Obama is Destroying America’s Freedoms and Economic System

gordon_bishopUntil Barack Hussein Obama was elected last year as “President” of the United States of America, not many of us could have imagined an economy governed by such unconstitutional innovations as a “Pay Czar,” a “Manufacturing Czar,” or the dozens of other CZARS this radical “President” has unleashed to implement his grandiose schemes.”

This is a president who can fire the CEO of General Motorists without so much as a courtesy call to major shareholders.

A president who wants new powers allowing him to preemptively seize financial institutions deemed “too big to fail.”

Talk about an “Imperial Presidency.”

So says the CATO Institute, a conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C.

The CATO Institute represents the working taxpayers and voters who believe in our Constitutional  FREEDOMS — not a Socialist Centralized Government in conflict with our free enterprise system.

Most disturbing, of course, is the Obama Administration’s push for a federal takeover of our nation’s health care sector — one-sixth of the U.S. economy. Nothing could be more disastrous.

Government-controlled medicine inevitably brings bureaucratic  rationing — as a result, treatable conditions like prostate and breast cancer are often death sentences in the United Kingdom and Western Europe.

And, now, America?

Yet, perversely, the American political class continues to push centralization and regulation as the cure for what ails us.

The radical liberal socialists tried this before, but lost the fight for”HillaryCare.”

Thank, God!

While the Obama team is hell-bent on putting Uncle Same in between you and your doctor, Americans are awakening to a better health care reform solution:


Freedom to chose their doctor and health plan.

Freedom to spend their health care dollars as they choose.

Freedom to make their own medical decisions.

Join these Freedom Fighters at healthcare.cato.org, where they’ll find the intellectual ammunition that’s sorely needed to preserve and expand medical freedom in America. This campaign can have a major impact on the direction of the debate.

What is truly frightening about the Obama White House is its apparent unwillingness to even admit that there is a debate over these important issues, much less engage in that debate.

As the great, late Nobel Laurearte (and Cato Distinguished Senior Fellow) F.A. Hayek wrote: “To act on the belief that we possess the knowledge and the power which enable us to shape the processes of society entirely to our liking, knowledge which in fact we do not possess, is likely to make us do much harm.”

The radical communist Rahm Emanuel, the White House Chief of Staff, told a television interviewer that you should “never let a serious crisis go to waste…It’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”

From the start, Obama has taken that advice to heart. Thus, we have an unfathomable level of spending — the vast majority of which is unrelated to our economic problems such as lost of jobs and businesses across America.

Over the past year, Americans have suffered through two nationalized auto companies, the injection of a trillion dollars of inflationary credit into the economy, a $700 billion Wall Street bailout, and a $787 billion “stimulus” package made up of a wish list of liberal policy proposals that together cost more than the entire Iraq War.

The respected, nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that taking advantage of this “good crisis” will create at least $1 trillion of deficits per year for the next decade.

At virtually every campaign stop, candidate Obama promised that there would be no new net spending during his administration.

A hundred days into that administration, Obama had only missed his campaign promise  target by a few trillion dollars.

Or maybe more than a few trillion: “The total potential federal government support could reach up to $23.7 trillion,” says Neil Barofsky, the special inspector  general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

The mind reels!

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

Remember the Disabled During the Holidays

danvance_120When you begin planning your Christmas or New Year’s Eve party this year, I hope you and yours remember any of the millions of people with disabilities that could enjoy your friendship and company.

The U.S. Census bureau document, “Americans with Disabilities 2005,” reveals our nation in 2005 had 54.4 million people with a disability, which included 35 million with a severe disability.

People fitting the “severe disability” category included: 1) people using a wheelchair, walker, cane or crutches; 2) people unable to perform or needing help in seeing, hearing, speaking, lifting, using stairs, walking or grasping small objects; 3) people unable to perform or needing help in getting around inside the home, getting out of bed or a chair, bathing, dressing, eating, or toileting; 4) people unable to perform or needing help going outside the home, paying bills, doing light housework, keeping track of taking medicine, or using the telephone; 5) people with Alzheimer’s disease, autism, cerebral palsy or a developmental disability; 6) people having a mental or emotional condition interfering with daily activities; 7) people having a condition making housework or employment difficult to maintain.

