Being As Responsible As I Can

sobering-reminder-of-our-own-mortalityI have been thinking a lot about my mortality lately. No, I don’t have any premonitions, but Julia and I just updated our Revocable Living Trust and it always makes me think about my life, my relationships, and whether or not I am doing all I can for my family.

My first job right after discharge from the Navy in 1987 was selling pre-need cemetery plots.

I was in South Carolina and after 6 months I became the top salesman for Memorial Gardens Plantation.

This was an eye-opener for me!

I was 26-years-old and boy did I get an education on death and everything related to it. I believed in my product (the pre-need purchase of burial plots and associated items, a 100% need for every human being) and that I was saving families thousands of dollars by making the purchase before the death of a loved one. But what really cemented it for me was the following experience.

6a00d8341bf67c53ef01a3fc5cd987970bOne evening while I was preparing to make my house calls to pre-arranged appointments, a beautiful young woman came into the cemetery office with a baby in her arms.

She was crying and I suddenly realized something terrible had happened and I was witnessing a young widow making funeral arrangements.

I watched in shock as the cemetery director explained to this distraught woman the typical procedures and costs and need for a vault, a casket, the headstone, etc.

His matter-of-fact explanation is not what bothered me. What infuriated me was the way in which he was leading her to purchase the most expensive items, appealing to her loss and love for her husband.

I was so upset that I determined right there that I would work even harder to persuade people make all of these arrangements pre-need, which translated into thousands of dollars in savings, but also having these kinds of arrangements taken care of before the event of death, the survivors would be saved tremendous agony and heart ache. Since that experience, I have always had life insurance, a will, and later an estate plan.

I am not rich by any stretch of the imagination, so my estate is small, but I just feel so much better knowing that Julia and the kids will not have to make a bunch of decisions upon my eventual passing. If they want to be mad about the decisions made, they can be upset with me–the one who is gone, not with each other.

Estate_PlanningDo you have your affairs in order?

Do you have a solid retirement plan in place?

Do you have a current estate plan in place?

Are you willing to take the time and expense to do all of these hard things now while you can for your loved ones, or are you going to leave it to them during their grief?

Estate Planning is an integral part of wealth building.

Without an estate plan, everything you treasure will be left to chance and likely loss.

But these losses are often just the “tip of the iceberg”. The horror stories associated with disagreements over who gets what and when and even how, are what divides families and often destroys relationships for a lifetime.

downloadBy creating an estate plan you control all these decisions, relieving your loved ones of the stress and hardship they would have faced had you not been proactive.

There is one fact of life we all face; death. We know that death is unavoidable, and can happen at anytime and anywhere. Stop and think; you have home owners insurance despite not thinking your home is going to burn down, and car insurance even though you don’t expect to be in an accident.

You insure your home and car in case something does happen. Having a comprehensive estate plan is how you control your estate, and make tough decisions when life’s inevitable events do occur.

In the best selling book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” Steven Covey emphasizes the importance of planning. Two of Steven’s habits speak directly to the importance of estate planning.

imagesHabit 1 – “Being proactive is about taking responsibility for your life”. Comprehensive estate planning is all about being proactive.

Habit 2 – “Begin with the end in mind.” Estate planning is about you being in control over how you want your life to “play out,” and how critical decisions will be made when it becomes necessary.

Julia and I just updated our estate plan. It may not be the most enjoyable activity, but Julia feels so much more secure and I feel like I am being as responsible as I can.

 How Much Does Estate-planning Cost? 

I did some digging and found a basic range of family estate planning costs from $1,800 to $6,500 per living trust. Also, you should plan needing to update at least every few years, figure about $300-$500 per update. I am sure there are cheaper and more expensive planning options, but this is what I found.

Who Should Do Your Planning?

I also researched a little on this and found anything from do-it-yourself websites to attorneys who are happy to have you in their office during multiple sessions, as long as you don’t mind all of those billable hours.

For those who have little time and want to get it safely done with as little fuss as possible, we suggest taking at look at Strongbrook’s Estate Planning Program.

 

The Sentence That Knocked Down the Berlin Wall (But Almost Didn’t)

This post is a reprint of the November 5 ,2014 article from the Intercollegiate Review.

