• Small-Town Thoughts on Mother’s Day: The Life-Long Benefits of a COMMUNITY of Caring Parents, Teachers, and Friends

    So many of my lifelong friends are posting thoughts about Mother’s Day.

    Some are thanking Mothers who live nearby or in another state.

    Some, like me, are thinking of their departed Moms and Dads.

    Those who are thanking their Mothers from my hometown of Marks, Mississippi, should add my thanks to their Mothers.

    Like so many kids in close-knit communities, which includes all small towns and many urban neighborhoods, we were raised by a community of parents and grandparents with shared values and a sense of responsibility to each other. Among the first things we were taught: respect not only your own parents but others. It was a very important lesson.

    If kids were doing something good, other parents would praise us–and we knew the word would get back to Mom and Dad.

    If kids were misbehaving, other parents would either tell us directly or tell our parents and let them handle it. So would teachers.

    If kids were doing something dangerous, every parent would step in.

    Perhaps I am romanticizing the past a little, but I think my memories are largely true. We were raised not only by our own parents but as part of communities–by school teachers, by Sunday School teachers, by parents of friends, and others.

    To all those Mothers and Fathers, know that you have the loving thanks of generations of children, now (I hope) growing into the same kinds of caring parents and grandparents.

  • True Giving. Two brief stories–and moving lessons–on Christmas Day

    The first is about Gen. James Mattis, now the US Secretary of Defense.

    Unheralded giving like his shows the character of a man.

    The story is told by Gen. Charles Krulak (Ret.), who was then Marine Corps Commandant.

    He remembers Christmas Day 1998 when Mattis, a Brigadier General, quietly stood duty for a young Marine officer so the young man could spend the day with his family.

    Every year, Gen. Krulak and his wife baked countless cookies in the days ahead of Christmas, put them in little packages and, beginning at 0400 on Christmas Day, he would deliver cookies to all the Marine duty posts around Washington.

    Making his final delivery of the day, Gen. Krulak asked the Marine Lance Corporal on duty who the officer of the day was.

    The answer: “Sir, it’s Brigadier General Mattis.”

    Normally, of course, the officer of the day would’ve been a junior officer, not a general officer.

    According to Krulak, he replied to the Corporal, “No, I know who Gen. Mattis is. I mean, who’s the officer of the day?”

    The young Marine gave the same response: “Sir, General Mattis.”

    “I looked around the duty hut. In the back there were two cots: One for the officer of the day and one for the enlisted Marine. I said, ‘OK, who was the officer who slept on that cot last night?’”

    “The Corporal said again, ‘Sir, General Mattis.’”

    No sooner had the question been answered a third time than BG Mattis entered the room.

    Krulak recalls, “So I said to him, ‘Jim, what are you standing the duty for?’ And he said, ‘Sir, I looked at the duty roster for today and there was a young major who had it, who is married with a family. I’m a bachelor and I thought, “Why should the major miss out on the fun of having Christmas with his family?” And so I took the duty for him.’” 

    –NAUS.org (National Assoc. for Uniformed Services)

    The other story is closer to home and involves my late brother, Steve Lipson, and his wife, Mindy.

    Both did what the General did.

    Steve, a member of several volunteer groups, always asked to perform the necessary tasks, such as delivering food to the poor, on Christmas.

    His wife, Mindy, a nurse practitioner for many years at St. Jude’s in Memphis, always signed up to work that day.

    Both are Jewish and knew their Christian colleagues wanted to spend the day with their families. So, they gave the gift of their own time, away from their own family. They knew the day meant far more to their friends.

    We often talk about “religious tolerance” and it is right that we do. It is a hard-won triumph in Western history, worth underscoring.

    Even its minimal definition, forbearance, is a good thing.

    We need far more of it in a world where zealots behead infidels in the name of their religion.

    We need to reiterate those values in our schools and public life.

    Even better is a generous definition, one in which religious tolerance means “genuine respect for others beliefs and for the lives they lead in following them.”

    That generous definition is revealed not only in what we say but in what we do–most of all in how we treat our friends and neighbors everyday.

     

  • The generosity–and love–of strangers for each other as the hurricane approaches

    You may have heard about this story or seen it.

    Believe me, it is worth a minute’s time to see it–or see it again.

    The site is a Lowe’s store in Orlando this week, overrun with shoppers grabbing last-minute items before the hurricane.

    A line of people were there to buy the last electric generators.

    The next person in line when the supply of generators ran out–with no new ones likely to arrive–began crying, fearing for an elderly parent who needed the generator to keep his oxygen machine working. She had driven 30 miles to the store as soon as she heard they had a shipment of generators.

    Her tears were captured on a cell phone, but, more important, they were heard by a stranger, Ramon Santiago, who had just put the last generator on his cart.

    He walked over to the crying woman and quietly handed her his generator.  Here’s the one-minute video of the event as it unfolded.

