Halloween’s Opportunity

Here’s a fun way to be a witness.

On Halloween, my brother Adam and I had a contest last year over who could make the best of the best poster. We would hang it on the front door to explain why we don’t accept trick-or-treaters. We did this because honestly, it is tiring to be forced to tell people that. Though we don’t have as much of a problem as my Grandma (who lives in the city) because we are in the country. The thing is, it was fun. So I did it again this year.

The original poster read “We Worship God, and Not Satan, Light, not Darkness, Life, Not Death.”

My poster.

My poster.

Adam and I decorated it with pumpkins and explanatory verses and hung it out on the front door.

This year, I wanted to make one — even though it’s raining so hard I doubt anyone will see it.  Though our area is remote, maybe yours isn’t. Maybe you’ve had to turn away kids.  and if that’s true this might be a good idea. Be respectful, of course. New Christians may not know, and others might not realize at all that it is a bad thing.

How to Get Out of the Middle of the Road

Red or blue, up or down -- what do you choose?

Red or blue, up or down — have you decided where you want to go and what you want to be?

Neither leftist howler monkeys or patriotic Tea Party protesters like the unfortunates stuck “in the middle of the road.” If you are having trouble deciding which side to choose, or if you find yourself hovering between the two, here are sure-fire ways to make up your mind.

 

Here are five simple steps that are guaranteed to make you red in the face:

 

1. Attempt to start your own small business (without hiring twelve extra people to navigate regulations or taxes, and without hiring any lobbyists).

 

2. Join the military.

 

3. Homeschool your children (if you are an atheist, you will convert to Christianity).

 

4. Study the Constitution in depth.

 

5. Move to Texas.

 

 

If you think the left is the best direction, here are five easy steps that are guaranteed to turn you blue:

 

1. Never question anything that any politician, college professor, or school teacher tells you.

 

2. Self-incur as much brain damage as you see fit.

 

3. Ignore results and focus on intentions — get on welfare or become an employee of the EPA.

 

4. Listen to heavy metal music (at least twelve hours every day) and ensure that your eyes never look upon the Constitution. Shun all critical thinking or logic.

 

5. Join the Sith, move to New York, and lobby for a federally funded Death Star.

Halloween’s Folly

Halloween: maybe one of the most disputed holidays of the American Nation.( except maybe Earth Day) With its origins in paganism and its prevalence today, many Christians try to avoid it. After all, it’s a holiday basically in worship of Satan, a day when demons supposedly had the run of the place before All Saints Day when they were driven out. The poor frightened peasants thought that disguises would keep the demons from recognizing them and hurting them.

Now, for small children it is a day for dressing up as either good creatures or foul. (Plus the chance to get free candy.) For older children cruel, dangerous, and even criminal activities are thought of as good fun. It is still a day of darkness and of terror — at least for cat owners. If nothing else, the holiday treats cats the same way it treats monsters, not as the cute, furry pets they are. Because this is a kid-friendly site I’m not going into any more detail.

On Halloween, it is deemed great fun to torment and hurt friendly animals like this one.

On Halloween, it is deemed great fun to torment and hurt friendly animals like this one.

Is it harmless? No way! Is it evil? I would say yes; others would disagree. But what did Paul say in Ephesians? Ephesians 5:11 deals with the works of darkness, and Paul says something very interesting. “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Expose them!

You know what that means. Bring them to the light. Examine them. Show their true colors. Again, in verses 13-14:

“But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,

and arise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you.””

So that’s the thing. Don’t take part of this celebration. Do research. Spread the truth. And Christ will shine on you.

Knuckleheads

Knuckleheads: Zeal is not always ideal

Our family likes to watch a series called Sonic X on Saturday mornings. In it there is a character called Knuckles, a red echidna with big fists and a short temper. He’s a tough guy but not always right, in fact, he gets worked up over so many things, that when something really important comes up, his friends don’t believe him.  It’s really hard to know, when you’re watching, if he’s right or wrong. He’s a real hero, strong, outspoken, but not really wise.

‘Knuckles’ types are becoming more and more frequent in the church. They are the zealots of today, whom everyone admires but no one really respects. In fact, they sometimes go so overboard, that they put a bad name on the church. We all are embarrassed by these “knuckleheads” but we all wish we could have their zeal.

Peter was an example of a “Knucklehead” in the Bible. Whenever a great moment popped up, like when Jesus was transfigured in all his glory, Peter usually ruined it by saying something really, well, Knuckleheaded.  “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.”(matt 17:4) Peter didn’t want the glory to end, so he said something, and it ended up to be really silly.

We can learn from their mistakes. We need to learn to be bold for Christ, but we also need to be wise. “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matt 10:16) We need to learn to pick our fights wisely, but we also need to be ready to risk our comfort for the sake of the call. As soldiers for Christ we must “do all to the glory of God.” And that truly means “whatever you do”(1 Cor 10:31)

Soldier, remember that you are a witness for your captain. In an army, a general sometimes sends scouts to prepare a place for his army. Whatever the scouts do reflects the character of the general, the captain. We are also scouts for Christ, and what we do reflects on our captain. When we are called to take account for all that we do here, What will you say?

