October 31, 2009


My best friend, Alva Williams, was just sworn in as a Traveler's Rest police officer. If you have ever met Alva, you know what an incredible man he is. He has overcome many obstacles in his life including a broken home, an amputation, job losses and foreclosures. But he has never lost his courage and his faith that God is in control. He is always kind, giving, and encouraging.
Police Chief Lance Crowe explains, “You know, you feel good after Alva’s been around. He enters a room, brightens it up, makes people feel good and he leaves and you still have that feeling. He’s very encouraging."

Alva had always thought about being a police officer. He attempted in New York and failed the test. Years later he tried for the opening in Traveler's Rest. He was excepted as a recruit but couldn't pass the physical tests due to his leg. Twice he tried and failed. But if you know Alva, you know of his belief that through God ALL things are possible. He kept training and finally passed the test. He has now become the first police officer in South Carolina history to graduate the Academy with an above-the-knee prosthetic leg! The SC police academy created a new award, The SC Police Academy Award for Courage, and Alva was the first ever recipient.

We are all so proud of you Alva! Congratulations!

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October 29, 2009


The cash-for-clunkers program has been hailed by many as one of the most successful and popular government programs in a while. It was "a wildly successful program that sold nearly 250,000 cars in its first four days alone" says Bill Adams, spokesman for the DOT. Auto sales added about 1.7% to the GDP number that was out today, accounting for about half of the GDP rise we saw in the 3rd quarter. A total of 690,000 cars were sold under the program.

Edmunds.com, an online car site, compared normal sale trends before and after the program and typical trends compared to vehicles that were not part of the program (trucks, luxury, etc.) and estimated that without the program 565,000 cars would have been sold. So cash-for-clunkers added about 125,000 cars. The government spent $3 Billion dollars ($3,000,000,000) on the program. That means it spent $24,000 per "stimulated" car sale!

If Ford or Honda tried this they would soon be bankrupt! But when the government does this it is called wildly successful! Not to mention that we arrived at the point where taxpayers are footing the bill for the downpayment of people's new cars... which is really mind blowing to me.
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October 27, 2009


New York increased taxes $7.8 billion this year to "balance" the budget. The personal income tax has risen to 8.97%. It also gives New York City residents the highest income tax rate in the nation at 12.62%. Additionally, over $3.8 billion in other taxes and fees were created on rental cars, cigars, beer, wine, and internet sales.
The budget gives the Empire State the worst-ranked business tax climate in the nation - stealing the number one spot away from rival New Jersey. Not surprisingly, the Empire Center and Beacon Hill Institute have found that the budget will cost the state over 15,500 private sector jobs. Over the past ten years, spending in New York has increased a disturbing 39%!

So what is the result when politicians continue to burden the taxpayers and increase the giveaways to other voters? The taxpayer move away! 1 of every 7 taxpayers (1.1 million people) have moved out of NYC and 1.5 million people statewide have left over the last 8 years. This is the largest migration out-of-state in the country. An incredible 4.3 Billion dollars was lost in government revenue in just one year (2006-2007) due to people moving away. Not surprisingly, the most popular destination for the people fleeing NY is Florida, which has ZERO personal income tax.

It seems so obvious that, in order to have a prosperous society, you must keep taxes low to promote work, business, spending, innovation, etc. The wonderful thing about this country is we have states that have control over their own laws. So when a state like NY decides to make disastrous tax policies, people can simply move to a different state. There is competition and rewards and punishments that keep the states in check. But what happens when the entire country increases spending and taxes and overburdens the taxpayers? Will people move to other countries or stay put? I guess we will see over the next several years, the experiment is beginning now.
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An asteroid about 30 feet across hit the earth and exploded over Indonesia on October 8th. The force of the explosion was estimated to be 3 times as powerful as the atomic bomb that levelled Hiroshima. Luckily, because the asteroid was small enough, it couldn't penetrate the atmosphere and exploded about 10 miles above the earths surface resulting in no damage. An asteroid hit this size is rare, once every 10 years or so. If the asteroid was even twice as big, it could have hit the earths surface causing great damage. Some dust from the asteroid's explosion was captured on armature video:

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October 26, 2009


My point in returning to this topic is not because I take pleasure in watching the economy suffer under a President I happen to disagree with politically. I couldn't care less who gets the political "points" for a good or bad economy and, of course, I want a strong and vibrant economy. My point is demonstrating how the federal government CAN NOT provide us with prosperity. It is not its function, it is not in its power, it is not possible. The government is supposed to protect our PURSUIT of happiness, not guarantee our happiness. The former means it ensures the rules and opportunities are equal so we have the best possibilities to achieve our own desires and benefit from our own work. The latter means it must confiscate all resources and distribute them "fairly"... this has proven to destroy a society.

