What is Patriotism?

In a recent column, Jonah Goldberg lectures Barack Obama on his “patriotism problem.” As he sees it Obama’s “problem” goes far deeper than lapel pins,

He sees an America in which the cup is half-empty. Is his America the same one most Americans think of as they wave flags and celebrate the Fourth of July?

But is that what patriotism really is, an unflagging, cup half full, optimism? I have nothing against optimism but what does that have to do with patriotism? To some, patriotism means the desire to make your country the best it can be but to Goldberg, beyond minor policy changes we needn’t concern ourselves with that,

Definitions of patriotism proliferate, but in the American context patriotism must involve not only devotion to American texts (something that distinguishes our patriotism from European nationalism) but also an abiding belief in the inherent and enduring goodness of the American nation. We might need to change this or that policy or law, fix this or that problem, but at the end of the day the patriotic American believes that America is fundamentally good as it is.

No doubt this sounds reasonable to many but what this really describes is group think or herd mentality. To Goldberg, patriotism means believing his country is superior to all others for no other reason than he was born in it. He doesn’t explicitly state America’s superiority in his article but is there any doubt to his opinion? If asked “are there any other countries in the world today that are better than America?” would you expect his answer to be “yes,” regardless of whatever the truth might be?

What if your country isn’t “fundamentally good” or what if your country has lost its way and no longer abides by the principles it once did? The definition Goldberg offers could be applied by the citizens of any country and no doubt is but what if it isn’t true? This is clearly the case with many nations around the world. How many women for example would like to live in Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan where women are second class citizens? Apparently Goldberg doesn’t realize that there are “patriots” just like him living in those countries who feel the same about their country as he does about his.

The problem with the Jonah Goldberg notion of patriotism is not only does he consider issues such as slavery, civil rights or women’s suffrage to be essentially minor issues that don’t actually reflect on the “inherent and enduring goodness of the American nation,” his kind only sees these as problems after the fact, if ever, but never while the nation is actually going through them. Years from now it’ll be common knowledge that we’re experiencing an extreme low point in this country, the Iraq war, suspension of habeas corpus, torture, warrantless spying on Americans, all of these, with the possible exception of the first, go completely counter to the ideals this country was founded on. There is simply no way the Founding Fathers would agree with any of it regardless of the justification because these were overarching principles that are just to important to ignore. But it’s “patriots” like Goldberg who do just that because their “abiding belief in the inherent and enduring goodness of the American nation” blinds them to the reality virtually every time.

Rather than “hating America” as many are so often accused, only those who are willing to face reality and demand that their country live up to its promise can consider themselves American patriots while the Goldbergs are merely members of the American herd.

–Paul Wilden

http://progressiveworldreview.com

Someone Stole My Country

I recently was sitting in the Atlanta International Airport with a (2) hour lay-over. I had some time to just think and look back on my own life. I had read the newspaper and was tired of surfing the net, when a couple of our “warriors” passed by and sat down a few rows away from me.

This kind of choked me up to the point that I think I had a tear in my eyes. Theses “warriors” in their fatigue uniforms looked like “little boys”. Hell, half of them didn’t even have to shave. But, the look in their eyes told a story and that prompted me to sit down and put my thoughts on paper.

Here was the “little boy” from next door that you never thought was a “trained” specialist in warfare, walked into dark unknown buildings, knowing that the enemy was just waiting for him so he could “kill” him in the name of some “kockamaney” idea of being brainwashed into “killing all Christians”.

This little guy from down the street went to Iraq or Afghanistan or Somalia or wherever he was sent to give all of those displaying “hate, fear and terror” the opportunity to do that without fear of any reprisal. What a country. This young “warrior” also gave the twisted minds of the media a chance to sell space by sensationalizing views of what they think sells print and NOT giving the American people the real story.

I asked one of these kids, “What are we doing over there to make those folks like Americans”? The answer was not what I expected, nor would I read it in the New York Times or any other bottom line media enterprise. The answer was this. “Those people in Iraq want America to succeed, because they want their children to be able to go to America”. Put that in your pipe you “mis-informed journalists, politicians, bureaucrats and any other idiot” trying to hypnotize, US, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

Since America declared its independence this country has always been the “hope of the world” as a place to provide the dream. Things have not changed from over (200) years ago. America’s young men and women have always answered the call to defend our liberties all over the world and the pride that we all have in our hearts for today’s hero’s is no less as fierce as that which was evident during both world wars.