Without The Cacophony

Working in a Congressional Office can be challenging. Fast-paced, sometimes hectic, and almost always noisy, Congressman Steve Stockman’s Washington D.C. Office holds many different opportunities for many types of people – including those who cannot hear the usual office cacophony.

 

Even though they cannot hear, deaf interns come to work with a cheerful attitude, strong work ethic, and big dreams. The interns skillfully feed information into databases, read and sort constituent mail, research legislation, run errands, and much more – their only limitation their inability to answer phone calls. However, many interns are adamant that not answering phone calls is an enormous benefit: “no angry constituents or difficult callers, and no distracting office environment.”

 

Matthew Bennett (on the left) with two other deaf interns at Congressman Stockman's office.

Matthew Bennett (on the left) with two other deaf interns at Congressman Stockman’s office.

Matthew Bennett, the data-entry team leader, is optimistic, and very motivated: “When I first started working here a month ago, I did data entry and very low level work. However, because I was very dedicated and motivated despite the repetitive work, they decided to test me by assigning me to do a complicated Access database development. After I completed the project and several others, I was promoted to data-entry team leader and now manage a team of interns.”

 

Matthew manages and works with other deaf interns – “I enjoy working here, because I get to build my managerial experience,” he said.

 

In addition to his full time internship, Matthew attends college at night, full time and will graduate this December with a perfect GPA.

 

“Before working here, I worked for the Department of Defense for several years … as a Data Management specialist. After working there, I decided that I want to spend the rest of my life working in government … I decided to get my Masters in Public Administration in order to obtain a supervisory position,” Matthew continued, “After my internship is over I would like to pursue a career here in Congress or go back to the Department of Defense in a … position with high level responsibilities.”

 

“Due to limited and substandard education for deaf children available in Tennessee when I was a young child, my mother decided to uproot her entire family and relocate to Colorado to ensure I receive an exceptional education,” He said. “If it was not for my mother’s courageous and momentous decision to relocate despite of so many unknowns, I fear I probably would be living in a trailer park and living off on welfare.”

 

Despite enormous obstacles (some from society and some from people) Matthew has pursued his ambitions and remains an inspiration for others, deaf or not, in the office.

 

Working together and communicating through sign language, the interns are dedicated to their duties. Many of them aspire to careers in Washington. Allara, who knows two languages and is currently studying at GallaudetUniversity, would like to work for the United Nations. Lily says she would like to either work full time at Congressman Stockman’s office or find a job related to information technology. Greg would like to start a business of his own, providing administration services to non-profit organizations.

 

Congressional internships not only offer valuable experience in the legislative process, they provide a chance to become familiar with typical office proceedings. Meeting leaders and learning how to become one as well, these interns are overcoming significant challenges to achieve their goals.

 

Interning with Congressman Stockman in particular offers special opportunities to deaf interns.

 

“My favorite part of working here is the friendly people and learning experiences.” Greg said.

 

“My first impression of Congressman Stockman was that he is a very approachable man, kind to everyone regardless of their position,” Matthew concluded. “This is a very important part of being a leader. Everything he has done since the first day I met him clearly demonstrates his exceptional leadership.”

Iranian Nuclear Situation: Bipartisan Breakthrough

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan bill that legislators on both sides of the aisle are calling “a breakthrough” was introduced in the House of Representatives this morning. With support from Tea Party groups and members of the Green Party alike, the bill offers a feasible solution to Iranian nuclear situation.

 

A co-author of the bill, liberal Democrat Duke Lear explains, “I like our president, but he clearly was not leading in this situation. The whole ‘red line’ thing wasn’t working here, so I had to take this matter upon myself.”

 

The bill’s unique approach baffled some middle-of-the-road representatives, but wingnuts on the right or the left both accept and support the measure. One commentator stated that the explanation behind this reaction is because of drastically differing beliefs in how government works.

 

“Well, I decided that if we can’t win, we might as well join them. So the bill actually creates an agency to help the Iranians develop a successful nuclear program. Advisors and think tanks and citizens all love the idea, because it shows that we are willing to reach out. They aren’t going to be hostile if we make the first move towards friendship.” Lear continued.

Hasan Rouhani

Rep. Claire O’Nook, an expert in foreign relations, ran on a Tea Party platform in 2010 and has considered herself a member of the allegedly controversial party ever since.

 

“Lear and I have never seen eye-to-eye, yet we’re both supporting this proposal.” O’Nook added, “But Lear is just like a pawn. He is voting ‘yes’ for all the wrong reasons first of all. He thinks that the programs will work great and then Iran will loves us. But you know what Washington agencies do … well, they do what you see Washington doing now. It would cripple Iran’s government, buckle them over with debt, and permanently disable their efforts. That’s why I’m saying that it is worth support: think what it could do for Iran’s program.”

