Voter Apathy Could be the Deciding Factor

jack_archibald_120We are in the homestretch for New Jersey residents. After four years of the Corzine administration, Garden Staters get the opportunity to voice their opinion on his performance.  In a race that will be watched throughout the country and especially from the White House, the Governorship of New Jersey will be decided on Tuesday.

Everyone knows what is at stake.  By all accounts, New Jersey is broken and it will take years to right the ship.  The size of government, on all levels, is to big and public pension obligations threaten to strangle our future.  The question facing voters is which man, Democrat Jon Corzine or Republican Chris Christie is best equipped to rein in Trenton and get state spending under control.

There are those that don’t think either man is up to the task and will vote for Independent Chris Daggett. Others don’t think anyone can fix the state and will take a pass on exercising their right to vote.  If you are a Republican, both of those options are not particularly enthralling because those are votes that Chris Christie is losing.  The disaffected voter tends to vote against the incumbent, and apathetic voters will not make it to the polls.

The apathetic voters who don’t turn out could be the big story on Tuesday.  This is a challenging year to get out the vote because last year was a Presidential election. After every Presidential election, turnout falls significantly the following year and a low turnout probably favors the Democrat party.

That is especially true in local races.  In Monmouth County, Republicans need a sizeable turnout in Middletown if they want to regain the Freeholder board. A good turnout in Monmouth County could offset the anticipated Democrat votes in Hudson County and deliver New Jersey back to the GOP. While this Republican would urge everyone to vote for the GOP right down the line, it is important that you take the time to come out and vote on Tuesday.   If you care about the direction of government, staying home on November 3 doesn’t do either party any good.

Picture This – 10/28/09


Identify the location and win

Picture This! We’ll show you a photo taken in Monmouth County. You tell us where it is located. If you have not won in the last 3 months and you know the answer, send your response to: [email protected]

Please include with your name and the town where you live. Be the first person to respond with the correct answer and we will publish your name and town.

Previous winner:


Jan Gronvold, of Leonardo, NJ was the first person to respond with the correct answer.

A. The New Monmouth Baptist Church at the intersections of Tindall Rd, New Monmouth Rd, Leonardville Rd and Cherry Tree Farm Rd. in Middletown.

God’s Placing of People Along the Way

george_hancockstefanRecently I was in a meeting where a professor was talking about major changes in his life. One such change happened when he began studying at a seminary and a professor told him that he had racist tendencies. Acknowledging that his seminary professor was correct, he asked him for advice. His professor suggested that he move to Atlanta, Georgia for a period of time and then re-evaluate his life.

I was thinking that somehow God has placed people alongside me in my journey so that my racial tendencies were pruned out as soon as they sprouted. This has been true since I arrived from Eastern Europe at the age of sixteen. In my high school in Detroit, the whites and black students were almost even. However, I knew of students who stayed in their own groups, both black and whites. The best environment was found in the Bible Study Group. Over 100 students attended the meetings. We were able to create friendships and deal with the issues that were problematic in the city of Detroit, race being one of them.

Conversely, I went to a college that had less that 5% non-white students. Among my friends at college was a student from Nigeria. We played soccer together and were in classes together. We prayed together, we ate hundred of meals together and we even went on double dates together.

After college, I went to work in a meat factory in Detroit. One day one elderly black gentleman came to me and said, “Have you ever considered the ministry?” I said to him, “Why are you asking this question?” He replied that he was a deacon in a church and God has placed it on his heart to encourage me to consider the ministry. Interestingly, I was already accepted in a seminary, but decided to take a year off after college.

My high school and college friends were mostly guys. In seminary, one of my best friends was a black young lady from the South. She had lots of class and it was fun to be with her. We had classes together, we did church work together, we had lots of things in common and we did lots of traveling together. This was in the mid-seventies when busing was a volatile issue in Boston. One day we stopped at a store for ice cream. On the way out I said to her, “Did you feel anything different in that ice cream store? She started to laugh and said, “You little white boy! What you felt inside that ice cream store was hate! They hated you because you were with me!” I must confess that I have never had that experience before. It was very frightening to be hated because one traveled with a person of a different race.

