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Diabetes, Donors—and Determination

For National Kidney Month, the story of one young woman’s fight against a ravaging disease—and time.

 

The difference between tactics and strategy is substantial. A tactic is a method employed to help achieve a goal. A strategy is the long term plan of action to achieve that goal.

 

Four years ago, that distinction was crystal clear a 31-year old Drexel Hill woman who had been ravaged by diabetes.

 

Christine Grosso’s strategy was simple, but far from easy— survive the debilitating disease that had left her nearly blind in one eye, caused her sugar count to frequently soar over 600 (150 is high), and made her a household name in Emergency Rooms from Temple to Shore Memorial.

 

More pressing, however, was the tactic she needed to employ to continue her fight. She needed a kidney transplant, since one of the consequences of diabetes is that the body’s overstressed organs often shut down, placing the person’s life in jeopardy.

 

Christine’s story was bittersweet, since her courage, determination and heartwarming attitude almost made one forget how perilous her situation had become.

 

 

What is Diabetes?

 

Christine’s symptoms first appeared when she was 13, and were noticed by her mother, Toni: increased thirst and appetite (yet the result was weight loss), frequent urination, and mood swings. Grosso’s pediatrician initially thought these changes were related to puberty. Further investigation, however, revealed something different and far more ominous: Type 1 diabetes.

 

Christine realized that her life would never be the same.

 

 “In the beginning, my treatment consisted of insulin injections twice a day; blood sugar tests four times a day and a strict diet— consisting of four meals a day, at specific times,” she recounted.

 

“Basically, I couldn’t eat the junk food that teenagers love. I would have to eat whenever my blood sugar was low, and couldn’t join everyone at a meal if my blood sugar was elevated,” Christine added.

 

Type 1 diabetes results from the lack of insulin production by the pancreas. Since insulin is a hormone required by all cells to utilize glucose for energy, a deficiency results in the depletion of energy stores, such as liver glycogen, fat and eventually muscle mass. This leads to significant weight loss and fatigue, and, left uncorrected, soon leads to the excretion of glucose in the urine and metabolic imbalance (ketoacidosis), requiring hospitalization. The longer-term effects are much more severe— damage to various organs and body systems, notably the kidneys, the eyes, the nervous system and the heart.

 

The need for a kidney

 

Christine’s condition steadily deteriorated over seventeen years. Whereas in high school she was involved in numerous activities, her lifestyle had become hampered. Her body functions had taken a tremendous blow, with the kidneys taking the biggest hit. When the tiny blood vessels (nephrons) in the kidneys become damaged by diabetes, the filtering units of the kidney are less able to filter unwanted substances from the blood. Damaged nephrons are also less able to retain essential substances, such as proteins. In time, as the kidneys continue to fail, the patient will require a kidney transplant.

 

After an exhaustive process, Christine qualified for such a transplant. But that was just the beginning. If a suitable donor was not found quickly, she would be forced to begin dialysis — never a sustainable long term solution. “My transplant time was as soon as possible since I was being evaluated for dialysis. If a live kidney donor was not found, I would have had to wait until a cadaveric source (kidneys of organ donors upon their deaths) was found which matched my tissue type. This could have taken years.”

 

Finding a Donor

 

The need for a kidney transplant is determined by a nephrologist, based on tests of the patient’s kidney function and clinical condition. Once the patient is found suitable as a transplant recipient, he or she is placed on the United Network of Organ Sharing list for a cadaveric source of a kidney.

 

But finding a kidney donor is a very personal process. “In my case, I began as soon as I was informed that I needed a transplant. I composed a Gift of Life letter in which I described myself and asked if anyone would be interested in being tested (to become a compatible kidney donor). Surprisingly, several people whom I did not know contacted me,” Christine explained.  Yet two of those individuals were not a match.

 

“When I found out they were not suitable, I revised the letter and again circulated it to friends, churches, schools, businesses and newspapers. Several more people offered to help. My donor profile was someone between 21 and 60, in good health, same blood type, and without a history of cancer, diabetes or high blood pressure.” Easier said than done. If the potential donor was either rejected by the center or by the recipient, a new potential donor would be tested, and the process starts anew.

 

Christine’s Support Network

 

Through it all, Christine’s parents never left her side. “Our lives changed drastically after Christine became chronically ill. One or both of us is with her 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” her father Lou explained.

 

Toni elaborated: “Before the transplant, Christine was constantly in the hospital.”  The hospital stays usually were a week to ten days, with Christine’s parents taking turns to always be in her room. “Although not under the best circumstances,” Toni added, “Christine’s illness has brought us all closer together.”

 

Christine’s attitude kept her spirits high. “My faith has helped me to deal with most of my medical problems, by trying to find positive reasons for my condition. Since I was 13, I have been searching for someone like myself to talk to. These people are hard to find, and dealing with diabetes is the hardest thing I have ever done.”