 

Twenty-five years ago last week, the Berlin Wall fell. 

Twenty-five years ago last week, the Berlin Wall fell.

In retrospect, what event fails to suggest a certain inevitability about itself, conveying the sense that because it happened it had to have happened?

Twenty-five years ago this week, the Berlin Wall finally fell.

Of course it did.

How could it have remained in place a day longer? For that matter, how could the Soviet Union itself have failed to fall?

How could the Cold War have ended any other way than in a victory for the West?

History preserves only the events that took place, permitting the alternatives—the contingencies and near misses—to fade, disappearing completely in the end.

Yet if you’d like proof that history isn’t predetermined—that history contains within itself a multitude of alternative realities, of near misses and might-have-beens—consider the address that President Ronald Reagan delivered at the Brandenburg Gate twenty-nine months before the Berlin Wall came down.

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Those words were very nearly dropped from the president’s text.

How do I know? I wrote the address.

The Angry Hausfrau

Über_den_Dächern_von_BerlinIn April 1987 the celebrations for the 750th anniversary of the founding of Berlin were under way.

Queen Elizabeth had already visited the city. Mikhail Gorbachev was due in a matter of days.

Although President Reagan hadn’t been planning to visit Berlin himself, he was going to be in Europe in early June, first visiting Rome, then spending several days in Venice for an economic summit.

At the request of the West German government his schedule was adjusted to permit him to stop in Berlin for a few hours on his way back to the United States from Italy.

I was then serving as a speechwriter to the president and was assigned to write the Berlin address. I was told only that the president would be speaking at the Berlin Wall, that he was likely to draw an audience of about ten thousand, and that, given the setting, he probably ought to talk about foreign policy.

In late April I spent a day and a half in Berlin with the White House advance team, the logistical experts, Secret Service agents, and press officials who went to the site of every presidential visit to make arrangements. All I had to do in Berlin was find material. When I met the ranking American diplomat in Berlin, I assumed he would give me some.

A stocky man with thick glasses, the diplomat projected an anxious, distracted air throughout our conversation, as if the very prospect of a visit from Ronald Reagan made him nervous. The diplomat gave me quite specific instructions. Almost all of it was in the negative. He was full of ideas about what the president shouldn’t say.

The most left-leaning of all West Germans, the diplomat informed me, West Berliners were intellectually and politically sophisticated. The president would therefore have to watch himself. No chest thumping. No Soviet bashing. And no inflammatory statements about the Berlin Wall. West Berliners, the diplomat explained, had long ago gotten used to the structure that encircled them.

After I left the diplomat, several members of the advance team and I were given a flight over the city in a U.S. Air Force helicopter. Although all that remains of the wall these days are paving stones that show where it stood, in 1987 the structure dominated Berlin. From the air, the wall seemed less to cut one city in two than to separate two different modes of existence.

On one side lay movement, color, modern architecture, crowded sidewalks, traffic. On the other lay a kind of void. Buildings still exhibited pockmarks from shelling during the war. Cars appeared few and decrepit, pedestrians badly dressed.

The wall itself, which from West Berlin had seemed a simple concrete structure, was revealed from the air as an intricate complex, the East Berlin side lined with guard posts, dog runs, and row upon row of barbed wire. The pilot drew our attention to pits of raked gravel. If an East German guard ever let anybody slip past him to escape to West Berlin, the pilot told us, the guard would find himself forced to explain the footprints to his commanding officer.

That evening, I broke away from the advance team to join a dozen Berliners for dinner. Our hosts were Dieter and Ingeborg Elz. Germans themselves, the Elzes had retired to Berlin after Dieter completed his career at the World Bank in Washington. Although we had never met, we had friends in common, and the Elzes offered to put on this dinner party to give me a feel for their city. They had invited Berliners of different walks of life and political outlooks—businessmen, academics, students, homemakers.

BerlinermauerWe chatted for a while about the weather, German wine, and the cost of housing in Berlin.

Then I related what the diplomat told me, explaining that after my flight over the city I found it difficult to believe.

“Is it true?” I asked. “Have you gotten used to the wall?”

The Elzes and their guests glanced at one another uneasily.

