Party Schools: A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste

anne_mikolay_120The Best 371 Colleges – 2010 Edition, recently released by the Princeton Review, has named the top “party schools” in the country. They are: 1. Penn State University, State College, Pa. 2. University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla. 3. University of Mississippi, Oxford, Miss. 4. University of Georgia, Athens, Ga. 5. Ohio University, Athens, Ohio 6. West Virginia University, Morgantown, W.Va. 7. University of Texas, Austin, Texas 8. University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.9. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Fla. 10. University of California-Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, Calif. 11. University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo. 12. University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 13. Union College, Schenectady, N.Y. 14. Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind. 15. DePauw University, Greencastle, Ind. 16. University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn. 17. Sewanee: The University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn. 18. University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, N.D. 19. Tulane University, New Orleans, La. 20. Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz.

The survey, though hardly empirical (students responded to an online Princeton Review questionnaire), paints parents a rather bleak picture of college-bound teenagers. But…so what? Let’s be realistic. Regardless of the school chosen, if your kid wants to find a party…he/she will find it. If your kid is level-headed, academically oriented, he/she will fore-go the party scene, and crack the books instead.  It all depends on why the kid is going off to college in the first place.

Lots of kids pack their bags for college simply to get away from home, out from underneath the perennial parental thumb. I had a friend who was thrilled when her daughter was accepted to Rider University, and not so thrilled when the girl concentrated more on the campus social scene than academics, and flunked out. Contrast that girl’s motivation with my nephew’s fiancé, a Rutgers University graduate. While the Princeton Review casts Rutgers in an unfavorable light, reporting that Rutgers’  respondents ranked the school high in alcohol and low in academics, my nephew’s fiancé  focused entirely on her studies, an admirable endeavor rewarded by a prestigious graduate program and a recent doctorate from Princeton University, and more importantly in today’s environment, employment as a professor at The College of New Jersey.

Motivation is the key to success at any college. A kid who wants to learn, to experience, to mature, will seize every opportunity in his/her academic environment to do so. A kid who wants to party will nurse a four year hangover, and graduate – if he/she graduates at all – no more intelligent or mature than when he/she arrived on campus. Case in point: In its Tuesday, July 28th, edition, The Asbury Park Press quoted one Rutgers respondent to the Princeton Review survey as stating: “If there was no such thing as getting inebriated, there would be nothing to do here.” That has to be the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Whoever said that, and believed it, is an idiot who unwittingly proved my point, which is perfectly summarized in the slogan of the United Negro College Fund: “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste.”

How Did We Get Here?

george_hancockstefanIn the aftermath of the recent arrests of 44 public and religious officials for taking bribes, money laundering and other illegal activities, one of the TV commentators stated that this was excessive even by the standards of corruption in New Jersey. Somehow in the thinking of our fellow Americans, we in this state are setting the standard for corruption.

The question for us is, “How did we get here, in this position of corruption in this state and in the USA? Why are we so corrupt? Why do we accept evil actions so easily in our homes, in our offices – both private and public, and in our churches and synagogues?”

In the Old Testament and in the New Testament there are many passages where God’s people are reminded that God has shown them what is right. The priests, the Levites, the pastors and priests and all who in some way were the teachers of God’s people had the responsibility to teach what is right. In this country we have given up on what is right when we have abandoned what is known as the absolutes. The absolute standard said that it was wrong under all circumstances to lie. Telling the truth was the accepted norm and lying was always considered evil. Divorcing was considered wrong and therefore, people had to think very hard before they became divorced.

The abandonment of the absolutes was followed by something we called values clarification. Values clarification has further eroded the concept of right and wrong by heralding that truth is regional, provincial and no one has the right to tell another person that he or she may be wrong. I have been in too many discussions in which people told me that I was preaching to them – which meant that I was telling them that there is only one way that God expects them and me to behave. I have also been in debates with public officials – teachers and politicians who were very quick to tell me that the positions that I, among others, was upholding were obscurantist and they do not belong in the public square.

The third thing that happened was a fear of speaking up when things are not right. I have had conversations with godly people who are afraid to speak the truth because they will be shunned by their family members and their friends or worse, said one person, I am afraid that they will turn violent and harm me.