Our federal government has recently tried hard to guarantee our prosperity. It attempted to purchase jobs with taxpayer money to stimulate a recession economy. I have written about it here, here, and here. In February they projected how many jobs they could create with the 787 Billion dollars they borrowed from the FED. We are about halfway through the time period they had given themselves so I wanted to look at each state to see the results (click to enlarge):

1 out of the 50 states has had an increase in jobs! Wow. I understand why politicians think they can solve every problem, and why they promise the world to get us to vote for them. What I don't understand is why we keep giving them the power to do so!

Government is absolutely necessary in society, without it there is anarchy and the strong will rule over and usually enslave the weak. However, when government exceeds its boundaries and takes responsibilities it should not have, it allows the politically connected to rule the common man and places us all in bondage.
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October 24, 2009


Paul A Rahe is a Professor of History and Political Science at Hillsdale College in Michigan. He is the author of such works as Republics Ancient and Modern: Classical Republicanism and the American Revolution, Soft Despotism: Democracy's Drift, and Montesquieu and the Logic of Liberty. Hillsdale College is a unique institution. It does not accept federal or state taxpayer subsidies for any of its operations! This allows the college to do something amazing... focus on the students and their education and well-being, instead of focusing on obeying all the regulations and red tape associated with keeping federal and state money flowing in. Professor Rahe writes about one tiny aspect of this freedom and then ties it in with the much, MUCH larger picture:

This weekend, I will spend my Saturday morning in a fashion unheard of in most academic institutions. Because I teach at Hillsdale College, I will be meeting with the parents of my students -- at ten minutes intervals -- to discuss their progress.
If last year is any guide, something on the order of 800 parents will descend on us this weekend. Those who come to what we call Parents' Weekend are, for the most part, parents of the 400-freshmen we take in every year.

Most of the conversations that I have with these parents will be inconsequential. They love their children; they worry about their well-being; and they want to be reassured that they are doing well. Once reassured, they relax. Some conversations will, however, be of genuine importance. For some freshmen run into trouble, and there are occasions in which an intervention on the part of their parents serves a real purpose. Some parents come back again and again. The parents of sophomores and juniors tend, however, to be more interested in meeting the professors that their children have described than in discussing their sons and daughters. They are no longer worried in the slightest concerning their progeny, and they come back a second and even a third time because they had a good time when they first ventured into the wilds of south-central Michigan.

Where I taught before I came to Hillsdale two years ago, nothing like this was possible. This is not due to the fact that Hillsdale College is well run (which it is) nor to the fact that the University of Tulsa is dysfunctional (which is also the case). It arises from the fact that Hillsdale College takes not one dime from the federal government. With that money -- whether it comes in the form of federal loans to students, research grants, or the GI Bill -- comes the heavy hand of regulation. It is, of course, perfectly proper that a granting organization -- whether public or private -- sees to it that the money it grants is spent for the purpose for which it was granted. But this is not what I have in mind.

When Washington gives money to a state government, a municipality, a school system, or even a private college,it encroaches on the autonomy of the entity whose beneficiary it is. This should come as no surprise. As any teenager will tell you, generosity is wonderful, but there are always strings attached. In this case, however, the story is especially interesting. For the busybody who attached these particular strings, the man who denied to any institution of higher education that took in as much as a dime in federal funding the right to communicate with the parents of a student with regard to his well-being, was a libertarian. His name was James F. Buckley. He was the brother of William F. Buckley. In the late 1960s, he was elected a Senator from New York on the Conservative ticket; and in 1974 he authored an amendment to a federal bill, aimed at protecting the putative privacy rights of eighteen-year-olds (among others).

Some years ago, while teaching at the University of Tulsa, I had a freshman in my honors course who showed up for the first class and then disappeared. I thought nothing of it; I presumed that he had dropped the course (as many students do). When he showed up four weeks later, I contacted the Dean's office and asked that they look into the matter. It turns out that this student had turned into a binge alcoholic and was sleeping on the floor of a fraternity house, surrounded by empty whiskey bottles. But the university could not contact his parents about the matter without risking the loss of all of its federal funding.

