Compassionate and Legal.....

With all the brouhaha about "illegal immigrants" and their so-called rights, I feel that I must weigh in on this one. I live in a largely Hispanic neighborhood here in Chicago, where I have bought my very first home. About 90% of my neighbors and the local businesses are Hispanic owned and operated. So I can speak somewhat knowledgeably about this issue. Here goes:

1) There is a RIGHT way to enter this country. Thousands enter this country the RIGHT way every year. And that rule should and MUST apply to everyone.

2) Anyone who enters this country illegally is breaking the laws of this land. We call that "crimes." Those are largely nonviolent crimes...but crimes nonetheless. And those crimes--and the people who commit them--should and must have consequences.

3) Businesses and employers who provide jobs (regardless of the wage structure of those jobs) to people who are not legally authorized to work in this country are committing crimes. Those crimes should and must have consequences as well. Regardless of who the employer is.

4) If someone wants to enter this country and become a permanent resident here, they should be STRONGLY encouraged to:

Learn the prevailing language of business and commerce: That would be ENGLISH.
Do everything possible to become a naturalized citizen of the United States.
Ensure that all family members/friends/etc understand that this is a nation of LAWS, and
those laws are not suggestions, nor arbitrary.

5) All 500,000 people who marched in Los Angeles last Saturday and Sunday are FREE to return to their "former countries" as far as I am concerned. If America is so great (and it is), then become an American, or at least come here legally. That means you will display the American flag when you are marching....not the Mexican flag, or from any other country. If you are so in love with your "native land"--then go back. It's that simple.

6) Our economy may take a few hits when we realize that obeying the labor laws is in our national interests both now and in the future. But the economy will rebound, and the nation will be better for it. As it stands now, we are setting ourselves up for a horrific tragedy from which we may never fully recover.

7) Our social and safety nets are there for a purpose. Empowering people to come and reside here illegally is NOT compassionate, socially responsible, or a good idea. We must become a people who respect the laws of this land again. And work to change those that are not compassionate, socially responsible or a good idea.

8) Every person who has ever come to this country LEGALLY from another land is being SLAPPED in the face by those who insist on coming here against the laws of this land. Tell the Pakistani taxi driver, or the Nigerian food service worker-- who has risked their lives to come here LEGALLY--that it can't be done. They have done it....Legally!

I am personally very tired of hearing about "we have the right to....." Because when you break the laws of the land, you have abdicated any privileges and rights that you may have otherwise eventually been able to obtain. No one has the right to break the IMMIGRATION laws of the United States of America, and get away with it.
It's that simple.

When It's All Said and Done....

A friend sent this to me a few days ago:
Ben Stein's Last Column...

For many years Ben Stein has written a biweekly column called "Monday
Night At Morton's." (Morton's is a famous chain of Steakhouses known to be
frequented by movie stars and famous people from around the globe.) Now,
Ben is terminating the column to move on to other things in his life. Reading
his final column is worth a few minutes of your time.

How Can Someone Who Lives in Insane Luxury Be a Star in Today's World?

As I begin to write this, I "slug" it, as we writers say, which means I
put a heading on top of the document to identify it. This heading is
"e-online FINAL," and it gives me a shiver to write it. I have been doing
this column for so long that I cannot even recall when I started. I loved
writing this column so much for so long I came to believe it would never end.
It worked well for a long time, but gradually, my changing as a person and
the world's change have overtaken it. On a small scale, Morton's, while
better than ever, no longer attracts as many stars as it used to. It still
brings in the rich people in droves and definitely some stars. I saw
Samuel L. Jackson there a few days ago, and we had a nice visit, and right before
that, I saw and had a splendid talk with Warren Beatty in an elevator, in
which we agreed that Splendor in the Grass was a super movie. But Morton's
is not the star galaxy it once was, though it probably will be again.

Beyond that, a bigger change has happened. I no longer think Hollywood
stars are terribly important. They are uniformly pleasant, friendly people, and
they treat me better than I deserve to be treated. But a man or woman who
makes a huge wage for memorizing lines and reciting them in front of a
camera is no longer my idea of a shining star we should all look up to.

How can a man or woman who makes an eight-figure wage and lives in insane
luxury really be a star in today's world, if by a "star" we mean someone
bright and powerful and attractive as a role model? Real stars are not
riding around in the backs of limousines or in Porsches or getting trained
in yoga or Pilates and eating only raw fruit while they have Vietnamese
girls do their nails.

They can be interesting, nice people, but they are not heroes to me any
longer. A real star is the soldier of the 4th Infantry Division who poked
his head into a hole on a farm near Tikrit, Iraq. He could have been met
by a bomb or a hail of AK-47 bullets. Instead, he faced an abject Saddam
Hussein and the gratitude of all of the decent people of the world.