What we have to realize is that when the 44 people were arrested a couple of weeks ago, all of us suffered. We suffered because they brought shame upon our state, because they brought truth to the adage that you cannot trust a politician and now a rabbi (priest or a pastor), because their families were destroyed, because we have to pay for their evil doing and because now people will give less money to charities because now there are fewer people they can trust. All of us suffer.

The other aspect is that we have to struggle in this state with what the prophet said, “Woe to the man who calls evil good and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20). It is our responsibility in churches, in schools, in our homes and in the public arenas to teach absolutes again, to return to upholding what is right and shunning what is wrong. Then God’s favor will shine upon us and we will be known as a state of righteousness, justice and peace.

Obama the Homophobe

dennis_mikolay_09Earlier today, the hypocrisy of the Obama administration was revealed (yet again) as Harvey Milk was posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom. For those of you unacquainted with Milk, he was a gay rights champion in the 1970s, and the first openly gay elected official in California.

In 1978, Milk was slain by former city supervisor Dan White, who had long resented Milk’s success. The legacy of Harvey Milk is widespread. He helped establish San Francisco’s Castro district as a leading force in the Gay Rights movement. He championed gay equality as a Human Rights issue, and exposed the dangers of the homophobic Proposition Six, which banned homosexuals, their friends, and supporters from working in local schools.

In other-words, Harvey Milk is an American legend, a hero, and a Civil Rights martyr.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, is a bit of a homophobe. While he was more than willing to ride the gay community’s widespread support of Democrats last election, he hasn’t been willing to give much in return. He opposes gay marriage, arguing that LGBT couples should instead settle for “Civil Unions.”

That is a staunchly anti-progressive view. Obama actually has the same view of gay marriage as many of the nation’s top conservatives, including Glenn Beck.

The gay community has been somewhat disappointed in Obama’s lack of enthusiasm for LGBT issues. Actually, even Sean Hannity called Obama out on this! During the January 15th episode of Hannity’s show, the conservative pundit revealed that in 1996 Obama actually supported same-sex marriage, and promised to further the cause. In regards to Obama’s change of mind, Hannity joked: “I wonder, is this what Obama supporters meant by change we can believe in?”

And remember, President Obama also caused an uproar among progressive bloggers when, in June 2009, the Obama administration defended the Defense of Marriage Act, drawing parallels between gay marriage, rape, and incest. I wonder how Harvey Milk would react after every homosexual seeking marriage was heartlessly compared to rapists?

Obama’s current homophobic streak dates back to at least 2007, when he remarked that he had been tested for HIV, and emphasized that he had done so with his wife, seemingly to eliminate any questions regarding his sexual orientation. Obama told reporters: “I don’t want any confusion here about what’s going on.”

“Going on?” AIDS is “going on,” and an astonishing number of people are dying because of it. It’s petty, childish, and homophobic to assume that everyone thinks those tested for the virus are gay, but apparently Obama didn’t want to take any chances.

He didn’t want people to think he was gay.

Huffington Post columnist Lane Hudson called Obama out on his childish behavior in his editorial “Obama’s Frat Boy Moment,” but the criticism went widely unnoticed.

There are innumerable examples of anti-gay quips made by Obama and his inner circle, all of which stand in direct opposition to Harvey Milk, his crusade, and his message. Harvey Milk risked, and ultimately gave, his life for the LGBT rights movement, and having the homophobic Obama “honor” him.

Harvey Milk deserves this medal, and any other honor the government can bestow upon him. That being said, he also deserves respect, and he certainly won’t get that from President Obama.

 

NJ Immune to Corruption News

jack_archibald_120While the rest of the country expresses shock over last weeks arrests in New Jersey, Garden State residents took the latest news in stride.  It is not that our citizens aren’t repulsed by the news, but that we have become immune to the corruption.  People in other states are amazed that so many could get pinched in a money laundry scheme, while we just look to see if we recognize the crooks.

Of course, it reflects poorly on our state and politicians. The wonder of all the corruption is that politicians just don’t seem to learn their lesson.  It is not as if former Attorney

General Chris Christie didn’t publicize past arrests or state that his goal was to drain the swamp of corruption. The warnings have been out there a long time, its just certain people are to dumb to heed the warning or think that they are to smart by just a half.