 

In O’Nook’s “Phase Two”, Washington would have a firm grasp on Tehran. In addition to high taxes and a crippling welfare program, another agency would be formed to ensure that the nuclear bombs are climate-friendly and that Middle Eastern rugs are pet-safe.

 

“I intend to set up a phone help line, and all the help will be from the states — of course we must speak with such a thick American accent that they can’t understand a word.” O’Nook smiled. “If we run this like we run the EPA or IRS, the Iranians will give up on this whole nuclear thing in just six months. Meanwhile, we’ll have a great new tax base.”

 

Lear and O’Nook, despite their amazingly varying approaches, both believe the program will bring revolutionary results. Citizens around the nation are extremely enthusiastic about what the legislation can do for them.

 

“If we treat the Iranians like the IRS treats me, they’ll be forced to quit. They couldn’t afford to build nukes if they’re funding disability or unemployment benefits on this side of the world. It’s a brilliant plan…” a Southeast Texan nodded.

 

A Texas Democrat stated, “If we can make their programs and initiatives as successful as the ones in the states are, at the same cost as the ones in the states are, then sure, how can they not love us? This is a wonderful way to win over rogue countries, and follow in our footsteps, if you ask me.”

 

Congressional leaders remain optimistic that the bill will pass with enormous margins. If the legislation passes on Friday, implementation will begin in January.

Babies Are Liberal

Children are born with a sinful nature, as evidenced from their behavior. From the moment they are physically capable, babies and toddlers disobey their parents. If it is convenient, they may lie — and sometimes they may invent a mistruth for the fun of it. Even the best of toddlers occasionally throw temper tantrums or fits. The majority of children grow out of the tantrums, lies, and physical violence, excepting politicians and liberal journalists.

 

Children are born, however, with more than a basic sin nature: man’s entire way of thinking is corrupt from the start. Lacking basic thinking skills or logic, youngsters are inherently liberals.

 

Although perhaps a sense of social morality exists in young children (until or unless their parents or schools teach otherwise), their economic theories will be surprisingly similar to the ideas set forth by the democrat party. Big government and bureaucrats are easier to grasp for the young mind than the “invisible hand” that Adam Smith, the father of capitalism, described. Because of ignorance and innocence, children will assume that laws will be followed to the letter — thus laws against cigarettes, road-killing kittens that are crossing the street, or (in my case) misspelling would be the end to a problem.

 

When I was much younger — probably in pre-school or kindergarten — I spotted a sign for a business with a deliberately misspelled word. I asked “why in the world” would someone be allowed to misspell in an advertisement. I was given the answer that it was “creative.” Replying with a tone that only kindergarteners can muster, I said that such misspellings should be banned.

 

Back when I was a liberal.

Back when I was a liberal, in 2003. 

Even when I was older, seven or eight, I sneered at the idea of having two fast food restaurants so close together in our town.

 

“It is such a waste. People could do better with just one. And what if one goes out of business?” I naively said. My statement reveals the mindset of a true leftist, who not only disapproves of tough competition and market innovation, but who also thinks that subsidies and bailouts might be appropriate.

 

At age nine or ten, despite having taken a logic course, I still could not think straight: I was swerving left at every turn. I despised “rich” people who had “so much money they don’t know what to do with it.” Driving through a wealthy part of Beaumont brought out the jealousy in me. Just like a democrat, I growled that the wealthy did not deserve their hard-earned wealth. At the same time, I longed that I was in their position and owned such a house.

 

My mind has obviously been redeemed since then. Nevertheless, it goes to show that all conservatives were once liberals. It also shows why liberals reason as they do: a desire to own without work, a desire for automatic success for everybody no matter what or how they act, and the nature of a control freak that manages to back up petty preferences with the state.

 

The idea that government can collect money and redistribute it fairly sounds so wonderful to the young mind. The idea that big businesses are “out to get you” and are all corrupt from the core can sound very plausible. The idea that government is a simpler and smarter solution than the “greedy robber barons” seems like a true statement when one lacks any sort of logic or critical thinking skills — as is the case with most children aged six or seven years.

 

Liberals are like children without the innocence (plus they are nowhere near as cute as an average three-year-old). Liberals throw temper tantrums, too, but instead of pouring out their wrath by banging their head on the floor or by throwing plastic toys, liberals will bash others, throw insults and filthy rhetoric. They always finish by calling for more government in any given situation.

 

It is part of a human sin nature that we are born as liberals. Staying a kid at heart is fine; having a child-like faith is something one should have. However, shun the examples of the likes of Nancy Pelosi and John Maynard Keynes: learn how to think and never stop thinking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Brains Of The Outfit”

Of the thousands of reasons socialism is inherently unworkable, the most unambivalent explanation for the socialistic debacle is that central planners cannot manage the affairs of citizens any better than the citizens could do it themselves. In self-interest, free market participants design products and services that are convenient and innovative. Central planners do not design products; they make a half-hearted attempt at copying the achievements of others, resulting in flops like Healthcare.gov.