 

Because of this, Christine helps others with similar conditions. “I counsel young diabetics, and this helps me as well as them. It feels good making a difference in someone’s life.”

 

The search for a kidney was difficult but rewarding. Along the way, Christine became reacquainted with old friends, and met complete strangers selfless enough to offer a part of their body. “It is so overwhelming to meet these amazing people,” she reflected.

 

The Guardian Angel and the Transplant

 

Despite the unimaginable heartbreak for Christine and her parents when two donors fell through at the last minute, their undying faith paid off. A donor responded to a Church Bulletin article chronicling Christine’s inspirational story and her need for a kidney. The donor, who did not know Christine or her family (yet ironically lived just four blocks away) and wished to remain anonymous, met all the transplant requirements. Soon thereafter, she placed her own life in jeopardy by undergoing surgery, literally giving part of herself to another in the ultimate act of selflessness.

 

The result? Success beyond expectations. Christine Grosso just celebrated her four-year transplant anniversary — rejuvenated, vibrant and alive.  No longer just surviving, she is once again living. While diabetes will forever be with her, the tables have now turned, with Christine controlling the disease.  Her donor, Marie Manley — who can only be described as a true guardian angel — is also doing remarkably well, living a fully functional life and now working at the Kidney Transplant Program at Lankenau Hospital as a transplant assistant, counseling donors and recipients.

 

In an age where many glibly say they “give back” and “give of themselves” — while making sure everybody knows it — there are still real heroes like Ms. Manley who believe that charity should be altruistic, the only “reward” being the selfless act of giving.  She exemplifies those who truly walk the walk, content with the knowledge that she made the ultimate difference in someone else’s life.

 

In Christine Grosso’s case, Marie Manley’s act of charity was, quite literally, a lifesaver.  Perhaps most amazing is something which will never be known — how many people, after learning of Christine and Marie’s remarkable story, were inspired to themselves become donors — and lifesavers.  

 

There is no greater love than risking one’s own life to save another. In the spiritual, charitable and literal sense, donating a kidney is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

 

 

An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

 

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March 13, 2012 at 9:57 am Comments (0)

Conduct Unbecoming

Typically local Planning Commission (PC) meetings are usually only slightly more exciting than watching paint dry, but they serve a necessary function in that the board members review land development plans submitted to the Township for approval, and make recommendations about them to the Board of Supervisors (BOS) for action. The PC doesn’t have any binding authority but is merely an advisory board.

 Their normal reorganization meeting having been cancelled due to snow last month, one of the items on the PC agenda February 23 was to appoint a new chair and vice chair for 2011. Longtime chairman (18 years) Warren Schlack had not sought reappointment.

 Nominations were put on the floor to appoint Mike Comroe or Jill Zimmerman (a local attorney and candidate for supervisor this year) as the new chair. Before a vote could be taken, PC member Bill Brooke asked for the floor. He informed the other PC members that Mr. Comroe had called him back on January 24,  stated that the supervisors wanted him to be named chair, that they expected him to ‘clean house’, and threatened that if Mr. Brooke wanted to be reappointed in two years, he’d better support him for chairman, but that Mr. Comroe further indicated he ‘didn’t really need his [Brooke’s] vote anyway’, begging the question as to why Comroe even bothered if this was the case.

Mike Comroe

 Both supervisor liaisons to the PC, Colleen Eckman and Chris DiPaolo, were present, and Mr. Brooke took the opportunity to ask them point-blank if what Mr. Comroe had said were true, since he’d claimed to be speaking for them. While Mr. DiPaolo had nothing to say (or if he did, it could not be heard by the audience) Ms. Eckman went on at length, stating that she didn’t feel it was the supervisor’s place to tell a board or commission who their chairs should be. Neither supervisor directly denied Mr. Comroe’s assertion, however, nor did they indicate that they felt Mr. Comroe was out of line in speaking on their behalf.

 Mr. Brooke said he was outraged and offended at Comroe’s attempted ‘muscling’ of him, and noted for the record that Mr. Comroe, an Army veteran, has a criminal record and has admitted guilt in at least two incidents involving the Township in the recent past.

 One incident was theft/destruction of a campaign sign belonging to a 2009 candidate for supervisor – which he committed in front of an off-duty state trooper – and another was more serious, involving hacking into the Township’s email accounts and impersonating the township manager (the police reports are on file with the Township). In light of this, Mr. Brooke called on Mr. Comroe to resign; Comroe declined. When asked to respond to Mr. Brooke’s statements, Mr. Comroe only said that on the advice of his attorney (hopefully not the supervisors’ solicitor), he could not comment, and did not deny Mr. Brooke’s accusations.