Now, lets look at reality. Here we are a land of sincere, hard working honest and God fearing people. I read on the Internet about the words “etched in concrete” THAT are embedded into the entrance into our supreme court. “In God We Trust” and there is also an image of “Moses with the ten commandments”.

I also read about a message that sits on top of the Lincoln Memorial that talks about our founding as a land based on Christian Ideals. None of the activists can scale the Memorial to deface the message and I would venture to say, none of them even know about the contents.

Latest surveys show that over 87% of the American people want the flag displayed in schools and at all public events. The survey also emphasized that “In God We Trust” MUST remain on our currency. Hell, no one can trust the “fun house” in Washington. We all know the secret to winning an election. Just surround yourself with enough losers and you become a winner. Tell them what they want to hear, tell them what you told them and finally tell them what you want to tell them. “Paralysis from analysis”.

So, with those numbers, IF I WERE PRESIDENT, I would follow the lead of the folks in Australia. They simply told EVERYONE, English is our spoken language, you are free to enjoy our country. BUT, if there is anything that you don’t like or cannot learn our language, you are FREE TO LEAVE.

IF I WERE PRESIDENT, I would let ALL of the media know, without restricting the “freedom of speech” that “behind the scenes” advertising dollars from big corporations that enjoy the “coziness” that they have with both the Democrats and Republicans will be scrutinized unless they direct some of their dollars to those media outlets that “let the American People” know the truth.

Call it “arm twisting, extortion” or whatever. But the “monkey house” in Washington has been “twisting arms” for hundreds of years. What else is different? I would also bring the leaders of our educational institutions into one big “backyard barbecue” and let them know that their “alumni dollars’ would be VERY highly scrutinized by the IRS as that tool has been used appropriately in the past to acquire results.

Now, for those activists that seem to crawl out of the cracks like “cockroaches” with their message of “hate America” I would, as your President arrange for an all expense paid trip to the vacation spot of their choice. To, the land of “no free speech” and a chance to “enlist” into the army of hate that they so willingly want to support.

If, I could, I would restore the MANDATORY taking off of your hat (males) at all public events. I would make it a law that when the national anthem is played, EVERYONE either salutes the flag or places their hand across their heart, just as our warriors do every morning and every night living thousands of miles from the comfort of their home. Everyone would have to stand during the playing of our national anthem. The only ones that cold sit would be “old folks” and “disabled veterans”. Hell, most of them that I know would stand out of “patriotism”.

Now for this religious extremism that is “rampant” because it is very easy under our constitution to express “freedom of speech”. My old accountant once said ” If someone wants to make an ass out of themselves, DON”T stop them.”

As our youngsters are taught the “real history” of our country, the pledge is restored into our schools and the national anthem resounds through ALL the halls of public gatherings then and ONLY then will sensibility survive. No longer will the media feast on “negatism” but by DEMAND have to report on the emergence of national pride.

Yes, someone STOLE MY COUNTRY, and I want it back. I don’t care how many people don’t like my country, I just want those that love it to stand up and let the world know “what a wonderful country the USA is”.

Respectfully, Regis Sauger

Regis Sauger is a licensed Mortgage Broker in Florida, an author, lecturer on credit awareness. He has conducted seminars for underwriters, attorneys, mortgage lenders, realtors and the general public. http://www.foreclosurewatchdogs.com/

Benefits of National Holidays

National Independence holidays are a part of the makeup of almost every country. Some countries have more and other have fewer of these special days on their calendar, but most countries have at least one of these special holidays. Taiwanese celebrate their independence day on 10/10. July 4 is one of the highlights on the USA calendar. The Brits celebrate the Queen’s birthday. In Panama the citizens of this small country are not happy with celebrating only one Independence-day.

During my stay in the country I discovered they have three separate Independence-day festivals on different days in November. Some people may argue that these holidays are a bore as they have lost their original meaning, and now are a waste of time and money. The protesters would argue that in the current economic climate traders cannot afford the loss of a full day’s revenue. In Panama at least, the lost trade is countered by the numerous much greater advantages attached to celebrating a national holiday.