 

Despite the mandatory nature of the law, bureaucrats and central planners neither constructed a website capable of operating properly nor did they consider that over three hundred million people reside in the States: the website crashed because of an “overload” of two thousand users.

 

The failings of central planners are notoriously widespread. Agencies including the IRS, HHS, EPA, and DMV are accredited with providing some of the worst customer service in the nation (if one thinks of them as businesses). Despite being relatively low-level bureaucrats, the employees of the EPA or DMV somehow bring torturous misery to the lives of almost every American. One person controlling the life of just one other is an almost overwhelming thought: yet central planners are expected to manage from afar the affairs of hundreds, thousands, or millions.

 

Imagine a single, fallible human brain like one’s own is given complete charge over five other bodies. This is the basic structure of socialism.

 

The central brain, like Healthcare.gov, constantly overloads. When the package-delivery man attempts to lift something, it requires extra thought, extra energy, and a sense of balance. When he walks to the recipient’s door, he must watch for potholes, mud puddles, or barking dogs. As a baker removes a hot pan of muffins from an oven, precautions are necessary. The seamstress must be careful not to cut her finger with scissors or sew a stitch into her finger, and she has to ensure that she does not misplace pins. A construction worker might find his job impossible, with only a fraction of a single brain to use. A schoolchild would not learn anything at all.

 

These problems could happen at the same time, and the potential for such an occasion is always existent. All too often, socialism fails because the economic system has no provisions for problems in the first place. Even worse is when the system they set up is guaranteed to cause all problems all the time.

 

Sewing is delicate work — eyesight and fully operational hands are necessary. Baking requires an eye for detail and benefits greatly from creativity. If one delivers packages, discernment, alertness, and quick reflexes are mandatory. However, one of the five using a skill deprives the other four from utilizing that function. This may very well be impossible when hearts must always beat — and even if a single brain could pull off such a feat, the regulation of a heartbeat must change depending on what a body does. Even more gruesome a thought, what will happen when the controlling brain sleeps or dies?

 

Just as the schoolchild cannot learn in the above example, socialist states are merely attempting survival. They cannot feed themselves, nor can they work, much less innovate, invent, or learn fundaments of science.

 

Just as the delivery man cannot effectively detect potholes or mud puddles, state-run corporations make mistakes and then cannot recover. (If the analogy carries this far, another body might have been using the long-term memory portion of the brain at the time — making learning a lesson impossible.)

 

Socialism is allegedly based on equality, but shame-facedly ignores the fact that merely setting up a “brain” to control other lives and bodies is not only a waste of potential, but an apparent indicator that the central planner is more capable than millions of people combined. Clearly socialism’s answer to “the brains of the outfit” is a failure.

 

George Washington’s Hoecakes

 

President Washington had a good taste in breakfast foods.

President Washington had a good taste in breakfast foods.

Here is George Washington’s breakfast of choice: hoecakes. The recipe is a tad hard to follow, but you can manage. It’s a slightly modernized adaptation.

 

  • 8 3/4 cups white cornmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 1 egg
  • Warm water
  • Shortening or other cooking grease
  • Honey & Butter

 

In large container, mix together 4 cups white cornmeal, 1 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast, and enough warm water to give the mixture the consistency of pancake batter (probably 3-4 cups). Cover and set on the stove or counter overnight.

 

In the morning, gradually add remaining cornmeal, egg and enough warm water to give the mixture the consistency of pancake batter (3-4 cups). Cover and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes.

 

Add cooking grease to a griddle or skillet and heat until water sprinkled onto it will bead up.

 

Pour batter, by the spoonful, onto the hot griddle. (Note: since the batter has a tendency to separate, you will need to stir it well before pouring each batch.) When the hoecake is brown on one side, turn it over and brown the other. Serve warm with butter and honey.

 

One Nation Under God or One Nation Gone Under

“America is falling apart.”

“There is something fundamentally wrong with America.”

“Our nation has been declining for the past century.”

 

Media constantly barrages readers with pessimistic messages, identical or very similar to the stereotypical ones presented above. Pointing out the shortcomings, corruption, poverty, and a plenitude of social ills, opinionated talking heads point out that this or that happened when so-and-so was president, and this or that happened when such-and-such controlled Congress. Nebulous statistics can be made to appear as if they corresponded with some problem or benefit.

 

Despite frequent and nearly equal alternation between red and blue, America is in a mess. The line that truly must be drawn is the most obvious line to draw in the first place: the connection between Christianity and success.

 

The Christian viewpoint brings some perspective to the complaints and claims voiced by the United States today. First of all, America has obviously drifted away from its Christian faith and heritage. The national motto is so embarrassing to some citizens that they would rather eschew the American dollar altogether; high-profile court cases arise constantly in which atheists demand that the pledge be altered in the name of what they have falsely dubbed “religious freedom.” Secondly, the most discernable beginning of a national decline falls somewhere around the mid-1950s and early 1960s.