 When the vote was taken, Mr. Comroe was appointed chair by a vote of 5-4. PC members Satterwhite, LaPenta, Baird, Supplee and Comroe voted in support of Comroe; members Kuberski, Endlich, Brooke and Zimmerman supported Zimmerman (4 of the 5 who supported Comroe were appointed since 2010 by the current BOS). Upon the conclusion of the vote, PC member Tom Endlich, who has served approximately 15 years on the PC, got up and left the dias, stating ‘that’s it…I resign…I’m done…this is ridiculous’.

 The PC then moved through the rest of their short agenda. Before the meeting concluded, former chair Schlack asked to speak. Among his comments, he said “this board has become political, loaded with political appointments” and is in his opinion “unable to do its job”…that it’s ‘sad and absolutely pathetic’.

 New appointee Harold (Ted) Baird responded, stating that ‘there are no political appointments here’. Personally, I find that laughable – Mr. Baird, a retired plumber, is arguably the poster child for political appointments in Lower Providence. This is the same Mr. Baird who has gotten the Township to fight his zoning appeal against the DeLuca property on Pawlings Road (which you can read  more about herehere, and here ) for him, at taxpayer expense and who was instrumental in getting out the vote in Audubon for candidates Eckman and Thomas in 2009.

 Mr. Baird opined that ‘it doesn’t matter who is the chairman’, and, if all members are equal,  I have to agree.  If it doesn’t matter, why then did Mr. Comroe feel the need to strong-arm a board member? (it was unclear whether Comroe had tried to reach, or did reach, any of the other three who supported Zimmerman and made similar threats). It’s customary if you want to be chair to call around to members and ask for their support. It’s certainly not customary to bully or threaten them for it. I do think, however, it does matter who’s chair, in that it doesn’t send a great message to the community to have an apparently ego-driven bully with the lack of character Mr.Comroe evidently has on a board or commission at all, let alone in a position of leadership.  

It should be obvious that anyone who has demonstrated that they do not have the best interests of all the Township’s residents at heart over their own vested interests does not belong on a commission making recommendations about anything to the governing body, nor does someone with a criminal record of offenses against the community he’s supposedly serving, but lately it seems that these may be prerequisites for consideration. Regrettably, Mr. Baird is hardly the only recent board or commission appointment that’s political in nature; there are others. Several recent appointees in LP are or were involved in litigation against the township – a blatant conflict of interest if ever there was one.  Indeed, Mr. Comroe was reappointed to the PC last year by the current board in a 4-1 vote (from the minutes  of that meeting; Ms.Altieri voted against); presumably Ms. Altieri was not the only supervisor aware of Mr. Comroe’s history.

 For a BOS who supposedly wanted to do away with alleged ‘cronyism’ in the past, it seems rather hypocritical. It would appear that people who have been politically useful, regardless of qualifications, integrity or conflict of interest, are fit to do the business of the township and represent its interests.  And that is the face that the majority of our township’s leaders want to put forward to its residents, businesses, and community neighbors.

(http://lowerprovidenceoutloud.blogspot.com/2011/02/conduct-unbecoming.html)



February 27, 2011 at 1:22 am Comment (1)

Vacationing In Avalon? Think Twice!

Without question, Avalon is one of the best beach towns on the South Jersey coast. Jutting a mile further out in the Atlantic than other shore points, its cool ocean breezes and pristine beaches make for a fantastic family vacation.

That is, unless you happen to cross the Avalon Beach Patrol, who seem to relish acting like storm-troopers.

A case earlier this month illustrates just how out-of-control the Beach Patrol — and by extension, Avalon itself— has become.

As is the case with most shore towns, beach tags are required. This policy has long irked the vast majority of beach-goers, who believe they more than pay the cost of beach preservation by the many taxes and fees levied on them.  And they also believe, not unjustifiably, that the beach belongs to everyone, and no one should have to pay to use it.

Disdain aside, most comply.  Incredibly, though, that wasn’t good enough for the Avalon Patrol.

Most days, beach tag inspectors guard the entrances to beaches, checking to ensure that beachgoers have tags.

On a recent weekend, a woman with three young children — including one with a broken arm — was entering the beach. Asked for her tags, she informed the 14-year old inspector that her husband had them on the loaded beach cart. He was 50 feet behind her, in clear view. The woman’s two youngest then sprinted to an open spot near the life-guard stand, where they always set up camp for the day.

No problem, since the woman and her husband had seasonal tags — just as they had for the past 11 years.

Or so it seemed.

As the husband approached, he showed his tag, and started onto the beach.  The checker asked if he was with “that other woman.” Having no clue to what she was referring, he inquired what she meant. After discerning it was his wife, he showed the second tag (children under 12 do not need tags).

He had no issue showing the beach tags at the entry point, but stated his frustration over continually getting harassed throughout the day by teams of roving tag inspectors. These teams work the beaches, routinely awakening people, interrupting conversations and even demanding swimmers leave the water to show tags (many people have their tags affixed to bags or chairs.)

