Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dealing with Loneliness By Wm. J. Diehm


The elderly population is large and growing. In 1987, 8.5 million elderly lived alone; by 2020, 13.3 million elderly will live alone. More than 6.5 million, or 77%, of all elderly living alone are women. The percentage of older women living alone exceeds that of men in each age group, but women become progressively more likely than men to live alone with age. Among those over 85, 52% of women live alone compared to 29% for men. Widowhood is by far the most common situation for older women who live alone. Between the ages of 65 and 74, 77% of women living alone are widows, as are 88% of those over 75. Men who live alone are far more likely to be divorced or never to have married. This phenomenon occurs because women tend to marry men older than themselves, and because women live longer than men.

You are not alone;
feelings of loneliness
strike over one-third of
all Americans at least

I will never forget the time that I walked into a hospital and heard the unhappy cry of an old man, "Nurse, I'm lonely." Over and over again he expressed his need in heart-rending sobs that touched my soul in a unforgettable way. I asked the nurse on duty, "What's wrong with the old man?" She replied, "He has outlived all his relatives and no one comes to see him anymore; and I can't spend all day holding his hand."

Over the years, I have visited hundreds of retirement homes. Some are very well-run, caring organizations, handling older people effectively who are in every state of functioning. Other convalescent hospitals are snake pits from hell--the range of hospital and retirement homes extends from awesome to awful. We who are advanced in years must take the time to consider where we will live, if we live too long to take care of ourselves.

If we wisely prepare in advance, we can select a home that does have some people who can take the time to hold our hand. When my Aunt Evelyn was just 60 years old, her husband, Lee, died unexpectedly. My aunt soon sold her property and moved to an American Baptist life-care retirement home in Seattle, Washington. Our whole family was aghast that Auntie would retire so early in life.

However, the life-care facility furnished Auntie with a nice room where she could do her own cooking; or, she could eat in the cafeteria whenever she wanted to. In addition, she could travel and come and go as she desired, which she did extensively. For years, Auntie spent very little time at the home. Now, at the age of 90, she is infirm and in a wheelchair. She needs around-the-clock care--and she gets it. The family, what is left of us, are scattered all over the country; and Auntie seldom gets visitors. But whenever one of us does call, we find a happy, contented, well-cared-for senior citizen who never calls out, "Nurse, I'm lonely."

When I first started visiting retirement and full-care homes, I considered them to be awful places and one day I said to a son: "Son, before you put me in one of these homes, shoot me." Of course I was kidding; but, you can see how terrible I thought the homes were. Since that time, I have seen dozens of beautiful caring places. Recently, I toured the Alzheimer's facilities run by my cousin Tom Sharon in Tacoma, Washington. No one wants Alzheimer's, but this terrible condition has been minimized by these thoughtful, happy facilities.

Loneliness comes to people who do not prepare for a good retirement. I have met young people who said they were never going to retire; but when the time comes, almost everyone has to drop the old loads and pick up new ones. We must all carry some type of burden or occupy ourselves with something of interest. The saddest tale ever told concerns the person who never made any provision to retire or change occupations.

So, if you find a care facility that cares, you will not need to worry about the frightening conditions of loneliness. Today, social services, churches, lodges, schools, and institutions are dedicated to the proposition that many people need to be cared for. If you are one of those people, relax and let other people cure their loneliness by curing yours.

Another type of lonely person has come to my attention: people who have retired and find themselves at a loss as to what to do. Here are eight sure-fired cures for such loneliness:

  1. Keep busy -- If you are lonely, do with eagerness whatever is in front of you to do: write letters, visit people, fix something that needs to be fixed, take up a hobby, start collecting something of value, become amazed and fascinated by everything around you. Keep busily involved in everything that gets your attention--every little thing and every middle-sized thing can soon grow into big significant projects. The happiest person I ever met and the busiest person I ever met are one and the same. Cure loneliness by keeping busy.

  2. Involve yourself -- If you are lonely, involve yourself in community affairs. Many times when people retire they find themselves in a burned-out condition. Some folks have told me, all I want to do is just sit in a chair, pet my dog, stare out the window, or watch TV. This kind of mental attitude sets a person up to be lonely. And, if a person continues to be a hermit, there will come a time when an incurable loneliness will be the order of the day.

  3. Help others -- If you are lonely, look for and strive to cure the loneliness of someone else--it will cure your own. How about holding the hand of some of those people who made no provisions for old age. There are myriads of people who need help--find them and help them.

  4. Avoid escapes -- If you are lonely, avoid day dreaming, sleeping too much, and watching too much TV. When you do dream dreams, make them possible, obtainable, and something you can work on. Dream magnificent goals for the future and start to bring them about. TV can be a life-saver on occasions; but to mesmerize your brain in a constant dose of radiation from the idiot box is a sure-fire way of becoming depressed and lonely. Too much sleep can be a powerful escape mechanism. We can find ourselves fleeing from guilt, responsibility, failure, and hopelessness. To run away through sleep is just like running away with alchohol--it only makes matters worse. Fight the tendency to sleep too much as if it were a demon from hell--it is.

  5. Choose to be happy -- If you are lonely, you are probably depressed and unhappy. Fight unhappiness with a direct attack of the will--choose to be happy in spite of the circumstances. Ask yourself the question, "How does my unhappiness change my situation?" The answer will be, "It doesn't, it just makes it worse." So make things better for yourself by choosing to be happy. Fight depression by talking out your problems. If alcoholics can join a group and get control of their drinking, you can join a group and get control of your depression. Talk to friends, a counselor, or your pastor, and keep talking until you find yourself maintaining an attitude of optimism.

  6. Collect good thoughts -- If you are lonely, collect inspirational thoughts, good jokes, meaningful poems, and literary masterpieces. Read lots of good books, if you can; if you can't, have someone read to you. Make a list of good things that you read about and then try to memorize some inspirational quotation and share it with whoever comes your way. Collect good thoughts to share with those people who come your way, and soon others will search for your companionship like the proverbial guru of the mountain.

  7. Join a social group -- If you are lonely, join one of the many social groups in your community. See that you visit the Senior Center regularly and meet new people. You will find many individuals there that are involved in social gatherings of various types. Commit yourself to one or more groups that you find of interest.

  8. Go to church -- If you are lonely, go to church. How do I have the nerve to tell people to go to church when I am writing a secular work? I do for the following reason: There is a lot of criticism of the church, but no substitute for it. Most churches care for their people and treat everyone who attends like family. If we cut the church out of the community there would be tens of thousands of more lonely people. I have heard some people say, I went to church and the people were unfriendly. If we are friendly, the church will be friendly. If we are unfriendly, more than 75% of the time, the church will still be friendly.

Loneliness is often caused by wanting people to do something for us. When we do things for other people, we are never lonely. Self-referenced thinking often leads to a barrenness of spirit that breeds discontent and loneliness. Think up, think out, toward people, think around, toward all the exciting things of life; and avoid thinking too much about yourself, and the problem of loneliness will disappear.

Loneliness generally occurs at specific times of the day or during specific days such as holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries. Planning ahead for these times so that you are active and busy with other things helps provide a very effective means of dealing with loneliness.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Janet’s Law Is Coming By F.R. Duplantier


December 20, 2010

You’d rather opt out?
You’d better get scanned,
Cause if you opt out
You’ll get a cold hand:
Janet’s Law is coming to town.

She’s lining you up
And checking you twice,
Couldn’t care less who’s naughty or nice:
Janet’s Law is coming to town.

She sees you when you’re naked,
She knows what’s in your slacks,
She knows that you and grandma could
Launch some terrorist attacks!

O! You’d rather opt out?
You’d better get scanned,
Cause if you opt out
You’ll get a cold hand:
Janet’s Law is coming to town,
Janet’s Law is coming to town.

Saturday, December 18, 2010



November 18, 2010

Wendy (nee Roseman) and Jason Goldman of Maple Glen announce the birth of their second daughter, Brynn Talia, on Aug. 23.

Sharing in their joy are big sister Ayla Brielle; grandparents Sherry and Warren Lassin, Maxine and Steven Goldman, and Glenn Roseman, along with great-grandmother Toby Shafritz.

Joining in welcoming the baby are Aunt Gayle, Uncle Ross, and cousins Samantha and Scott Roseman; and Aunt Mindi, Uncle Michael, and cousin Evan Hoffman.

Brynn Talia is named in loving memory of her paternal great-grandmother Ida Goldman.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Looking for a Loan

I am looking for a loan of $5,000.00 to catch up and stay current on my bills. I am willing to pay up to 15% interest and pay back over a two or three year period.

I am also looking to obtain a loan of $20,000.00 to pay off all of my debts. I am willing to repay over a five year period, with interest of up to 15%.

In both cases, the interest rate is negotiable. If you can assist in either situation, e-mail at No scam artists, please.

Thank you for reading. Blessings on your day!


Friday, December 10, 2010

Stem-Cell Fraud



Science: Supporters of California's failed 2004 stem-cell law will ask strapped taxpayers to support another $3 billion bond initiative in 2014. Maybe it's time to restore fiscal sanity as well as science to its rightful place.

When it was passed in 2004, Proposition 71, with its $3 billion state fund and 10-year mandate for embryonic stem-cell research (ESCR), held out the promise of imminent miracle cures for everything from spinal disorders to Parkinson's.

One campaign ad showed actor Christopher Reeve, aka Superman, asking California voters to "stand up for those who can't."

Some six years later, with about $1.1 billion dispersed, there have been $270 million worth of impressive new labs built, research papers published, and respected scientists hired at exorbitant salaries, but no miracle cures or even marketable therapies. And none is likely for years, if not decades, to come. The promised financial payback for the financially strapped citizens of California is also far off.

Before the money runs out, Silicon Valley real estate developer and Prop 71 architect Bob Klein, who now heads the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), is laying plans to hit voters for another $3 billion in bonds in 2014. It's based largely on his personal belief that "there will be some remarkable new therapies that will save lives and mitigate suffering substantially."

There already are. But they're coming from work with adult stem cells and umbilical-cord blood, not embryonic stem cells.

As for CIRM, "spending has resulted in many academic publications, nice laboratories and buildings, as well as huge salaries for those running" the institute, according to Dr. David Prentice, a former Indiana State University biology professor who is now a fellow with the Family Research Council. "What the swindling of taxpayers hasn't produced? Viable treatments."

Proposition 71 was based on two false premises. The first was that money was the problem and by restricting federal funding on embryonic stem-cell research to existing stem-cell lines derived from previously destroyed embryos, President George W. Bush had stopped the science in its tracks.

Federal funding of stem-cell research was one of the decisions President Bush covers in his book "Decision Points."