The celebration of the major national independence-day festival in Panama City in November does not occur without due preparation. At least two weeks before the actual ‘Day’ most public city buildings suddenly fly the national colors. Banners and rosettes in red, blue and white flutter in the breeze winking at passers-by like huge bright eyes. Storefront windows display magnificent day and evening dresses side by side in the three national colors. And, as if by prior arrangement, vehicles start sporting miniature pennants, often one on either side of the car or truck. Fast food vendors’ tricycles become even more noticeable with the added blue, red and white flags brightening the big yellow plastic buckets containing their spicy rolls and pastries. This general upsurge of patriotism is not confined to public places of business and trade. Flags of varying sizes draped on balconies of apartments and other visible areas in private homes declare to the world that a loyal Panamanian family or perhaps only a single individual lives there.

On Sunday afternoon before the start of the festival week in Panama City a full dress rehearsal of parades takes place on one of the main streets of the city. Large crowds of enthusiastic spectators cheer a seemingly unending flow of bands. Some are led by drum majorettes, others, only by baton swinging band leaders marching down the street. Every band tries to outshine the rest as they march past a number of perspiring local VIPs under a red and white striped canopy. These guests of honor sit behind a table laden with shiny trophies. Their task is to judge participants on performance and dress and award prizes to the best performers afterwards.

Throughout the long merry afternoon onlookers show their support to family and friends spontaneously in many ways. Sometimes a spectator joins the band as an extra member on the edge of the road, walking in pace with them for a couple of yards. Or a member of the colorful crowd darts out on the street to offer a soda or a wet sponge to a relative marching past under the blazing sun. Or, a well wisher shouts a few words of encouragement to perspiring individuals who look drained by the heat and exertion of the long march. Sometimes someone hurriedly kicks away an empty carton or soda-can that may block the way of the marchers on the street.

On the sidewalk carefree toddlers who are sitting very securely on their fathers’ shoulders tower above other umbrella holding onlookers. They wave half empty soda cans or tiny flags trying to catch the eye of a familiar band member. Mothers and other equally proud relatives loudly hail or wave at their favorite persons in the band. And sandwiched in between the densely packed masses strollers, with their light loads soundly asleep, fill every available empty spot. If the little ones clamor for attention they’re hurriedly pacified with a drink or a pat by an adult or older sibling. No one wants to lose track of the barrage of sound and ever moving spectacle on the wide street in front of them.

The actual celebration lasts two days. Scores of brass bands, school bands and private and public organizations participate in parades. The Panama sky may more often than not be a monotonous gray, but life on the city streets usually vibrates with smells, sound and color. At no other time is this liveliness more evident than during the independence festival week. Supporters loudly cheer their favorite band waving their special banner when they come in sight down the main road especially when dancers in colorful sugar fairy national dress form part of a particular procession. Locals and international visitors from neighboring Central American and other more distant countries mingle freely in the crowded public spaces. And all add enthusiastically to the cacophony without giving a second thought to who’s pressing against whom.

Rich and poor are united in pursuit of pleasure and free entertainment. Nobody seems to mind being jostled and sometimes stepped on in spectators’ single-minded urge to move forward a fraction of a meter in order to have a better view of the colorful visual and musical spectacle in front of them. Thousands of citizens line the main streets ten deep to watch and cheer and share in their compatriots’ repeated musical performances. The merging of clanging cymbals, energetic thumping on drums interspersed with the finer lighter piping of clarinets and melodious tunes of xylophones fills the air. Trumpeters blaring at full blast often herald the procession.

A lot of trading goes on amidst all this medley of color and sound. Informal entrepreneurs brave the throng of people to carry on brisk trade. The piercing sounds of vendors’ rubber balloon hooters trill at every street corner and open space between store fronts and entrances. The sellers weave in and out among the jostling pressing, noisy masses. Some are on bicycles with long festoons of miniature flags sticking out above the heads of people on the sidewalks. Others carry heavy trays filled with handmade trinkets from the countryside or cheap Chinese manufactured mementos. These trays overflow with shiny yellow miniature trumpets, pennants, fake brand name watches, sunglasses and strings of multi-colored bead necklaces and bracelets. The best customers are the scores of children who wish to blow their shiny toy trumpet or fly their own pennant.