The point the man was making was simple.   Logic dictates that if tags are inspected upon entry, then inspectors walking the beaches aren’t necessary.

At that point, the inspector snapped, “That’s enough out of you.  Keep quiet. I don’t want to hear another word.”  This, from a 14 year old girl!

That attitude should be grounds for dismissal for any employee, but for a minor to speak to an adult in that manner is utterly unacceptable. This fresh-mouthed child was completely out of line as a representative of Avalon.

The man asked who she thought she was to speak to anyone like that, whereupon she made a beeline to the lifeguard stand and reported that someone actually had the “gall” to speak back to her.

Within minutes, four guards showed up in trucks, and began interrogating the husband and wife, while Little Miss Personality was high-fiving one of the lifeguards.

The Lieutenant — yes, they take that army title way too seriously — then proceeded to demand answers from the man, asking, “Do you think it was right to talk to a 14-year old girl like that?  That’s harassment!”

The man replied that the Lieutenant had not been there, took the word of one of his own as gospel, and didn’t even ask what had actually occurred.  So much for due process.

At this point, the Lieutenant’s “backup” — a Captain, and obviously the real brains of the group — stated that he could have the man “arrested for harassment.”

How so?  Because the husband had his arms folded while he was talking.  This, he was told, “…was harassment.  It’s a defensive posture, and I know about these things, because I deal with bad people like you all the time.”

How’s that for incoherence?

The end result was that the wife was issued a citation for $80.  The “crime?”  Failure to have beach tags.

Even though she had a seasonal tag.

Go figure.

And the icing on the cake?…..

Read the rest at Philadelphia Magazine:

http://blogs.phillymag.com/the_philly_post/2010/08/31/vacation-in-avalon-think-twice/

Chris Freind is an independent columnist and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com

Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.”

Freind also serves as a weekly guest commentator on the Philadelphia-area talk radio show, Political Talk (WCHE 1520), and makes numerous other television and radio appearances.  He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

August 31, 2010 at 3:22 pm Comment (1)

BP And U.S. Government: No Common Sense

Teaching a child how to ride a bike always involves certain lessons.

How to pedal, how to balance yourself, how to steer.

We teach these things because they are common sense.

But we also teach—stress, actually — the most important aspect of bike riding: how to stop.

Why? Because it defies common sense not to do so.  After all, it would be irresponsible and dangerous to engage in an activity which we couldn’t control.

Teaching someone how to stop a bike can’t guarantee an accident won’t happen, but it certainly lessens the likelihood.

After watching the Gulf oil spill, it’s apparent that common sense is in short supply from both oil companies and the U.S. Government.

*****

So many aspects of British Petroleum’s unmitigated disaster have been discussed.

Why the initial explosion occurred, who is responsible, how much oil is rocketing into the sea, and how to effectively clean the oil-drenched beaches and wetlands, are all still unanswered questions.

By far, though, the issue that continues to dominate headlines, congressional hearings and kitchen tables is how to stop the gushing leak.

Virtually no progress has been made in this area — hence the description “unmitigated” disaster.

We’ve been watching the drama unfold live, as method after method is tried.  Top kill and junk kill. Domes. Caps. Hats.

All failures.

But here’s the kicker in the oil-recovery efforts:

While each new attempt seems to capture a bit more oil than the one prior, we keep learning that the amount of oil gushing from the well is much larger than previously thought.

By a lot.

So for every one step forward, we are taking five back.

Since we are two months into this saga, that’s quite a bit of back-tracking. And oil.

How desperate has the situation become?

Put it this way: anytime Hollywood celebrities start taking center stage in an attempt to offer real-world solutions, you know you have problems.

First it was Director James Cameron, whose oil-recovery credentials include taking a few submarine rides while filming Titanic and, possibly, being told of a magical solution by his Avatar friends from another planet.  Hey, they were space miners in the movie, and we are mining oil, so Cameron is a perfect fit.

And now we have Kevin Costner, who recently testified before Congress on the spill and is now trumpeting his own oil-water separator contraption as an answer.  And why not? He is uniquely qualified after spending lots of time on the ocean filming the epic flopWaterworld, in which he chased down an oil tanker, which, if you look closely, is really the Exxon Valdez.

Fitting.

But wholly unhelpful.

Maybe it’s time to stop masquerading with two-bit “solutions” that don’t have a prayer of succeeding and Hollywood do-gooders who just need an ego-boost.

Maybe it’s time to bite the bullet and admit that there’s only one solution to this problem.

Common sense.

*****

There is nothing more devastating to business than over-regulation. It stifles creativity, kills innovation and results in significant job-loss.