On Page 117, he writes: "Embryonic stem cell research seemed to offer so much hope. Yet it raised troubling moral concerns. I wondered if it was possible to find a principled policy that advanced science while respecting the dignity of life."

And here's a fact you never hear: Bush was the first president to fund embryonic stem-cell research at all. He decided to continue funding on existing stem-cell lines derived from already destroyed embryos, but not fund new lines created from embryos created just for that purpose. Private ESCR research was never banned.

The second false premise was that ESCR was the only promising avenue of such stem-cell research. Because embryonic stem cells could be easily coaxed into becoming any body part, the argument went, research into adult stem cells was a waste of time.

The Obama administration recently approved only the second human clinical trial using embryonic stem-cell lines.

"We've heard so many times that adult stem cells can't treat diseases, or only treat a few blood diseases, and those who have pointed out the truth, that adult stem cells are already helping patients for over 70 diseases and injuries, have been scorned," Prentice notes.

A Japanese researcher, Kyoto University's Shinya Yamanaka, in 2007 discovered how to tinker with human skin cells so that they behave like embryonic stem cells.

According to the National Institutes of Health, this type of stem cell offers the prospect of an endless and renewable source of replacement cells and tissues to treat diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, spinal cord injury, stroke, burns, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, to name a few.

Prop 71 was driven by ideology, not science. Were it otherwise, the money should have flowed to those pursuing, and producing, actual treatments and actual therapies for actual human beings.

Let's not get fooled again.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Southern N.J. Crowd Boosts 'Average Girl' To Miss America By Steven V. Cronin and Gail Wilson

Press Of Atlantic City
September 14, 1997

Anyone who wanted to learn about the new Miss America should have been in old convention hall Saturday - it seemed that anyone who has ever met her was there.

A Moorestown resident who is studying theater and sociology at Northwestern University in Illinois, Katherine Shindle had a boisterous crowd of about 300 supporters on hand to watch her capture the rhinestone tiara.

"She loves the theater. She loves to get on stage. She also loves Slurpees," said David Bigge of Delran, a friend of the new Miss America. "She's an average girl that went on to be Miss America. I guess it's everything Miss America stands for," said Allison Baker, who attended high school French classes with Shindle.

Shindle also must have had some supporters among veteran Miss America workers. She lived in Brigantine from ages 3 to 6, and her father Gordon Shindle volunteered to park cars at the pageant for 15 years. Shindle, however, didn't catch the Miss America bug until relatively late. In a home video shown during the pageant, her father said she never mentioned competing in pageants until her senior year in high school.

Shindle graduated from Bishop Eustace Preparatory School in Pennsauken, Camden County. Her friends seemed to have a little trouble coming to grips with her new, lofty status. "It's like her saddle shoes went to golden slippers and her starched shirt went to an evening gown. It's just surreal," said Derek DelRossi, who sang in the school choir with Shindle.

However, Shindle does seem to be the down-to-earth sort. During the pageant telecast, she frequently communicated with the audience through a series of raised eyebrows and other facial expressions. During her inaugural press conference, Shindle was quick to inform the media she prefers the name Kate, and she has no significant other in her life.

Shindle told the press she plans on wasting no time in beginning her year talking about AIDS prevention and education. "I've been really waiting for this all my life," said Shindle, a senior at Northwestern. "I'm excited to have this opportunity and this job. This week is ideal to present my platform," she said.

Shindle said she wants to promote a program of HIV prevention at all grade levels. She wants to talk to young children about AIDS to raise their awareness of the disease while she will discuss AIDS prevention with older students.

Responding to recent news report that AIDS is no longer the top killer of Americans aged 25-44 youth, Shindle said now is not the time to let up on the fight against the deadly disease. "You can either become proactive and take charge, or (relax and) fight your way back the hard way," she said.

Shindle was crowned in a pageant that brought many changes to the annual spectacle at the old convention hall. The biggest change was the Miss America Organization's decision to allow contestants to wear two-piece bathing suits during the swimsuit competition.

The rule change was made after most of the 51 contestants were selected, and most of the contestants elected to stick with the one-piece style that helped them win their state titles. Only 13 of the 51 contestants chose to wear two-pieces, but five of those women - Miss North Carolina Michelle Warren, Miss California Rebekah Keller, Miss Hawaii Erika Kauffman, Shindle and Miss Louisiana Mette Boving - impressed the judges enough to make it into the top 10.

Some of the two-piece suits sparked complaints the pageant wasn't sticking to its promise to allow only modest suits. Moreover, Miss Vermont Jill Cummings made headlines when she announced she not only had a pierced navel, but that she intended to wear a two-piece swimsuit and show off her navel ring during the competition.

While pageant officials have in the past downplayed the swimsuit competition, this year they unapologetically focused on swimwear, first with the rule change and then in a lengthy pageant production number that had the 41 nonfinalist contestants dress and dance in swimwear popular during the nearly eight decades of Miss America competition.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Obituary - Pfister

MICHAEL PFISTER, 66, of Mount Laurel, formerly of Delran, died Sunday at home. Mr. Pfister retired two months ago from Delran High School where he was a teacher and librarian for more than 32 years. He was a member of the Delran, New Jersey and National Education Associations. He was a World War II Navy veteran, serving on the USS Wisconsin. He belonged to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Medford and the American Legion Post in Riverside. Survivors: his wife, Joyce; two sons, Drew Calandrella and Mark Calandrella, both of Santa Rosa, Calif.; a daughter, Verna E. Nelson of St. Louis, Mo.; four grandchildren; a great-grandchild; three brothers and one sister. Services: viewing, 7 to 9 pm tomorrow, and 8 to 9 am Friday, Schetter Funeral Home; 304 W. Route 70, Cherry Hill; Mass of Christian Burial, 10 am Friday, Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Church, 99 Burnt Mill Rd., Cherry Hill; burial;

Philadelphia Inquirer - Wednesday, Jul 29, 1992

Obituary - Stone

MELINDA R. STONE, 12, of Delran, died Thursday after being struck by a car while crossing Route 130 in Delran. Melinda was a seventh grade student at Delran Middle School. She was a member of the Marcia Hyland Dance Studio in Mount Laurel and the Play Crafters Theatrical Group in Cherry Hill. Survivors: her mother, Rose A. of Delran; her father, Thomas of Tampa, Fla.; a sister, Melissa R., at home; and her paternal grandparents, Thomas of Tampa, Fla., and Joan of Deer Park, NY, and her maternal grandparents, Sebastian and Rose Garcia of Puerto Rico. Services: Mass of Christian Burial, 9:30 am today, St. Casimir's Roman Catholic Church, 502 New Jersey Ave., Riverside. Perinchief Chapels, Mount Holly.

Philadelphia Inquirer - Monday, Nov 2, 1992

Bittersweet Sale Helps Students Remember The Friend They Lost Delran Middle Schoolers Are Raising Money For A Memorial To A Classmate Killed In An Accident In October.

Source: Posted: February 21, 1993

DELRAN — Sweets in memory of a sweet girl.

The friends of Melinda Stone were selling them Wednesday at Delran Middle School just one day after what would have been her 13th birthday. They were hoping to raise enough money to commemorate the name of the bubbly 12-year- old, whose life was tragically ended last fall on Route 130 South.

Late in the afternoon on Oct. 29, Melinda tried to cross the busy road near the entrance of Holy Cross High School. In what Delran police have ruled an accident, she was killed after running in front of a car.

Her numerous friends at the school have yet to completely shake the shock.

The next school day after the accident, they skipped classes to express their pain in group discussions run by middle school nurse Joan Lewis and a high school counselor. That's where the idea of a fund-raising event, which became Wednesday's candy sale, came up.

Then they collected signatures on a petition demanding that a pedestrian overpass be constructed over the crosswalk where Melinda was killed. They presented the petitions to the Township Council on a night when they could have been watching television or playing games.

When the council voted to request a traffic study by the Department of Transportation, they were there again, pleading with the council for action, hugging Melinda's sorrowful mother, Rose Stone, afterward.

Melinda's kindness and good humor have remained positive forces in their lives. They didn't express any angry sentiments Wednesday, not even toward the driver of the car that struck their friend.

Colleen Maher, 13, called it an accident at "a very dangerous crossing."

It was just that the candy sale, held in the school cafeteria during periods five, six and seven, helped rekindled her spirit even more.

"It's just like she was here," 13-year-old Nicole Kowalewski said. ''Sometimes you can close your eyes and she's right here talking to you."

Nicole had opened the one-day sale by announcing to youngsters over an intercom, "Our goal is $75, so please spend your money."

At a table set up between a fruit-juice machine and a slush machine, she and others handled a steady stream of sweet-toothed schoolmates, who paid 25 cents apiece for fruit snacks and Tootsie pops, 10 cents apiece for Twizzlers and five cents each for Sweet Tarts.

Toward the end of the lunch period, they had collected $38.14, which was held in a tightly guarded cigar box.

They talked of purchasing a plaque "so that people will remember her," said Jenna Lipson, 13.

"She was real nice," sixth grader Justin Brooks said. "She was there if you had a problem."

The construction of a pedestrian crosswalk isn't a lost issue in their minds, though it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to the Department of Transportation.

Lewis said the youngsters were encouraged when area politicians, who received copies of the petition, wrote them letters describing the efforts they were making to arrange a transportation study.

But the purchase of a plaque is a more attainable goal, and the student council has agreed to donate some of the profits from school dances toward it.

The candy sale was just one more piece in a cathartic puzzle that is

helping the youngsters deal with their loss.

For instance, they spoke excitedly of the forthcoming yearbooks. All three will include special sections with pictures of Melinda.

"It's important that they don't forget," Lewis said. "I think it's made their lives more valuable."

Officials Are Asked For Safe Crossing Of Rt. 130 In Delran A Man Who Was Struck While Crossing The Street Spoke. So Did Friends Of A Girl Who Died Crossing It.

Source: Posted: March 26, 1993

DELRAN — Home from working the Alaska oilfields, Delran resident Tom McConaghy was crossing Route 130 on Sept. 1, 1990.

Two weeks later, he would wake up from a coma to the realization his life would never be the same.

Yesterday, speaking in a deliberate, slightly slurred voice, McConaghy, 29, told a panel of state officials that ways must be found to make it safe for pedestrians to cross the busy highway. He went into the coma after he was hit by a pickup truck while crossing near Hartford Road - at least, that's what his mother told him later, he said.

"I'm not here to talk about what happened," McConaghy said. "I have to say, what's more important, money or a human life? . . . The stuff I have to go through is really bad because of this accident."

While McConaghy is alive, 12-year-old Melinda Stone is not. She was run over and killed last year while trying to cross Route 130 South near the entrance to Holy Cross High School.

