people), we should. I think of a hymn that says something like, "I cannot look at another's need and I not care." If we can make a difference, if we can save a people, we should. If a people are endangered, and we can help, we should. If a people are being slaughtered, then it is that entering a war has cause. For any cause for which we would be justified to enter war to protect ourselves, we should consider helping others (supposing they want that help). If we esteem everyman as ourselves, if we think not only on our own welfare, but the welfare of others, we should consider stepping in and fighting to help them.
  That said, I add that I do not know we can afford to be the world's policeman. And, yes, I do think our national debt might be cause to hold off on entering various frays. I think of the thought saying, I give not because I have not. But, if I had, I would give.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Pondering the Book of Mormon Regarding Current-Day Wars

   I do not know whether our current situations can be compared to those in the Book of Mormon, as to whether we should enter war, for it seems their situations (meaning those of the Nephites) were for their own protection, not the defense of those in far-off lands.
   But, I think it not wrong to at least consider on the attitude of the God-fearing Nephites. So, let us consider Alma 48, which is one place of insight. The Nephites had had a short period of peace, when they "were compelled to reluctantly contend with their brethren, the Lamanites." (Verse 21)
   The verse is telling, to me, in that it suggests we should not be anxious for war. But, it is also to be noted that there are times when conditions compel even a reluctant and righteous people to war.
   "Now, they were sorry to take up arms against the Lamanites, because they did not delight in the shedding of blood." (Verse 23)
   Again, it suggests that rather than to relish war, when the righteous enter it, they enter with sorrow and regret.
   "Nevertheless, they could not suffer to lay down their lives, that their wives and their children should be massacred . . ." (Verse 24)
   Defending oneself, and defending family, make entry in a war necessary. Defending ones country, and its people, at times makes war necessary.
    So, what of people in far-off lands? As I type away here, I remember a meme that came across Facebook earlier this week, a quote by Dr. Paul Farmer. "The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world."
   And, I wonder if it is just as just to protect those in foreign lands as it is to protect our own.  

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Do We Condemn the Immigrant for His Inability?

   True, it would be neat if we all spoke the same language. Just the same, there are too many other faults in the world to get upset with somebody just for not being able to speak the same language as us. Bless them, these immigrants. They come hungry for acceptance in a new world, and we pick at them for speaking a different language? Condemn them for it? Sometimes even hate them for it? It does seem a little cruel and cold of us, to me.
   I would guess most of them would like to speak English, but haven't been able to learn it. Condemnation should not come because of a person's inabilities. Condemning them for this does seem wrong.

Israel's Hiccoping War and the 'Eve of Destruction'

   Listening to Barry McGuire's "Eve of Destruction," I open up a webpage to see flumes of smoke and fire tower over Rafah, Gaza, following a rocket attack.
   The song's words echoed like a soundtrack, "But you tell me over and over and over and over again, my friend, ahh, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction." I thought of how it is just a matter of when that one of these Arab-Israel battles is going to pour into Armageddon.
   We just don't know when. Is it this one? Is it 100 years away?
   This current little war has been unusual, punctuated by cease-fires, the war hiccuping but growing, offering the hope of peace but the hell of war.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Immigration Reform Needs to Come from Congress

   Will my president -- our president -- enact new immigration standards so far-reaching as to allow those illegally to remain if they have close family who are citizens?
   That's one of the rumored things he might use his executive power to do as he seeks to overhaul our immigration system. It is said when we speak of executive power, President Obama is going to stretch to the limits and make a move that may define his presidency.
   I would like bold changes, real reform -- but not by executive power.  I would love to see more of the poor coming here allowed to remain here. But not by executive decree.
 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Child Goes Through All This, Only to be Deported?

   'Tis late, and I do not have time to study on this, but am wondering about the T Visa, which, I believe, is the visa that allows some child immigrants to be in the U.S. If I understand correctly, you have to be a victim of human trafficking, and you have to help prosecute the coyote who brought you across.
   I'm just wondering how many kids fit that category.
   Now, if I understand it correctly, the children, in most cases, are be turned over to Health and Human Services within 48 hours of their being apprehended, and then follows a process to determine if they shall stay. So, most all are legal to be here for as long as they are in the process.
   My fear is, if they don't meet the Coyote Rule (as I shall call it), then all is eventually for not and they will be deported. They have braved crossing Mexico and the border, and been subjected to detention camps (I thank those who care for them and am sure most make it as loving of an environment as possible, still, they remain, technically, detention camps) in the U.S., only to be tossed on their ears right back to their countries of origin.
   Hope I'm wrong. We can't treat children this way.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Only About 2 Percent Were Not Allowed to Stay in Days of Ellis Island

   "I have nothing against immigration, just do it legally," so many say. They point to the days of Ellis Island, when immigrants came legally and were welcome.
   The borders were largely open borders in the early days of Ellis Island, so most everybody was legal. I, too, wish for the days of Ellis Island -- I wish we would make it as easy for people to come as we did back then.
   In the very first days of Ellis Island, I don't know if there were any restrictions. Maybe so. I do know that by 1907, there were restrictions against criminals, those who had diseases, those who had work contracts, political radicals, prostitutes, the insane, the feebleminded, and those judged likely to end up on public welfare. Ellis Island was there to weed those out. But, even at that, it was largely a matter of showing up, being processed, and staying. Only about 2 percent of those who showed up were denied.
 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Is Mockery of Obama Justified?

   "Is there one among you that doth make a mock of his brother, or that heapeth upon him persecutions?"  So we are asked in the LDS scripture Alma 5:30.
   I wonder how we might think this scripture does not apply to our condemning of political leaders. I think of the continual mockery of President Obama, not that the mocking between Democrats and Republicans does not go both ways.
   I will, though, wonder if some mockery is okay. I think of Elijah mocking the priests of Baal when they could not call down fire from heaven. "And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked" (I Kings 18:27).
    Where do we draw the line, in when our mocking is justified and when it is not? I must give that some thought.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Maybe Here's Why Immigrant Child isn't Quickly Going to Mom and Dad

   Ever wonder why we don't here stories about the child immigrants being reunited with their parents? Ever wonder why we aren't hearing anything about the custodian rights of the parents? Well, I think I found the answer for you tonight while I was reading the law.
   Government, as government often is wont to do, created a process.
   Yes, that 2008 law Bush signed that we are hearing so much about might license the children to be here, but it also makes it a process before they can be reunited to their parents -- or placed in any foster home at all.
   No such thing as whisking them right up the street to Mom and Dad.
   The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 says the child shall be turned over to Health and Human Services within 48 hours. You know that part. 
  But it is once Health and Human Services gets involved that the process gets involved. HHS must determine the suitability of the proposed custodian, even if the custodian is to be the parents. It suggests the parents might be "not viable due to abuse, neglect, abandonment or a similar basis."
   Me? I like the idea of whisking them right up the street to Mom and Dad, first, and then judging whether the parents are worthy, afterwords. And, I don't like the idea of being too critical of Mom and Dad. If there is not clear reason to keep the children from their parents, they should be with them.
   Maybe some of the children are quickly reunited with their folks. Maybe I am wrong in thinking they are not. But, from reading the law, it does appear to me it does not facilitate a quick reunion with Mom and Dad. In fact, the law questions whether the child should be reunited with the parents, at all. 
   Maybe there is other reason I've not heard (to my memory) about a child being reunited with its folks. After all, for as long as this has been going on, it does seem that even if there is a drawn-out process, some would be with their folks by now.

http://www.state.gov/j/tip/laws/113178.htm