In too many cases, bureaucrats and politicians justify their existence by inventing costly and counter-productive new regulations, often so burdensome that American companies are forced to close their doors and move overseas.

But that doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be smart, commonsense regulations on companies doing business in America.

True capitalism is the best economic system the world has ever known, but without common sense protections in place —with adequate enforcement to ensure that they are actually followed—, capitalism gives way to greed and corruption very quickly.  Just look at Wall Street.

The oil industry is no different.

While some regulations on deepwater offshore oil rigs are…

Read the rest at Philadelphia Magazine’s Philly Post:

http://www.freindlyfirezone.com/index.php/national-news/item/72-bp-and-us-government-no-common-sense

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June 15, 2010 at 12:42 pm Comment (1)

Black Friday Levity!

Today, millions of people went out shopping for the bargains which stores invariably offer on the day after Thanksgiving. I now offer the pros and cons of Black Friday, for the amusement of my fellow retail workers.

Pro: Today is the biggest day of the year for sales, and the only day where people will line up outside the store for hours in order to hand you their money.
Con: The merchandise is sold at such a deep discount that when all is said and done you’ll be lucky to break even on the day.

Pro: On your way to work, you’ll probably drive past some other store that is going to do about a thousand times more business than your store will do. You’ll laugh cruelly at the employees of that store, knowing that as bad as you’re about to have it, they have it much worse.
Con: You work at Wal-Mart or Target. In which case NOBODY has it worse than you.

Pro: You get to leave work at 2PM!
Con: That’s because you started at 5AM!

Pro: Lovely ladies will be out in force looking to you for deals, and they’ll give you a big happy smile when you get them that item they’ve been looking for.
Con: Those lovely ladies have been up since 2AM after feasting on tryptophan-filled sleep-inducing turkey the night before and look like death warmed over.

Pro: Oh yeah? Well you store clerks look like crap, too.
Con: Touche’!

Pro: People who wait in line in the cold for three hours are very happy when you get them what they’re looking for.
Con: People who come into the store six hours after the sale started curse you out when you tell them that the doorbusters were sold out five hours ago, because you should have known that they were going to sell out fast and ordered at least ten thousand of them to have on hand.

Pro: People understand that it’s Black Friday, so it’s very hectic and it’s best just to be patient.
Con: There is always one customer who doesn’t realize that it’s Black Friday, and who starts yelling about WHY IS THIS TAKING SO LONG because this isn’t a special day or anything, it’s definitely not the busiest shopping day of the year.

Pro: You will be amazed at how well you get to know your store’s inventory in one day.
Con: That’s because you will have to tell people about a thousand times that you’re all out of the doorbusters.

Pro: Black Friday brings a lot of new customers into your store who have never been there before.
Con: And you’ll see them again on Saturday as they return the doorbusters they bought on impulse but have absolutely no use for.

Pro: Black Friday eventually ends.
Con: Until next year!

November 27, 2009 at 10:46 pm Comments (0)

Email Banjo’s are a-Playin!

Hello everyone. Long time…no see. I’ve been laying low over the last few weeks and enjoying a new job and the first couple of weeks of a very lovely and comfortable summer so far. Unfortunately, not everyone feels that these mild and gentle summer days are real and decided to send me an email, and about 100 of his closest friends, and lay out the facts on “Human made Global Climate Change” and the moral and religious necessity in addressing the issue.

The following was our exchange on the matter of the Earth and its temperatures ebb and flow. I have not changed any of the text from its original format, grammatical and spelling errors to make sure that the integrity of this communication remains intact.

First I will let you read his statement to everyone he emailed.

Subject: RE: Senate Alert !!
Date: Wed, 8 Jul 2009 11:49:27 -0400

Climate change is a moral and religious issue, not just a policy issue.  Whatever the merits of any particular bill, we all need to recognize:

1. Human-caused climate change is already adversely affecting people, especially poor people. 

2. Continued growth in global greenhouse gas concentrations will increase these adverse effects.

3. The longer we wait before addressing climate change, the greater the costs of addressing it will become.

4. Our children and our grandchildren will overwhelmingly bear the brunt of climate change if we don’t take serious action.

Cheers.

The following was my response to his lecturing of all the other recipients and myself.

John:
 
Nonsense. Prove that humans are causing it and then we’ll talk. Most scientists can’t agree on the subject, let alone the average citizen. There is no such thing as “scientific Consensus” in science. All of science is based on proveable facts, not a vote. It is or it isn’t. Not “50.01% of us” think so. That’s not science at all, that’s politics and I thought that scientists worked in fact, not opinion.
 
And as a side note, I thought these same scientists said when I was a little kid that we were going through “Global Coolilng” and if we didn’t do something right now we were going to be in another ice age. All this does is prove to me that scientists are either too stupid to know when they don’t know something or too arrogant to admit when they were wrong. Furthermore it shows that it was never true in the first place since the concept being pushed in either case is still that we must control what you and I do “For the Planets Sake.” 