Since I graduated from seminary over 30 years ago, I am amazed at the number of blacks who God has placed besides me to teach me how to avoid racism as a sin. At the same time in my relationships and in my classroom, I state that intentionally I do not plan to hurt anyone by what I say. If I say anything that they consider hurtful, they should let me know so that I will not repeat my mistakes.

I thank God for all of the people who He has placed along the way to fulfill the verse found in Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

Obama Health Care is Taxpayers and Seniors Nightmare

gordon_bishopCan America’s taxpayers and senior citizens  stop President Barack Obama’s sociaist health care “reform” plan, which may soon become the ‘”law of the land?”

It’s up to you, folks — the bedrock of America’s freedom and liberty!

Yes, YOU — especially those who voted for this Marxist fool.

This would be a disaster for all of us because this Obama proposal could, according to The Conservative Caucus, Inc. (conservative

–  Give the Federal Government massive control over the financing, delivery and
management of our health care.

– Impose health care rationing, depriving seniors of timely and adequate care for life
threatening illness.

– Raise taxes on health care benefits, payroll, and possibly even Social Security benefits to
help offset its huge costs.

– Increase Medicare premiums.

– Eliminate Medicare Advantage Plans that currently give nearly 10 million seniors
insurance for medical procedures and medications that Medicare does not cover.

– Force small businesses to obey a government decreed level of health care for all
employees or pay extensive and punitive taxes.

– Threaten employer-based health insurance as we know it.

– Create a national health care database where your medical conditions cannot be
guaranteed privacy.

– Handcuff the drug industry and health care providers with draconian new regulations that could leave Americans with even less control of their health care dollars than we have today.

Bottom line?

The Obama health care scheme could undercut your access to the best medical care in the

Oama’s health care scheme would restrict our health care choices — and it could increase the Federal Government’s  power — it could discourage development of new drugs and medical breakthroughs — it could ration your health care — and it could BANKRUPT ALL OF US!

No one even knows with certainty how much it will cost. But we do know it could destroy the world’s best health care system.

The last thing America needs now is an unconstitutional Federal takeover of private doctors and hospitals!

That is exactly what President Obama’s health care “reform” plan would do.

It is a clear-and-present  danger to each and every one of us.

We will only have ourselves to blame if we fail to let every Member of the United States Congress know that you and I will not stand for the destruction of our present health care system — under any circumstances!

The Obama plan is a threat in every way. If it passes, we could get worse care for more money!

Remember the “Catastrophic Coverage Surtax” back in 1989?

Remember “Hillary Care” back in 1993?

The first would have forced seniors to swallow a huge tax increase for health care coverage that we didn’t need or want.

Hillary’s plan would have destroyed our health care system and forced you and me and other Americans into a socialist nightmare of bureaucrats and rationed health care.

Fortunately, “Hillary Care” was defeated and the unfair “Catastrophic Coverage Surtax” was repealed.

Delay to stop this medical madness could be fatal, because Obama has made socialized medicine his biggest goal.

This is another Marxist scheme for lowest common denominator medical in which we could pay more.

Frankly, do you trust Barack Obama with that kind of POWER?

In fact, do you trust ANYONE in the Federal Government with that kind of power over your life?

I know I don’t.

The U.S. Constitution forbids it!

Never forget that the defeat of the Obama plan is a matter of life and death because it would almost certainly lead to rationing of care and now available to all Americans.

Whether you need heart surgery or cancer therapy or treatment of Alzheimers disease, some unseen bureaucrat in Washington could have the power to decide what type of care is or is not “critical,” and you could be excluded from treatment when and where you need it.

Sadly, life or death decisions would be left in the hands of politicians, bureaucrats and computers.

Welcome to the Communist Soviet Union!

For more information, contact Howard Phillips, Chairman of The Conservative Caucus, Inc. at 703-938-9626, or email, or go to

(Gordon Bishop is a ‘Who’s Who in the World’ national award-winning author, historian, syndicated columnist,  journalist and the First “Journalist-of-the-Year” — 1986/New Jersey Press Association, founded in 1857.)