I thought I had proven myself just the sort of brash, tactless American the diplomat was afraid the president might seem.

Then one man raised an arm and pointed. “My sister lives twenty miles in that direction,” he said. “I haven’t seen her in more than two decades. Do you think I can get used to that?”

Another man spoke. Each morning on his way to work, he explained, he walked past a guard tower. Each morning, the same soldier gazed down at him through binoculars. “That soldier and I speak the same language. We share the same history. But one of us is a zookeeper and the other is an animal, and I am never certain which is which.”

Our hostess broke in. A gracious woman, she had suddenly grown angry. Her face was red. She made a fist with one hand and pounded it into the palm of the other. “If this man Gorbachev is serious with his talk ofglasnost and perestroika,” she said, “he can prove it. He can get rid of this wall.”

“That’s What I’d Like to Say”

Back at the White House I told Tony Dolan, then director of presidential speechwriting, that I intended to adapt Ingeborg Elz’s comment, making a call to tear down the Berlin Wall the central passage in the speech. Tony took me across the street from the Old Executive Office Building to the West Wing to sell the idea to the director of communications, Tom Griscom.

“The two of you thought you’d have to work real hard to keep me from saying no,” Griscom now says. “But when you told me about the trip, particularly this point of learning from some Germans just how much they hated the wall, I thought to myself, ‘You know, calling for the wall to be torn down—it might just work.’ ”

The following week I produced an acceptable draft. It needed work, but it set out the main elements of the address, including the challenge to tear down the wall. On Friday, May 15, the speeches for the president’s trip to Rome, Venice, and Berlin, including my draft, were forwarded to the president, and on Monday, May 18, the speechwriters joined him in the Oval Office. My speech was the last we discussed. Tom Griscom asked the president for his comments on my draft. The president replied simply that he liked it.

Now, you might suppose that after hearing the president say he liked his draft, a speechwriter would feel so delighted he’d leave it at that. Somehow, it didn’t work that way. As a speechwriter you spent your working life watching Reagan, talking about Reagan, reading about Reagan, attempting to inhabit the very mind of Reagan. When you joined him in the Oval Office, you didn’t want to hear him say simply that he liked your work. You wanted to get him talking, revealing himself. So you’d go into each meeting with a question or two you hoped would intrigue him.

at-desk“Mr. President,” I said, “I learned on the advance trip that your speech will be heard not only in West Berlin but throughout East Germany.”

Depending on weather conditions, I explained, radios would be able to pick up the speech as far east as Moscow itself.

“Is there anything you’d like to say to people on the other side of the Berlin Wall?”

The president cocked his head and thought. “Well,” he replied, “there’s that passage about tearing down the wall. That wall has to come down. That’s what I’d like to say to them.”

Squelchfest

With three weeks to go before it was delivered, the speech was circulated to the State Department and the National Security Council (NSC). Both attempted to squelch it. The assistant secretary of state for Eastern European affairs challenged the speech by telephone.

A senior member of the NSC staff protested the speech in memoranda. The ranking American diplomat in Berlin objected to the speech by cable. The draft was naive. It would raise false hopes. It was clumsy. It was needlessly provocative. State and the NSC submitted their own alternate drafts—my journal records that there were no fewer than seven, including one written by the diplomat in Berlin. In each, the call to tear down the wall was missing.

Now, in principle, State and the NSC had no objection to a call for the destruction of the wall. The draft the diplomat in Berlin submitted, for example, contained the line, “One day, this ugly wall will disappear.” If the diplomat’s line was acceptable, I wondered at first, what was wrong with mine?

Then I looked at the diplomat’s line once again. “One day”? One day the lion would lie with the lamb, too, but you wouldn’t want to hold your breath. “This ugly wall will disappear”? What did that mean? That the wall would just get up and slink off of its own accord? The wall would disappear only when the Soviets knocked it down or let somebody else knock it down for them, but “this ugly wall will disappear” ignored the question of human agency altogether.

What State and the NSC were saying, in effect, was that the president could go right ahead and issue a call for the destruction of the wall—but only if he employed language so vague and euphemistic that everybody could see right away he didn’t mean it.