Delran police ruled it an accident.

The death of the bubbly, likeable girl mobilized her friends into action. They raised money for a memorial and attended township meetings. They gathered nearly 300 signatures on a petition calling for an overpass and presented it to the township council and to State Sen. Brad Smith and Assemblymen Priscilla Anderson and Jose Sosa, all Republicans.

Those efforts were the impetus for yesterday's panel, which listened and answered questions, but made no promises, though officials did pledge to expedite a Department of Transportation study.

"I think it is very, very evident that we would like to act as soon as possible," said State Sen. C. William Haines, the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. "We will help in the legislature to do what we have to do."

"I feel we have a very good chance," said Rose Stone, Melinda's mother, after the hearing.

In addition to Haines, the panel consisted of Sosa, Anderson, Smith, P. Norman Deitch, manager of the DOT's Bureau of Traffic Engineering and Safety Programs, Denise Coyle, executive assistant to DOT Commissioner Tom Downs, and Peter Mangoosian, from the Office of Legislative Services.

Deitch said the Department of Transportation had begun studying traffic on Route 130 and hoped to have a study concluded in several months.

Afterward, about 60 students who attended walked back to the Delran Middle School. They had been given permission to attend partly as a civics lesson, but also to continue their efforts in favor of a safe crossing.

As they walked back, there was sobbing and tears, as groups of twos and threes consoled each other.

"I thought it was good," said Lena Farally, one of Stone's best friends, of the hearing. "We have to get a crosswalk."

Deitch rejected the possibility of building an underpass because it could provide a haven for criminals and could not be easily policed. An overpass could cost as much as $1 million, he said.

At the existing crosswalk near where Stone was killed, there is a pedestrian traffic light can be activated from the side of the road.

Delran police said Stone didn't use the signal. According to Dietch, the current setup could not be made safer.

Some students who spoke before the panel found it difficult emotionally.

"I know I'm only a kid, and my opinion doesn't mean much," said Nicole Kowalewski, 13, while Lena Farally put a sensitive arm around her shoulder. ''We loved Melinda Stone very much."

Said Sosa: "I just want to tell you your opinion does count."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A return to the norm By Charles Krauthammer


November 5, 2010

For all the turmoil, the spectacle, the churning - for all the old bulls slain and fuzzy-cheeked freshmen born - the great Republican wave of 2010 is simply a return to the norm. The tide had gone out; the tide came back. A center-right country restores the normal congressional map: a sea of interior red, bordered by blue coasts and dotted by blue islands of ethnic/urban density.

Or to put it numerically, the Republican wave of 2010 did little more than undo the two-stage Democratic wave of 2006-2008 in which the Democrats gained 54 House seats combined (precisely the size of the anti-Democratic wave of 1994). In 2010 the Democrats gave it all back, plus about an extra 10 seats or so for good - chastening - measure.

The conventional wisdom is that these sweeps represent something novel, exotic and very modern - the new media, faster news cycles, Internet frenzy and a public with a short attention span and even less patience with government. Or alternatively, that these violent swings reflect reduced party loyalty and more independent voters.

Nonsense. In 1946, for example, when party loyalty was much stronger and even television was largely unknown, the Republicans gained 56 seats and then lost 75 in the very next election. Waves come. Waves go. The republic endures.

Our two most recent swing cycles were triggered by unusually jarring historical events. The 2006 Republican "thumpin'" (to quote George W. Bush) was largely a reflection of the disillusionment and near-despair of a wearying war that appeared to be lost. And 2008 occurred just weeks after the worst financial collapse in eight decades.

Similarly, the massive Republican swing of 2010 was a reaction to another rather unprecedented development - a ruling party spectacularly misjudging its mandate and taking an unwilling country through a two-year experiment in hyper-liberalism.

A massive government restructuring of the health-care system. An $800 billion-plus stimulus that did not halt the rise in unemployment. And a cap-and-trade regime reviled outside the bicoastal liberal enclaves that luxuriate in environmental righteousness - so reviled that the Democratic senatorial candidate in West Virginia literally put a bullet through the bill in his own TV ad. He won. Handily.

Opposition to the policies was compounded by the breathtaking arrogance with which they were imposed. Ignored was the unmistakable message from the 2009-10 off-year elections culminating in Scott Brown's anti-Obamacare victory in bluer-than-blue Massachusetts. Moreover, Obamacare and the stimulus were passed on near-total party-line votes - legal, of course, but deeply offensive to the people's sense of democratic legitimacy. Never before had anything of this size and scope been passed on a purely partisan basis. (Social Security commanded 81 House Republicans; the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 136; Medicare, 70.)

Tuesday was the electorate's first opportunity to render a national verdict on this manner of governance. The rejection was stunning. As a result, President Obama's agenda is dead. And not just now. No future Democratic president will try to revive it - and if he does, no Congress will follow him, in view of the carnage visited upon Democrats on Tuesday.

This is not, however, a rejection of Democrats as a party. The center-left party as represented by Bill Clinton remains competitive in every cycle. (Which is why he was the most popular, sought-after Democrat in the current cycle.) The lesson of Tuesday is that the American game is played between the 40-yard lines. So long as Democrats don't repeat Obama's drive for the red zone, Democrats will cyclically prevail, just as Republicans do.

Nor should Republicans overinterpret their Tuesday mandate. They received none. They were merely rewarded for acting as the people's proxy in saying no to Obama's overreaching liberalism. As one wag put it, this wasn't an election so much as a restraining order.

The Republicans won by default. And their prize is nothing more than a two-year lease on the House. The building was available because the previous occupant had been evicted for arrogant misbehavior and, by rule, alas, the House cannot be left vacant.

The president, however, remains clueless. In his next-day news conference, he had the right demeanor - subdued, his closest approximation of humility - but was uncomprehending about what just happened. The "folks" are apparently just "frustrated" that "progress" is just too slow. Asked three times whether popular rejection of his policy agenda might have had something to do with the shellacking he took, he looked as if he'd been asked whether the sun had risen in the West. Why, no, he said.

The last refuge of a liberal By Charles Krauthammer


August 27, 2010

Liberalism under siege is an ugly sight indeed. Just yesterday it was all hope and change and returning power to the people. But the people have proved so disappointing. Their recalcitrance has, in only 19 months, turned the predicted 40-year liberal ascendancy (James Carville) into a full retreat. Ah, the people, the little people, the small-town people, the "bitter" people, as Barack Obama in an unguarded moment once memorably called them, clinging "to guns or religion or" -- this part is less remembered -- "antipathy toward people who aren't like them."

That's a polite way of saying: clinging to bigotry. And promiscuous charges of bigotry are precisely how our current rulers and their vast media auxiliary react to an obstreperous citizenry that insists on incorrect thinking.

-- Resistance to the vast expansion of government power, intrusiveness and debt, as represented by the Tea Party movement? Why, racist resentment toward a black president.

-- Disgust and alarm with the federal government's unwillingness to curb illegal immigration, as crystallized in the Arizona law? Nativism.

-- Opposition to the most radical redefinition of marriage in human history, as expressed in Proposition 8 in California? Homophobia.

-- Opposition to a 15-story Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero? Islamophobia.

Now we know why the country has become "ungovernable," last year's excuse for the Democrats' failure of governance: Who can possibly govern a nation of racist, nativist, homophobic Islamophobes?

Note what connects these issues. In every one, liberals have lost the argument in the court of public opinion. Majorities -- often lopsided majorities -- oppose President Obama's social-democratic agenda (e.g., the stimulus, Obamacare), support the Arizona law, oppose gay marriage and reject a mosque near Ground Zero.

What's a liberal to do? Pull out the bigotry charge, the trump that preempts debate and gives no credit to the seriousness and substance of the contrary argument. The most venerable of these trumps is, of course, the race card. When the Tea Party arose, a spontaneous, leaderless and perfectly natural (and traditionally American) reaction to the vast expansion of government intrinsic to the president's proudly proclaimed transformational agenda, the liberal commentariat cast it as a mob of angry white yahoos disguising their antipathy to a black president by cleverly speaking in economic terms.

Then came Arizona and S.B. 1070. It seems impossible for the left to believe that people of good will could hold that: (a) illegal immigration should be illegal, (b) the federal government should not hold border enforcement hostage to comprehensive reform, i.e., amnesty, (c) every country has the right to determine the composition of its immigrant population.

As for Proposition 8, is it so hard to see why people might believe that a single judge overturning the will of 7 million voters is an affront to democracy? And that seeing merit in retaining the structure of the most ancient and fundamental of all social institutions is something other than an alleged hatred of gays -- particularly since the opposite-gender requirement has characterized virtually every society in all the millennia until just a few years ago?

And now the mosque near Ground Zero. The intelligentsia is near unanimous that the only possible grounds for opposition is bigotry toward Muslims. This smug attribution of bigotry to two-thirds of the population hinges on the insistence on a complete lack of connection between Islam and radical Islam, a proposition that dovetails perfectly with the Obama administration's pretense that we are at war with nothing more than "violent extremists" of inscrutable motive and indiscernible belief. Those who reject this as both ridiculous and politically correct (an admitted redundancy) are declared Islamophobes, the ad hominem du jour.

It is a measure of the corruption of liberal thought and the collapse of its self-confidence that, finding itself so widely repudiated, it resorts reflexively to the cheapest race-baiting (in a colorful variety of forms). Indeed, how can one reason with a nation of pitchfork-wielding mobs brimming with "antipathy toward people who aren't like them" -- blacks, Hispanics, gays and Muslims -- a nation that is, as Michelle Obama once put it succinctly, "just downright mean"?

The Democrats are going to get beaten badly in November. Not just because the economy is ailing. And not just because Obama over-read his mandate in governing too far left. But because a comeuppance is due the arrogant elites whose undisguised contempt for the great unwashed prevents them from conceding a modicum of serious thought to those who dare oppose them.

Annals of executive overreach By Charles Krauthammer


August 6, 2010

Last week, a draft memo surfaced from the Department of Homeland Security suggesting ways to administratively circumvent existing law to allow several categories of illegal immigrants to avoid deportation and, indeed, for some to be granted permanent residency. Most disturbing was the stated rationale. This was being proposed "in the absence of Comprehensive Immigration Reform." In other words, because Congress refuses to do what these bureaucrats would like to see done, they will legislate it themselves.

Regardless of your feelings on the substance of the immigration issue, this is not how a constitutional democracy should operate. Administrators administer the law, they don't change it. That's the legislators' job.

When questioned, the White House played down the toxic memo, leaving the impression that it was nothing more than ruminations emanating from the bowels of Homeland Security. But the administration is engaged in an even more significant power play elsewhere.