Perhaps you know a person fitting one of these categories. My guess is you know more than a dozen. Often, Americans tend to think only of people using wheelchairs or those having an intellectual disability as having a disability.

In 2005, 19 percent of Americans had a disability, and that percentage will grow as Baby Boomers age. About 38 percent of people over age 65, 56 percent over age 80, and 97 percent of people in nursing homes had a severe disability.

People with severe disabilities have a 69 percent unemployment rate. In general, they are far more likely to be physically abused, verbally taunted, sexually assaulted, neglected, discriminated against, poor, and misunderstood.

A 2007 U.S. Department of Justice study found that people with disabilities were 50 percent more likely to experience non-fatal violent crime. People with disabilities that year were victims of 47,000 rapes, 79,000 robberies, 114,000 aggravated assaults, and 476,000 simple assaults. Women with disabilities were especially prone to being victims of any form of violent crime.

So this year, if you have a space at the party table, and you know of a person with a disability who could enjoy your holiday friendship and company, my hope is you invite him or her over. You just might become friends.

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

A Redback Visits The Backyard On Thanksgiving

joe_reynoldsIt was Thanksgiving “Gobble” day. The beginning of winter was less than a month away, but you couldn’t tell that by the weather. It was balmy!

With high temperatures into the upper 50s to lower 60s, it was difficult to believe that it was the last Thursday in November. Average high temperatures for the end of November are normally into the upper 40s to lower 50s. Yet, a warm wind from the south was pushing temperatures up about 10 degrees warmer than usual.  No complaints from me, but the weather seemed all wrong for this late in the season.


(A female Redback Salamander found on Thanksgiving day in the backyard of the author’s home in  Atlantic Highlands, NJ)

The local insect life didn’t seem to mind the mild temperatures either. As I wandered into my backyard during the late morning there were numerous Ladybugs flying all about the yard in search of the perfect wooded shelter to overwinter. Flies, moths and mosquitoes were also active looking for one last meal before being forced to hibernate or having their brief lives expire. I even heard the mating call of a lone cicada, most likely in search of one last frolic before next summer. All the tiny invertebrates I spotted or heard appeared to be flaunting their new found freedom before the onset of winter.

One tiny critter in particular, though, had caught my eye. A clearing near an old picnic table in the yard is where I spotted a female Northern Redback Salamander!


(These salamanders are small, only about 2 to 4 inches in length, about the size of a small leaf)

Normally, these little 2 to 5 inch amphibians are active only at night and found underground or underneath old logs, stumps, rocks, and moist leaf litter. By this time of the year, most salamanders should be hibernating under about 15 inches of moist soil. Yet, I guess all the recent rain and stormy weather and mild temperatures made this brave Redback Salamander gamble that she could get out one last time before the boredom of winter dormancy had to set in.

Unfortunately there were no small insects or earthworms or even any spiders, snails or slugs on the old bench for her to eat. So maybe she thought this would just be a good place to rest. As I followed her actions, she didn’t seem like she wanted to take a break either.


(While the Redback Salamander is one of the most common amphibians New Jersey, it is not customary to find one active on Thanksgiving day, especially atop an old bench)

The Redback moved quickly onto a branch than after a short time down the trunk of a tree and back onto the forest floor. Finally she moved again underneath a pile of leaves and out of sight. Through all this, I thought to myself what she might have been in the hunt for. Maybe she was looking for a male to mate one last time, or searching for a meal? Heck, for all I know she was out for a joy ride just like lots of people that day.

There is no significance in thinking about the actions of a salamander on Thanksgiving day. It is best to just enjoy the rare occurrence.

Redback Salamanders are the only entirely terrestrial salamander in New Jersey and the most abundant salamander throughout the state. Due to their small size and nocturnal nature, most people never get to see these salamanders even though their backyards might have a sizable population.