Unfortunately, the arrests last week overshadowed justice coming to one dirty politician. Former State Senator Wayne Bryant was sentenced to just four years in jail for his misdeeds and violations of the public trust.  Four years in a country club penitentiary for a lifetime of gaming the system is hardly a lesson.  The Senator created a no show job for himself at taxpayers expense, and has previously had several relatives on the state payroll.  The Senator used his office primarily for personal gain, and the judge should be embarrassed for barely slapping the wrist of Senator Bryant.

If the rest of the country had been aware of Bryant’s crimes, then they probably would have yawned at last week’s arrests. These legal developments can only be positive for Chris Christie and harmful to Jon Corzine as they race for the Governor’s seat.  Corzine can’t be expected to defend these Democrats, and many people may tie these bums to Corzine in the fall.  Then again, November is a long way off and who knows how many

more New Jersey politicians will be under indictment by then.

Perspective on Gates-gate

woody_zimmerman_118_2007A great national uproar has arisen over an incident in Cambridge, Massachusetts, involving noted black scholar and Harvard professor, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and the Cambridge Police. After police responded to a call reporting an apparent break-in at the prof’s home, he was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. The incident sounds almost like a Saturday Night Live skit (featuring the Kambridge Kops), and it might have stayed at that level except for two salient facts: (1) Dr. Gates is President Barack Obama’s friend; and (2) Mr. Obama referred to the incident with criticism of the Cambridge Police in a prime-time news conference this past week.

The president’s unscripted remarks – surprisingly off-hand and perhaps poorly thought-out (although that is in dispute) – sparked exaggerated responses across the country from both black and white and communities, as well as police departments, all out of proportion to the incident, and dredging up every police-brutality and blacks-misbehavin’ story ever told. The thing is totally out of control. Indeed, the president has attempted several times to “clarify” his own remarks. He has also sought to defuse the situation by inviting Dr. Gates and CPD Sgt. James M. Crowley, the police officer involved, to the White House “for a beer” and cultivation of a “teachable moment.” In an added touch of irony, it has been revealed that Sgt. Crowley’s record on racial relations has been so exemplary that he was chosen by the CPD to teach classes on the subject.

The facts appear to be that Cambridge police responded on the afternoon of July 16, after a neighbor called to report that two men were seen breaking into a home. (Race was not mentioned in the call.) When Sgt. Crowley, accompanied by two other officers – one black and the other Hispanic – called at the house, Dr. Gates spoke to him through the door’s glass panels. Accounts vary about what followed, but evidently Sgt. Crowley’s request for Dr. Gates to identify himself offended the professor, who became verbally abusive. He commenced to hurl imprecations, referring to the officer’s “mother,” and refusing to step out of the house to be identified.

Dr. Gates did finally hand his identification out to the officer, stating that he and his driver had broken into the house when Dr. Gates found that he did not have his key after returning from a trip. Dr. Gates then emerged from the house, shouting about racial profiling. When he would not desist, the officers arrested him for disorderly conduct. He was brought in handcuffs to the police station, where he was booked and released on bond. The charges were later dropped.

Stepping directly into the controversy, President Obama took a question about the incident at his press conference of Wednesday, July 22 – an event supposedly dedicated to Mr. Obama’s controversial health-insurance/health-care initiative. Commentators differ on whether Mr. Obama thought he was swatting a rhetorical fly by answering the reporter’s question, or whether he was deliberately creating a diversion for the media to pursue, so they would leave his health-care/insurance legislation unexamined. Other commentators claim he was serving up “liberal red meat to his base by going back to the old shibboleth of police racial profiling.

Whatever his motivation, Mr. Obama said Dr. Gates was his friend, and admitted that he did not know all the facts of the case. Notwithstanding his incomplete information, the president said the Cambridge police had “acted stupidly.” He made no comments about Dr. Gates’ own actions.