A 2007 Supreme Court ruling gave the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to regulate carbon emissions if it could demonstrate that they threaten human health and the environment. The Obama EPA made precisely that finding, thereby granting itself a huge expansion of power and, noted The Post, sending "a message to Congress."

It was not a terribly subtle message: Enact cap-and-trade legislation -- taxing and heavily regulating carbon-based energy -- or the EPA will do so unilaterally. As Frank O'Donnell of Clean Air Watch noted, such a finding "is likely to help light a fire under Congress to get moving."

Well, Congress didn't. Despite the "regulatory cudgel" (to again quote The Post) the administration has been waving, the Senate has repeatedly refused to acquiesce.

Good for the Senate. But what to do when the executive is passively aggressive rather than actively so? Take border security. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) reports that President Obama told him about pressure from his political left and its concern that if the border is secured, Republicans will have no incentive to support comprehensive reform (i.e., amnesty). Indeed, Homeland Security's abandonment of the "virtual fence" on the southern border, combined with its lack of interest in completing the real fence that today covers only one-third of the border, gives the distinct impression that serious border enforcement is not a high administration priority absent some Republican quid pro quo on comprehensive reform.

But border enforcement is not something to be manipulated in return for legislative favors. It is, as the administration vociferously argued in court in the Arizona case, the federal executive's constitutional responsibility. Its job is to faithfully execute the laws. Non-execution is a dereliction of duty.

This contagion of executive willfulness is not confined to the federal government or to Democrats. In Virginia, the Republican attorney general has just issued a ruling allowing police to ask about one's immigration status when stopped for some other reason (e.g., a traffic violation). Heretofore, police could inquire only upon arrest and imprisonment.

Whatever your views about the result, the process is suspect. If police latitude regarding the interrogation of possible illegal immigrants is to be expanded, that's an issue for the legislature, not the executive.

How did we get here? I blame Henry Paulson. (Such a versatile sentence.) The gold standard of executive overreach was achieved the day he summoned the heads of the country's nine largest banks and informed them that henceforth the federal government was their business partner. The banks were under no legal obligation to obey. But they know the capacity of the federal government, when crossed, to cause you trouble, endless trouble. They complied.

So did BP when the president summoned its top executives to the White House to demand a $20 billion federally administered escrow fund for damages. Existing law capped damages at $75 million. BP, like the banks, understood the power of the U.S. government. Twenty billion it was.

Again, you can be pleased with the result (I was) and still be troubled by how we got there. Everyone wants energy in the executive (as Alexander Hamilton called it). But not lawlessness. In the modern welfare state, government has the power to regulate your life. That's bad enough. But at least there is one restraint on this bloated power: the separation of powers. Such constraints on your life must first be approved by both houses of Congress.

That's called the consent of the governed. The constitutional order is meant to subject you to the will of the people's representatives, not to the whim of a chief executive or the imagination of a loophole-seeking bureaucrat.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Republican wins shift balance of power in the House By Ken Christian


November 3, 2010

WASHINGTON (NBC) -- The results are in and the win for Republicans was decisive.

The GOP seized control of the House and made serious gains in the Senate as well.

This morning party leaders were already promising to overhaul the president's health care reform law.

"We have to do everything we can to try and repeal this bill and replace it with common sense
reforms that will bring down the cost of health insurance," presumptive new Speaker of the House John Boehner said. "I think it's important to lay groundwork...common sense reforms."

Democrats did hold on to control of the Senate, winning a seat for West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin while top Democrat Harry Reid survived a tough challenge from Tea-Partier Sharron Angle.

"I think the message to America today is that we've got to start working together," Reid said this morning.

Last night President Obama called to congratulate Boehner and they talked about cooperation.

In some states the counting continues.

Senate races are still undecided in Washington state and Alaska.

The next big date for freshman members of Congress is November 15th.

That's the day orientation begins for the House and Senate.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

GOProud Unveils Television Advertising Campaign Targeting Barney Frank, Barbara Boxer and Congressional Democrats


October 22, 2010

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, GOProud, the only national organization representing gay conservatives and their allies, unveiled an unprecedented television advertising campaign targeting Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Congressional Democrats. “For the first time ever a national gay organization is airing a television advertising campaign going after Democrats,” said Jimmy LaSalvia, Executive Director. “This advertising campaign highlights the embarrassing and arrogant approach of Democratic leaders in Washington, and reminds voters that the record of this Democratic Congress is a dismal one.”

The 30 second spot, entitled “The Real Democrats of Washington, D.C.” will begin airing on Monday in California, Massachusetts, Hawaii and New York.

The spot highlights three Democratic politicians: Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, Senator Barbara Boxer of California, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, also of California.

“Barney Frank is an absolute embarrassment,” said Christopher R. Barron, Chairman of GOProud’s Board of Directors. “He represents the worst kind of Washington politician. A man who treats his constituents with contempt, who gleefully acts as an attack dog for radical left-wing special interests, and whose demeanor is more appropriate for a trashy reality show than for the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.”

“Barney’s pal Barbara Boxer not only treats her constituents with contempt, but actually dressed down a United States General during his testimony before the Senate, scolding him for referring to her as ‘m’am’ rather than Senator – a title she says she has ‘worked so hard for,” continued Barron. “The American people deserve better than that type of arrogant behavior from their elected officials.”

“It’s not just the contempt and arrogance from Washington Democrats – it’s the total failure of their policies,” said LaSalvia. “On election night in 2006, Speaker Pelosi crowed about how voters had voted for change by electing Democrats and now we see what that ‘change’ has brought us – out of control debt, runaway spending, and the loss of millions of jobs.”

“This advertising campaign will show the American people what the real Democrats of Washington, D.C. are all about and make it clear, that under Democrats, reality bites,” concluded LaSalvia.


:30 Seconds TV

“If you thought the housewives were dysfunctional, wait until you meet the Real Democrats of Washington D.C.!”

[On screen: The Real Democrats of Washington, D.C. – Photos of Frank, Boxer and Pelosi]

“They’re catty!

BARNEY FRANK: “Talking to you madam is like talking to a dining room table”

[On screen: Barney Frank standing there, with the words “Barney” below him]

“They’re arrogant!”

BARBARA BOXER: “Can you call me Senator instead of mam, its just a thing I have worked so hard to get that title”

[On screen: Barbara Boxer standing there, with the words “Barbara” below her]

“And they’re in charge!”

NANCY PELOSI: “The people voted for change…”

[On screen: Nancy Pelosi standing there with the words “Nancy” below her]

“Under Democrats Reality Bites!”

ON SCREEN – The Change? Out of control debt, runaway spending and the loss of jobs

“GOProud is responsible for the content of this advertising”

[On screen + disclaimer]

Thursday, October 21, 2010

No Pain After Surgery Thanks To New Pump



Aug. 19, 1999

PHILADELPHIA -- Surgery. Even saying the word makes most people cringe. The operation itself isn't the problem, it's the pain that comes with the recovery afterward that most dread. Imagine, however, a recovery free of pain from an incision and without the need for prescription medication.

Surgeons at Temple University Hospital are among the first to utilize a new pain management system that drastically increases post-operative comfort and mobilization.

The system, called On-Q, provides continuous infusion of a local anesthetic directly into a patient's operative site via a pump. The disposable pump works to constantly supply pain relief only to the area affected by a surgical procedure whereas oral pain relievers or narcotics typically prescribed after an operation have whole-body effects.

Prescription drugs usually given to patients can cause severe nausea and drowsiness and may not protect against breakthrough pain. Most patients are not capable of driving or doing many daily tasks while on such medications because they can seriously impair vision and judgment. On-Q allows patients to leave the operating room without ever feeling pain from surgery and return to their normal activities much more quickly.

Dr. Michael Grabowski, a general surgeon at Temple University Hospital, is one of the first surgeons in the country to use the pump after FDA approval.

"I've used it on patients having abdominal surgery who report that they never felt pain after the operation. It's a great system because it allows for much quicker recovery and makes the surgery seem much less traumatic to the patient."

The pump is indicated for use in a wide variety of surgeries, including general, orthopedic, gynecologic and cardiac procedures. It is particularly useful for patients with drug dependency issues who are not advised to take narcotic drugs for pain relief and for nursing mothers, since the drug does not enter the blood stream.

Editor's Note: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Obituary - Dr. Cohen

Jerome Cohen | Orthopedist, 78

Jerome Cohen, 78, of Ventnor, N.J., former chief of orthopedics at Rancocas Valley Hospital in Willingboro, died of cancer on Thursday, Oct. 14, at Cooper University Hospital.
For more than 30 years, Dr. Cohen was the primary figure in orthopedic surgery at Rancocas Valley, now Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County. He worked there from 1963 until 1997, his family said.

Dr. Cohen was born and raised in Atlantic City and graduated from Atlantic City High School in 1950. He studied pre-medicine at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., graduating in 1954.

In 1957, he married Phyllis Friedman, whom he met on a blind date.

After graduating from Jefferson Medical College in 1958, Dr. Cohen did his residency at Charity Hospital in New Orleans.

In 1963, Dr. Cohen and his family moved to Cinnaminson when he landed a job as an orthopedic surgeon at Rancocas Valley. A few years later, he was promoted to chief and remained there until his retirement in 1997.

After retirement, Dr. Cohen and his wife split their time between Ventnor and Boynton Beach, Fla.

In addition to his wife, Dr. Cohen is survived by sons Bruce and Mark; daughter Susan Elfman; six grandchildren; and a brother.

Friends may call at 12:45 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17, at Platt Memorial Chapels, 2001 Berlin Rd., Cherry Hill. A funeral will follow at 1:30. Interment will be at Beth Kehillah Cemetery, Pleasantville, N.J.

Sat, Oct. 16, 2010 Philadelphia Inquirer


DR. JEROME I., October 14, 2010, of Ventnor NJ, and Boynton Beach FL. Husband of Phyllis (nee Friedman) Cohen. Father of Bruce (Gail) Cohen, Mark (Stacia) Cohen and Susan (Joel) Elfman. Brother of Saul (Janice) Cohen. Grandfather of Brandon, Sean, Justin, Samantha, Amanda and Andrew. Relatives and friends are invited Sunday, beginning 12:45 P.M., to PLATT MEMORIAL CHAPELS, Inc. 2001 Berlin Rd., Cherry Hill NJ, where Funeral Services will begin promptly at 1:30 P.M. Int. Beth Kehillah Cem., Pleasantville NJ. The family will return to the home of Sue and Joel Elfman. Contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society , 1851 Old Cuthbert Rd., Cherry Hill NJ 08034.