The week the president left for Europe, Tom Griscom began summoning me to his office each time State or the NSC submitted a new objection. Each time, Griscom had me tell him why I believed State and the NSC were wrong and the speech, as I’d written it, was right. When I reached Griscom’s office on one occasion, I found Colin Powell, then deputy national security adviser, waiting for me. I was a thirty-year-old who had never held a full-time job outside speechwriting.

Powell was a decorated general. After listening to Powell recite all the arguments against the speech in his accustomed forceful manner, however, I heard myself reciting all the arguments in favor of the speech in an equally forceful manner. I could scarcely believe my own tone of voice. Powell looked a little taken aback himself.

President Reagan at the Brandenburg Gate June 12, 1987

President Reagan at the Brandenburg Gate June 12, 1987

A few days before the president was to leave for Europe, Tom Griscom received a call from the White House chief of staff, Howard Baker, asking Griscom to step down the hall to his office.

“I walked in and it was Senator Baker [Baker had served in the Senate before becoming chief of staff] and the secretary of state—just the two of them.”

Secretary of State George Shultz now objected to the speech.

“He said, ‘I really think that line about tearing down the wall is going to be an affront to Mr. Gorbachev,’ ” Griscom recalls.

“I told him the speech would put a marker out there. ‘Mr. Secretary,’ I said, ‘the president has commented on this particular line and he’s comfortable with it. And I can promise you that this line will reverberate.’ The secretary of state clearly was not happy, but he accepted it. I think that closed the subject.”

It didn’t.

When the traveling party reached Italy (I remained in Washington), the secretary of state objected to the speech once again, this time to deputy chief of staff Kenneth Duberstein. “Shultz thought the line was too tough on Gorbachev,” Duberstein says.

On June 5, Duberstein sat the president down in the garden of the estate in which he was staying, briefed him on the objections to the speech, then handed him a copy of the speech, asking him to reread the central passage.

Reagan asked Duberstein’s advice. Duberstein replied that he thought the line about tearing down the wall sounded good. “But I told him, ‘You’re president, so you get to decide.’ And then,” Duberstein recalls, “he got that wonderful, knowing smile on his face, and he said, ‘Let’s leave it in.’ ”

The day the president arrived in Berlin, State and the NSC submitted yet another alternate draft. “They were still at it on the very morning of the speech,” says Tony Dolan. “I’ll never forget it.” Yet in the limousine on the way to the Berlin Wall, the president told Duberstein he was determined to deliver the controversial line. Reagan smiled. “The boys at State are going to kill me,” he said, “but it’s the right thing to do.”

The Lessons of History

No matter how it may seem in retrospect, there was nothing inevitable about the event that took place twenty-five years ago this week. The fall of the Berlin Wall took place because certain men and women—people including Pope John Paul II, Margaret Thatcher, Lech Walesa, and Ronald Reagan—took certain specific actions, demonstrating their capacity for reason and courage. And that, really, is why we study history: to remind ourselves that if those who went before us could do the right thing, then we can do no less ourselves.

 

Peter Robinson is editor in chief of Ricochet.com, research fellow at the Hoover Institution, and host of the interview program Uncommon Knowledge. He is the author of several books, including How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life, from which parts of this essay are adapted.

Funding Monticello College: A 21st Century Approach

Historically, most American institutions of higher education struggled to fund themselves. Non-profit institutions did not generally have mechanisms for generating revenue. Thus they relied on tuition, donations, and an endowment.

downloadHarvard, America’s first school, suffered this same fate. In 1636, without any endowment (the gift from John Harvard, the school’s name sake was quickly squandered) the college opened it doors but due to lack of finances, it wasn’t long before they closed those doors, reopening later and repeating the process several times in its early history.

increase_matherIn 1642 Harvard’s president, thirty year-old Henry Dunster, went on a fund raising tour and secured enough “in-kind” subscriptions  called “colledge corne,” from local county residents to stabilize the finances.

But those subscriptions petered out in less than a decade.

Citizen subscriptions, sparce local taxes, donations, tuition, and endowments are how higher education was funded from 1636 until the early 1900’s.

By the end of WWII, the G.I. Bill became the popular means of funding higher education.