(The Redback Salamander has relatively big eyes for its small head, because the critter is mainly nocturnal and needs to find food in the dark)

This salamander is easy to identify by its dark reddish-gray or black colored body and wide reddish-orange dorsal stripe from neck through tail, although some specimens may lack this stripe or it may be faint.  There is also a “leadback” phase where the body is uniformly dark.  Both red or dark gray phases have a white and black “salt and pepper” speckled belly. Females can be distinguished from males by the head shape: males tend to have a squared-off nose, while females have a rounder head.

The most amazing thing about the Redback Salamander is that this little critter survives without any lungs or gills! You would think that since a salamander is an amphibian it would need to live near water to breed, as most amphibians do. Yet, not for this little land-dweller amphibian.


(Redback Salamanders often go unnoticed by people since they are often active at night and found under leaf litter foraging for food)

Redback Salamanders breath though their skin and lay their eggs between June and July in damp areas under rotten logs and stumps. Scientists believe this lungless salamander evolved by living in creeks and streams and then later moved onto land to escape predation from large fish.  This change to living on land was tolerable only because they were able to keep their skin wet by the moisture found underneath leaves on the forest floor and in rich soils. Thus, if you handle a Redback, make sure to keep your hands moist so as not to dry out its skin.

Also, while Redbacks are abundant in New Jersey, they cannot tolerant too much change within their forest homes. For example, these little salamanders cannot tolerate acidic soils with a pH below 4, nor can they tolerate intensive clear-cutting of vegetation. Moreover, their delicate skin cannot tolerate pesticides, or toxic chemicals from hazardous waste sites. These precarious features destroy their damp and rich woodland micro-habitats.


Lucky for me, a wild and wooded area was waiting for me in the backyard. I decided long ago to design a landscape with nature in mind.


So, as many people enjoyed the tease of warmth throughout the Jersey Shore on Thanksgiving day, I was having the benefit of getting to know a local neighbor in my neighborhood. As I parted company with the Redback Salamander, I learned once again that you never know what you might find in your backyard, there is much to see if you are out and about. Explore your backyard or a nearby park soon to enjoy similar natural beauty.

Lest We Forget the Giver

george_hancockstefanThis past weekend, I was the guest speaker at the 95th Anniversary of the First Romanian Baptist Church of Chicago.  This was the church that I pastored in the ‘80s.  I was glad that I was invited to be the guest speaker and I was elated to see people who have come for this occasion from Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin, and many parts of Illinois.

What impressed me the most was the combination of themes – we celebrated the 95 years of existence of this church, but under the broader theme of Thanksgiving. Within the membership of the congregation, there are members whose great grandparents came here before the World War and there are members who arrived this year.  There are people who know little Romanian because they have lived in America all of their lives and there are new people who are struggling to learn their first words of English.

Under a Thanksgiving theme, there were many stories of thanksgiving. We heard thanksgiving from people who have experienced hunger, but they have come to the United States and experienced the abundance of food.  We heard thanksgiving from people who experienced religious persecution and now they can stay and worship as long as they want.  We heard thanksgiving from parents who now can send their children to study whatever subject they choose.

Historically, the Pilgrims and the Puritans have come here seeking a better country free of the religious oppression and persecution they have experienced in England.  They came here and found a country that was blessed with vast natural resources.  They have settled here and they have prospered. The foundation of many people who came on those first ships was the importance of the covenant between themselves as members of a political community and a covenant they made with God.  They recognized that they been blessed in creating a country and new type of government.

They have extensively read the covenant that was made between God and the nation of Israel.  There were so many similarities between the new arrivals and the people of Israel. In an agrarian society that was moving towards mercantilism and capitalism, they saw that God was sovereign in the affairs of men and women and he blessed a society that remembered that he was the giver of every good and perfect gift.

To all the nations in the midst of prosperity, the words of Moses are appropriate:

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land He has given you.  Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you.  Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then you heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

Late last night I picked up my daughter who came home from college for our family Thanksgiving celebration. A couple of days before she left, their floor had a Thanksgiving celebration. She mentioned all the great foods that they had at the table.  She was so impressed with the culinary expertise of her new friends. The pastor-father had to ask, “And who gave thanks at this Thanksgiving celebration?” Her answer was quick. “We did not forget to give thanks. One of the Jewish students volunteered to give thanks, saying, ‘Praised are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.’”