If you wish to be intellectually honest on the subject, this has nothing to do with the environment but about control. Its about how to get government intervention into every facet of all of our lives and remove our personal freedom to choose what’s best for ourselves. Its also about how to seperate you and I from our God given right to choose our own path and to keep what we earn through our own hard work. Politicians see this as a huge cash cow and they hear the “Moo” in the field.
 
Furthermore this about how to get a Socialist agenda point of “Equalling the playing field” and making the world more “Fair.” Translating that from Socialist to English means taking from me to give to someone else.
 
As if there is another country in the world that is more safe in its use of energy and more environmentally concious than the United States already. This is not to help “the Planet” but to help political parties gain and maintain power. Just like most Americans, I don’t waste where I can possibly avoid it for 2 main reasons, (1) I have limited resources and don’t wish to waste the resources I have available to me and (2) I was taught to be a good steward to that which I was entrusted with, whether it is the raising of my children to be good people or to leave my world a better place for my children when I’m gone. The main connecting thought you need to remember between both of these things is this…It is because I choose so, not because a government told me I had too.
 
So please don’t try to talk about all of the environmental claptrap or my responsibility to future generations. As a father and an American I know what my responsibilities are in life…and the last time I checked it was my right to decide what that was for myself.

Now, those of you that know me or have read my material in the past know that I’m not the kind of man to kiss and tell, but this gentleman kind of pushed my buttons and since by his addition of all of his contact information in an email sent to well over 100 more individuals gives me the impression is that this person has no problem announcing to the world who he is, so therefore I have no problem either. If you feel so inclined please feel free to contact him to relay your thoughts and feelings on the “Global Climate Change” hokum since he seems to be more than happy to receive emails on this matter.

John C. Dernbach
Distinguished Professor of Law

Widener University Law School
3800 Vartan Way
Harrisburg, PA  17106-9382
(717) 541-1933

(717) 541-3966 (fax)

http://ssrn.com/author=411559 (SSRN)

http://johndernbach.com/ (web site) 

I hope everyone appreciates this conversation as much as I did and I wish everyone enjoys our sunny and mild summer.

July 15, 2009 at 8:10 pm Comments (0)

Left turn at Albuquerque

When did we get to this upside down world? Did we do what Bugs Bunny said at the beginning of many of his adventures when he popped out of the ground confused about where he was? “I knew I shoulda taken a left turn at Albuquerque!” This is the phrase I’ve had to ask myself lately. I know I heard Bug’s voice in my head the other day when I listened to Mayor Bloomberg of New York City discussing the incredibly short sighted and boneheaded tower buzzing of the Air Force One through Downtown New York. During his press conference he railed on about the insensitivity of the Jumbo Jet flyby and the panic it caused to the citizens of New York and how he wants answers as to why this happened. Then in the same breath, without even missing a beat, he then said “in the end though, it’s the federal government, and they will do whatever they want to.” Huh…excuse me? Since when was this how our country functioned?

And then it occurred to me. This is the problem, and I don’t mean the federal government. I mean us, you and I. We are the problem. When an official of the government, the highest ranking official of one of the nation’s largest and most powerful cities in the country can make a blanket statement like this and it doesn’t even make a blip on the news and not a single dissenting voice in the media or by any other elected officials then it just proves to me that we as a people have forgotten who we are and where we came from. If an elected official had said such a thing in the days of the Founders, he would have found himself run right out of office if not the town itself. How far we have fallen from our beginnings.

What Mr. Bloomberg doesn’t realize is the fact that our nation and its founding documents expressly state that the power of the government rests in the hands of those it governs, not the other way around. It was placed even in our founding documents that the power of the government is derived from God to the people and then Lent to the government to serve us and ensure our Lives Liberties and Pursuit of Happiness. It further says “That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these end it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it and institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its power is such forms as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” This is a direct quote from our Declaration of Independence, something that apparently not too many people, and obviously not Mr. Bloomberg, have read lately if ever at all. One of our greatest founding fathers, John Adams, had this to say about freedom and democracy: “Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” Is that the path we’ve chosen? Do we need to put America on Suicide Watch? Not if I can help it.

This has brought me to one crystal clear conclusion. We have forgotten the face of our fathers. We have forgotten what it really means to be Americans. To be American is not the stuff we buy or the things our government says we can do. It is living a principled life understanding that, just like our Founder’s, that there is a God, that we derive our freedoms and liberty’s from God and that we lend government the power it yields. It is also remembering that as being the source of power, it is our God-given right and Duty to starve off and choke that which forgets that government doesn’t give us our rights but that they come from God first and that government has No Power other than that which we give it. It is time to stop letting them have the power they feel they are entitled to and that it is our duty to do as they say. How wrong they really are. It is time that we taught them that lesson.