There is, I think, a moral to the story -- and I try to draw this moral in the two books mentioned below. We need government, and it is essential that the government be vigorous within its proper sphere. When, however, a government exceeds its prerogatives, especially when that government is far, far away and effectively out of sight, it is quite likely to succumb to tyranny -- petty or otherwise. We are all inclined to think that we know better than our neighbors. We are all inclined to be busybodies. When offered the opportunity to interfere, even a man as sensible as Jim Buckley is apt to succumb.

When our compatriots saw to the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment in 1913, legalizing the income tax, they created that temptation. What Barack Obama and the thugs with whom he has surrounded himself are trying to do right now on a very grand scale has been taking place on a much more petty scale for a very long time.It is not enough that we throw the current crowd of rascals out (though that is essential). We need to remove the temptation to which Jim Buckley succumbed thirty-five years ago. As long as there is largess in Washington on a magnificent scale, as long as the federal government has the wherewithal with which to offer to everyone a helping hand, our ability to govern ourselves in the ordinary business of life will be in peril. Obama may fail, but there will some day be someone who does not.

What Professor Rahe writes about is exactly what is wrong with our government right now. It is why it doesn't matter if you vote Democrat or Republican. Our problem is not that we have an evil dictatorship, ours is that we have a government that "gives" to everyone and a people who like the "free" gifts. But the gifts are not free. Top management in our biggest companies are learning that right now as the government dictates to them how much money they can make because they accepted large amounts of "free" money. As a people, we must have the discipline to reject the government programs and handouts and tax deductions and grants and scholarships and incentives. If we don't, it doesn't matter if we get term limits or a 3rd party or a flat tax or anything else. We will continue to lose freedoms one small piece at a time as the government becomes more and more involved in everyday life. After all, they are just trying to "help".
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October 11, 2009


The dictionary defines author as, "One that originates, creates, makes or designs. The source." It defines accident as, "An event that happens unexpectedly, without a deliberate plan or cause. Chance, fortune, or luck." These terms are antonyms, they cannot both be used to describe something. In fact, recognizing that something has an author eliminates the possibility that it came about by accident. And recognizing something as an accident, eliminates the possibility it was authored.

Our experiences quickly enable us to distinguish between authorship and accidents. As intelligent creatures who create, make and design, it is very easy for us to see when something came about by chance or by design. In fact, there is essentially zero controversy on this subject. Let me give some examples.

Here in South Carolina we have a mountain called Ceaser's Head.

In New Hampshire there is (was) "The Old Man in the Mountain"

And even as far away as Mars there is the "Face"

We can all see these rock formations and immediately recognize they came about by accident. But why? They look "like" a human face. But there is something missing. They don't look enough like a human face and they don't contain any specific information. They are generic faces. We see them as being able to come about by chance. With enough rock formations, some will look like things we recognize, but they were not authored.
But what about this rock formation?

We all immediately know that this had an author. Someone made this. Why? Because it looks too much like something. It's not only highly improbable, if not impossible for it to come about naturally, it contains specific information. Mount Rushmore has four Presidents of the United States on it. It is conveying information that we recognize. It isn't simply a rock that looks like a man.
But as obvious as these examples are, we are actually even more acute at detecting authorship. Consider the Man-Pupu-Nyor:

Amazing free standing rock formations that are grouped together on an otherwise barren plain. But we still see these as an accident. Wind and rain and years of erosion have formed these unique formations. But a very similar rock formation we know is not an accident:

Stonehenge is simply rectangular rocks in a circle. It is possible for wind and rain to make rectangular rocks. It is nothing unusual for circles to appear in nature, they are quite common actually. So why are plain rectangular rocks in a circle so obviously authored? It is because there is information contained in the rocks. They were there for a purpose. During the solstice the sun aligned perfectly between the heel stones and struck the altar stone with a beam of light. There is more here than just rocks, there is a design, and the rocks are simply the media in which the author used.

Of course authors use much more than rocks. The written word has been one of the most important tools to transfer information. By purposefully combining 26 separate letters, an author can transfer an incredible amount of information. When we look at a book, e-mail, sign, recipe, or instructions we know, without question, someone wrote them. They are there for a purpose. What is really amazing, is that the letters themselves are not really that unique. We see individual letters in nature all the time. But when even a few letters are put together on purpose, we immediately know it is no longer chance. Conversely, you can string together thousands of letters at random and get nothing but junk. I can imagine a possibility of a baby turtle crawling across a beach leaving a mark behind him. He could crawl in a way that could easily look like letters simply by chance. But what if you look on the beach and see four simple letters "HELP". With only four letters you are positive this did not come about by accident!

