Archive for February 12th, 2009

“Washington Elite Feed on Public Panic” by Chuck Colson

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

The withdrawal of Tom Daschle from consideration as health and human services secretary has been deemed a blow to the new Obama administration—both to its stated goals to enact health-care reform and to its claim that it will put an end to “business as usual” in the nation’s capital.

But there’s something else revealed in the Daschle story: the increased influence and power of our governing elite.

Mr. Daschle and the rest of the new governing class were the subject of a recent Wall Street Journal editorial. According to the Journal, the real offense was not Daschle’s failure to report and pay taxes on a car and driver. It wasn’t even what it calls an “embarrassment of riches.” According to the Journal, these are a “typical story,” and more to the point, “the result of the liberal ideology”—an ideology, I should add, that is embraced by many in both political parties.

The “liberal ideology” the Journal is referring to is the “massive transfer of power and wealth now underway from the [entrepreneurial] private sector to the political class.” Technocrats who live off the government while in office and outside. How massive is this transfer of wealth? Health care in the United States is a $2.5 trillion industry—the size of France’s GDP.

As a result of this proposed intervention in the economy, the Journal writes, “politicians and their staffers can make or break fortunes by slipping a rider into a ‘must pass’ bill or dispensing billions of dollars in subsidies to favored constituencies.”

It’s part of an all-too-familiar pattern in Washington—making lots of money advising industries like the health care industry and then being selected to regulate the industry.

This power gives men like Daschle and others in the governing class a sense of entitlement to match their new status. What’s a “disappointing mistake” like not paying taxes compared to the “the moral necessity of getting universal health care?”

It’s the triumph of pragmatism over principle.

Now I’ve got to acknowledge that I supported the original Wall Street bailout program because I feared that global markets were about to collapse. In hindsight, I see now that I may have made a mistake.

What we need is a prudent, not a panicky response to the economic downturn, especially not one that enables government to go where it doesn’t belong.

After all, it was Western Christianity that changed the way people thought about governance. The idea that there are limits to the sovereign’s power over his subjects is a distinctly Christian one. It became particularly clear during the Reformation that there were aspects of life over which the king had no legitimate authority. The Reformers called this “sphere sovereignty”—every sphere carrying out its own responsibility before God.

These limits on state power, as sociologist Rodney Stark tells us, weren’t limited to church matters. Christianity insisted that “the state must respect private property and not intrude on the freedom of its citizens to pursue virtue.”

Times of crisis shape a nation’s destiny. And this time of economic crisis is no different. We either demand limited government as our founding fathers envisioned and as Christian tradition upholds, or we, as a panicked people, give up more and more of our liberties to a governing class that is all too willing to accept our acquiescence.

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Chuck Colson’s daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.

Original Link.

Plastic Drill Team “Rifle” Earns Student 10-day Suspension

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Zero tolerance rules equal a pass to use zero common sense and have zero decision skills.

Colorado lawmakers are considering rewriting a state law after a Cherokee Trail High School senior who is a part of the Douglas County Young Marines was handed a 10-day suspension from school and faces an expulsion hearing tomorrow for having a fake plastic and duct tape drill team prop rifle in her locked car.

Marie Morrow, 17, was suspended immediately when school officials – alerted by students – found the fake weapon she uses for drill team practice recently.

Cherry Creek School District spokeswoman Tustin Amole said under state law a suspension is required for all weapons reported at schools – even fakes.

“We did what the law requires us to do,” she said.

She told the Aurora Sentinel schools sometimes actually keep those facsimiles in school buildings – but they keep them out of sight of students. The Douglas County Young Marines isn’t officially sanctioned at Cherokee Trail, which was why Morrow had the prop in her car.

Amole said school officials concluded the fakes fell under the state definition of “a firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, or a firearm facsimile that could reasonably be mistaken for an actual firearm.”

Now state lawmakers are stepping in.

State Rep. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud,, said he would proposed legislation that eases the state mandate.

“There should be exemptions to this hard and fast rule so this type of thing doesn’t happen again,” he said. “I am outraged that a student faces expulsion for participating in a drill team.”

A spokesman for the Young Marines, Chris Proctor, said he’s going to require future drill team participants to acknowledge that the fakes cannot be taken onto any school grounds – ever.