People also have to eat and drink at a festival. The colorful canopies of fast food vendors’ three-wheelers proudly displaying their country’s colors therefore are a welcome sight. Strong flavors of fried sausage and roast meat carried by the light wind tempt prospective customers to flock to the carts. Hungry compatriots fight for the best spots to give the sizzling delicacies a closer look before parting with their small change. Those with different preferences sample spicy hot-dogs, tamales, rolls and pies. An inviting selection of soft drinks and ice creams revives the weary ones who crave something sweet to get new energy to enjoy another spate of drum beats.

After two days of incessant drumming, dancing and parading it seems as if a cloud of silence blankets the weary city. People are exhausted but happy. They were energized by a rush of patriotism which transformed divergent masses into a nation. People from all walks of life could be part of the celebrations at no cost. The less privileged were able to escape the drudge of their daily lives while being entertained by their own people for free. And more privileged citizens, who wanted to escape the crush, could spend time with family and friends in the quiet countryside. Pennants also waved on many of the outward bound vehicles.

As I was standing on the fringes of the colorful assortment of people I thought about the benefits of celebrating national independence days. It may be inconvenient to find some stores and banks closed for two weekdays in a row. But these special days bring home the truth that success should not always be measured in terms of perfect professional performance, or reckoned in multi-million dollar profits.

Often the reward lies in the satisfaction of unemployed persons who could earn a few dollars to provide for their family, or the joy of a school boy or girl having been able to show their musical talents as a member of a group making their parents proud. These special days also give families a chance to share quality time together. And, last but not least, these national holidays provide citizens a chance to show their pride in their country. (1431 words)

monica.vanh@gmail.com

No Immigrants Please!

There is great national fervor throughout the U.S. about the subject of immigration. It is both an ongoing political football and it comes at a time of political races that exasperates the subject. It raises questions of extreme protectionism at the expense of certain of our own industries. The argument that Hispanics are taking the jobs of typical working Americans is mostly hysteria. The question that comes to mind is just what is it that we are all discussing? Are we really looking at the right problem?

In the early 1600’ds immigrants came here that did not speak the language(s) spoken here (Iroquois, Cherokee, etc). In the 1800’ds hordes of immigrants came here that spoke virtually hundreds of languages, and somehow it all worked. Now, we are faced with immigrants who come here and do not speak the language, and we suddenly want to close the doors.

I live in a town that exemplifies all of the related problems. Just 3,500 souls live in a couple of tiny communities twenty-two miles from the nearest town in one direction and forty-four miles in another. Palm Springs is actually only fifteen miles away, but crows don’t fly over the 11,000 mountain between us. Now that we are established here, there are those in my town that would put up gates on the roads at the foot of the mountain we live on, and not allow passage to any not already residents here.

I think we are forgetting something. We are all either immigrants or the children of immigrants (at some level). We indeed have a border security problem, but we do not have an immigrant problem. We don’t even really have a problem with illegal immigrants – there are very few who would do us harm. Therefore, almost everyone who comes here does so for a better life – does that sound familiar?

We probably should take action that would restrict the sheer numbers of people coming in from our southern borders, but there is an easy and solid way to do that – invest in the economy (not the corrupt politico’s) of Mexico.

Realistically, no one wants to leave home if home is a good place to be. But if there is a good reason, they will leave – and they should be able to. Cuba may soon be acceptable to the United States, and we would invest in the Cuban economy as we once did. Cubans and Mexicans in a better environment would not flock here as they now do.

The only real argument about the current flock of Hispanics is that the current group foolishly want to speak only their native languages as some kind of protection against losing their home environment. In the 1800’ds, most immigrants were happy to speak the new language while retaining their native language for family gatherings. My recommendation to new immigrants is to speak English during the work week and their native language on the weekend. Certainly, teach the home language to children. This way everyone retains their native language, yet they can get better jobs and improve the economies of both themselves and their adopted country.

Larry Kueneman

Reorganizing Health Care Is Not Socialized Medicine – It’s Inevitable

You see, the global enterprises and endeavors of companies such as pharmaceuticals, medical technology companies, certain medical professions, those in positions of power paid for by global entities, and a multitude of other corporate greed driven systems for health care services are pushing this nation into something that could have been avoided. Through their greed, their ignorance of societies basic needs, and of the natural human degenerative process; the winds of change can be heard. They watch quantitative numbers that represent people’s lives and profits but, the subjective and qualitative economic burdens placed on persons lives are ignored.