It is good to give thanks at Thanksgiving and every day, lest we forget the Giver of every good and perfect gift.

Giving Thanks

jack_archibald_120As the holiday time of year approaches, and before we take stock in 2009, America pauses to give thanks.  And there is much to give thanks about. We still live in the greatest country in the world, and the United States remains the country where people want to live.

Our country is not without problems.  We have to many people out of work, our national debt is astronomical, and we remain at war overseas. None of these issues is easily solvable and they have long term implications for our society.  We are fortunate to live in a country where these issues and their solutions can be debated, and criticism of policy is not met with a jail sentence. 

We are able to move freely about our country without government interference.  We can follow our dreams and pursue our passions freely, and we can worship whichever God that we choose. Socially, our country offers everything imaginable and the United States has a geographical makeup second to none.  We may not have the long history of other countries, but the sum of our parts is far superior to any other.

Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity to reflect on our good fortune.  This Thursday, give thanks to the soldiers that are fighting for freedom abroad, give thanks to our law enforcement and emergency volunteers that keep us safe,  and pray for the less fortunate.  We live in the greatest country in the world, and we need to remember how lucky we are.

Shot Trying to Escape

woody_zimmerman_118_2007The Mainstream Media (a.k.a. Fringe Media) are going bonkers over the sensational news that five terrorists, including the notorious Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – reputed to be the principal architect of the 9-11 attacks – will be brought to New York City for trial in federal court. Instead of being tried by military commissions under the Articles of War, the defendants will be tried as federal defendants under domestic jurisprudential rules. Millions of New Yorkers, who endured the horror and pain of the attacks eight years ago, will be forced to endure the circus of a public trial and relive that dreadful day in which 3000 Americans either burned up in hijacked airliners or were crushed to death in collapsed buildings.

The decision – ostensibly made by U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder, but certainly directed by President Obama – is a peculiar one, since all of the accused had already confessed and asked for the death penalty. Only a brief hearing by a military commission was needed to accept those individual pleas and speed each of the accused toward their personal 72-virgin rewards. Yet President Obama has chosen to forego the direct resolution of these cases. (To be fair – President G. W. Bush declined quick action as well.)

It’s useful to contrast these cases with the Operation Pastorius case of 1942, in which eight German saboteurs were landed on the coasts of Amagansett, Long Island, and Jacksonville, Florida, from German U-boats. Their mission was sabotage of: hydroelectric facilities at Niagara Falls; ALCOA plants in Illinois, Tennessee, and New York; locks on the Ohio River near Louisville, Kentucky; the Horseshoe Curve railroad pass near Altoona, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania Railroad repair facilities in Altoona; a cryolite [1] plant in Philadelphia; Hell Gate Bridge in NYC; and Pennsylvania Station in Newark, NJ.

The would-be saboteurs – two being American citizens, and the others Germans who had lived for periods of time in America – came equipped with a large quantity of explosives, plus $175,000 in American currency, of which they ultimately spent only $600. They were almost immediately discovered and arrested, having achieved none of their objectives, because one of them – John Dasch – turned himself in and helped the FBI break the German espionage ring in America. Dasch went to the FBI in Washington, DC, where agents thought he was a crackpot until he dumped his operation’s entire budget of $84,000 (in cash) on an agent’s desk. (Has anything really changed at the FBI?)

All eight were tried before a seven-member military commission on specific instructions from President Roosevelt. They were charged with: 1) violating the law of war; 2) violating Article 81 of the Articles of War, defining the offense of corresponding with or giving intelligence to the enemy; 3) violating Article 82 of the Articles of War, defining the offense of spying; and 4) conspiracy to commit the offenses alleged in the first three charges.

The saboteurs’ lawyers (Lauson Stone and Kenneth Royall) attempted to have the case tried in civilian courts, but the Supreme Court rebuffed this attempt in its Ex parte Quirin ruling [2]. The commission met in July 1942. The accused were all convicted and sentenced to death, but President Roosevelt commuted the sentence of Ernst Burger – an American citizen who had also surrendered to authorities – to life imprisonment. FDR also commuted Dasch’s sentence to thirty years imprisonment. The other six were executed in the electric chair on August 6, 1942, and buried in a potters field in the Blue Plains section of Anacostia, Washington, DC. In 1948, President Truman granted executive clemency to Burger and Dasch, on condition of their deportation to the American Zone of occupied Germany.