    To make the ending even happier, here’s what happened the next day.

    The Orlando TV reporter who saw the episode and broadcast it, was there to welcome Ramon to Lowe’s the next day and surprise him with a gift.

    The two episodes show the rich vein of human kindness around us, a vein that comes to surface in times of trouble.

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

     

  • Chicago Cubs’ star and cancer survivor, Anthony Rizzo, makes major contribution to children’s cancer hospital

    Rizzo fights back tears as he visits children at the ribbon cutting

    The Chicago Tribune reports:

    “Geez,” said Rizzo, sniffing, turning away and fighting back tears during a ceremony to commemorate his foundation’s $3.5 million commitment in May to fund programs for patients and families dealing with cancer.

    “I remember sitting with my mom saying we were going to do this 10 years ago. And it’s just a little step toward our mission,” the Cubs first baseman said.

    Rizzo was diagnosed in April 2008 with Hodgkin lymphoma, which has since gone in remission. –Chicago Tribune

    ♦♦♦♦♦

     

     

  • Important Judicial Ruling: IRS MUST reveal names of all employees involved in targeting the Tea Party

    The IRS has fought this transparency for years, ever since Lois Lerner denied any wrongdoing.

    Eventually, they did admit wrongdoing but still refused to say who was involved.

    That secrecy meant it was impossible to depose the people involved and see how far up the food chain this scandal went.

    Finally, Federal Judge Reggie Walton has ruled that the IRS must release the names of all IRS employees involved in the illegal targeting to the groups suing the agency (Fox News)

    “We’re thrilled the judge has taken this step and it feels good to have it recognized that they need to be held to account,” True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht told Fox News on Monday. “What happened to me was very personal—my name was thrown around the IRS, and the names of the people involved need to be known. What they did was criminal.”

    The targeting scandal drew much attention in 2013 when the IRS, headed at the time by Lois Lerner, admitted it was applying extra scrutiny to conservative groups applying for nonprofit status. –Fox News

    The agency has until mid-October to complete its internal search to uncover everyone involved.

    Chris Farrell, director of investigations at Judicial Watch, one of the litigants, praised the judge and attacked the IRS:

    “This [IRS targeting] was creepy, chilling stuff,” Farrell told Fox News. “Judge Walton has accomplished more with one ruling than all of the rest of the federal government—all three branches—over the last six years.” –Fox News

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦

    Comment: It is understandable that the Obama Administration would try to delay this and prevent disclosure. The targeting advanced their policy goals, and the coverup only helped them. We still don’t know if any of their political people were involved in this weaponization of the IRS.

    But it is beyond belief that the Trump/Sessions DOJ was still fighting for the IRS and against the Tea Party groups in this case. WHY?

    Are they just incompetent? Or are they letting lower-level people run this for their own political agenda.

    Since the IRS is under Treasury, why doesn’t Mnuchin’s Treasury Department demand that all these records be produced?

    This scandal began in the Obama Administration. Their coverup is understandable.

    Not understandable: the Trump Administration doing nothing positive, despite its promise to drain the swamp.

  • He heard an old man speak to students–and he did something wonderful for him

    0 No tags Permalink

    Drew Principe, 17, was one of the California high school students who recently heard Henry Oster’s talk about surviving the Holocaust. They listened as Oster described the depths of despair, his fear and loss, and finally his survival.

    Dr. Oster, who is now nearing 90, explained that he had been on the eve of celebrating his Bar Mitzvah when the Nazis rounded up–and killed–his family at Auschwitz. (His father starved to death in the ghetto.)

    Somehow, he alone survived.

    After the war, he moved to California, became a doctor, and lived out his life there.

    That’s the story of loss and survival Dr. Oster told the high school students.

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

    Reaching out to help

    Then, young Mr. Principe did something extraordinary:

    When Principe learned that Oster had never been to Israel, he started a fundraising effort for the once-in-a-lifetime trip [to visit Oster’s last living relative there]. –Daily Mail

    Principe raised $15,000 to fund Mr. Oster’s trip.

    On Monday, 89-year-old Henry Oster left for that dreamed-of trip to visit his last living relative.

    Drew Principe and his family are tagging along to share the joy.

    The story and picture of Principe and Oster are here. (Daily Mail)

  • GREAT human interest story from the London Bridge attack

    0 No tags Permalink

    Here’s the headline in London’s Independent:

    London attack: Football fan shouted ‘F*** you, I’m Millwall’ and took on knife-wielding terrorists with his bare fists
    The Newspaper reports “Calls for Roy Larner, the ‘Lion of London Bridge’, to be given a medal after reportedly saving lives and making Millwall fans popular by single-handedly taking on the three attackers”

    Normally, the Millwall team and its fans are considered louts and “football hooligans.”

    They return the favor with their chants: “No one likes us. We don’t care.”

    This time, people love them and they do care.