They adamantly display arrogance and social psychological deception, through the utilization of our own patriotism, nationalism and Americanism. We must do what the rest of the world has done! Not to globalize, but to survive (with our own unique system that’s better). Regardless, if you think tampering with today’s medical system is wise, will work, or will be profitable for some and not for most is irrelevant…it must be done. We have no choice….it is a matter of survival… our families survival, our economic, our physical, our psychological, our emotional, our political and our Nations survival….we must reorganize medicine. They have given no choice…they still do not hear our voices; “the price is still too high” in comparison to our income, in comparison to inflation, our standards of living (which is being taken away by global trade policies and other systems of greed and corruption) and our abilities to provide! Simply stated, health care is simply unreasonably priced based upon our depleting resources. It’s a catch twenty two – and something must and will be done; it’s a natural reaction to survival.

Americans are the hardest working people on the planet with the fastest decreases in their standard of living in the history of industrialization. In comparison to the access to medical technology and expensive health care, we may at times think we have better access to technology and treatment, but birth mortality rates, treatments for certain diseases and life expectancy currently for Americans places us at the bottom of the global list. Simply put, our health care system compared to other countries does not measure up for what we are paying for! You probably will not live as long as a European; and their health care is free! You won’t live as long because you are too busy working, stressed out, depressed and ignored in order to pay outrageous health care cost for yourself, your family or illegal aliens… this will ultimately lead to the demise of your physical, emotional and psychological health.

Middle class and lower class stratified Americans are getting the shaft for the most part, and many are tired of it! You see it in the voting reports, you see it in their political participation, you see it in the way they have isolated themselves within their communities…it’s obvious, Americans are doing whatever it takes to survive and this is destroying what America has always meant to Americans and to the world. America has always been about hope, opportunity, to own something, to take pride in something and the ability to maintain a decent quality of life for ones self and their families. To know that your family will be covered if there is an accident “beyond your control” and to have security that if something does happen you will not have to claim bankruptcy and go into economic distress in order to pay the bills (creating larger barriers).

This is why America is great – because this life in America is supposed to have some major benefits compared to the rest of the world…. it is supposed to have some adequate level of security. Without covering ones basic needs…security does not exist. When one goes to college (does as society expects), works two jobs and still cannot afford health care, or the occupation they work does not cover health care expenses, or the person works for twelve dollars an hour but has to pay for two thirds of his health care leaving him really with eight dollars an hour, unable to spend time with his family because he has to work two jobs to simply survive (why are families crumbling…mmm?) … where is this person’s security, opportunity, hope and motivation to make America great?

A person’s occupation is their identity and may be due to geography, sociology, genealogy or psychological reasons – not simply choice (I wish it were that easy). Only so many technology jobs exist, only so many nursing jobs exist, only so many jobs support a decent quality of life even for the educated and uneducated…what happens when all the good paying, good benefit jobs are taken (I mean good – in that they support a families needs and future)? Others have to work the rest of the jobs in America, and if those jobs represent no security, no benefits, no future for marriage or family…then Americas leaders are telling us loud and clear…most of America does not matter, America’s families do not matter, most of America can suffer, most of America can live insecure, inconsistent and unstable lives. Most of America is not America at all… but something else that is less valuable than we….the elites.

Read Carefully Fellow Leaders – Hear Your Message

If adults in a family quit providing the processes or opportunities for family members to secure their basic needs, how long do you think that family would stay together? It is a simple sociological fact…they would not stay together but dissolve into stagnation. If the children would not be taken care of when sick, when incapacitated, when hungry…would this not be neglect according to our own state law? Is our government committing sociological neglect due to the ignoring and purposeful inaction upon making sure that social members can secure affordable health care (a basic need) for their family? Are they not as a neglecting parent choosing pleasurable activities (profits) over taking care of the future generations of America? You decide. I feel that they are indirectly neglecting the needs of a society and this neglect will be the demise of the American way of life. If our own leaders care not of America – then why should common citizens? Who better to begin anarchy than the leaders themselves? You decide. The natural processes will not be denied. Americans are living, breathing beings with wonderful potential…and neglecting their needs will only bring turmoil.