In recent days I have heard numerous commentators ask, “Why is he doing this” – by way of trying to understand why President Obama has decided to try the terrorist defendants in civilian federal courts, when clear precedent exists for trying them before military commissions. A military commission would be quick, efficient, and relatively private – no muss, no fuss – allowing us to move on with other matters.

A trial in federal court, on the other hand, will be conducted in a circus atmosphere, with slavering media coverage reaching the level of the Michael Jackson obsession of a few months ago. There will be no end of puff-pieces on the background and poignant childhoods of the accused. Their attorneys will be lionized on TV talk-shows as courageous heroes of justice and the American Way. (I saw the first episode of this latter phenomenon last night on a well-known TV talk-show.) Big Media will carry little else during the weeks of the trial. All other business of the country will appear to stop.

Except that it won’t stop – not really. Important legislation, like health care reform, will march steadily onward, away from the glare of the media spotlight, which will be otherwise occupied. The legislation’s provisions will receive little scrutiny from media obsessed with the trials. One morning we’ll read that cloture has been achieved on the Senate’s health-care bill. Later, we’ll hear that the bill has passed and is headed for reconciliation with the House bill. In due time, it will all happen – very little media attention having been focused on it while the terrorist trials are going on.

This – it seems to me – is the sly, ingenious purpose of the decision to bring the terrorists to trial on the world’s greatest public stage. (“If I can make it here, I’ll make it anywhere. It’s up to you, New York, New York…”) You couldn’t come up with a better diversion.

Legal scholars and other critics have pointed out that rules of discovery might produce revelations about American intelligence-gathering and interrogation methods that will help our enemies. Perhaps so, but I doubt if Mr. Obama and his advisors have lost a lot of sleep over it. Indeed, I think the war and the whole foreign policy shtick are simply viewed as tools to keep media attention diverted from the great work of “fundamentally transforming this country” – as Mr. Obama repeatedly declaimed during the campaign.

What about the genuine bad guys going on trial in New York federal courts? Suppose their lawyers get them off on technicalities? What if they get a hung jury because not enough unbiased jurors can be found? Or what if charges are dropped because a judge rules that the president of the United States has prejudiced the proceedings by guaranteeing that the defendants will be convicted and executed?

Not to worry, says the attorney general. We’ll never let them go. Besides – he might have added – they’ll probably be shot trying to escape. (So tragic – so unnecessary…) Big Al would be proud.


[1] Cryolite is a mineral containing aluminum, sodium and fluoride. Found mainly in Greenland, it was used to produce metallic aluminum during the 1940s.

[2] See a review of Ex parte Quirin at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex_parte_Quirin

Thanksgiving Humor

anne_mikolay_120Turkey Day is here! No matter where you are, or who is cooking your turkey, you must admit: Thanksgiving is a “corny” holiday. We do “corny” things to mark the occasion, like watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade, even though doing so is like viewing a perpetual rerun. The only things that change in the spectacle from year to year are the Broadway dance routines, and even they look much the same as last year’s high steppers. A new, giant balloon might be added, depending upon current trends in kiddie cartoons, but if I’ve seen one balloon, I’ve seen them all. Viewing the parade is tradition, however.

As is watching “Miracle on 34th Street, ” the 1947 black and white version, of course; there is no Kris Kringle other than Edmund Gwenn, no “female Scrooge” other than Maureen O’Hara, and no better way to kick off the holiday season. (Disney can produce all the remakes it wants, but they can’t recreate an American tradition like Edmund Gwenn!)

Thanksgiving is a cornucopia of family traditions, like my Mom’s Thanksgiving muffins, the scarecrow on the front lawn, my sister-in-law’s spectacular sausage stuffing, place cards and place mats crafted by preschool hands, children singing “gobble, gobble, gobble,” and dumb Thanksgiving jokes. To add to that tradition, here’s a bit of very corny Thanksgiving humor (thanks to www.theholidayspot.com) to spice up your Turkey Day dinner conversation.