Autumn Nostalgia

anne_mikolay_120There’s something about autumn that triggers nostalgia. Perhaps it’s the vibrant, colorful leaves, or the scent of a fresh October morning. I don’t really know the reason, but fall reminds me of the little girl I used to be. How I loved to watch the sycamores shed their leaves, and relished the crunch-crunch as I ran through piles of raked cast-offs! On a crisp autumn evening, I warmed to the scent of wood burning in a neighbor’s fireplace, and took comfort in the soft glow of lights inside the old colonial homes on my street.

I remembered all this yesterday as I spent a lazy afternoon at Sandy Hook. The foliage was beautiful; the paths were lined with red and brown crunchy leaves. Families were out and about, enjoying the warm temperatures, taking photographs, riding bicycles. A trio of little bicyclists reminded me of how much I loved riding my bike when I was young.

Ah, my bike, my cherished childhood possession! Back in the sixties, my dad bought it for me from Strauss Stores on Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island. I could hardly contain my excitement as we walked there together from our home. I had seen the bike in the store window, and couldn’t wait to get my hands on the hot pink stingray. It was a pricey, trendy item back then; I couldn’t believe my good fortune!

I spent a lot of hours, a lot of years, riding around on my stingray. It had a slim, white, vinyl seat that I  cleaned with Windex whenever a spec of dirt appeared. I used the backyard hose to wash my bike, carefully aiming the spray away from the wicker basket suspended from the handlebars. The handlebars had pink and white streamers that flapped in the wind as I picked up speed.

I miss my stingray. I’m way too big to ride it now, but I wish I had it still. I wish I had a lot of things from my childhood. I wish I could once again watch the greenery of the sycamores fade into orange and red and yellow; wish I could tumble in the leaves. Wish I could play outside till the sun set, then eat a hardy dinner prepared by my Mom (oh, the mashed potatoes!), watch the Brady Bunch, and go to bed without a care in the world. Life was very, very good back then.

Yes, autumn stirs nostalgia, and a little bit of remorse in me…for a place, and a family, that in my youth I didn’t fully appreciate, and a time that has been swept away as quickly as the leaves in the autumn wind.

Weill in 2012?

dennis_mikolay_09Ted Weill is a man with a mission: to promote the ideals of an America controlled by the people! Weill, a Mississippian and a World War II veteran, believes the government should be subservient to its people. He dreams of a government free of special interest and corporate control, and has spent the last two decades working to make his vision a reality.

Weill is a member of the Reform Party of the United States, founded by billionaire H. Ross Perot during his 1996 presidential campaign. Perot first arrived on the scene in 1992 when he ran for president as an independent. During his two campaigns, Perot argued the dangers of NAFTA, and with pie charts in hand, warned of an impending economic crisis. He also claimed that there would someday be a “giant sucking sound” as American jobs were exported to cheaper countries.

The mainstream media laughed and labeled Perot a paranoid, old eccentric. But now, some seventeen years later, most of Perot’s prophecies have come true.

While Perot himself dropped out of the political arena over a decade ago, the Reform Party lives on, promoting the ideals he touted during his campaigns. It was this unique message that had attracted Weill to third party politics.

“My reason for joining the third party movement was to save my country from special interests,” said Weill, who ran for Senate on the Reform Party ticket in 1996.

Weill’s campaign won about two percent of the vote, which is impressive for a third party candidate.

Weill’s political philosophy is in harmony with that of the Reform Party, which promotes a balanced budget, a fair tax system, Congressional term limits, and electronic voting paper trails. Weill is himself also an opponent of Barack Obama’s health care plan, which he believes will cost American lives.

“Only a worthless skunk would propose murdering millions of good Americans,” said Weill.

Weill was also critical of President George W. Bush, so much so, that he actually wanted to run against him! In 2004, Weill campaigned for the Reform Party’s presidential nomination, but ultimately bowed out in favor of Ralph Nader.

“I backed off in favor of Ralph Nader,” said Weill, “I had followed Nader for many years, and knew him to be one of the most dedicated men [in politics] to the principles of [an] America by the people, for the people, and of the people.”

Nader ultimately won the party’s nomination, and with Weill’s blessing, the consumer advocate made his third bid for the White House.