 

In the 50s and 60s Americans of all ages (but particularly students) abandoned and renounced their Christian faith. For some it was a gradual process: getting out of a habit or avoiding family traditions for the “convenience of it.” Others embraced a drastic or revolutionary worldview in an instant, never again to return.

 

For America, this moral deterioration has not been slow. The theorists drawing false ultimatums are actually part of the problem: wholly blaming the decline to anything other than a massive, nationwide renouncement is part of the decline itself.

Without Christianity, American founding documents are meaningless. Liberty is in vain. Life is futile — and economic, moral, and personal responsibility have no significance.

The root cause of a problem may be policy, but the root of policy is worldview.

 

Certain political parties, occasional movements, sporadic protests, and rare candidates may have better plans and intentions for our nations. They may offer a plan to renew the American dream or to put the economy back on track.

 

The unfortunate fact of the matter is no matter the job these activists can do, the problem will return persistently if the root cause is not repaired. Even if conservatives took the House, Senate, executive branch, and judicial branch, America in its current spiritual and moral condition still would have no chance of a full recovery. A revival and then a grassroots movement are the only two things that can get America out of the grave it made for itself.

 

There is an enormous void to fill in the area of godly leaders, in all branches of government. But there are a few left:

 

When asked what would be the first thing he would do if he was elected to Congress, Rep. Steve Stockman answered, “I will get down on my knees and ask for God’s guidance.”

 

As a Christian, do your best to vote in the 2013 and 2014 elections; but remember, politics are not the whole of the problem. A deep spiritual issue is rending the very fabric of America, and resolving and reversing this issue requires much more than just politics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skinny Jeans To Blame for 2008 Recession

BOSTON – The Balderdash Foundation has released its latest findings: the popularity of skinny jeans was the most influential factor in the 2008 global financial meltdown, oftentimes labeled the Great Recession.

 

Between 2005 and 2007, skinny jean lobbyists began a highly organized campaign on Capitol Hill, Wall Street, and within national media. The prevalence and popularity of the allegedly fashionable clothing soared in investor-class groups, causing what the Balderdash Foundation’s medical and economic experts have dubbed the airhead effect: a series of studies, searches, and surveys proved the long-suspected theory that skinny jeans cause constipation, dizziness, and a loss of discernment.

 

“The best way to explain the airhead effect is that when a person squeezes into a pair of drainpipe pants, it’s like squishing the bottom half of a water balloon. The other half expands and nears the bursting point.” said Professor Fole de Rolei, a South Korean economist and the head of the Health Care Market Study Committee within the Foundation.

scientists

Professor Rolei and two of his colleagues.

Skinny jean-wearers were 57% more likely to suffer from headaches, nausea, low IQ, brain fog, constipation, intestinal torsion, and runny noses.

 

Medical researchers collaborated with the Balderdash Foundation. Their findings were astonishing.

 

“The popularity of skinny jeans among bureaucrats, lawyers, investors, mortgage-buyers, and the general population shows a striking trend. Skinny jeans have a similar effect to alcohol in that one never knows what is going on while one is drinking or when one wears skinny jeans. But one will want to do it again, if one does it for the first time.” an anonymous researcher explained, “Thankfully, most damage is reversible. But the damage done by the 2008 recession is done. We do know how we can prevent further depressions or recessions.”

 

The researcher went on to say that because of the socially acceptable status of the jeans, they could be worn in almost any situation — impeding judgment. Staffers, interns, and teenagers around the world began wearing skinny jeans long before 2005, but when drainpipe jeans’  popularity increased to 46% in 2007, economists began noticing indicators of an imminent stock market collapse.

 

There are some peculiarities to the Foundation’s findings: the airhead effect was deemed strongest in males wearing bright red skinny jeans. The Balderdash Foundation explained in a report:

 

“Males clearly suffered the most from the airhead effect when wearing bright red drainpipe jeans; however, a ‘chicken-and-the-egg’ question arises: are the mentally unstable more prone to wearing vibrantly colored jeans, or do wearers of the jeans slowly eventually become mentally unstable, perpetuating the condition? Regardless, a clear correlation exists…”

 

In 2005, a heated debate in the House revealed a concern amongst many Congressmen that tight jeans may contribute to economic problems and an overall social decline. At the time, the fashion skeptics were called “fools.” The Balderdash Foundation insists that they were visionaries.

 

Magazines such as National Geographic have touched on the topic before, but at the time the airhead effect was considered pure speculation. Because of the financial industry’s affinity for drainpipe jeans, the questionable fashion-wear and the resulting airhead effect is most likely to blame for the “Great Recession.”

 

“Now nobody can ignore the hard evidence. Now that we know what’s going on, we should treat skinny jeans like we do drugs, tobacco, or alcohol: don’t drive in them, don’t use them until you’re over 21, and definitely don’t wear them if you’re having stomach problems,” Professor Rolei continued.