What key has legs and can’t open doors?
A Turkey.

Gobbler said, “Doctor, help me! I can’t stop acting like a turkey!”
“I see,” said the doctor. “How long have you had this problem?”
“Let me think a second. Mom laid the egg in 1954…”

If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?

Why did the turkey cross the road?
It was the chicken’s day off.

If the Pilgrims were alive today, what would they be most famous for?
Their AGE.

Why can’t you take a turkey to church?
Because they use such FOWL language.

What’s the best dance to do on Thanksgiving?
The turkey trot.

Can a turkey jump higher than the Empire State Building?
Yes – a building can’t jump at all.

What do you get when you cross a turkey with an octopus?
Enough drumsticks for Thanksgiving.

How can you make a turkey float?
You need 2 scoops of ice cream, some root beer, and a turkey.

What kind of music did the Pilgrims like?
Plymouth Rock.

Which side of the turkey has the most feathers?
The outside.

Why did they let the turkey join the band?
Because he had the drumsticks.

Why did the police arrest the turkey?
They suspected it of fowl play

What’s the key to a great Thanksgiving dinner?
The turKEY.

What did the turkey say before it was roasted?
Boy! I’m stuffed!

Where did the first corn come from?
The stalk brought it.

Why did the Indian chief wear so many feathers?
To keep his wigwam.

What happened to the Pilgrim who was shot at by an Indian?
He had an arrow escape.

How did the Mayflower show that it liked America?
It hugged the shore.

Okay, folks, go slap on the feed bag, and chow down. Happy Thanksgiving!

Governor Sarah Palin is America’s Favorite Public Official

gordon_bishopAmerica’s liberal-socialist voters blew it when they put an unqualified Senator (Barack Hussein Obama) in the White House, the most powerful political place in the world.

Obama’s credentials were as a “Community Organizer” in the South Side of Chicago, the most corrupt city in America, over-ridden with liberal-socialist-Marxist Commies.

Is this what sane, sensible voters want running our country into a Communist State?

Hardly. We have enough nasty public officials destroying our culture and society, without the likes of Obama and his Chicago thugs.

America is not a Marxist or Communist nation, even though there are probably millions of Marxists and Commies doing everything they can to deep-six this once great prosperous and giving nation.

Now it’s TAKE, TAKE, TAKE until America’s working taxpayers gradually fall into debt and, ultimately, bankruptcy.

Since Obama was elected, America has lost millions of jobs and many millions more foreclosures of homes and businesses from what once was known as the “Silent Majority,” or “Middle-Class.”

Americans made fools of themselves voting for Obama. They chose an unqualified politician over a solid public official with experience in governing. That would be, of course, Sara Louise Heath Palin — the Governor of America’s largest State, Alaska.

I voted for Sarah Palin, who was running as Vice President on the Senator John McCain Republican ticket.

Everywhere Sarah went, millions showed up and followed her, making her the most popular candidate of any public official in recent memory.

As a journalist and columnist all my life, I couldn’t believe that America’s loony liberals went with Obama and not a gifted woman who should have been America’s first female President.

Yes, President Sarah Palin.

Look at the worsening mess Obama has made since his reckless Chicago gang moved into the White House. He calls his appointments “Czars” — which is what they had in Russia.

If Obama wants czars, why doesn’t he move to Russia, a communist country that collapsed when President Ronald Reagan challenged the “Evil Empire” to a political showdown.

Guess who won? Double RR superstar — one of America’s 7 greatest Presidents, from our founders George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and his “Declaration of Independence,” to Abe Lincoln, the founder of the Republican Party, to Ronald Reagan, the great warrior that knocked out the Evil Empire without firing a shot.

What have liberals and their liberalism done to this great Republic except to expand government and raise taxes. In other words, Break the Bank!

Obama has spent more government dollars than all of his 43 predecessors combined. No wonder more and more working taxpayers are losing jobs and going broke at the same time.

Sarah Palin’s life is the ‘role model’ of America and its caring beliefs. She was born in Sandpoint, Idaho, the third of four children born to Sarah and Charles T. Heath, respectively a school secretary and science teacher/track coach. The family moved to Alaska when she was an infant.