It is time that we remembered the Face of Our Fathers again.

April 30, 2009 at 11:22 am Comments (0)

Falling Through the Looking-Glass

I would have to say that what I’m seeing being done in the name of my country is something that I never considered even possible, even in my worst nightmares. This, I believe, is the first time in our nation’s history that our Commander-In-Chief, the Leader of our country and most powerful man on Earth has decided to snub and insult our nation’s friends and warm up to and become bosom buddies with our enemies. This must be what Alice felt like when she stood in the Looking-Glass House. This can’t be the reality I know.

I have read many books on history and ethics, leadership and military concepts, on philosophy and morality and only one thing can allow this to make any relative sense would be the concepts I learned when reading the 2000+ year old masterpiece written by the Chinese general Sun-Tzu called The Art of War. In this you come to learn the concept that a leader should “keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” There is only one problem with attributing the President’s actions with this concept. He seems to have skipped the first part of that sentence and only learned the second. Maybe he was sleepy when he read the book. Perhaps he’s so smart that he was speed-reading and just missed it. Or possibly to save time he was reading the Cliff Notes version and that part wasn’t included.

Whatever the reason he has for this type of conduct though does not excuse the type of treatment he forwards toward our greatest ally in the world, Great Britain, or their Queen Mother. Nor does it warrant the touchy-feely attitude toward Communist dictators like Hugo Chavez or the acceptance of Anti-American literature with a childish smile on his face, gleeful with someone giving him a present like a child at Christmas. It made me frustrated on the outside and emotionally unsure for my country’s future on the inside, asking myself in my head “What world am I on anymore? Did I fall through the Looking-Glass?”

At no time that I can recall from anything I have seen, heard or read has a President while in office ever been so obsequious to foreign leaders as to been seen as subservient to their position like our President was with the King of Saudi Arabia, or at best be viewed as a Prop on a stage for the real leader as he was with Chavez. This is not real. It can’t be. Somebody shake me out of this dream!

A President of these United States, any President, let alone the sitting Commander-In-Chief, would never go around the world, to every corner of the globe, and rail on about how his country, our country, is arrogant and full of mistakes and bigotry, that the problems of the world rest squarely on the United States shoulders and that everything wrong on this planet is our fault. No no no! This isn’t happening! I’m asleep. That’s what it is. Only a dream. It has to be. Is it?

There are only three conclusions that I personally can come to after having witnessed all this. The first is that this man that has been elected to be the Leader of the Free World is so inept, inexperienced and gullible that he is incapable of realizing what a buffoon and inconsequential as a President he appears to be to the other leaders of the world and too many of his own citizens. I hope I’m wrong here. Or he is as smart as the media says he is and these actions he is performing in our name are what he truly feels. God forbid this be true. The final option is a combination of the previous two, he is gullible AND he believes in these things he does. This option I believe is by far the most dangerous and frightening of the three, but I’m being optimistic that it is one of the two former possibilities that is the reality of all of this. And that is a sad day indeed when that is an American citizens, a true American Nobody’s, hope.

Just please, somebody, anybody, tell me that I’m dreaming and that I will wake up again to a world where my country stands for the ideals she has always held dear of freedom to all, government staying out of our lives as much as possible, being allowed to succeed or fail based on our own merit and hard work, and our President expressing the greatness that America is.

I want to get back to my side of the Looking-Glass again.

April 23, 2009 at 11:35 am Comments (0)

Thoughts From An American Nobody No.5

I haven’t been able to find my muse lately. Distractions of everyday life keep rearing their ugly heads up and frightening off the thoughts that I know need to be said. But this is what all of us…all of us…have had as an excuse to not say what needs to be said. When life is more confusing, more cluttered and filled with noise is the exact time that WE MUST SPEAK. There will always be too much going on in our lives, too many headaches, too many hassles, too many people telling us we are living our lives wrong by teaching our kids to respect our elders, that there are consequences to our actions and to live up to the highest ethical standards. We say that we expect more from ourselves everyday and to try our hardest at whatever we do and we never never ever give up. We don’t ask for handouts and we always give credit where credit is due. But somehow we are the bad ones.

                Yesterday’s Tea Parties were a good start, but it’s not enough.

When I grew up, I was taught that you always referred to every adult man and woman as “Sir” and “Ma’am”. Do you normally hear a teenager of today say such things? You’ll be lucky to hear an “F*** You” if anything at all today. As a teenager, if my mother and father had known I had thought let alone actually said something so disrespectful to anyone at all I would be lucky if I was only beaten within an inch of my life. Gasp!!!! Yes, my parents did spank me, but only rarely because they taught me respect for everyone I came in contact with.