 

In 2009 Congress nearly passed a regulatory bill restricting the drainpipe jean industry. Doctors, clinics, and baggy jean corporations around the world encouraged the Senate to pass the final version of the legislation, but Senators were wary of the bill after prominent Hollywood lawyers and actors vowed to bring the law to the Supreme Court. However, Democrat representatives are now considering sneaking in a disincentive “sin” tax on skinny jeans, likely to be higher than 40%.

 

Meanwhile, Professor Rolei has been nominated for a Nobel Prize in medicine and economics.

A Trip to the Spindletop Museum

About a year ago in the Spring, my younger brother and I had a field trip with our Junior-high class to the Spindletop museum, for Texas History. Though I was not in Junior high, there wasn’t really a high-school class that I like, so down I went. It was a museum dedicated to telling kids about oil, Spindletop, and related things.

We had a nice tour guide, but we hadn’t gone twenty feet away from the entrance when we encountered the first exhibit: fossils.

I had never really thought about it, but there is a reason oil, coal, and natural gas are called “fossil fuels.” In case you don’t know, it’s because these fuels are created by “billions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the earth” in other words, fossils. Apparently when dead things are smashed into rock they leak oil. And Spindletop was an oil gusher.

So we came to several cases, some containing bones, some oil itself, etc. The tour guide was talking about how oil was formed. The moms had patient smiles on their faces while exchanging glances. My brother was snapping pictures. I was getting uncomfortable.

Beaumont's Spindletop oil field was one of the most revolutionary discoveries of all time. We just have to make sure we get the facts straight.

Beaumont’s Spindletop oil field was one of the most revolutionary discoveries of all time. We just have to make sure we get the facts straight.

I knew what he was saying about billions of years was wrong. I had to say something, but I had never studied this topic before. What could I say?

Well, after an awkward pause, I did what I was getting known for at that group, I asked a question. “Do you have proof of this? What does it mean, exactly?”

It sort of surprised him. He started to explain again. I listened. So did seven other kids. And we could all tell that it wasn’t very convincing. I’m sure that the common refrain in our heads was “You weren’t there.” Then I let it go and we had a great field trip.

You see, God sometimes puts things into our lives that are uncomfortable things that seem like problems, but are really opportunities. In my case, it really wasn’t a big deal. But in yours, it might make an impact on the whole class. Who knows!

Dagger

I want to talk now about the power of questions.

I call this post ‘dagger’ for a number of reasons. A dagger is a small knife that is used in close combat. A dagger is your last defense in a desperate fight. It’s small, subtle, easily disguised, quick, and cuts to the chase. So is a question.

I first learned the value of the question in Gregory Koukl’s book Tactics. With a question, you can tread deep waters and not get in as much trouble as you would with an all-out debate. Koukl opened my eyes to a new type of defense: The Question.

A question is  much better received then a challenge. You can use it against a teacher in a lecture. After all, questions are welcomed, so they say. You can safely ask a question without revealing your own beliefs. You are critiquing another’s thoughts, engaging with them, learning from them. Even if you don’t agree, these people probably studied the topic they are teaching.

And people like being asked their opinions. It tickles our vanity to think that others care about what we think. Remember, we are to be respectful, kind, and truthful, even when we disagree.

Like a dagger, the question can be a dangerous weapon. Be careful, pick your battles! If you argue about every little thing just for the sake of winning, you are not sending the message you want, that you really care about them. No one likes a trigger-happy steamroller who crushes everything in its path.

And remember, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

On the Other End Of The Line

 

If one ever attempts contacting a senator or congressman, one is likely to wonder what goes on behind the scenes. Does anyone write this down? Does the representative see it — and if he does, will he care? Is that voice on the other end of the line actually human?

 

Whenever one calls, emails, or writes almost any congressional office, the call or email will be recorded in special databases. An address, contact information, reason for calling, concerns, comments, and name will be reported with painstaking care. A tally or average will be calculated to see what constituents think of issues.

 

Congress sometimes doesn't do a good job of representing you, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to represent yourself and your positions well when you call your representative's office.

Congress sometimes doesn’t do a good job of representing you, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to represent yourself and your positions well when you call your representative’s office.

Although some politicians live their lives by watching the latest opinion polls or approval ratings, others will have more backbone — depending on the issue, they may or may not be swayed. Listening to the people is usually a good thing — but polls can be skewed. President Obama quoted a false poll when he claimed that “… we had 80, 90% of the country that agreed with it [strict gun control measures].” Listening to the people and following biased polls are completely different.

 

Additionally, out-of-state callers usually receive lesser treatment (and in most cases, rightly so). The call may be reported, but it will be noted that it was not from the senator’s state or the representative’s district. Out-of-state callers can still make an enormous impact, especially if the senator or representative is well-known. If the congressman already intends to vote as non-constituents are urging, it is an encouragement to hear that Americans agree.