Published in Philadelphia Inquirer & Philadelphia Daily News on October 16, 2010

Obituary - McComas

James E. (Jim) McComas Jr.
Age 52 of Maple Shade died suddenly on Thursday July 6 2006. Born in Phila. PA he was a lifelong Maple Shade resident. Jim was a business entrepreneur the owner of McComas Auto Repair in Maple Shade and also owned and operated a marina. He was past chief and life member of the Maple Shade Fire Department a member and past president of the Maple Shade Rotary and a Paul Harris Fellow. He was also a member of the Maple Shade Business Association and member and former Captain of the Ran-Del Yacht Club and an avid supporter of his hometown of Maple Shade. Everyone knew Jim to be very fun loving and so quick-witted. Anyone wishing to bring a photo of Jim to the viewing may do so.
Son of the late Nancy P. McComas Jim is survived by his beloved wife Joyce (nee Zimmerman) McComas. Loving father of Marisa (Nick) Eckert of Collingswood Ian of Marlton and Christian of Center City Phila. Dear brother of Debbie McComas LeQuear of Mt. Laurel and Michelle (Jeff) McClure of Maple Shade. Proud grandfather of Natalie (19 months) and Nicholas (12 days); uncle of Dr. Meredith LeQuear of Mt. Laurel; his father James E. McComas Sr.; and many other family members and friends.
Calling hours for Jim will be Tuesday evening 5-9 PM at the MARK C. TILGHMAN FUNERAL HOME 38 N. Forklanding Rd. Maple Shade (856) 779-1200. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday 10 AM at Our Lady of Perpetual Help R.C. Church 126 E. Main St. Maple Shade. All are asked to please go directly to the church on Wednesday morning. Interment will follow in Colestown Cemetery. Memorial contributions to Deborah Hospital Foundation PO Box 820 Browns Mills NJ 08015.

Source: Published in Courier-Post on July 10, 2006 Burlington County Times

James E. McComas died Friday, June 18, 2010.

He was the husband of Shirley (Rosen) and the father of Debra and Michelle (Jeff) and the late James, Stewart (Karen), Diane (Jerry), Lolly (Jerry), and the late Marsha. He was the brother of Carroll (Carolyn) and Nancy (Jack). He also is survived by eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend his services at 1 p.m. Tuesday, at Berschler and Shenberg Funeral Chapels, 101 Medford-Mount Holly Road, Medford. Interment will be in Roosevelt Memorial Park, Trevose, Pa. The family will return to the late residence.

Contributions in his name may be made to Adath Emanu-El, 205 Elbo Lane, Mount Laurel, NJ 08054.

Berschler and Shenberg Funeral Chapels, Medford

June 21, 2010 2:40 AM


McCOMAS, James E. June 18, 2010, husband of Shirley (nee: Rosen), father of Debra and Michelle (Jeff) and the late James, Stewart (Karen), Diane (Jerry), Lolly (Jerry) and the late Marsha. Brother of Carroll (Carolyn) and Nancy (Jack). Also 8 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. Relatives and friends are invited to services Tues. 1 pm at BERSCHLER and SHENBERG, 101 Medford - Mt. Holly Road, Medford. Int. Roosevelt Mem. Park, Trevose, PA. Family will return to the late residence. Contributions in his memory may be made to Adath Emanu-El, 205 Elbo Lane, Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054.

Published in Courier-Post on June 21, 2010


May 1, 2015, Shirley (nee: Rosen).  Wife of the late James E., mother of Stewart (Karen) Bernstein, Diane (Jerry) Panto, Lolly (Jerry) Blaney, the late Marsha and Michelle McComas. Also survived by 8 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. Relatives and friends are invited to services Sun. 1 PM at BERSCHLER and SHENBERG, 101 Medford-Mt. Holly Road, Medford.  Int. Roosevelt Memorial Park, Trevose, PA.

Shirley McComas

AGE: 87 • Southampton

On May 1, 2015, Shirley (nee Rosen) McComas. Wife of the late James E., mother of Stewart (Karen), Diane (Jerry), Lolly (Jerry), the late Marsha and Michelle. Also survived by 8 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.

Relatives and friends are invited to services Sun. 1 PM at BERSCHLER and SHENBERG, 101 Medford-Mt. Holly Road, Medford. Int. Roosevelt Mem. Park. Contributions may be made to Samaritan Hospice. Condolences and more at

Charitable donations may be made in SHIRLEY's memory to the following organization:

Samaritan Hospice
5 Eves Drive, Suite 300 Marlton, NJ 08053
Tel: (800) 229-8183 | (856) 596-1600

Source: Published in Courier-Post on May 2, 2015

Monday, October 11, 2010

Can skinflint Mitch Daniels win the presidency? By Michael Barone


October 10, 2010

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels speaks at a press conference in support of a campaign to promote the passage of a referendum that would make property tax caps in Indiana part of the state constitution in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2010. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy) (AP)

It's an ornate office in Indiana's beautifully maintained mid-19th-century Capitol, but the 49th governor of Indiana, Mitch Daniels, is not dressed to match the setting. He's just returned from spending the night in Princeton, Ind., staying at a constituent's house -- as he often does around the state -- and he's dressed in a work shirt and jeans.

I've known Mitch Daniels since he was a staffer for Sen. Richard Lugar in the 1980s, and for years he struck me as one of the least likely candidates for public office. He's got strong, mostly conservative convictions; he doesn't suffer fools (and elected politicians) gladly; he doesn't care if others don't like him. All those characteristics were on display when he ran the Office of Management and Budget for George W. Bush between January 2001 and June 2003.

But when he returned to Indiana from Washington, he started running for governor and was elected with 53 percent of the vote in 2004. After four sometimes controversial years as governor -- he sold off the North Indiana Toll Road and persuaded the legislature to smooth out the state's time zone boundaries -- he was re-elected 58 percent to 40 percent in 2008 even as Barack Obama was carrying the state.

As much as any American politician of his generation, he's proved that cutting spending and gaining a reputation as a skinflint is good politics.

Now Daniels is being mentioned as a presidential candidate and he doesn't deny that he's thinking about it. He's been holding dinners with national policy experts in Indianapolis, much as George W. Bush did in Austin a dozen years ago.

And he says that, if he runs, he'll be a different kind of candidate. As for "the federal fiscal picture -- and why don't we have the philosophic debate tomorrow -- as for today, can we agree that the arithmetic doesn't work? We're going to have higher and higher levels of debt."

He goes on. "This is a survival-level issue for the country. We won't be a leader without major change in the federal fiscal picture. We're going to have to do fundamental things you say are impossible."

He believes that "Democrats are better positioned to do this, but they're not going to lead. This will probably be a Republican responsibility." To do what, exactly?

To propose "fundamental changes in entitlements and in the size and scope of the federal government." Because "the machine is going TILT."

He thinks voters may be ready to support such changes because they've had a searing experience with debt and their lives are changing. Younger people may be ready to put up with lower Social Security benefits for high earners because they've seen that some companies' new hires aren't getting the pensions and benefits their elders got. "There's nothing radical about this. It's already happened all over the place."

He's also got some more short-term proposals -- a payroll tax holiday to stimulate the economy, reviving the presidential power of impoundment (not spending money Congress has appropriated), a moratorium on federal regulations.

As OMB director, Daniels was on the National Security Council, and as governor he's visited Indiana troops around the world; he says "it's important to support the commander in chief" on Afghanistan. But he's open to cuts in defense spending beyond those Secretary Robert Gates has imposed. "No question that the system is rigged to overspend," he says, "like health care. No question that defense dollars could be spent better."

"But back to not becoming Greece," he says. "Can we continue with every mission we've assigned the military indefinitely? Is every one essential to the safety of Americans?"

"The answer may be yes," he concedes, "but you may have to stop doing some things completely. We are now borrowing the entire defense budget from international investors."

You can almost see the green eyeshade as he speaks. It's been noted that Daniels is short, balding (with a combover), that he speaks with just a bit of a Southern country twang (he moved to Indiana from Tennessee and Georgia at age 10): hardly a glamorous candidate.

"I'm not a long-range planner," Daniels says, when asked if he's running. "I play the ball where it is." But if he runs, he promises to be more of a long-range planner if he runs than any presidential candidate we have ever seen.

Michael Barone,The Examiner's senior political analyst, can be contacted at His column appears Wednesday and Sunday, and his stories and blog posts appear on

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Feckless Congress Flies The Coop



Leadership: How can a Congress with such a large majority of Democrats, plus a Democratic president, tell voters with a straight face that it can't pass a budget? Answer: For them, acting is less popular than stalling.

In the 14th-century poem "Parlement of Foules," Chaucer dreams of a comic parliamentary debate of birds. In 21st century America, our birdbrain legislature is a nightmare come true.

Why would a Congress so firmly in the hands of one party and one ideology have to enact a continuing resolution to forestall a government shutdown, instead of passing a budget as required under law? When it has no worries about the president vetoing such a spending plan (he isn't running for re-election this year), why can't it get its act together?

Because congressional Democrats are in a state of panic. They know an electoral catastrophe is looming, and inaction is easier to defend than action — especially actions such as spending trillions and letting the biggest tax increase in history take effect.

This is the first time in modern history that both the Senate and House of Representatives have not been able to pass a simple budget resolution. With discretionary spending up 28% over the last two years, as the Heritage Foundation has noted, Democrats' laughable claims of a spending freeze will leave voters cold.

Another reason House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and their Democratic majority wanted to get out of Dodge without finishing what they started is that a vote on the Bush tax cuts might very well have blown up in their faces — thanks to moderate Democrats who want to keep their jobs.

But even if Pelosi and Reid had won a vote on the tax cuts, vulnerable Democrats would still be on the record. Those voting for the big tax increases would be hurt electorally by such a roll call, of course. But those voting to keep the Bush tax cuts would be an embarrassment to Democratic leaders. Better to wait till after the election and have a lame-duck vote, safe from the ire of the ballot box.

As independent Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman told the Associated Press: "It was going to be mutually assured destruction" if they held votes or debates on the matters before them.

It seems like any vote would have been the equivalent of a Republican campaign ad. Passing a budget would have brought the voters' attention to the fact that this Congress is spending America into a new space-time continuum.

Voting on the ethics cases before it — such as that of Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., pushed out as House Ways and Means Committee chairman but embarrassingly poised to be re-elected in his Harlem district — would let Americans see the corruption at the heart of Washington's power center.

But there's no escaping the voters. They will now take note that America's Parliament Most Foul has flown the coop rather than fulfill its responsibilities.

New Fiscal Year, Same Fiscal Irresponsibility By Rep. Charles Djou



Friday marks the start of a new fiscal year for the federal government and provides an opportunity to assess the fiscal health of our nation. The diagnosis is grim.