A real star is the U.S. soldier who was sent to disarm a bomb next to a
road north of Baghdad. He approached it, and the bomb went off and killed him.

A real star, the kind who haunts my memory night and day, is the U.S.
soldier in Baghdad who saw a little girl playing with a piece of unexploded
ordnance on a street near where he was guarding a station. He pushed her
aside and threw himself on it just as it exploded. He left a family
desolate in California and a little girl alive in Baghdad.

The stars who deserve media attention are not the ones who have lavish
weddings on TV but the ones who patrol the streets of Mosul even after two
of their buddies were murdered and their bodies battered and stripped for
the sin of trying to protect Iraqis from terrorists.

We put couples with incomes of $100 million a year on the covers of our
magazines. The noncoms and officers who barely scrape by on military pay
but stand on guard in Afghanistan and Iraq and on ships and in submarines and
near the Arctic Circle are anonymous as they live and die.

I am no longer comfortable being a part of the system that has such poor
values, and I do not want to perpetuate those values by pretending that
who is eating at Morton's is a big subject.

There are plenty of other stars in the American firmament...the policemen
and women who go off on patrol in South Central and have no idea if they
will return alive; the orderlies and paramedics who bring in people who
have been in terrible accidents and prepare them for surgery; the teachers and
nurses who throw their whole spirits into caring for autistic children;
the kind men and women who work in hospices and in cancer wards.

Think of each and every fireman who was running up the stairs at the World
Trade Center as the towers began to collapse. Now you have my idea of a
real hero.

I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that
matters. This is my highest and best use as a human. I can put it another
way. Years ago, I realized I could never be as great an actor as Olivier
or as good a comic as Steve Martin...or Martin Mull or Fred Willard--or as
good an economist as Samuelson or Friedman or as good a writer as Fitzgerald.

Or even remotely close to any of them.

But I could be a devoted father to my son, husband to my wife and, above
all, a good son to the parents who had done so much for me. This came to
be my main task in life. I did it moderately well with my son, pretty well
with my wife and well indeed with my parents (with my sister's help). I cared
for and paid attention to them in their declining years. I stayed with my
father as he got sick, went into extremis and then into a coma and then entered
immortality with my sister and me reading him the Psalms.

This was the only point at which my life touched the lives of the soldiers
in Iraq or the firefighters in New York. I came to realize that life lived
to help others is the only one that matters and that it is my duty, in
return for the lavish life God has devolved upon me, to help others He has
placed in my path. This is my highest and best use as a human.

Faith is not believing that God can. It is knowing that God will.

By Ben Stein

Happy Birthday to me!

There are few days in the calendar year that I expect someone to make a FUSS over me.

But my birthday is always one of them.

I was born on this date, 44 years ago in Huntsville, Alabama--and whew, what a ride it has been!

God has been good to me.

The Power of Words....

The last four months have been very difficult for me--on many different levels.

I've experienced firsthand the power of words to bless and heal, and conversely, the power of words to injure, wound, and destroy.

A man who was my pastor for more than 3 years called me some names that were not only unchristian, but untrue. I've not had a conversation with him now in almost four months. When he was confronted by another brother concerning this situation, this pastor claimed unmitigated innocence. Claiming to "love me"--but betraying those very claims with his own words. Those are the words that injure, wound, and destroy.

But a precious friend here continues to remind me of how very loved and special that I am--to their family and to God and His family. Those are the power of "healing words."

I want to use those "healing words" whenever and wherever possible.

HEROES.....think about this...

The Bluegrass/Southern Gospel family group, The Isaacs ( wrote and recorded a marvelous song a couple of years ago. It's called "Heroes."

This wonderful song talks about the "real heroes" in American society: those people who care for children with special needs--physical, emotional, and spiritual.

My next door neighbor is a single mom with a special needs child. He just turned 13 years old a few months ago...yet my neighbor loves his dearly. This song is for her:

Momma combs his hair and Daddy helps him brush his teeth
Day after day for thirty years the same routine
The special needs he lives with make life seem so unfair
But he thanks God every day
Because he knows Mom and Dad are there..

He's a hero and she's a hero
It doesn't matter that nobody knows their name
They keep on giving to make life worth living
Might go unnoticed but they're heroes just the same

They tried for many years to have a baby of their own
But God knew a little girl who didn't have a home
Someone else's burden was their blessing in disguise
And now she's got a Mom and Daddy
there to hold her when she cries

Every single parent who must carry twice the load
And those who sacrifice to raise a child that's not their own
They dedicate their time
to make a difference in someone else's life
And in my eyes...

He's a hero, and she's a hero..
Does'nt matter if anyone knows their names....
They might go unnoticed but they're heroes just the same.

Ain't it the truth?