By the 2008 election, a number of lawsuits had thrust the Reform Party into a political limbo. The various legal woes all but killed the Reform Party on a national level, and severely limited its ballot access. The Reform Party briefly gained national headlines after the Associated Press erroneously reported they had endorsed John McCain for president.

In actuality, amidst the party’s many setbacks and woes, Ted Weill finally earned their nomination.

“I was the Reform Party’s candidate,” said Weill. “But [The Reform Party] was finishing up a court battle. I had one week to campaign before November fourth.”

With only a week to campaign, Weill’s ballot access was limited to a single state.

Today, the Reform Party’s legal woes are finally coming to a close, and the party has launched a massive rebuilding process. The hope is that by 2012 the Reform Party will once again be a viable political force.

“Young voters should join The Reform Party and use ‘common sense’ to rebuild what the two party system has destroyed,” said Weill.

If the Reform Party does manage to regain the influence it had in the 1990s, one must wonder what influence its presidential candidate will have?

Perhaps America will be ready for a third party president.

Today, Weill resides in Tylertown, Mississippi. That doesn’t mean, however, that he wouldn’t like to move to Pennsylvania Avenue. When asked about his past presidential campaigns,Weill commented: “I look forward to it in 2012.”

Facing the Stares

danvance_120Perhaps once a year, I pen a column about an extraordinary experience or two that has emotionally touched me.

This last summer, I was in a relatively small city 40 miles from home. Besides being a columnist and writer, I’ve been studying mental health counseling the last two years at a nearby university with the goal of also becoming a licensed professional counselor or licensed marriage family therapist.

While in that city, and just outside one of my counseling internship sites, I noticed two young girls, perhaps thirteen or fourteen, pushing a younger girl in a wheelchair across a parking lot. From my vantage point, the girl in the wheelchair appeared to have cerebral palsy, which would have been caused by brain damage occurring before, during, or shortly after birth. It affects the brain’s ability to control muscle movement.

The little girl seemed to have a very nice wheelchair, a brand I had never seen. My own daughter uses one and I’m one of those weird people who admire unique wheelchair features. So I shouted across the parking lot at them: “Nice wheelchair.” They all stopped on a dime and I began walking towards them.

“Nice wheelchair,” I said again, this time showing a thumbs-up sign. The older girls cracked a grin and glanced down at the little girl in the wheelchair, who was sound asleep. I went on to learn the little girl’s name, Jessica, and the brand name of the wheelchair. Indeed, she did have cerebral palsy. After a few minutes of conversation, the teen pushing her younger sister said, “Thank you for complimenting her wheelchair. Most people when they see us just stare.”

Then it struck me: This was something I’d heard dozens of times over the years from caregivers and people with disabilities. Being stared at in silence would make anyone feel uncomfortable, but imagine being stared at that way nearly every day for the rest of your life, as if you were a bug in a glass jar. No wonder so many people with physical disabilities struggle with mental illness.

That chance encounter in a city 40 miles away has weighed on me for months. I now feel compelled to say that people with physical disabilities (or any disability) and their caregivers ought not be stared at as bugs in a glass jar, but rather engaged in direct conversation. They have much to share.

Contact [All American Foods and Palmer Bus Service made this column possible.]

Blimey! Watching Wild Dolphins Near Cape May

joe_reynoldsIt was the day after the departure of mid-October’s twin nor’easters, which flooded many coastal roads and bridges, roiled the surf, and eroded the coastline of the Jersey Shore. Although the pair of wicked storms were long gone, their earlier impacts could still be seen along much of the coast from discarded roadway flooded signs, narrower beaches, and fallen tree limbs.

The hope was that after two weekend storms, boats would not be further kept tied to a dock. I had planned for weeks in advance to head off to discover wild dolphins along Cape May’s coastline during a three hour boat tour. Yet, I had a weary feeling that perhaps the beach would be as close as I would get to the water.