The federal government now spends $7 million a minute. Our national debt is more than $13 trillion, which means every man, woman and child owes $42,000 to foreign governments and other debt holders.

In the next two years, our debt will exceed the size of our economy. Within three years, the government will spend more than $1 billion a day just to pay the interest on our debt. The debt will double in 10 years.

Unprecedented fiscal recklessness is to blame. Nonsecurity discretionary spending has increased by nearly 90% over the past three years. The federal government is spending money it doesn't have while working families and small businesses must find ways to make do with less.

What has all this spending done for Americans? Since the $800 billion stimulus package was passed in early 2009, we have lost nearly 3 million jobs and the unemployment rate has consistently hovered around 10%. And every business in America knows that where reckless spending is found, higher tax rates are sure to follow.

After spending so wildly with nothing to show for it, the new fiscal year ought to mark the beginning of renewed fiscal restraint. Sadly, we're beginning fiscal year 2011 on even shakier footing.

For the first time since modern budgeting rules were adopted in 1974, the U.S. House of Representatives will fail to pass a budget. Without a budget, we cannot set priorities, review our debt, rationally consider our revenue or direct the course of spending for our nation.

The news only gets worse. By Oct. 1 of each year, Congress is also supposed to have passed the 12 appropriations bills that fund the federal government for the new fiscal year. This year, Congress has yet to pass any of these 12 critical appropriation measures.

But hope is not lost. Fiscal 2011 does not have to be like last year. We can turn things around. We can pass a budget, end the spending binge and make the necessary appropriations. We can provide the certainty that businesses need to grow and create jobs.

The first step is to cancel unspent stimulus funds and block any attempt to extend the timeline for spending such funds. We can save another $100 billion by returning government spending to pre-stimulus levels. Next, we should cap discretionary spending, cut Congress' budget and end the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

By making these common-sense reforms, we will return our nation to economic stability and prosperity. It's not too late. This should be our fiscal new year's resolution.

• Djou is a newly elected congressman representing Hawaii's 1st Congressional District, the first Republican in 20 years to do so.

Friday, October 01, 2010

New method makes adult cells act like embryonic ones By Dan Vergano


September 30, 2010

Stem cell researchers on Thursday reported a new method for reprogramming adult cells into ones that act like more versatile embryonic stem cells, an advance that could open a new avenue for lab-grown transplant tissues.

Stem cells are the building blocks from which replacement cells, everything from blood to bone to brain, grow in early development and throughout life. Researchers consider embryonic stem cells the most useful type for generating replacement tissues, but obtaining them requires the controversial destruction of embryos. Then, in 2006, a Kyoto University team first reported adult skin cells can be "induced" into resembling embryonic stem cells.

That breakthrough relied on viruses infecting cells with four cancer-related genes to spur the transformation. But the new study pulls off the trick with ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules, normally the workhorses that translate DNA-encoded genes into proteins and perform other housekeeping roles inside cells.

In the journal Cell Stem Cell, a team led by Derrick Rossi of Children's Hospital Boston unveils a cancer-mutation-free method, 40 to 100 times more productive than normal, to create induced stem cells. Induced stem cells are similar to embryonic stem cells in their potential to transform into every type of tissue in the body — but lack the controversy.

"This is very exciting," Rossi says. "We have a new experimental process that can efficiently give us patient cells in clinically useful types."

"RNA, if it works, sounds like a very realistic, promising alternative," says stem cell biologist Gary Stein of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, who was not part of the study. Worries about virus contamination and cancer have dogged induced stem cells since their discovery, he notes, along with concerns about their low efficiency rate, with perhaps one cell in 1,000 transforming through the use of viruses.

Treating adult human cells with RNA engineered to overcome immune system defenses reliably creates induced stem cells, the study says. Moreover, the same RNA molecule cued to fire up different genes over three days' time can then be used to turn those induced stem cells into specific types of tissues, such as muscle.

For that reason, "this paper is a major advance in the field of regenerative medicine," says stem cell researcher Douglas Melton of Harvard, who was not part of the study team. Since the isolation of human embryonic stem cells in 1998, researchers have sought ways to turn early stem cells into heart, spine and other tissues needed by transplant patients. The RNA advance means labs can experiment on deriving these tissues in test tubes, he says, speeding progress in the field.

Saturday, September 25, 2010



Reporter associate: Deborah Lohse

May 1, 1990

(MONEY Magazine) – America's 83,000 public schools are spending more but educating our 40 million schoolchildren less. Last year, U.S. taxpayers paid about $4,500 per pupil, up an inflation-adjusted 28% just since 1982. Yet all those dollars aren't buying much progress. For example, only 73% of today's ninth-graders will complete high school on schedule, compared with 79% in 1969. And scores on standardized college entrance exams have slipped 6% since the late 1960s.

You may be tempted to shrug off that lamentable record, especially if you don't have children riding the familiar yellow bus each morning. Whether you acknowledge it or not, however, you have a direct stake in public education:

-- As an employer, you depend on public schools for workers -- 88% of U.S. youngsters train there for jobs.

-- As an employee, you consider how good an education your kids will receive before accepting a job in another city. In fact, nearly four out of five MONEY subscribers with school-age children rate the local schools as an ''extremely'' or ''very'' important factor in such a move, according to our latest Americans and Their Money Poll (see page 96).

-- As a citizen, you count on the schools for the civil servants, soldiers, bureaucrats, scientists and myriad others who will determine our country's place in an increasingly competitive economic world.

-- And perhaps most personally, as a taxpayer you are paying for public education. If you are like the MONEY subscribers we surveyed, you are probably aware of the schools' problems and are willing to pay more. Two out of five readers say their community's property taxes have gone up since 1988 because of rising school costs. Yet nearly 40% think too little is spent on education in their districts vs. only 10% who think spending is too high.

Given our willingness to throw dollars at the problem, it's no wonder that the national debate about how to fix our foundering schools focuses on financing. Liberals argue that children from rich and poor districts won't get comparable educations unless schools stop relying so heavily on local property taxes. Conservatives, on the other hand, contend that competition -- not cash -- will make mediocre districts shape up. Their solution: give parents cash vouchers that can be used at any area public or private school. What both sides ignore, though, is that making a school system great takes more than money. Solid funding is important, of course, but it's hardly a cure-all.

To discover what elements really foster excellence in education, MONEY set out three months ago to study two public school systems -- one that has consistently produced topnotch students, another that hasn't. To assure a fair comparison, we asked SchoolMatch, a Columbus, Ohio firm that advises relocating individuals and corporations on school quality, to identify two systems that were similar by all standard measures except for scholastic achievement.

It would be hard to imagine two communities more alike on paper than Geneva, Ill. and Delran, N.J. Both are farming towns recently transformed into bedroom suburbs for nearby metropolises (in Geneva's case, Chicago, and in Delran's, Philadelphia). Geneva's population is 12,224 and Delran's, 13,940; their median household incomes are $43,993 and $43,584; and their proportions of minorities are 3% and 10%.

When it comes to schooling, Delran spends 4% more per pupil -- $4,521 to $4,358. Yet on academic measures, Geneva triumphs (see the summary above). Geneva's students score at the 83rd percentile on a standard college entrance exam -- 33 points above the national average for schools with more than 40 students taking the test. Fully 60% of its 164 graduating seniors went on to four-year colleges last year, six won commendation from the National Merit Scholarship Program, and one was an NMSP semifinalist. By contrast, Delran's college entrance exam scores last year ranked in the bottom half of New Jersey schools, which, as a group, are already slightly below the national average. Only half of the 170 graduates entered four-year schools. There were two NMSP- commended students and no semifinalists.

To learn why these results are radically different, two MONEY reporters first consulted with leading educators and other specialists on school quality and then spent a week in each town. The reporters sat in classes, attended evening events, mingled with students in the halls and at after-school hangouts, and interviewed school board members, administrators, teachers, parents and students. While we found good and bad in both systems, we identified six crucial factors -- described on the pages that follow -- that contribute to Geneva's success. Our aim, however, is not to point the finger at Delran (which is in the midst of shaking up its educational system) nor even to praise Geneva. Instead, this article presents guidelines for excellence that citizens and taxpayers like you can bring to any school system, beginning with your own.

The two communities

Drive into Geneva, 36 miles west of Chicago, and you immediately sense a reverence for bygone days. Victorian mansions and modest bungalows are lovingly maintained. Antique shops line downtown streets. ''This is the kind of place where kids see their teachers outside of school, swimming at the town pool or bicycling downtown,'' says Kathryn Bleck, a native Genevan who teaches first grade at the Fourth Street School.

Drive into Delran, 15 miles east of Philadelphia, and you're not quite sure you've arrived. Gertrude Stein's pithy description of her native Oakland -- ''There's no there there'' -- fits this south Jersey collection of shopping centers and cul-de-sacs. There's no downtown, just a neon strip of discount stores and fast-food outlets along Route 130. The community didn't have its own high school until 1975 and still lacks a library. Says Michael Gallucci, the principal of Delran High School: ''In a town based on automobiles and shopping malls, the schools are a lighthouse that people come to for socialization and sports.''

Establishing the right priorities

That light was shining brightly one evening in March as more than 200 boosters packed the steamy spectators' gallery above Trenton State College's pool to cheer Delran to its first state swimming championship. It was a lopsided victory: Delran trounced Scotch Plains-Fanwood 99-57. ''Being a spectator at a swim meet is about as exciting as watching paint dry, but look at how many people came out for this,'' exulted school superintendent Bernard Shapiro. Physics teacher Daryl Taylor, wearing swimmer's cap and goggles, started the crowd undulating in the rolling cheer known as the wave. Afterward, the winners climbed on the fire department's hook-and-ladder for an 11 p.m. victory parade, as is the custom when a team wins a state crown. Incredibly, this was Delran's 10th (including six in soccer) in 15 years.

This is what high school is supposed to be about, right? State championships, victory parades?

Of course it is. But it's not all that school is supposed to be about. Unfortunately, Delran's academics suffer, in part because many teachers and administrators send students the message that sports are more important than books. At Millbridge Elementary School, for example, a third-grade teacher combines her class with another teacher's whenever it interferes with her duties as a high school soccer coach. And at the high school, guidance department head Sandra Wasinda thinks nothing of mailing a student's application to Rutgers University even though it is late. ''He's a good soccer player, so his application will go directly to Rutgers' soccer coach,'' she explains with a smile. ''There are deadlines, and then there are deadlines.'' Although no administrator could explain why the school day in Delran is shorter than the state average, Daniel Topolski, principal of Millbridge Elementary School, ventured a guess: ''Transportation is probably the issue. Most athletic games begin at 3:30, and we need to have the buses free by then so they can move teams.''