“Obviously I completely understand the need for security measures. But when they found out that Marie was a Young Marine … I think they should have slapped her hand,” he told the Sentinel.

“There’s no mistaking that these are not real rifles,” Proctor told Denver’s KUSA-Television. “I think somewhere along the line, logic has to take over and they have to be able to make exceptions to the rules.”

District officials had called police, who took the drill team props – three were in Morrow’s vehicle – and told her to pick them up when she needed them for drill practice.

Morrow’s mother, Jennifer McGrew, said she hopes the school is not teaching the wrong message.

“I just don’t want it to affect her view on the world, (make her believe) that people who do the right thing don’t come out on top,” McGrew said. “I’ve always kind of really looked up to my daughter for having a mind of her own and going places that I never even dreamed.”

Morrow already has obtained a recommendation from a member of Congress to attend the Merchant Marine Academy. She’s been told an expulsion would not affect her plans to attend the academy.

At the Peoples Press Collective in Denver, a commentator said whether the guns were fake or not really doesn’t matter.

“In this world there are good guys and there are bad guys. Let’s call the good guys law-abiding citizens, and call the bad guys criminals. Law-abiding citizens (often with significant firearms safety training, 1000s of rounds of practice, years of experience, and concealed weapons permits) disarm themselves and lock their firearms in their vehicle prior to entering a gun free school zone. Good guys follow the rules. On the other hand, the criminals don’t. That’s what makes them criminals; criminals break laws. Before the bad guys at Columbine (13 dead) or Virginia Tech (33 dead) stepped foot onto the gun free school zone, they had already made the decision to break one of our most sacred laws: murder.”

He continued, “Want to really protect the children? Want to keep good students from being suspended for having duct taped, prop rifles locked in their vehicles? Eliminate the ineffective, feel-good, gun free school zone laws that only help kill our children.”

The commentary at the Denver Gun Rights Examiner was even more harsh.

“The school said students told teachers there were guns in a car in the parking lot. Certainly, investigate student concerns. After looking in her car, the school officials should have said, ‘Just replicas, not real, go back to class.’ Judgment has to enter in,” the opinion column said.

“Marie Morrow seems to be a model student. Indeed, to me she sounds like the flower of American youth. It is people like her who defend our country today,” the column continued.

Original Link.

‘Fairness Doctrine’ Comeback Likely

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

This unconstitutional, plain and simple.

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) went on the record recently that she supports reinstating the Fairness Doctrine, adding, “I feel like that’s going to happen.” She also told radio talk-show host Bill Press that whether it is called the Fairness Doctrine or something else, it is time to bring accountability to the airwaves.

Stabenow even admitted that she already had some discussion with some of her colleagues about conducting hearings on the issue. Craig Parshall, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Religious Broadcasters, says his fears are being confirmed. (See earlier story)

“She indicated what a lot of us have suspected. And that is with this new change in Congress and new president in the White House, in fact, what we thought was just a minor threat years ago now is probably going to come to fruition,” he contends. “She has promised that there will be hearings in Congress on resurrecting the Fairness Doctrine. Of course, that would be a tremendous blow to the freedom of broadcasters to broadcast.”

Original Link.

Fewer Than 4 in 10 Believe in Evolution

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

This is no surprise when a rank amateur like me can poke holes in the theory so easily.

The odds of the necessary amino acids coming together in the correct sequence to form a “simple cell” are akin to blowing up a print shop and as the type rained down from the sky, it landed in the exact order to create the complete unabridged dictionary. In others words, it is virtually impossible. Now take the fact that we are not made up of simple cells, but of complex ones, and the fact that we are not single celled organisms, but made up of complex series of millions of cells and the odds of this happening by accident are so astronomical that it is completely impossible.

In the last 30 years a number of prominent scientists have attempted to calculate the odds that a free-living, single-celled organism, such as a bacterium, might result by the chance combining of pre-existent building blocks. Harold Morowitz calculated the odds as one chance in 10100,000,000,000. Sir Fred Hoyle calculated the odds of only the proteins of an amoebae arising by chance as one chance in 1040,000.

…the odds calculated by Morowitz and Hoyle are staggering. The odds led Fred Hoyle to state that the probability of spontaneous generation ‘is about the same as the probability that a tornado sweeping through a junk yard could assemble a Boeing 747 from the contents therein.’ Mathematicians tell us that any event with an improbability greater than one chance in 1050 is in the realm of metaphysics — i.e. a miracle.”