 

There are things one should make a point of doing when calling a representative’s office:

 

  • First, give your name. Let them know where you live, particularly if you do not live in the state or district that they represent. (If you are trying to annoy a liberal, do not tell them where you are calling from and waste as much of their time as possible.)
  • Be very specific about what you are calling about. If you have a question, phrase it in a very understandable way — sometimes callers will refer to “the bill that raises taxes” or “the bill that cuts spending,” and unless more context is given, the intern who responds may have a very difficult time connecting the dots. Occasionally it may be necessary to ask a question before urging the congressman to vote nay or aye!
  • If you have access to the internet and you have a question for your senator or representative, it is sometimes better to search online and see if his website mentions his position on that issue.

 

Equally important are things one should avoid:

 

  • One of the most frustrating requests a caller can make is to speak personally with a congressman. Even if the caller claims he is a close friend or relative, the call will only be forwarded if the intern or staffer answering is absolutely certain that the claim is valid. Usually the only time an intern is allowed to break the “never-forward” rule is if the senator or representative has given specific instructions on how to respond to a particular caller. For general constituents, however, the request is recorded just like any other.
  • Asking those who answer the phones personal questions puts them in a bind. Not answering the question can be deemed as a circumlocution defending an evil representative. Answering personally is usually forbidden — and if an intern did give a personal opinion, it may not line up with the congressman’s view. For the congressional office and the constituent, personal questions are a lose-lose situation.
  • Beginning your call with a nasty comment never helps. Some interns are even apt to take it as a personal insult. It gives the caller a bad reputation and a much diminished voice as a constituent, plus it can sometimes have the effect of a negative number: “do the opposite of what they say.”

 

Lastly, the volunteers, interns, or staffers who answer the phones are human. Especially if one has no clue on the congressman’s stance on an issue, do not threaten to “throw the bum out” in the first sentence. Callers can seem very foolish when they rant that they will devote their entire fortune to removing a congressman from office over a particular issue when the congressman actually agrees with them. Listen to what he thinks before vowing to give your life and your fortune to remove him from office. Take note of how he has voted in the past, too.

 

Always remember: senators and representatives are delighted to hear what their constituents have to say. Making an effective call requires that one consider human nature, common congressional office standards, and most importantly, phone etiquette.

The Death Tax

“Why, what is pomp, rule, reign, but earth and dust? And live how we can, but die we must,” wrote William Shakespeare in his well-known play, Henry VI.

 

You live as you can and you still die. But what about after you are gone? The estate tax, more opprobriously known as the death tax, will ensure that your assets and estate will receive  a millionaire’s treatment in the legal muddle that follows death.

 

If your will gives more than $10,000 to kin after your passing, you will be taxed at a minimum of 20% – which does seem to imply something of pomp, rule, and reign if you look at it through the harsh lens of progressive tax brackets.

 

Since 1916, the modern estate tax has reincarnated in various forms. Because of a worldwide trade conflict that resulted in a substantial cut to the mainstay of federal revenue in the early twentieth century – trade tariffs – Congress began a search for new ways to extract from the economy.

 

The Revenue Act of 1916 was the solution they sought and soon obtained. This legislation introduced not only the modern income tax, but an estate tax with numerous similarities to the current estate tax system. The progressive tax system of 1916 began at 1 percent and reached its maximum at 10 percent, on estates over $5 million ($1 billion in today’s terms). World War I pushed the highest bracket up due to the costs of wartime.

 

But the high rates did not disappear with the war. Congress continued to increase rates and soon the gift tax, an unfair blight on the tax code, had been thrust on the American people. Throughout the 20s and 40s, the death tax – with exorbitant rates of up to 77% – was considered an effective tool for redistribution of wealth.

 

Michael Ramirez on estate taxes.

Michael Ramirez on estate taxes.

A 1976 estate tax bill overhauled the system, most notably increasing the size, scope, and tax base of the tax. The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 was a positive change towards the elimination of the death tax. Providing for a carefully scheduled phase-out of rates, the law did away with the death tax altogether for calendar year 2010. Unfortunately, the recovery of the death tax came just a year later in 2011 as the system reconverted to 1997 laws.

 

The death tax is not only very unpopular among taxpayers, it is a very destructive example of a deadweight loss.

 

Philanthropists and multi-generational altruistic families have difficulties settling legal affairs – the latter may not be able to reconcile their wishes with the death tax at all. Small business owners and family businesses that may have wanted to use their personal “fortunes” to invest in their companies will likely find it impossible to settle the matter. The death tax is taxing estates that have been taxed many times over, in many different ways. Discouraging savings and investment, the death tax is a scourge to taxpayers great and small. Taxes are incentives; the power to tax is the power to destroy.

 

Unfortunately, the death tax bears no similarity to a tax on cigarettes and it does not slow death. It does, however, signal to taxpayers of all ages that investments “aren’t worth it” and to older taxpayers that it would benefit them more to spend everything now than to pass the lion’s share of their savings to the government. Rather than put their money in the hands of entrepreneurs or investing more in useful economic endeavors, Americans are essentially encouraged to consume their savings right away.