To not assist a societies members as a government, as a groups leaders with such pressing needs to make a basic need affordable for all, is to say……….work, work, work, toil, toil, toil, compete, compete, compete, perform, perform, perform, sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice, give up marriage, work two jobs and give up your family, contradict everything you have ever been raised to comply, and when you break down (which you will – its biological and inevitable), when your children need their fathers and mothers at home, when the ones you care about break down, when your so stressed and over whelmed, when your working, working, working and can barely meet your basic needs, when you need counseling or mental health consultation due to psycho individualistic reactions (anxiety / depression) due to the socio environmental impacts (social and economic stress)…we don’t care…go into bankruptcy paying for your basic needs (creating more barriers for those who already suffer), may you beg for the money in time to make sure your son gets the bone marrow transplant before he dies…because even knowing you were a cooperative social member, even knowing you follow all the rules, even knowing you did what society expected…your not worth keeping in society, your not worth being healthy, your not worth it to our America to make sure your life is secure enough to compete. You are not a worthy American.

This message to real Americans from our so called leaders and globalist angers everyone I know – and many are reading between the lines.

Was America not founded on competition? And our own leaders deny us the consistency and security to meet our basic needs so we can compete? Fools! No wonder mental health clinics are full of people needing pharmaceutical prescriptions and in need of someone to speak with regarding their anguish and psychic pain; all the while they are fighting with the insurance company to cover their therapy and cannot even afford their Prozac and Zanex…how outrageous and disgusting these global corporation and the leaders they own in Congress have become!

Nearly every industrialized nation on earth either has a medical system that is free to members of society or at least subjectively affordable. I propose a system in which does not deny any advancement of technology to any American – regardless of class or creed. We should all pay a percentage based upon our social position; this is the only equitable and nature sustaining solution.

Friends, let me be frank with you (as if I have been withholding – lol). Global companies and corrupt leaders are using Americans, manipulating Americans and profiting from Americans bad circumstances and basic needs within one of the last industrialized systems that allows them and gives them the freedom to do so. The rest of the world has wised up to these processes.

These evil greed driven systems see you as a quantitative number. You are not one with real regard, emotions or life. They ignore qualitative data (what your real emotion, circumstances and needs are)…unless it relates to how they can persuade you into choosing them as your provider or leader. These persons, leaders and systems for which I speak have no real need to be loyal, to worry about your sons and daughters or your future for that matter. They know that they will just give their own family a job at their multi-billion dollar company or through the good old boy system for which to help out anyone of their emotionally laden relationships…they have no insecurity of loss, no national loyalty, they are globalist and they have no compassion or humility.

So clearly, if they do not care for anyone but themselves…they do not really care for America. They are not Americans. They are not simply rich people either – this is not a rich bashing session – far from it. There are many great and wonderful wealthy Americans and more power to them. These evil doers are the ones destroying and denying America by neglecting her basic needs, a decent quality of life and a secure future to be healthy. They are denying Americans what Americans and even our beloved veterans believe they are working for, suffering for and dying for. They utilize terms like “socialized medicine” to scare the common American away from thinking that any type of reorganizing of the current medical system is communistic, socialistic and will destroy America as we know it!

Well, let me say that the current system, and the players who are clearly benefiting have no regard, no understanding, no plan or purpose in changing – and they my friends are paying politicians plenty and making billions on your degenerating bodies.

What could be more of a persuasion to change a system than that?

I ask you fools ruining America! How long do you think it will be before Americans figure out that the dream has become a night mare, and that hope has become strife? That you care not of their lives or family and that change is long over due?

Trust me, I tell you the truth…it won’t be long.

Americans are much smarter than you give them credit for; they simply have immense patients and want to believe the good in others. But, when they finally smell that rat stealing their cheese… well lets just say this…Americans always have a way of getting things done…bringing change…for that I am hopeful.

And done you will be.

Sincerely,

A real American.

L.J. Riley Jr. is a Michigan native, a graduate of Davison High School, a graduate of the U.S. Army Combat Infantry School, Bradley Fighting Vehicle School and Dragon Missle School. L.J. or John Riley is a combat veteran and served in Oper. Desert Shield / Storm. He left the military and enrolled at Mott Community College, graduating with Phi Theta Kappa and pursuing a BSW at the University of Michigan Flint where he won the “Maize and Blue” Scholar Award. L.J. then was accepted to the one year Masters program at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor MSW Program for clinical social work. He graduated in 2007 with a 4.0 and the acceptance of the Howard and Judith Simms Fellowship. L.J. loves people, loves helping people and seeks to change lives directly and in-directly through his writing.

Laverne John Riley Jr.