This is just one of the many things that anyone can see is wrong in our great country. It is just a symptom of an overall cancer running through the body of America, and just like any sick patient if we don’t recognize that we are truly ill and face the fact that the cure we need will feel even worse than the disease, then this “Experiment in Freedom” will die. There was a reason that Alexis de Tocqueville wrote is his masterpiece Democracy in America when he wrote

America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

I was talking last night with a group of good men. This isn’t because they are great men with fancy titles or popularity or incredible influence. They are just part of the unwashed masses you and I belong to. They are American Nobodies too. But all of them have the utmost love and respect for this country and all the opportunities that being an American affords us and I know that each of them, in their own way, thanks God for being born American. All of these men are men I have the greatest admiration and respect for and all of them believe as I do that our country is upside down. Somehow we as an American society have lost that spark that made us what the world associated with being “Quintessential Americans.”

We all agree that something needs to change, but I ask myself “How do 6 men change the world?” Then I look to the Founder’s and realize that these men probably said the exact same thing to themselves. And I believe that I’ve to the same conclusions that they did. It’s is the only way the world has EVER been changed. History is never changed by large groups of people or enormous entities. It is always moved in some direction or another by individuals deciding that the way things are going is wrong and things need to change. All movements are started by just a bunch of people, Nobody’s, deciding that enough is enough and girding themselves for the long hard fight coming.

I don’t want this fight. I don’t want this struggle. No one does, no one sane that is. But this is a fight that has been coming for a very long time and many men and women before me kept passing the responsibility down the line saying “It’s not my fight; let someone else deal with it.” Things will never change unless someone stands up and says “I don’t want to fight this, but it is my responsibility now. I accept.” Well, I Accept. I will fight this fight for the same reasons that one of the greatest of America’s Founder’s, John Adams, wrote to his wife. He said

“I must study politics and war, that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy…. in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.”

In other words, never pass your duties and responsibilities onto others when it is your duty to do the hard work. It is my duty now….and I accept. And I believe that others will begin to accept their duties too.

                The Tea Parties were a good start, but now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and do the hard work.

April 16, 2009 at 11:44 am Comments (0)

Thoughts From an American Nobody No.4

     It became clear to me recently that our government and those that “Represent” us truly don’t understand what it means to live by American principles. They have just recently passed a law that “encourages” volunteerism among the young and old in America. Since when have you known any American that needed the government to tell them that it was good to volunteer your time and energy to a good cause? I believe the difference that I as an American am seeing in this type of innocuous legislation is the fact that government is now trying to gives us direction, or as they would put it “Encouragement”, as to what type of things I should volunteer on. Isn’t this the opposite of what volunteering means? The dictionary defines a volunteer as “a person who voluntarily offers himself or herself for a service or undertaking” or in the legal context “a person whose actions are not founded on any legal obligation so to act.” So, this sounds like to me that our Legislators have either never picked up a dictionary before in their lives or never truly volunteered for anything that they had no real expectation of anything in return except a feeling of having done good for the sake of being good.

     I never needed to be told to be charitable or give first. Not only do I volunteer for several different charities in my area but I grew up knowing that service for country and my fellow American always came first. When I was making the decision to join the Navy, I talked to my father about it, a veteran of the Army and a 6th generation Hayes to answer his country’s call to serve. He didn’t ask me “What job do you want” or “What branch of service?” but looked me dead in the eye and just asked “Why?” He wanted to know if I really understood what I was getting into. I remembered exactly what I said because it was one of those turning points in a person’s life, an epiphany, and I said “Because I don’t believe that I could ever ask for anything from anyone else unless I was willing to give up something first.” That is when he and I both knew that I really understood to look beyond myself and my own self-serving interests and knew that to be American is to give willingly to your fellow American FIRST before anything else. Americans know this and don’t need government telling us from on high how to live our lives and treat our fellow man.

     In Europe, there is a level of Socialism that is entrenched in every level of government and in just about all facets of the average Europeans life to one extent or another. Well, We Are Americans, Not Europeans. Our Founding Fathers and their fathers before them left Europe specifically because the governments of Europe intruded upon every facet of their lives and tried to tell them what to do, when to do it, and how to do what they told them to do. Most importantly, they were told by those same leaders to Not Ask Questions; just do as they said because it was “The best thing for us.” Sound Familiar anyone? They left for the new world to escape this tyranny and choose their own destinies.

     Well everyone, there’s nowhere else to run to. I may be an American Nobody just like you, but even I can see that this is our home at its time to make a stand. The tyranny of the Old World has found us again and we need to draw a line in the sand and stand firm. “This far and no further!” Some of us have begun to gather our friends together to start talking about what we can do to halt this downward spiral and right our course again and set our country back on its intended course. I just hope enough of us see the path before it becomes too overgrown with weeds and is lost to us.

     Forever.

March 24, 2009 at 8:50 am Comments (0)

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