Mr. Obama’s remarks offended not only the Cambridge police, but police across the country – many of which had supported his election. Official and unofficial police spokesmen decried the president’s comments on a situation for which he lacked facts. Some said Mr. Obama didn’t understand how careful officers must be when answering a call about a possible break-in.

I heard one caller to a radio talk-show say that police responding to a burglary report must always anticipate a hostage situation inside a house, including someone ready to come out blasting. “Just because a voice behind a door says, ‘I’m Dr. Henry Gates, and I own this house,’ doesn’t mean that’s who it really is,” said the caller, who added, “verification is critical in such cases.” I don’t know if the caller was a policeman, himself, but his words ring true.

After wading through hundreds of comments attached to articles on the Internet, however, I am bound to admit that as a white man my experience with hostile and possibly violent police is extremely limited and uninformed. The old standby, “disorderly conduct” – first mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls, I believe – got the horselaugh from numerous writers, who were “blogging while black.” Several suggested that Dr. Gates should have stayed inside to avoid being arrested, taken away in a patrol car, and unfortunately “shot while trying to escape.” This KKK modus operandi seems absurd in 2009 Cambridge, Massachusetts, but the impression of police abuse and brutality clearly runs deep in the black community.

Claims by police that procedure had to be closely followed to ascertain if the person inside the house really was its owner were ridiculed by black bloggers as “complete rubbish” that would never have applied if Dr. Gates had been white. This is what Dr. Gates was yelling about. The contention is speculative, but I suspect they are right. When I forgot to close my garage door, late one night, police knocked at the front door to suggest that I close it. They did not demand identification to verify that I lived there, and they didn’t ask me to step outside. It was 11:30 PM.

In the midst of the controversy, President Obama observed: “The fact that it has garnered so much attention, I think, is a testimony to the fact that these are issues that are still very sensitive here in America.” (Meanwhile, no one was talking about health care reform. Go figure.)

It is not difficult to see that a fairly innocuous situation was escalated by Dr. Gates’ angry reaction to the officer’s request for definitive identification. However righteous the prof may have felt about being hassled for identification in his own home, the fact remains that a break-in had been reported. Simple compliance, a friendly greeting, and a word of thanks for looking out for his property from Dr. Gates would have made this into a non-incident.

This does rather suggest that Dr. Gates wanted an incident – perhaps one into which he might actually draw his friend, President Obama, for his own purposes. Or maybe he simply lost his temper when the officers failed to recognize his importance (e.g., “do you know who you’re messin’ with?”) We’ll never know what the true situation was, unless there is a sudden rush of candor from Dr. Gates. If it turns out that this was a contrived incident meant to produce a first-person experience for a new documentary on racial profiling, then a certain Harvard prof will have some ‘splainin’ to do. (Don’t hold your breath on this.)

That aside, the police hardly covered themselves with glory – however much they might protest that they were “just following procedure.” For one thing, most police departments now have access to on-line data-bases, which instantly yield owners’ and residents’ names for any address entered. Dispatchers would have relayed that info, so the officers should have known Dr. Gates’ name and possibly his description before they ever walked up his front steps. (If the Cambridge cops don’t have such a system, then they need to apply for some of that stimulus money to bring them into the 21st century.) Knowing who should be in the house should have simplified the entire situation, but I have heard no mention of this from police.

I am sympathetic (to a point) about the unpleasantness of being yelled at by someone, but I am not a trained peace officer. Sgt. Crowley is. Probably the prof annoyed him. I get that. But unless Dr. Gates started shoving the cops or throwing things at them, I have a problem with just angry talk defining “disorderly conduct.” A judge can fine people for “contempt,” if they speak to the court disrespectfully. Last I checked, cops don’t get that perk. “A policeman’s lot is not an ‘appy one.” I’m sorry, but officers with thin skins should sell shoes or vanilla skim lattes.

I said earlier that I had limited experience with potentially hostile police. I did have such an experience, one evening in New York City, years ago. I was driving friends to an engagement in the city when we got ensnarled in a traffic jam that threatened to make us late. At length, I was annoyed to find that the source of the slowdown was a sobriety checkpoint in which police were stopping every car and checking the occupants to see if it looked (or smelled) like any drinking was going on. I have never been very good at disguising my feelings, so my annoyance probably showed to the inquiring officer. He immediately commanded me to get out of the car.