This brings me to the one place where author or accident is actually HIGHLY controversial. The DNA molecule.
DNA is extremely similar to letters on a page. There are 4 "letters" G, C, A, and T. Each is a nucleotide that forms the code of the DNA. These nucleotides are arranged to store information in exactly the same way letters are arranged in a book or 1's and 0's are arranged to store computer software on a disk. Human DNA contains about 750 MB of (known) used code. That is roughly equal to 750 full length novels. It is all a very complex system that is the instruction book for life. It tells the cell how to do everything, how to manufacture the proteins it needs, how to divide and grow, how to protect itself, how to react in its surroundings and how to die.

How can someone look at this incredibly complex, purposeful, information rich object that has no known method of being created by nature, and conclude that it came about by accident? Of course that would be silly. But when you naturally conclude that the DNA molecule was authored, like every other similar object we know of in the world, that leads to the existence of a CREATOR, a GOD. Modern science has foolishly started with the assumption that there is no God and everything must be explained through nature. So they come up with complex theories as to how the DNA molecule could come about on its own. It is as crazy as arguing that the wind and rain could form Mount Rushmore or natural magnetic forces could create a computer program on a disk.

When I look at DNA, I immediately recognize that it had an author. It has a purpose, a function, and is full of information.

The question science should be exploring, is not how did DNA come about without an author, but who is the author, what can we learn about him from his creation, and how do we get to know him better?!
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October 10, 2009


The fact that the earth has NOT been warming over the last decade is getting very hard to ignore. Even news agencies like the BBC, that have been fanning the flames of man-made global warming for years, are having a hard time ignoring the facts. The IPCC keeps telling us we are doomed, but some of us are realizing there may be a bit more to global weather patterns than how much CO2 humans emit:


"Warmest year recorded globally was.... in 1998"
"For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures. And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made [emitted] carbon dioxide... has continued to rise"

"The Pacific Decadal Oscillation cool mode has replaced the warm mode in the Pacific Ocean, virtually assuring us of about 30 years of global cooling."

One must always remember that short term weather is irrelevant to long term global trends. But the following are kind of funny considering Congress is currently trying to pass a Cap-n-Trade bill to stop global warming:
Killing freeze warning for farmers
Baseball fans face record cold in Denver
Earliest opening for Ski resort in California
Chicago expecting earliest snowfall in history
Potato farmers had to stop harvest - Too much snow
Earliest Snow day - Oct 5th
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October 3, 2009

$787,000,000,000 SPENT TO ELIMINATE 7,200,000 JOBS

President Obama promised that unemployment would not exceed 8% if his "Stimulus Bill" was passed immediately. In fact, he declared that unless congress passed his bill immediately, the recession could be "catastrophic" and "irreversible". Of course the bill was passed. And the result?

Unemployment is up to 9.8%. A net total of 263,000 jobs were lost last month in addition to a downwardly revised 201,000 in August. If you include those who have settled for part-time work or have given up looking for new jobs, the unemployment rate rose to 17 percent. 571,000 people dropped out of the work force last month, presumably out of frustration over the lack of jobs. That sent the participation rate, or the percentage of the population either working or looking for work, to a 23-year low. Over 15 million Americans are now out of work. 7.2 million jobs have been eliminated since the recession began in December 2007.

Incredibly, President Obama claimed Thursday that "America is stronger" because of the stimulus bill.

To bring the issue closer to home, I will look at my own county in South Carolina. Spartanburg county unemployment is at 12.7%. The "Stimulus Bill" has done the following:
Sherman College - $13,410 grant
University of South Carolina - $2,372,829 grant
Spartanburg Methodist College - $511,306 grant
Spartanburg Community College - $3,354,652 grant
Wofford College - $304,910 grant
City of Woodruff - $18,239 grant
Woodruff Housing Authority - $200,880 grant
RP Financial Services - $250,000 loan
Regenesis Community Health Center - $703,637 grant
Spartanburg County First Steps - $89,470 grant
Piedmont Community Actions, Inc. - $267,148 grant
Converse College - $301,770 grant
ETV (PBS) - $50,000 grant
United Way - $9,000 grant
There are NO contracts (jobs) awarded in Spartanburg County from the "Stimulus Bill".
So some colleges, community centers, a television station, local governments and the united way got some "free" money. How does that create jobs? Would Spartanburg really be in a "catastrophic" and "irreversible" recession right now without the above grants? I don't think so.

To put this all in another perspective, each person who has lost his/her job since December 2007 could have received a $110,000 check from the federal government for the same cost as the "Stimulus Bill". Do you think that would do more or less for the unemployed people in Spartanburg county than the above grants?

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