To their credit, the nine members of Delran's elected school board want more attention paid to academics. Last July the board replaced superintendent Joseph Chinnici, 56, who had been in the job for 24 years, with the affable Shapiro, 51, a butcher's son who was a strong academic leader as principal of a nearby town's high school. ''The board has made it clear that they suspect there's a great deal of untapped academic potential in the district,'' says Shapiro. Yet it's also obvious that Shapiro cannot push sports aside without alienating the community. Says Ralph Clifford, the district's business administrator: ''You'd have World War III at the next school board meeting if you even suggested cutting out the championship girls' and boys' soccer teams.''

Geneva's students, on the other hand, get a clear message about what's important. Says superintendent Donald Marcotte: ''This community's mandate to us is to maintain high academic standards.'' While Geneva hasn't won a state sports title since the 1930s, the school isn't filled with nerds feigning illness to avoid gym class either. In fact, 55% of Geneva's students play interscholastic sports vs. 33% in Delran. That's because all but one of Geneva's teams have no-cut policies -- since sports are for fun, not glory.

Getting the parents involved

Geneva citizens communicate their passion for education through volunteerism. Three years ago, for example, the school system bought 80 computers with $125,000 raised from private contributions to the Geneva Academic Foundation, a nonprofit community group. The foundation was created by Warren ''Bud'' Gilligan, 60, a retired General Motors executive who has seven grown children, two of whom graduated from Geneva High School. ''I've lived in five states,'' says Gilligan, ''and these schools have more parental involvement on the academic side than any others I've seen.''

Geneva's parents give time as well as money. In all three elementary schools, for instance, five to six volunteers spend one morning each week helping kids illustrate their own stories and poems and bind them into booklets, each stamped with the imprint of the fanciful Pirate Publishing Co. The three schools also offer weekly after-school enrichment programs in February and March. At Western Avenue School, parents recently taught kids Spanish and chess. Other students brought in pets -- including two corpulent turkeys -- for show-and-tell.

In Delran, parental involvement -- as described by students, teachers and parents -- usually means sports booster clubs or helping to make elaborate floats for the homecoming parade. Students who wish to attend enrichment programs have to travel to a neighboring school district on Saturdays. Faculty members, in fact, seem pleased that the adults don't interfere. Says Charlene Burd, a middle school guidance counselor: ''Parents here are interested in their children's education, but they're not overly demanding.''

Emphasizing scholastic fundamentals

Many of Delran's brightest students say they can score good grades without much effort. ''You can get away with murder here, like cut class for two weeks but still pass,'' says Beth Carroll, a student who takes accelerated courses and hopes to attend the New School for Social Research in New York City next year. Students with high grade-point averages routinely skip final exams because the tests don't have much impact on final grades. Many kids also say it's easy to lighten up by choosing undemanding courses from a curriculum crammed with electives, including ''Science Fiction'' and ''Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries.'' Compared with Delran's smorgasbord of offerings, Geneva's curriculum is as circumscribed as the Pritikin diet. Top educators say that's a good sign. ''In the 1970s, we went too far with curriculum options,'' says Gerald Grant, professor of education and sociology ! at Syracuse University and author of The World We Created at Hamilton High (Harvard University Press, $9.95). ''Kids took 'How to Fix My Bachelor Pad' but never really learned how to write a good paragraph. We need to get back to a common standard of achievement.''

At Delran, superintendent Shapiro doesn't want to toss out the electives, but he is trying hard to enrich all the classes. He's asked the school board to hire nine curriculum supervisors to help reform the content of courses from kindergarten through 12th grade. He has also tapped Stephen Falcone, the high school's assistant principal for academic affairs, to make final exams tougher. One of Falcone's first moves: asking teachers to submit finals to him for review before they are given to students. Says he: ''Parents may be satisfied, but I'm not. Our SAT scores are inexcusable.'' Predictably, his blunt manner hasn't won many allies. ''He thinks that we're all degenerates,'' grouses a senior planning to attend a local college. One teacher has vowed to organize faculty opposition to his exam plan.

Educating teachers to educate

''Close your eyes and see if you can see a little movie of Christina's story in your mind,'' says teacher Mary Bencini at Geneva's Western Avenue School. The 17 rapt second-graders, sitting on a blue rug in her homey classroom, obediently shut their eyes as seven-year-old Christina Maley starts to read a story she has written about a fairy who gives a young dancer a pair of pink ballet slippers. Several listeners squint in concentration as they imagine the fairy's ''flowing flowered lacy dress.'' When Christina is finished, Bencini sets off a lively give-and-take by asking the class to name fairy-tale elements used in the story.

Bencini's ability to bring literature to life springs not only from her own talents but also from nurturing by Geneva's schools. Teachers are required to keep up their skills by taking college courses or serving on educational committees. Explains former Salt Lake City school superintendent Donald Thomas, now an educational consultant: ''A teacher who doesn't follow new developments is like a doctor who doesn't know how to use the latest equipment.'' Bencini has taken seminars on how to help children think more clearly by improving their reading and writing skills. And she heads a faculty committee that invites children's book authors to speak to students. The committee also gets students' stories and poems published in a local newspaper.

Delran teachers aren't required to continue their educations, and only 32% hold advanced degrees, compared with 50% in Geneva. There are signs of change, however. Says Marge Gessmann, president of the union that represents Delran's teachers: ''Since superintendent Shapiro was hired, we've seen more educational committees formed and more of a focus on staff development. Teachers are now encouraged to attend training programs during school hours.''

Maintaining adequate facilities

Gifted teachers can work their magic anywhere, but experts contend that kids feel better about themselves -- and consequently do better academically -- if their school is clean, well equipped and cheerfully decorated. ''Ill-tended buildings don't promote self-worth and pride,'' observes John Goodlad, director of the Center for Educational Renewal at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Although none of Delran's schools are dilapidated, two of its elementary schools, Aronson Bell and Cambridge, look as if they don't belong in the same district with the third, Millbridge. More than 600 students, mostly from Delran's most affluent subdivisions, attend 21-year-old Millbridge, which has 29 classrooms. The two other schools serve older, less pricey neighborhoods. Aronson Bell, built in 1907, accommodates just 150 students in seven classrooms. Kids eat lunch in a dreary basement cafeteria and have music class in a corner of the gym (see the photograph on page 88). At 72-year-old Cambridge, which handles 165 youngsters in seven classrooms, a movable partition divides a basement room that's used for art and remedial courses.

No such disparities exist in Geneva's schools. Administrators were careful to create equal facilities when they added on to the Western Avenue and Harrison Street schools, on the town's moneyed west and less affluent east sides, respectively. Says Ronald Anderson, principal of Harrison Street: ''People on the east side feel slighted because the pool, high school and library are all on the west side. We made sure that this facility would be equal to Western Avenue.''

Nurturing a cooperative environment

On the playgrounds at Geneva's Harrison Street or Western Avenue elementary schools you will see a wonderful sight: specially trained pupils, called conflict managers, helping to settle disputes. They are taught by two teachers and a social worker to listen to combatants' complaints and guide them to solutions. Is the program working? All too well, in the view of bored peace officers who were hungry for action. Fifth-grader Chris Goebel complains: ''I haven't had any conflicts for two or three months.'' The program's purpose, of course, is to minimize school-time disruptions without creating a police state. Delran's administrators and teachers have been less innovative and successful at peacekeeping. You could see it during a lunch period at Aronson Bell, for example, when an aide with a whistle dangling from her neck shouted kids into silence, or as teachers stood guard outside Delran High rest rooms signing students in and out.

Sharing a vision

Perhaps the most important lesson to be learned from these schools has less to do with education than with consensus and purpose. In Geneva, administrators, teachers, parents and students work together to achieve common goals set down in writing in the district's mission statement, which is updated annually.

At Delran, unfortunately, the same players sometimes operate at cross- purposes because they haven't agreed upon an educational mission for the schools. To transform the system, superintendent Shapiro knows he must sell everyone -- administrators, teachers, students and their parents -- on the importance of academic success. ''We'll all have to agree that learning is important,'' he says. ''Then we'll have to convince students that learning isn't threatening.''


Money alone doesn't improve education, as these statistics show. Though Delran, N.J. spends 4% more per pupil than demographically similar Geneva, Ill., its students rate lower in several leading indicators of academic success.

Geneva, Ill. Delran, N.J. Population 12,224 13,940 Median household income $43,993 $43,584

Residents age 25 and older who are high school graduates 87% 77% Public school enrollment 2,388 2,219

Spending per pupil $4,358 $4,521

Students taking college entrance exams 77% 78% Average college entrance exam scores 20.6 (ACT) 876 (SAT) State average 18.8 (Ill.) 896 (N.J.) National average 18.6 (U.S.) 903 (U.S.) Graduates attending four-year colleges 60% 49% Graduates attending two-year colleges 15% 27%

Sources: National Planning Data Corp., Census Bureau, Delran and Geneva school districts


Nearly all of the 150 MONEY subscribers with children in public schools who were polled recently by the Gallup Organization said they, their spouses or both participated in programs at their kids' schools.

WHO'S INVOLVED 14% Father only 30% Mother only 43% Both parents 13% Neither parent

Note: The statistics on parental participation are based on a telephone survey of 150 MONEY subscribers in late March. The margin of error is plus or minus eight percentage points. Poll results elsewhere in this article are based on a telephone survey of 300 randomly selected subscribers with an error margin of plus or minus six points.

Geneva Schools Are In The Money


April 27, 1990|By Katherine Seigenthaler.

Ironically enough, nationally circulated Money magazine concludes in its May issue that ``intangibles count more than money`` when it comes to education-and it uses the school system in Geneva to prove its point.

The folks at Money undertook a three-month study of two school systems-in Geneva and Delran, N.J. The point was to determine whether higher spending necessarily made for better educational quality.

The two systems were selected by SchoolMatch, a ``school quality specialist`` company, which determined that Geneva and Delran are outwardly very similar.

Both are farming towns-turned-bedroom suburbs, located near major cities

(Delran is outside Philadelphia). Both have populations of about 13,000, median household incomes of about $44,000, similar school enrollments, and a similar amount spent per pupil.

But Geneva High School students scored in the 83rd percentile on a recent standard college entrance exam, while Delran`s college entrance exam scores last year ranked in the bottom half of New Jersey schools. Furthermore, 60 percent of Geneva students attend four-year colleges, while 49 percent of Delran`s students do the same.

Happily for Geneva, where school administrators have been walking on the ceiling since the article came out, Money concludes that it`s a community which has the ``right`` priorities when it comes to education.