Undoubtedly thinking that he had a Live One, the officer jovially asked, “Have we been drinking this evening, sir?” Probably he was surprised when I snapped, “Certainly not!” I was made to blow into the device which tests blood-alcohol content. Of course, it showed a zero reading, as I seldom drink, and had not done so that evening.

I sensed that the officer was braced for an angry response from me, so I managed to hold my tongue and suppress all my fine ripostes about the police needing to find better things to do, etc. (Verily, I could see a certain value in the checkpoint, even if it had inconvenienced me.) When I said nothing, the policeman’s tone actually turned conciliatory. He apologized for troubling me, and wished me a pleasant evening. I went on my way, and no one was arrested for disorderly conduct. Only much later did I realize that this was the outcome for which the officer was braced.

As for Mr. Obama’s contribution to the Gates-gate Drama – his comments seemed so ill-advised that one really must wonder if he deliberately blew the incident up for his own purposes. He could easily have ducked the press-conference question by pleading lack of facts, as he initially did. Or he could have said that things had gone beyond sensible bounds, and asked all parties to step back and take a few deep breaths. He had a golden opportunity to joke about the situation – perhaps noting that no one had died and suggesting that we all have more serious things to worry about than who didn’t recognize whom, and who wouldn’t stop shouting, etc.

The President is right in saying that we still have a racial divide in this country. I’d like to see him try to close it, instead of widening it. A great opportunity was missed here to do that: a real pity. When does the “post-racial” era kick in? Soon, I hope.

Dead Humpback Whale Washes Up Onto Monmouth Beach

joe_reynoldsIf the sight of a Humpback Whale breaching or swimming off the Jersey Shore is one of life’s most magnificent scenes, then the sight of a dead one lying lifeless on the beach is among the most tearful. On Monday, July 27, 2009, with a rising tide and a blowing easterly breeze, a juvenile Humpback Whale washed up dead onto Monmouth Beach around 2pm.

Visitors to the Jersey Shore got more than they bargained for on that day when they arrived to find a 20 ton or more whale carcass floating in the Atlantic Ocean. It wasn’t a pretty sight either. Floating to shore, the young motionless Humpback Whale got caught along a rock sea wall and got banged up pretty hard by the waves. Then there was the sight of its stomach that was clearly seen sticking out of its mouth. It was big, white, and round, like some sort of bizarre beach ball. When the dead whale finally washed ashore onto Monmouth Beach it looked as if it had been battered around and dragged up by its baleen.

beached_whale_1

(The body of a young Humpback Whale is seen on along the shoreline of Monmouth Beach. The whale most likely died after being hit hard by a tanker ship near the mouth of NY Harbor.)

Continue reading Dead Humpback Whale Washes Up Onto Monmouth Beach

Obama Never Says He is “An American Citizen”

gordon_bishopDuring his presidential campaign, Barack Hussein Obama always said he “Is a Citizen of the World!”

What that means, to me at least, is that he’d rather be called a “Citizen of the World” than a “Citizen of the United States.”

That may be the reason he cannot prove he is a real citizen of America.

This former State and U.S. Senator from the corrupt south side of Chicago has yet to produce a legitimate “birth certificate” that all natural-born citizens of America have in their safe box, or locked steel cabinet drawer.

The United States Justice Foundation (“Your Conservative Voice in the Courts”) has launched an investigation into the “Obama Birthday Fraud.”

According to published reports, Barack Obama’s legal team has been paid over a million dollars, so far, to “STOP” anyone from seeing any of his actual identification documents, or many other documents, including:

–  Actual long-form birth certificate (NOT an easily-forged electronic copy of a short-form document that is not ever officially accepted in Hawaii, where he claims he was born.
–  Passport files
–  University of Chicago Law School scholarly articles
–  Harvard Law School Review articles
–  Harvard Law School records
–  Columbia University records
–  Columbia University senior thesis, “Soviet Nuclear Disarmament”
–  Occidental College records, including financial aid that he may have received
–  Punahou School records, where Obama attended from the fifth grade and finished high school
–  Noelani Elementary School records, where Barack Obama attended kindergarten (according to the Hawaii Department of Education, students must submit a birth certificate to register — but parents may bring a passport or student visa if the child is from a foreign country. Obama spent many years living as a “citizen” in Indonesia, a Muslim country.
–  Complete files and schedules of his years as an Illinois state senator from 1997 to 2004.
–  Obama’s client list from during his time in private practice with the Chicago law firm of Davis, Minter, Barnhill and Gallard
–  Illinois State Bar Association records
–  Baptism records
–  Obama/Dunham (his white mother) marriage license
–  Obama/Dunham divorce documents (Obama’s African Kenyan father left him when he was 2 years old.
–  Soetoro/Dunham marriage license (his step-father)
–  Soetero/Dunham Adoption records.

The Issue of the Occidental College records is especially pertinent, according to the U.S. Justice Foundation. The USJF served officials at Occidental College with a subpoena to produce records concerning Barack Obama’s attendance there during the 1980s, because those records could document whether he was attending as a foreign national. Obama attended the school on a scholarship — and there are questions as to whether the financial aid he received was reserved for foreign students.

The Obama attorneys have bent over backward to block the Justice Foundation. “Obama doesn’t want anyone to see those records, the Foundation noted. “He’s still trying to hide them; those financial  records STILL have not been released.”

“What is Barack Obama trying to hide? What is he afraid of. Why doesn’t  he just release these documents to prove that he is a natural-born citizen and, therefore, qualified to serve as President — especially his actual birth certificate?” the Justice Foundation investigation learned.

“Isn’t it time we forced him to come clean? His Birthday, August 4th, is the perfect time to do it!” the Foundation declared.

“I dared bring Barack Obama into court to force him to produce his birth certificate, and put an end to the controversy over his status as a ‘natural born’ citizen once and for all,” said Gary Kreep, Executive Director  of the U.S. Justice Foundation. “Obama’s lawyers are doing everything they can to shut down the U.S. Justice Foundation.”

Kreep said “Our country is on the fast track to disaster. Obama must be STOPPED NOW!”

Meanwhile, the American Conservative Union, Washington, D.C., is calling for an “Audit of Obama’s Campaign by the Federal Election Commission. John McCain’s campaign is currently being audited by the FEC.

“Barack Obama’s campaign had numerous documented cases of fraudulent donations and has refused to provide source information for more than $250 million in contributions,” according to the ACU.

The Obama campaign received some $700 million from donors, not just in America, but from around the world — the most ever raised in an election in America, according to the ACU. Foreign donations are illegal under U.S. election laws.

“The American people deserve to know the truth of how President Obama’s campaign was financed and how much illegal money was poured into his campaign,” the ACU asserted.

Obama has, so far, refused to release his complete list of donors for his bid to be president. That’s the Chicago style of corrupt politics.

(Gordon Bishop is an award-winning author, historian, syndicated columnist and New Jersey’s first “Journalist-of-the-Year” — 1986/The New Jersey Press Association, founded in 1857.)

Having Alzheimer’s Disease

danvance_120Often, one column I write leads to others.

Barbara Toney reads this column in the Lebanon Reporter (Indiana). She emailed recently, asking if she could correspond with a person I had featured who was heavily involved in caring for his father with Alzheimer’s disease.

After learning she had an interesting story, I ended up interviewing her, too.

The Alzheimer’s Association website says this progressive, gradual onset, fatal brain disease affects five million Americans. It causes memory, thinking, and behavior difficulties, and is our nation’s sixth-leading cause of death.

About five years ago, I began noticing his short-term memory problems first,” said 71-year-old Toney of her husband, Tom. “He’d ask what day it was two or three times a day. Then he would go down to his woodworking shed and not remember what he was supposed to do when he got there.”

When Toney sought treatment for him, for whatever reason, one doctor after another ignored Alzheimer’s disease as a possible cause and began zeroing in instead on major depression, which Tom had experienced since 1970 after the death of his son.

But over all those years, I’d been around him enough to know there was a difference between the depression and these other symptoms,” said Toney, a former medical transcriptionist.