Sarah attended Wasilla High School, where she was the head of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and a member of the girls’ cross country team. As captain and point guard of the school’s girls’ backetball team that won the Alaska state championship in 1982, she gained the nickname “Barracuda” for her competitive streak. She graduated in 1982.

Having won the Miss Wasillal pageant, she finished third in the 1984 Miss Alaska pageant, receiving the “Miss Congenial” Award and a college scholarship.

Sarah attended Hawaii Pacific University in 1982 (Obama was living in Hawaii at the same time). An amazing twist of fate and destiny.

Sarah went on to North Idaho College, whose Alumni Association gave her the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award in 2008.

What I particularly love about Sarah Palin is she grew up in a clean, healthy, respectable town — not a totally corrupt city controlled by the corrupt Mayor of Chicago. Obama evolved from this sick sewer of corruption at its worst. This guy didn’t stand a chance of becoming a clean and neat State and U.S. Senator.

That’s why America today is on the brink of bankruptcy and confronting the end of a proud Republic we salute as the United States of America.

Economists I’ve known over the past half-century as a newspaper reporter/columnist in New Jersey are now warning me to prepare myself for the collapse of the U.S. economic system next year.

What?…another Great Depression like the economic disaster my parents survived in the 1930s will strike again in 2010?

Look at the U.S. Dollar. What’s it worth today — 20 cents, or less?

Obama and his hate-America gang don’t give a damn because they prefer Marxism and Communism over a free enterprise system that made the USA the envy of the Free World.

Although “God” is not on the Far Left’s agenda, all I can say as I end this column is, “God Bless America!”

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

ADHD Stigma

danvance_120A National Institutes of Health website states that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is “one of the most common childhood disorders.” Symptoms can include impulsiveness, difficulty focusing on one thing, struggling to follow directions, talking nonstop and being in constant motion, being very impatient, blurting out inappropriate comments, and interrupting conversations.

Matt Lust, a 27-year-old doctoral student in sociology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, offers no excuses for his ADHD-related behaviors. Growing up in Virginia, he was taught to accept responsibility for his actions.

“But I didn’t realize I had ADHD until I was diagnosed by a U.S. Air Force Academy psychiatrist at age 19,” said Lust in a telephone interview. “One thing most people don’t know is you can’t be on any medication at the Academy, period. Because of the way ADHD influenced my military performance, they chose to recommend my dismissal based on medical reasons. It devastated me and in many ways I never got past it.”

The activity inside his mind goes one of two ways: It’s either like the feeling a motorist gets driving a freeway at 100 miles per hour or else that of being stopped dead in traffic. His mind has no middle speed, he said.

Perhaps much as anything, Lust has struggled with the stigma of having ADHD. Again, taught to accept personal responsibility, he hasn’t wanted people thinking he’s using ADHD as an excuse for any of his disorder-related behaviors, which at times can range from saying inappropriate comments to having great difficulty focusing on task.

Since leaving the Academy, he has avoided psychiatrists completely because he doesn’t want to accept yet being labeled as having ADHD. “I was raised to not complain and to not make excuses,” he said. “At colleges I’ve attended, I have never registered with the office of disability services. I don’t want people thinking I’m getting any special benefits or an easy out. I’ve always wanted to succeed on my own merits.”

As a UNLV student now, he struggles most in not being able to focus well in order to write down his thoughts and research onto paper for professors.

He strongly advised: “But don’t be ashamed to talk about having ADHD and don’t be afraid to get more resources if you think you need them.” The National Institutes of Health website says behavior therapy and medication can be effective treatments.

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

Seashore Stuff Found After A Storm

joe_reynoldsLast Saturday morning I awoke to cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 40s, but by 11am it had warmed up nicely enough for a walk along the beach at Sandy Hook without a hat, gloves, or even a coat. The sun was peeking out behind the clouds more and more, and the air temperature had reached all the way into the lower 60s.

Once I made it over the Highlands Bridge, though, it occurred to me that it was just last week that the great November nor’easter had occurred. For nearly four days the Jersey Shore was consistently beaten down with tremendous winds and high waves that had pounded the changeable sandy coastal system.