The school system, Money found, emphasizes academics over sports (even if that means it hasn`t won a state championship since the 1930s); Geneva`s parents donate a considerable amount of time volunteering at the schools; the curriculum ``is as circumscribed as the Pritiken diet,`` meaning the fundamentals are stressed; teachers are required to continue taking college courses; the system`s facilities are top drawer in both higher and lower income areas; and teachers work with students to ``minimize school-time disruptions without creating a police state.``

By contrast, Money says, poor old Delran, which has won 10 state athletic championships in 15 years, is a place where academics suffer because students get the message that sports are more important; parental involvement ``usually means sports booster clubs or floats for the homecoming parade; the kids can take ``Science Fiction`` or ``Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries``; continuing education of teachers is not required; schools in lower income areas look shabbier; and teachers are less successful at keeping the peace.

``This was so gratifying for us because we didn`t contact them,`` says Geneva Supt. Donald Marcotte. ``It was something out of the clear blue. Since then, we`ve been getting calls from all over the country.``

Balancing Scholastics, Sports

Source: Posted: May 02, 1990

In Delran both school and sports are special, residents say. It's not an either/or choice.

"We don't have a center of town," said Delran Police Officer Len Mongo. ''The schools, the (athletic) fields - they're our gathering places."

Unlike neighboring Riverside and Moorestown, where intimate downtown business districts antedate the automobile, Delran's convenient commercial areas stretch for miles along Route 130. People get around by car, even in Victorian-era sections such as Bridgeboro and Cambridge.

"Sports teams and schools serve to bring new and old together," said school board President Ron Napoli. "Sports are important to people in Delran. People use them as a basis of community identity."

But Delran's treatment of both schools and sports was called into question last week. A national magazine blamed Delran's outstanding varsity sports program - which has won 10 state championships since the high school was founded in 1975 - for diverting energy from academic pursuits, citing the school's below-average Scholastic Aptitude Test scores. Delran's mean SAT score for 1988-89 totaled 876. The state average was 896, and the national average was 903.

The conclusions were widely reported and angrily disputed in Delran.

In an article titled, "Your Stake in Public Schools," the May issue of Money magazine compared Delran schools with those in Geneva, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. The two districts have similar populations and per-pupil expenditures, and both have family incomes of around $44,000. The Money article emphasized the difference in scores for college admission tests, which are taken by more than three-quarters of students in both districts.

Delran's SATs are 10 percent below the national average, while Geneva scored 10 percent above average on the American College Test, which is similar. Money magazine blamed Delran teachers and parents for stressing sports over academics; Geneva was praised for innovative facilities, academically engaged parents and highly trained teachers.

Delran students, school board members, educators and elected officials last week rejected the article's conclusions and praised township schools.

Although many residents, standardized test experts and state Department of Education officials pronounced their satisfaction with the status quo by extolling Delran's virtues - and attacking Money magazine - Mayor Richard S. Knight called on residents to "improve wherever we don't come up to our own or anybody else's standards."

Bernard Shapiro, who started as school superintendent in September, said he was already implementing new academic improvement programs. "Give us an opportunity," he said. "We feel strongly that we can do better. I came here because I felt this could be a lighthouse district. It will be. Even if state dollars are lacking."

Gov. Florio froze state school district funding at 1989 levels, leaving local school districts trying to meet increased costs through local property taxes.

Shapiro promised verifiable academic improvement within three to five years.

Shapiro, who came to Delran after serving as principal of Haddon Township, Cherry Hill East and Cherry Hill West High Schools, wanted to run his own system. He was attracted to Delran by what longtime colleague Barry MacGibeny, now principal at the district's middle school, called "the great sense of pride, the absolutely marvelous tone in Delran schools. The teachers and students really want to be here!"

"He was the only candidate I listened to the whole time," said board Vice President Robert Mull, who, with other board members, grilled applicants last spring. Mull was won over by Shapiro's "progressive goals, objectives and dreams of how to improve a school district. He talked about holding staff accountable for the academic results of the students."

The board chose Shapiro to replace Joseph Chinnici, whose 35 years of service spanned the township's development from villages and pastureland to a busy suburb of 14,000.

Shapiro got right to work, quickly earning a reputation as an accessible and hands-on administrator. Staff and students were alternately delighted and suspicious of a package of academic reforms.

Those reforms included an intensive writing program, a joint curriculum committee for all grade levels, exam reviews, continuing teacher education programs, a college scholarship committee and a business-and-education committee - all of which, Shapiro and his principals say, actively solicit participation from students, educators and residents.

High school English department supervisor Dorothy Mongo, who is married to Police Officer Len Mongo, said she appreciated Shapiro's tenacity in getting the school board to approve the writing program. "We thought it was pretty much stymied when the state budget cuts came through. But he has worked wonders getting funding at a time we never thought we'd get it."

That fight over funding may not be over yet. For the first time in nine years, voters last week rejected the local school budget. The 1990 proposal would have improved the school writing program, but also boosted local property taxes 14 percent, which school board leaders blamed on state funding cuts. The Township Council has until May 14 to approve or revise the budget.

Delran's schools have become stricter, according to several seniors, many of them scholar-athletes. But Money's portrayal of sports infringing on academics had some elements of truth in the past, they said.

"The article would have been true five years ago," said student Dusty Paddock, head of the school audio-visual crew. "Our past principal, David Lamberne, was into pep rallies."

Phil Bigge, co-captain of the championship high school swim team, agreed. ''The third-grade teacher doesn't leave early to coach the swim team anymore," he said. "She stopped that last year." The coach's practice of combining her students with those in another class in order to make practice sessions was featured in the Money article.

Senior Tim Lyall, student representative on the Delran school board, believes that athletics complement academics. But Lyall thinks sports do crowd out other extracurricular activities. "Fine arts doesn't get the attention," he said.

John West, a Purdue Drive resident whose grandchildren attend Delran schools, made the same assertion. "They support sports all the way down the line," he said at a recent Township Council meeting. "The rest of student activities they leave to fend for themselves."

English teacher Kathy Russell, who was recently named high school Teacher of the Year at Delran by a committee of parents and teachers, is trying to redress that imbalance by offering course points for attending school plays, said Lyall and Paddock. "She used to do it just for girls' basketball," said Bigge.

Delran High School junior Jennifer Hall said academic standards have become stricter in the last year. A triple-varsity athlete since starting high school, Hall said teachers have returned from new instructors' training courses to implement creative methods, such as small-group debating in English class.

But senior Michael Maerten, who agreed school has grown stricter, said staff and students have been caught unprepared by the hands-on approach of the new vice principal for academic affairs, Stephen Falcone, who has called for improvements to SAT scores and an exam review program.

"There was a lot of opposition at first," said Maerten. "People were shell-shocked. He was sitting there watching over your shoulder all the time. We're not used to seeing principals in the hallway a lot. Our old vice principal stayed in his office."

Several of the seniors said history department head Michael Kennedy, who is also the swim team coach, was a prime example of the union between academics and athletics that propels Delran students to success. Swim team co-captain Dean Hutchinson and Lyall said more than half of the 17 students enrolled in Kennedy's advanced placement history and biology classes this semester are also varsity athletes. In biology, six of seven are varsity team members, and in history, it's three of 10.

"History's intense," said Hutchinson, who said he spends seven to 10 hours a week practicing during the season and a like amount on homework.

Kennedy, president of the school district supervisors' union, is a Delran graduate who attended Susquehanna University on a football scholarship. "Our whole team is Academic All-American, with at least 3.0 grade-point averages," he said. "Every study I ever saw bears out a strong correlation between athletic and academic achievement." Kennedy said his experience coaching football and basketball players, college-bound or not, showed they were ''better students when the season is in progress than out."

High school principal Michael Gallucci is worried Delran may suffer in comparison with schools that stress only academics. Just as many students believe sports compete more with other extracurricular activities than with studies, some observers fear that Delran's character as a comprehensive high school balancing academic, business and technical education may become unbalanced if too much emphasis is placed on college preparation.

Robert Gaven, township road crew supervisor and a school board candidate who came within two votes of unseating eight-year incumbent and former school board President Dorothy Oppman on April 24, said he believes in "basic functional education.

"Vocational training is a good thing. If too many kids go to college, you don't have the technical skills and computer training to repair automobiles. We put too much importance on some of the other activities. Our kids need jobs."

But Lyall and other college-bound seniors said solid academic training is increasingly a prerequisite for technical jobs as well as college.

In contrast, said Lori Davis, director of curriculum at Geneva public schools in Illinois, most technical education students at Geneva are sent out of the district to vo-tech schools, a fact not mentioned in the Money article.

"We were pleased how we were written up," Davis said. "However, we really had concern for the (Delran) school district and how it came across. We feel sorry for them. Let's hope this will be the article that helps them change to what they need to be. I hope it will help them improve."

"The article was a complete misrepresentation," said Delran senior Beth Carroll, who was quoted in the Money article as saying that Delran students could miss two weeks of class without falling behind. "They lied" about her quote, she said.

"Who's Money magazine?" said Councilman Bill Smock at an April 25 meeting of the Township Council in which the article was discussed at length. ''They're the same people who a couple of years ago were praising (insider trader) Ivan Boesky as the second coming of Jesus Christ. Now he's in prison. Our kids go to college."

Delran schools won nothing but praise from New Jersey Department of Education monitors, who do not consider SAT scores because the proportion of students taking them varies among districts. "We monitored Delran in March of 1989, and they came out extremely well," said Arthur Merz, supervisor of the department's Burlington County office. "It's among the tops in the county. Delran is a totally rounded school system."

Mayor Knight said the favorable state evaluation was remarkable because a large proportion of township youth attend Holy Cross, an academically oriented Catholic high school, and are not included in the survey.

State testing director Stanley Rabinowitz said Delran, along with many suburban districts, is comfortably above average in its High School Proficiency Test scores, its student-teacher ratio, its low dropout rate, low per-pupil cost, and its college placement rate, especially for two-year colleges.

"Districts need to be evaluated against the goals they set for themselves," said Arthur Kroll, vice president of The College Board's Program Division, the organization that administers SATs. Condemning the Money article as "pseudoscientific" and "irresponsible," Kroll said that turnover, attendance and basic skills testing - which the state measures in its annual ''public school report cards" - are more valuable than SAT scores in assessing a district's success.

But Delran's goals are clearly changing.

"We're sufficient now in sports," said Delran school board vice president Mull. "It's almost like we're a minor league team anymore. Sports has its place. That's one reason we brought Dr. Shapiro in: to improve our academics.

"If we could bring our academics to where our sports is, we'd be the best program in the state.

"And we will get there. It's just a matter of time. We will get there."