    Roy Larner has already been hailed a hero, with a petition launched for him to be awarded the George Cross medal for his actions in the Black and Blue steakhouse on Saturday night.

    In fighting back, the 47-year-old Millwall fan gave dozens of others who were in the Borough Market restaurant the chance to escape.

    Now out of the intensive care ward of St Thomas’ Hospital, where he was treated for knife wounds all over his body including his neck, the father-of-one has told The Sun how he reacted when the killers burst into the restaurant shouting “Islam, Islam” and “This is for Allah”.

    “Like an idiot,” he told the newspaper, “I shouted back at them. I thought, ‘I need to take the p*** out of these b******s’.” –The Independent

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦

    Millwall fans, like soldiers of old, march toward the sound of battle, ready to join in.

    Fans of the south London club have long prided themselves on their refusal to duck a fight, celebrating their intimidating reputation with the chant: “No-one likes us, we don’t care.”

    As you might expect, some alcohol was involved–enough to leave most people in a stupor, but not Millwall fans:

    “I didn’t think of my safety at the time,” [Mr. Larson] added. “I’d had four or five pints — nothing major.

    “I can handle myself. But I was out with an old person and it was out of order.”

    As he recovers in hospital, Mr Larner’s friends have brought him a running magazine.  The front cover headline reads: “Learn to run.”

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

    The glass is raised to Bob Lieber for this wonderful story.

  • ZipDialog Roundup for Monday, June 5

    Articles chosen with care. Comments welcomed. Linked articles in bold purple

     UPDATE ON London Terror (from the BBC). Police

    • Know the attackers’ identities,
    • Have detained a “number of people” after searches in East London, on top of 12 people arrested Sunday in Barking
    • Report 21 people are still in critical condition.

    With three attacks in three months, terrorism against soft targets is beginning to feel, to some people, like the new normal.

    The brutal reality is that this kind of threat is absolutely typical of what jihadists sought to achieve in all their attacks across Europe.

    Since 2013 security services in the UK have foiled 18 plots. A large proportion of those have involved suspects who set out to commit acts of violence similar to the attacks on Westminster Bridge and London Bridge.

    Plans to use bombs, such as at Manchester Arena, are rarer because plotters need to have the technical skills for such an appalling attack – but attacking people with cars and knives is far easier and has long been encouraged by so-called Islamic State and other jihadists. –BBC

    Comment: The number of potential jihadis in England is beyond the authorities’ ability to track. The number of soft targets is beyond their ability to protect.

    That means hard political choices are coming, not just in England but across Europe to staunch this threat.

    The public simply will not accept this as the “new normal.”

     Dividends from Trump-Saudi talks to contain terror

    The Kingdom, UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Qatar for its constant support of terrorism. CNN reports Bahrain’s tough statement:

    Based on the insistence of the State of Qatar to continue to destabilize the security and stability of the Kingdom of Bahrain, to interfere in its affairs, to continue the escalation and incitement of the media, and supporting armed terrorist activities, and financing groups associated with Iran to subvert and spread chaos in Bahrain in flagrant violation of all agreements and the principles of international law without regard to values, law, morals, consideration of the principles of good neighborliness, or commitment to the constants of Gulf relations, and the denial of all previous commitments. –CNN

    Since the US has a major base in Qatar, there are direct implications for the US. As CBS headlines it: Major U.S. military ops based in Gulf nations in throes of deep diplomatic rift

    Comments:

    • The cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Egypt is noteworthy; they have been grumpy with each other recently.
    • CNN’s story fails to mention Trump or the major meeting during his visit that launched this initiative.

     Since we are talking about CNN’s bias: They were just caught staging a “news event” to fit their narrative.

    They even had the white British police officers leave the frame; they were replaced with Asian officers.

    Comment: If CNN fakes the news, how will airport passengers know what is happening?

     One of those lovely stories about private generosity: 70 years ago, a man (now aged 98) bought $1,000 worth of Walgreens stock. Now, it’s worth $2 million, and, since he doesn’t have a family, he’s giving all of it to his favorite charity: the Illinois Audubon Society. (Fox 32 story here)

     Top Dem on Senate Intel Committee, Mark Warner (D-VA), says “no smoking gun” on Trump-Russia. He quickly adds “at this point”  (The Hill)

    He did say that Trump telling Comey to “let it go” would be “very concerning,” if Comey confirmed it.

    Comment: If there is hard evidence the Trump campaign really did cheat to throw the election, let’s see it. If there is none, let’s get back to governing the country. 

     New chancellor at U. of Missouri says diversity on campus must include “diversity of thought” (Heat Street)

    Comment: The university’s enrollment plummeted, along with its finances, after 2015 demonstrations by Black Lives Matter, threats against student reporters (“get some muscle over here”), and a spineless administration that couldn’t roll over fast enough. Now, they have a new leader on campus with a different idea.

    The question is whether he can implement it and withstand the pushback.

     

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