She added, “Then he started having panic attacks. He knew something was wrong, didn’t know how to voice it, and just retreated. He’d always been a people person.” To complicate matters, Tom also had rheumatoid arthritis and had survived 15 surgeries in life, including two for cancer.

Three years ago, they moved to Lebanon to a place “where the (complex owners) take care of everything,” she said. Tom was no longer able to do outdoor tasks at their old home. After the move, his mental confusion worsened.

Again, along the way, at least four doctors had failed to diagnose her husband with anything other than major depression. She finally grabbed a doctor’s attention after learning more about Alzheimer’s disease herself, and when Tom verbally began demanding an answer to his difficulties.

The doctor eventually diagnosed Tom with Alzheimer’s disease and prescribed medicine. “Two weeks later, I began seeing a huge change in him,” she said. “He still has short-term memory problems, but his speech is better now and he can get his words out.”

She advised people frustrated by doctors to never give up hope.

Contact danieljvance.com [All American Foods and Blue Valley Sod made this column possible.]

Make a Joyful Noise: “JK Wedding” Video

anne_mikolay_120I don’t usually pay much attention to anything that is posted on you-tube, let alone write about it, but when I received an email link to the you-tube video, “JK Wedding Entrance Dance,” I sat up and paid attention. Heck, I boogied in my seat!

JK Wedding Entrance Dance” is a video of the June 20th wedding processional of Minnesota couple Kevin Heinz and Jill Peterson, who transformed a “stuffy” wedding tradition into a free-spirited expression of joy as the wedding party literally danced down the aisle (the groom somersaulted). Chris Brown’s “Forever” replaced Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” as bridesmaids, groomsmen, bride and groom, twisted, twirled, shook, and boogied their way to the altar.

My initial “are they insane?” reaction to the video quickly faded, and I found myself smiling. I have never seen such uninhibited joy unleashed inside a church! Some viewers of “JK Wedding Entrance Dance” might criticize the wedding party’s’ behavior. After-all, a church is a sacred house of reverent devotion, not a dance club, and thus, they may say, no place for “shaking one’s booty.” True, I suppose, but personally, I applaud newlyweds Kevin and Jill Heinz for uniquely expressing and sharing their joy.

Our society all too often regards a wedding as nothing more than an excuse to party. We forget that what happens inside the church, not at the reception hall, is what truly matters. When you receive a wedding invitation, you are being asked to witness two people joining together in matrimony, and that is far more important than the cocktail hour. Kevin and Jill Heinz transformed their wedding procession into a true “alleluia moment;” their happiness was infectious. They threw up their hands, danced and wiggled, and made a joyful noise in God’s house. Good for them! There is enough sadness and sorrow in the world. Why not seize each and every opportunity – even a wedding – to sing out with the innocence of children? There would be a lot more people in the pews on Sunday if church-goers were encouraged to do so. Of course, we shouldn’t go to church to be entertained, but a little bit of uninhibited spirit, a little  dancing every now and then, surely couldn’t hurt.

I encourage you to view the “JK Wedding Entrance Dance” on you-tube, and when you do, remember Psalm 100:1-2: “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs.”

Make a joyful noise!

 

 

 

Jesse “the President” Ventura?

dennis_mikolay_09It’s rather sad that less than six months into the Obama presidency, numerous voters are anxiously awaiting the 2012 presidential election. This is not, by any means, a new phenomena. It happens after almost any presidential victory; the “losing” sides inevitably regroup, and begin counting the days until their possible comeback. Following the 2000 election, thousands of Gore supporters protested Bush’s (illegal) victory, while after Obama seized the reigns, the anti-taxation “Tea Party” became the protest of choice.

But even major media outlets are looking forward to 2012. FOX News has been discussing Sarah Palin’s possible run, Mitt Romney’s desire to sit in the Oval Office, Bobby Jindal’s suave style, and the bevy of other conservative candidates who may shake things up in 2012.

While I think it is a bit soon to be predicting the potential contenders in the next four years, one name that is frequently mentioned as a potential candidate does excite me.

Pundits have long whispered that former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura secretly plans on making a run for the White House. In 2000, it was suspected he would do so on the Reform Party ticket. He surprised everyone, however, by abandoning the party, and later retiring from politics altogether. His retirement was short-lived, as by 2008 he was back, appearing in support of independent Ralph Nader, and stirring up morale at Ron Paul’s “Rally for the Republic.”