(A pod of Bottlenose Dolphins recently seen near Cape May, New Jersey)

Time was running out. Watching for wildlife is always a test of patience. Yet, with water temperatures steadily decreasing, it would not be long before the coastal Bottlenose Dolphin population that makes their spring and summer home near Cape May would be gone for the year. Many of these coastal Cape May dolphins migrate down south to the warmer waters off North Carolina to spend the winter.  With a northerly wind blowing, I wondered if dolphin migration had gotten underway earlier than usual.  I was skeptical if there would be any dolphins to see.

In any case, I drove for nearly three hours down the Garden State Parkway, arriving to Cape May by 12:30pm. Fortunately, it was a beautiful October day near the southernmost tip of the Jersey Shore. The weather was sunny, breezy with cool temperatures into the lower 60s. There was not much chop on the sea. The day was simply gorgeous, a lucky day this time of year to search for dolphins.


(An adult female dolphin swimming close at hand to a newly born first-of-the-year dolphin. The waters off Cape May are a breeding area for Bottlenose Dolphins)

I boarded the vessel at shortly before the Pam departure bell with camera and binoculars in hand. Once onboard, I immediately went to the bow of the boat to take my place outside and make ready to scan the sea for marine mammals.

With 150 other interested people on board, we soon set out from the Cape May Canal and out into the Delaware Bay to try and find a dolphin pod. Luckily, it was not long before boat captain gave the first shout out for swimming dolphins.


(One way wildlife biologists can identify dolphins is by the shape of their dorsal fin and the marks, scars,and slashes on the fin. No two Bottlenose dolphins share the same fin outline)

I joyfully thought to myself the dolphins are still here! The first sighting took place near the Cape May Lighthouse. There were about 50 sleek Bottlenose Dolphins swimming inshore. What an exciting sight! I never knew when or where they would come up next in the bay. A dorsal fin might pop up, then nothing. Suddenly, four or five dolphins burst out from the water, then disappeared just as quickly. The dolphins were at the bow, then port, then starboard, or at one o’clock, five o’clock, or ten o’clock. What breathtakingly graceful creatures. These dolphins weren’t shy at all, and were good-naturedly photogenic, much to the delight of many on board. Before long, however, these dolphins disappeared in the dark blue waters of the bay.


The boat captain stayed here for a while looking out for more dolphin activity. After a short time, though, he headed out to the deeper waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Our second sighting took place about 2 miles off shore. A large pod of nearly 200 coastal Bottlenose Dolphins, with young in tow, came within feet of the boat. We started to see fins and faces dashing in and out of the water.

It was quite a sight to see! I kept trying to get pictures of the pod when they come out of the water, but I was never really fast enough. Still, I got a few pictures of dolphins plunging in and out of the water. I even got a picture of a new born dolphin swimming near its mother. Baby dolphins normally stay a little closer to their elders than adult dolphins.

This was an experience not to be forgotten, especially seeing their unique behavior of jumping out of the water from the boat’s wake.  It was a sight to experience to see healthy Bottlenose dolphins free and wild in their natural coastal habitat.


Of course, once again a recent close encounter with wildlife has heightened my sensitivity to human’s impact on our planet. Unfortunately, the coastal home for many of these dolphins has become polluted with trash and litter, such as various types of plastics, cigarette butts, fishing line, and styrofoam. In addition, coastal waters still routinely suffer from high amounts of raw sewage (especially after storm events) and chemical contamination.

As dolphins eat various species of fish, such as weakfish, croaker, and herring, they also consume certain pesticides, such as chlordane and DDT, as well as industrial products, such as polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, which do not break down quickly in the environment. These contaminants become concentrated at the top of the food chain, in dolphins as well as in people; and potentially affecting health and cancer rates of both dolphins and people. Since people catch and eat fish from the same waters as dolphins, it makes sense to think of dolphins as indicator species to provide warnings about environmental threats in water quality.


No doubt, dolphin-watching in the wild has proven to play an important role in the conservation of whales and dolphins around the world. People can learn a great deal about the life of dolphins and the threats they face in the water. We now need to take the next step and be good stewards of our environment and ensure that our coastal waters remain clean, healthy, and safe from toxic chemicals for all species to enjoy into the future.  We need to act now to ensure dolphins and other marine mammals will still be around tomorrow along the shores of Cape May.