In 1965, the Johnson administration implemented the HEA (Higher Education Act), which served to help the poor and significantly increased the college population, but it also started the trend that we all now face– sky-rocketing tuition rates. By 1972 Pell Grants and ever popular student loans were added to the funding options provided to low and middle income students.

Since federal funded tuition was swelling the ranks of higher education, the government determined that it now had to regulate that which it was funding.

Accreditation morphed from a system of academic equivalence to the gate keeper of all higher academia, whether your students were receiving federal funds or not. (See the Monticello College white paper to determine if all of this money has improved the quality of higher education today.)

At Monticello College, we take a firm stand in not accepting a single dollar of federal money. We neither desire federal assistance nor do we ask for its oversight. But after 5 decades of Americans on the educational dole, the average family does not have the funds to pay for tuition out of pocket. We have lost the concept of pay-our-own-way.

As a result, Monticello College must find creative ways to fund our operations and build our endowment.

Enter Strongbrook.maxresdefault

Strongbrook is a real estate investment company with a unique 21st century approach to building client investment portfolio’s.

Probably the best explanation I have every heard comes from a 22-year-old college student video.

In an effort to funding the school, Monticello College has entered into a loose association with Strongbrook introducing the benefits offered by this exceptional company to our friends and supporters.

Not only can Strongbrook assist families in securing a strong and vibrant economic future, it helps to create the means to provide funds for student tuition.  Monticello College is also investing into a Strongbrook financial Game Plan with the intention of securing enough investment property to fully fund our endowment.

Click Here to watch a short video to learn more.

Click Here for a Free PDF book or audio book. (Passcode is….FREE)

Since launching in 2007, Strongbrook has helped more than 2,500 investors across 47 states invest profitably in real estate — during the worst recession we’ll see in our lifetimes.

In fact, their investors averaged a 19.8 percent return last year, despite the continued recession.

Meet real Strongbrook investors and hear their stories by watching this video:

P.S. I appreciate that this funding approach may seem unusual or even uncomfortable to some of you. All change is uncomfortable. And higher education is changing before our very eyes. Technology is having as much impact on higher education as it has had on everything else.

In a Fourth Turning world nothing remains the same.

Give us a fair chance to show you some things you may not know. Take the time to watch the videos or read the MC white paper or free books offered or click here to get an awesome education in financial freedom called Financial Freedom 2.0. At the very least, you will learn some things you didn’t know. In the best case scenario, this could change your entire financial future.

Why Is Monticello College A Functional Farm?

This post is one that will separate our readers into two groups.  You will either read it and say, “wow, that makes so much sense, I see why Monticello College has a farm and teaches the manual arts,” or you will read a part of it, become bored, and drift toward leaving the site.

Either way, I strongly encourage you to stay the course and read this post to the end.

folks-this-aint-normal_coverart_300pxJoe Salatin, in his book, Folks, This Ain’t Normal, writes a very compelling argument (for the first group) supporting the return to common sense and being grounded.

He starts on page 36:

One of my messages in this book is to try to awaken a thirst and hunger for some basic food and farming knowledge before our appetite for cerebral and academic techno-subjects crowds out all of this historically normal knowledge.

Wouldn’t it be as valuable to go process your Thanksgiving turkey, or at least spend some time with it in the field, as it is to face-paint your five-year-old and stick colored feather shaped construction paper in her hair?

Farms and food production should be, I submit, at least as important as who pierced their navel in Hollywood this week.
60328989.1584Please tell me I’m not the only one who believes this. Please.

As a culture, we think we’re well educated, but I’m not sure that what we’ve learned necessarily helps us survive.

I’m talking about the skills and knowledge contained, for example, in the Foxfire books. The back-to-the-land books of the hippie era are still some of the best living manuals out there.

Country craft and farmsteading enjoy an interest revival every time things look bleak. To me, it seems prudent to acquaint ourselves with some of this information before a meltdown occurs.

A rudimentary, basic knowledge of things won’t crowd out celebrity information or keep us from knowing how to use a cell phone. Trust me, it won’t.