See these post for more information:

Evolution’s Big Problems, Part 1.
Evolution’s Big Problems, Part 2.
Evolution’s Big Problems, Part 3.
Evolution’s Big Problems, Part 4.
Evolution’s Big Problems, Part 5.

A new poll released just in time for Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday found only 39 percent of Americans say they “believe in the theory of evolution” and just 24 percent of those who attend church weekly believe in the explanation for the origin of life.

The Gallup survey, released Wednesday, found a quarter of those polled do not believe in evolution, and 36 percent say they don’t have an opinion either way.

The poll of 1,018 American adults, found strong ties between education level and belief in the theory.

“Among those with high-school educations or less who have an opinion on Darwin’s theory, more say they do not believe in evolution than say they believe in it,” Gallup found. “For all other groups, and in particular those who have at least a college degree, belief is significantly higher than nonbelief.”

Just 21 percent of respondents who had up to a high school level of education believe in evolution, compared with 74 percent of those with postgraduate degrees.

Frank Newport, Gallup’s editor in chief said, attitudes were shaped to an even greater degree by religion.

“Previous Gallup research shows that the rate of church attendance is fairly constant across educational groups, suggesting that this relationship is not owing to an underlying educational difference but instead reflects a direct influence of religious beliefs on belief in evolution,” he said.

Among weekly churchgoers, only 24 percent said they believe in evolution, while 41 percent do not and 35 percent have no opinion.

Inversely, 55 percent of those who seldom or never attend church expressed belief in evolution, while 11 percent do not, and 34 percent have no opinion.

Original Link.

Syria to Transfer Iranian Anti-Air Missiles to Hizballah Terrorist Group

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Israel’s government changeover catches its armed forces on a high war alert on two fronts – its southern border with the Gaza Strip and its northern borders with Lebanon and Syria, DEBKA-Net-Weekly reported Feb. 6. Iran is deeply involved in both.

The northern borders may be the more flammable, our military sources report, after Israel warned Damascus, through US, Egyptian and Turkish channels, that its delivery of scores of mobile anti-air missile systems to Hizballah in Lebanon would cross a red line.

Their possession would make Hizballah the first terrorist group in the world to be armed with an independent air defense weapon system.

In Hizballah’s hands, this air defense system would seriously endanger Israeli air movements over Galilee and the Mediterranean, impede US Sixth Fleet flights and endow the Lebanese Shiite group with total military superiority over the Lebanese army and the UNIFIL peacekeepers in the south.

According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military sources, scores of missile carriers painted in Hizballah’s colors stand ready at four Syrian military depots ready to cross the Lebanese border. In the last six months, hundreds of operatives trained in their operation in Iran and Syria. Iranian and Syrian missile officers have picked Lebanese sites for their deployment. Hizballah has placed them off-limits to civilians.

The highly-mobile, low-altitude, single-stage surface-to-air missile has a radar system that can detect, track and engage aircraft independently, picking up targets at 30 km and begin tracking them at 20-25 km.

Two separate missile guidance radars are used (with offset frequencies to reduce the effectiveness of Electronic Counter Measures (ECM), so that if one is jammed or shut down, the new missiles can track targets optically. It is armed with a 19-kilo fragmentation warhead with contact and proximity detonation capability.

A battery consists of two launch vehicles, each armed with 6 missiles and two transload vehicles with 18 missile reloads. The lethal radius at low altitude is 5 meters.

It is highly mobile, fully amphibious, air transportable and can be relocated to a new site within four minutes from system shutdown.

The integration of the newbatteries with the C-802 shore-to-ship missiles (of which Hizballah has taken delivery of more than 1,000), when deployed along the Lebanese Mediterranean coast would sharply inhibit the movements of the US Sixth Fleet.

Original Link.

Quote of the Day

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

“Atheists don’t hate fairies, leprechauns, or unicorns because they don’t exist. It is impossible to hate something that doesn’t exist. And that makes the point.”
-Author Ray Comfort on Why Atheists Hate God

Evangelist: Atheists Know They’re Wrong.

Ray Comfort’s Website, The Way of the Master.