Fox Wars and Other Diversions

woody_zimmerman_118_2007This week I heard former Bush administration official Carl Rove, on Fox News (where else?), saying that the Obama administration’s attacks on that cable news channel were just part of a grand “diversionary” strategy. This caught my attention, since I have written along those lines more than once in this column-space over the last few months.

Mr. Rove suggested that the Obama White House probably doesn’t care overmuch about what Fox News is (or isn’t) doing, day-to-day. (Although Glen Beck has been a mighty pest, lately, with his exposure of Acorn, Van Jones, etc.) But the Obamanistas find it useful to create a diversion for both Fox and other news organs to pursue, like a pack of baying hounds.

Media-response to this particular “stimulus” reminds me of a friend’s ancient dog, who “guarded” their property – out near the driveway where cars were parked. He could reliably be roused to a barking frenzy if you clicked the remote lock on your car, making the horn give that short “beep.” At the beep, the dog lost all concentration on whatever “guarding” he might have been doing.

Even Fox, itself, has devoted days of coverage to the “Fox = Enemy” story, as cleverly articulated by Mr. Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, and White House Communications Director Anita Dunn, among others. Miss Dunn said she (and presumably the Obama White House) regards the Fox Channel as the “research and communications wing” of the Republican Party.

Rahm Emanuel declaimed at length about Fox not being a “legitimate” news organization because it has “a perspective.” To hear him tell it, the Obama White House is shocked (shocked!) that this is the case. Moreover, said Mr. Emanuel, the Obama administration wants to discourage “…the CNNs and others in the world” from being “led and following Fox, as if what they’re trying to do is a legitimate news organization in the sense of both sides’ sense of a valued opinion.” (If George W. Bush doesn’t watch it, Rahm Emanuel is going to snatch his Scrambled Syntax title away from him.)

President Obama entered the scrap directly when he said, “I think that what our advisers simply said is that we are going to take media as it comes. And if media is operating, basically, as a talk radio format, then that’s one thing. And if it’s operating as a news outlet then that’s another. But it’s not something I’m losing a lot of sleep over.” Maybe not, but he and his administration are certainly spending gobs of time trashing Fox News and warning the rest of Big Media not to follow Fox’s lead on stories critical of Mr. Obama and his policies. (I heard that Mr. Emanuel and Miss Dunn are holding auditions for raspy-voiced guys who will call media organs with “offers they can’t refuse.”)

The White House’s running gun-battle with Fox News ramped up on September 19, when Mr. Obama appeared on the Sunday morning shows of all of the major networks and cable channels, except Fox News. This was evidently Fox’s punishment for failing to air the president’s September 9th speech on health care, which he made to a joint session of Congress. In response to the Sunday-talking-head shutout, Fox News’ Chris Wallace said (of the Obama White House), “They are the biggest bunch of crybabies I have dealt with in my 30 years in Washington.”

This is great stuff for Big Media, who naturally think relations between their trade and the president is the most important thing going on in the world – possibly in the universe. I’ll grant that it’s worthy of note when a sitting president (or even a standing one) calls out a popular television news organ for criticizing his policies. But it turns out a few other things of some importance are actually going on in the country and the wider world. With all the reporting on the Fox Wars, you might not have heard of them, so I thought it worthwhile to mention some.

In the USA, two legislative initiatives are wending their way through the tortuous sausage-making mill that produces new law. (That would be the Congress.) One of these is the Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade bill, which has already passed the House. The other, of course, is the huge proposal to convert 1/6th of the nation’s economy into a government-controlled health-care system. Backers claim that the new system will give us better care at a lower price, and will cover more people. Believing this requires a willing suspension of disbelief, so the president has launched a peripatetic quest to convince voters to believe him instead of their lyin’ eyes.

The whole spectacle is far too ugly to watch, but just in case anyone is tempted to do so, the Fox Wars offer distraction. Of course, Fox’s refusal to follow Team Obama on health care reform has attracted White House ire. But this is a happy confluence of necessity and opportunity: (1) create a diversion to draw the public’s attention away from what statist Democrats want to do to the world’s greatest health-care system, (2) by attacking the very news organ that dares to expose the proposal’s fundamental contradictions.