There are several reasons I think that Jesse Ventura would be an ideal candidate. First off, he would almost certainly run as an independent, shunning the chains of corporate influence. Only a third party or independent candidate can explicitly serve the American public, as they are the only ones who are not indebted to party bureaucracy or fat cat corporate puppet masters.

Secondly, after reading Jesse Ventura’s book Do I Stand Alone? it becomes apparent that he shares my belief that career politicians are obsolete, and in many ways, anti-American. He argues that the founding fathers intended for citizens from the private sector to run for office, and then return to their lives and careers after their terms.

 

 

[From Navy SEAL to president? Photo: Skyhorse Publishing]

 

 

Ventura was ridiculed endlessly for this belief. Apparently, many Americans ridiculed the professional wrestler turned governor. That being said, Ventura was simply following our founder’s visions: he left private life, ran for office, and then retired from politics after his term. He did so because he is a Constitutionalist, someone who actually knows, and more importantly cares, about our country’s constitution. If he were president, we wouldn’t have to worry about our civil liberties being torn to shreds, and that is an assurance we haven’t had in decades.

During an appearance on MSNBC, Ventura also presented a viable solution to the gay marriage debate. He believes we should separate the religious and political establishment entirely.

“Love is bigger than government. Who the hell are we, as a government, to tell people who they can fall in love with? I think its absurd, the fact that it’s even being debated. We can solve the problem simply: government only acknowledges Civil Unions, then you don’t have to put your sex down. Let the churches acknowledge marriage, they are the private sector. If they don’t want to acknowledge it they have every right to do so….”

Ventura presents the perfect argument as to why the government should mind its own business when it comes to marriage, and he also presents a solution to the problem, one that hasn’t been crafted by an allegiance to religious or special interest groups.

Ventura is also patriotic, while remaining a non-interventionist. He spent his youth as a Navy  SEAL,       and has been vocally critical of the “chicken hawks” and draft dodgers who have, in recent years, overtaken Washington with hypocritical pro-war policies. Interesting that the veteran is anti-war, while the chicken hawks seek out endless armed conflict.

Ventura seems,almost like the perfect candidate. Actually, there is only one issue that would make me hesitant to vote for him. While we both agree that there needs to be a new investigation into the September 11th attacks, we have differing opinions as to why such action is necessary. I feel we need to seek out why, exactly, such an attack could occur on American soil with such little resistance. One must remember that the World Trade Center had been attacked once before, and it was fairly obvious terrorists were going to strike again, so it wasn’t exactly a “surprise attack.” I believe the Bush and Clinton administrations were simply incompetent.

Ventura, on the other hand, seems to be seeking a more sinister answer. During a radio interview, he questioned how Seven World Trade Center, a building which was not struck by a plane, collapsed.

“Two planes struck two buildings,” Ventura said. “I think we all agree on that. But how is that a third building fell five hours later?”

Seven World Trade Center is often boasted by conspiracy theorists as the “smoking gun” that the attack was the result of domestic conspiracy. One must realize the building  had sustained significant damage during the collapse of the Twin Towers, thus weakening its structural integrity. Having two of the world’s tallest structures collapse will exert a great deal of force. Coupled with the amount of fire and falling debris, Seven World Trade Center didn’t stand a chance. The true September 11th conspiracy was that, only hours after the attack, the Bush administration was seeking to capitalize off the tragedy by forming a fictional link with Iraq.

Ventura and I disagree on September 11th, but I still respect him for seeking answers to the questions he perceives, and doing so out of a genuine concern for the American public.

One should read his books Don’t Start the Revolution Without Me, and Do I Stand Alone for a glimpse into Ventura’s political mind. He is an honest, courageous, and likable fellow. He is also an amazing public speaker and a fierce debater. I think he would be a fantastic Commander in Chief, and apparently, he thinks so, too! During his appearance at “Rally for the Republic,” Ventura stated that if the “revolution” continued to gain momentum, in 2012 he would “give them a run they will never forget!”