(An empty Moon Snail shell recently found at Sandy Hook. The shell’s black coloration is caused by being buried in the mud a long time with iron sulfide and the lack of oxygen. It could also mean that this shell is prehistoric, perhaps over 400 years old.)

So, days later, it was not surprising to see the shoreline of Sandy Hook still looking rather wild, rough, and untamed. Mixed in with the sand and seaweed near the water’s edge was a heavy high tide line of debris. This fresh tide line harbored all sorts of shells and unfortunately lots of trash, especially plastic bottle caps, and other associated plastic remains.

Fortunately, the wash-ashore remnants from the storm were not all bad. Jumbled in the hodgepodge of wood flotsam and human jetsam were fascinating natural finds: Skate egg cases, Whelk egg cases, Whelk shells, Moon Snail shells, Scallop shells, and all sorts of other seashells and various vestiges of sea creatures. This heap of wreckage was a miniature ecosystem, which would provide a home for different species, such as gulls and raccoons, that look at it as a large buffet table of tasty treats.


(Yes the Jersey Shore does have coral. This type of stony coral is the only coral found on the northern shores of the Atlantic coast of North America. It especially common between Cape Cod to Sandy Hook.)

For me, however, I was just looking to put a few shells in a small bucket. Sure, I am a shell guy! I love going down to the beach after a storm to search the shore for shells. Collecting seashells and other beach debris, such as sea glass, is a fun hobby that has enriched my understanding of the Jersey Shore. Seashells come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Their diversity has inspired my imagination into asking just how do some of these creatures of the deep sea survive?


(A skate egg case. Just like a chicken laying an egg, a female skate will put down an egg case in the water. She will not take care of the egg case, rather its long tendrils will take in needed food and water to the little skate inside. When the little one is ready to hatch, it will break the seam along the egg case and swim away.)

I guess that’s why I love visiting the ocean side of Sandy Hook after a storm. There is always something new to learn when the winds and waves have uncovered shells previously buried beneath the sand.

Sandy Hook is one of the best places along the Jersey Shore to go shelling anytime. The peninsula is actually a large sand spit between 6 and 7 miles in length. It acts like a long, perpendicular, sandy barrier between the bay and the mighty Atlantic Ocean. As the currents and tides roll in and out from the ocean and bay, so do a diversity of shells, skeletons, and other odds and ends from the water.


(A beautiful bivalve known as a Bay Scallop. Their shells or exoskeleton are fan shape and the critter that once lived inside this skeleton had a row of eyes along the fringe of the outer shell)

Few people know, but seashells that wash up along the beach are actually the outer skeletons of a once living animal that is now dead. What we recognize as a seashell was formerly the outer skeleton or exoskeleton of a mollusk, a marine invertebrate that includes whelks, snails, clams, oysters and mussels. These critters do not ever search for new shells, rather their shell or exoskeleton grows with the critter. The shell remains long after the animal’s death, because it is made up of a similar substance that our bones are made up of, which is calcium. When a mollusk dies, soft body parts inside the shell rot away or are eaten by other animals. This leaves behind the exoskeleton or seashell for people to collect.

Beachcombing the beaches is a popular treat. Due to the beautiful day, Sandy Hook beaches last week were buzzing with people of all ages out for a walk and seeking a special shell near the edge of the sea. Lucky for me, I was able to find dozens of different shells, including some favorites, such as Moon Snails, crab shells, Oysters, and Knobbed Whelks. With every step I took,  more and more shells appeared.


(The high tide line or wrack line is usually marked out by a wide area of debris made up of seaweed, shells, wood, dead stuff, and litter)

Yet, as afternoon descended into early evening, I had enough. I sat down on the beach for a while, and let the warm sun and soft breezes dry me and my new found shells. Much of what I discovered that day were clues to the hidden undersea world that lies beyond the shoreline. The shells and other remains were enticing evidence that there is much life just offshore.

In our over-developed landscape, it is nice to know that there is at least one place in New Jersey that still remains wild. Let’s hope our tidal bay and ocean waters remain a wonderful wilderness for  generations to come. So everyone can find some seashells after a storm.