I love people, and I love learning. And it seems to me that an educated person should know a few basic things about farm ecology. Not much, just a little. I offer the next examples in the spirit of explanation.

apostle-david-paul-rodgers-compares-gay-marriage-to-rooster-and-hens“You don’t have roosters with your laying hens? How do they lay eggs?” Dear folks, chickens don’t need roosters to lay eggs.

They need roosters to hatch eggs, but not to lay them. Just like women don’t need men to lay eggs; they just need a man to hatch one.

A mere century ago, not one in a hundred would have been ignorant of this common agrarian knowledge.

The next common one: “oh, there’s the bull, ‘cause he has horns.” Dear hearts, horns do not make a bull. It ain’t what’s on top of the head that counts. It’s what’s between the legs. I don’t know if horns have anything to do with horniness, but they sure don’t have anything to do with masculinity.

imagesA farmer friend of mine told me recently about a bus load of middle school children who came to his farm for a tour.

The first two boys off the bus asked, “Where is the salsa tree?” They thought they could go pick salsa, like apple and peaches.

Oh my. What do they put on SAT tests to measure this? Does anybody care?

How little can a person know about food and still make educated decisions about it? Is this knowledge going to change before they enter the voting booth? Now that’s a scary thought.

Do you know the difference between hay and straw? Straw is the stalk and leaves of a small grain plant. Stover is the leftovers of a corn plant. Hay is solar-dried forage. In order to get hay equally dried, it is windrowed to let the air blow through it and get the underneath leaves turned up to the drying sun.

downloadA windrow is a long tube of hay. A baler picks up the windrow and forms the hay into packages; round bales, little square bales, little round bales, or large square bales. Each of these has a different machine and different reason for use.

How do you herd cows? Cows have a flight zone. Since their eyes are on the sides of their head, they have far more peripheral vision than people.

They can see about 300 degrees around themselves. If we could do that, it would be equivalent to having eyes in the back of our heads.

Depending on our approach to the cow, she either wants to go past us, turn around and stand off at us, or turn tail and run away. All these responses are a result of how we approach her flight zone.

Trees grow out, not up. They only grow up right at their buds. That is why you can put a rope on a tree and it stays at the same height. Once bark forms, the height does not change.

1-130Z31HA20-LThe cambium grows the tree horizontally, in diameter, but not vertically.

Otherwise, that hammock we stretched between those two trees this year would be a foot higher next year and a foot higher a year after that. Wouldn’t that be funny?

Farmers speak in precise language. A cow is a female who has had two calves. A first-calf heifer is a female who has had only one calf. A heifer is a female who has not calved. A bred heifer is a female who is pregnant but has not yet calved. A bull calf is a young uncastrated male.

A bull is an uncastrated male old enough to bred—and that is far from full-grown, believe me. A calf is an unweaned bovine of either sex. A heifer calf is a female calf; a bull calf is a male calf. A stocker is a weaned calf prior to finishing. A finisher is a calf almost big enough to slaughter—it’s being finished.

An open cow is one that is not pregnant. A dry cow is nonlactating. A fresh cow is one that has very recently calved, and a freshening cow is one that is just about to calve. A bull can cover (bred) about thirty to fifty cows.

Folks, that just cows. And believe it or not, virtually every American knew all this lingo a scant century ago. Every species has this same level of nomenclature.

Not long ago, common knowledge included the difference between a wether  (castrated male sheep) and a ram (breeding age male sheep). A ram lamb and ewe lamb.

[Blogger’s Note: Several of these words show up in spell check as misspellings, have we strayed that far?]

images (1)A shoat (castrated male pig) and a gilt (unbred female pig). Sow and boar.

And then you have the whole grouping thing: herd, flock, gaggle (geese).

And if that’s not enough, the birthing takes on distinctives: cows calve, sheep lamb, rabbits kindle, hogs farrow, horses foal.

Can you name four vegetables that grow underground? Potatoes, carrots, beets, salsify, parsnips, turnips. How about four that grow above ground? Corn, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, green beans, lettuce, peas, melons, squash, cucumber. Tomatoes are a fruit.

download (1)Which vegetables can handle frost? Which ones have to be planted after frost? Which ones are legumes? Which ones grow tall? Which ones need trellises? Which ones are perennials? Asparagus, rhubarb.