This diversion is almost as good as Michael Jackson’s death the evening before the House vote on cap-and-trade legislation. The media-fixation on the pop-idol’s unfortunate demise allowed Pelosi-cronies to insert 300 pages of modifications into the bill in the dead of night. With no one watching, the virtually unexamined bill slipped through the House by a razor-thin margin on the next day. I am still meeting otherwise well-informed people who know nothing about this calamitous bill. (Has anyone checked whether MJ’s death might have been a deliberate “hit?”)

With no celebrity deaths looming, and no hit-teams ready to go, Rahm Emanuel has had to make do with a coordinated attack on Fox News to get attention off the administration’s floundering agenda. Unfortunately, this was a risky gambit, as some news organs saw the red warning-light flashing when Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs tried to exclude Fox from White House pool interviews with “pay czar” Kenneth Feinberg. Other networks figured: if this could be done to Fox, who might be next? Thus, all five TV news networks of the pool – ABC, CBS, CNN, FNC and NBC – responded to Fox’s exclusion by unanimously withdrawing from the interviews. (We have no information on the intra-pool discussions leading to this conclusion.) This display of solidarity from Fox’s news competitors was a small ray of encouragement in a dangerous time.

Not to worry though – other diversions are on the way. Perhaps the biggest one is the coming endgame in the “Iran Gets the Bomb” drama. One can assume that Israel is not going to sit by with its thumb in its national ear while Iran gets an atomic bomb, so there will have to be a tipping point where someone acts. Since we’re clearly not going to do anything, Israel will have to. (A child could see this.) With a stockpile of 100+ atomic weapons, Israel clearly has the wherewithal to knock out Iran’s nuclear production facilities. God only knows what will happen when they do.

An Israeli nuclear attack on Iran will be the diversion to end all diversions. When it comes, there won’t be (as we say in the theater business) “a dry seat in the place.” With all attention diverted onto the new Middle-East war, Mr. Obama will be able to push his agenda right through. Nobody will even notice that he’s done it.

Nuclear-schmooclear. No worries. It’s the Chicago Way.


Managing Stroke

danvance_120It wasn’t the best of days for Mark Mace, of Mankato, Minnesota. One morning in 2005, he awoke to start his usual bathroom routine and on the way in fell down. Then he rose and fell a second time. The third time, he couldn’t get up.

“I didn’t know what was happening,” said 51-year-old Mace in a telephone interview. “So I yelled for someone to call 911. I couldn’t move my whole left side, so I knew it wasn’t just my arm being asleep. I prayed out loud, ‘I don’t know what’s going on, Lord, but you will have to help me through this.’”

Doctors determined Mace had a hemorrhagic stroke. A National Institutes of Health website says a stroke occurs “when the blood supply to part of the brain is suddenly interrupted or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts.” Symptoms can include sudden numbness or weakness, sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding spoken words, or sudden trouble seeing, walking, or having a severe headache.

“It affected me because I went from not depending on anyone to having to depend on others for about everything,” he said. “Today, I need help in cooking, bathing, and housework. I have a personal care attendant who comes in weekdays. I can do a few things still, such as use the stove and take food out of the oven. My right side functions well, so that helps.”

He lives with his small dog, Jackie Chan, who provides comfort and is a “great sounding board,” he said.

Emotionally, he struggles most with having to be patient. When accidentally dropping an object on the floor, for instance, he can pick it up only after a great deal of effort. He also has to show patience when trying to negotiate Wal-Mart aisles in his electric wheelchair and other customers fail to respond to his polite requests to move aside so he can wheel past. Sometimes he has to ask three or four times.

Another challenge occurs during snowy winter months when businesses and homeowners neglect to shovel their sidewalks in a timely fashion. One time, his wheelchair was stuck in slippery snow for 20 minutes in 20-degree weather before a goodhearted motorist on a busy street stopped to help.

As for advice for people experiencing a stroke, he kept it simple: “Follow through with what your doctor says and keep active.”

Contact [Blue Valley Sod and Palmer Bus Service made this column possible.]