Everywhere children and gardening mix, the enthusiasm for learning this heritage agrarian knowledge is insatiable. To interact with nature and food in this visceral functional way is foundational to developing common sense.

When people lose touch with these cornerstones of existence, their thinking gets all screwy. Staying grounded, very literally, and staying anchored in sensibleness require relationships with food production.

 

Along with our academic and leadership goals, Monticello College has the goal of instilling common sense into each and every student by helping them develop a solid relationship with nature and food production.

Significant Developments on the Monticello College Campus

Let me take a couple of lines to bring you current with Monticello College news. 10003970_10203082788614309_793595818_n

My daughter Amber and I spent the greater part of  5 months (Jan-May 2014) in California teaching a program called Personal Financial Autonomy (the Utah segment begins in September).

We met with great success and taught over 400 students in 12 locations.

We arrived back on campus just days before students began arriving for the first hybrid online/on campus program. IMG_0265

Along with regular academics (30-40 hours a week of study and classroom discussion) we spent the next three weeks kicking off life on campus by building temporary summer cabins to live in (three cabins are now complete). IMG_0216IMG_0202

We also honed our blacksmithing skills, planted the experimental garden, introduced students to small arms safety training, developed a daily farm chores routine, engaged in daily physical training, learned wilderness survival skills, and slaughtered a 300-pound hog!

Fund raising was so successful, that by mid- June we had begun the construction of the central structure on campus…the dining hall (thanks to Olde School, LLC construction company).

After a very successful first trimester, we began preparations for the 4th Annual Monticello College Family Retreat. IMG_3012

As this is always a small event (we can not accommodate  more than 150 participants), seventeen  families joined us this year to enjoyed classes in blacksmithing, alpaca wool working, herbal medicine, a low ropes course, hiking, ball room dancing, choral singing, economics, government, and number of other topics. IMG_3131

As with every year, the highlight of the Retreat was the food prepared for us by the Hartvigson family.

In just over a week students will once again come on campus for a three week session.

We will be building stone walls, learning about permaculture, butchering turkeys, and of course, lots of academics. We are already gearing up for enrollment for 2015 so be sure to begin the process early and contact us at 435 587-2593 or apply online by clicking here.

More pictures:

Family Retreat participants enjoy classes on herbal medicine.

Family Retreat participants enjoy classes on herbal medicine.

The roof trusses are going up. June 20, 2014

The roof trusses are going up. June 20, 2014

Expansion continues as more families lend support to the college

Expansion continues as more families lend support to the college

World-class ballroom instruction in primitive conditions

World-class ballroom instruction in primitive conditions

Family Retreat workshop for working wool from animals to be donated to the college

Family Retreat workshop for working wool from animals to be donated to the college

At the begining of the process: full time students learn to harvest a 300-pound hog for campus use

At the begining of the process: full time students learn to harvest a 300-pound hog for campus use

Students stay very engaged near the end of the process of harvesting a hog

Students stay very engaged near the end of the process of harvesting a hog

The Debate Over The 2nd Amendment

AR15_M62Whether you support it or not, the recent dispute over the Second Amendment has the makings of a serious controversy in coming days.

With the current refusal of as many as 300,000 Connecticut gun owners who legally possess rifles that have just now become illegal in that state, we are witnessing a profound example of civil disobedience.

The amendment in question states:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

In the 2008 Supreme Court case of D.C. v Heller, it would seem that this issue had finally been put to bed, but the debate rages on. The final paragraph of the majority opinion of the Court concerning D.C. v Heller delivered by Justice Scalia makes their ruling clear:

We are aware of the problem of handgun violence in this country, and we take seriously the concerns raised by the many amici who believe that prohibition of handgun ownership is a solution. The Constitution leaves the District of Columbia a variety of tools for combating that problem, including some measures regulating handguns, see supra, at 54–55, and n. 26.

But the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table. These include the absolute prohibit­ion of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home.

Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.
We affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals.

Here is a chance for all citizens, regardless your politics, to become informed and stand for something.  For more information on this topic I recommend the following:

The Founders Constitution

The Making of America

And the following opinions in these links:

The Six Things Americans Should Know about The Second Amendment

The Second Amendment Myth