 

As Edward McCaffery put it, “The death tax rewards a ‘die-broke’ ethic, whereby the wealthy spend down their wealth on lavish consumption, and discourages economically and socially beneficial intergenerational saving.”

 

The death tax, a job-killer and a disincentive for saving or investment, is a harmful aspect of the tax code that is almost universally hated, and only accounts for less than 1 percent of federal revenues. “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Benjamin Franklin famously said.

H.R. 2429, The Death Tax Repeal Act of 2013, is sponsored by Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX) and co-sponsored by 152 of his colleagues. Congressman Steve Stockman, Lumberton’s representative, is actively opposed to the death tax and is co-sponsoring the bill.

 

Whether you are a small business owner, a millionaire, or a merely a hard worker and careful saver, your investments will transform into “but earth and dust” sooner or later. Live how you can, but your will doesn’t necessarily mean there is a way, thanks to the federal death tax. – TSS

The Power of Words

wordsIn the last few posts I have been writing about mindsets. Today, I want to write about words.

Words are disputably the strongest force of our world. Words start fights, words end them. Whoever said that the pen was mightier than the sword was smarter than most people today. Then again, we Christians are watching with fear as the words we hear and the truth we know conflict.

Who do we trust? Who do we listen to? How are we going to live our lives? The words of men? Or the words of God?

I was listening to the radio today and a song came on, “Words” by Hawk Nelson. “Words can build you up, words can break you down, start a fire in your heart or put it out.” We are seeing the power of words everywhere. My brothers were in a fight, but all it took was a harsh word to start it. The cold war was fought in word and in thought, but never in deed.

With the dangerous power of words, the natural response might be to hide from them. But we can’t, or if we could, it would be wrong. After all, Jesus said “In the same way let your light shine before others  so that they may see your good works and give glory to your father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16) Hiding from reality isn’t an option, Soldier. So what can we do in these wars of words?

Simply put, we must live as Christ lived, speak as he spoke. Christ never lied to the Pharisees. He never spoke out of hatred to his fellow people, even those who took him to the cross.

Soldier, when you use your words, pick them carefully! But don’t be afraid to use them. If you don’t speak, who will? You might be missing opportunities to witness through your fear. Don’t be afraid. I want to  close with the chorus to the song I mentioned earlier.

“Let my words be love, let my words be truth, I don’t want to say a word, unless it points the world back to you. Let the words I say be the sound of your grace, because I don’t want to say a word, unless it points the world back to you.”

Let this be our prayer, Soldiers. Let us seek to serve our captain with our words.

Approval Ratings Should Not Surprise

Neither Democrats or Republicans like the caving, compromising, and backhanded deals that Congress is so famous for.

Neither Democrats or Republicans like the caving, compromising, and backhanded deals that Congress is so famous for.

Washington’s approval ratings have been plummeting in the aftermath of a two-week long shutdown. While the media took Republicans to the woodshed, the American people demanded that Democrats repeal or defund Obamacare.

 

After kicking the can down the road, Congress’ popularity dropped yet again: a recent Associated Press survey found that a mere 5% of those interviewed were happy with the Senate and House.

 

When asked if they preferred something over Congress, interviewees quickly gave predictable answers. For example: Brussels spouts have held a steady 69% approval rating; lice remain at 67%; colonoscopies at 56%; and cockroaches at 45%.

The Space Race and the Great Society

If we can put a man on the moon, why can’t we eliminate poverty?

 

Economists and politicians have pondered this misleading rhetorical question for many years. Failed welfare programs and a comparatively successful space program seem to be in contradiction, as this query points out.

 

The few people who, when asked this riddle-like question, might reply, “There doesn’t seem to be a reason,” have not grasped the nature of the two problems. For others, the question might be confusing because of false assumptions.

 

For those deciding that there is no reason that government cannot end poverty, sending a man to the moon and eliminating poverty are entirely different challenges. Mechanical engineers or scientists design, build, and program machinery to react, more or less, how they choose. On the other hand, social engineers have little or no control over the public reaction to their policies.

 

A moon landing and a welfare check involve entirely different types of engineering.

A moon landing and a welfare check involve entirely different types of engineering.

An example of this unpredictable aggregate response is how we use language. Language is utilized, transformed, and regulated by man — but why and how do words become part of the national vocabulary? Google, hashtag, and ginormous have somehow assimilated into American speech. However, these words are not common because a social engineer deliberately chose to include them. Like rush hour, neither the individual or the aggregate intended this outcome. It somehow happened (because of a combination of human nature, a need for such a word, and modern and clever-sounding ring to the words suggested to fulfill the need).

 

For those suffering from false assumptions, a lesson in opportunity cost is necessary. The money and resources funneled into a government program could have and would have been used elsewhere. What might have been, if the government program had not taken that money? A chocolate bar is worth buying, it can be said, but not if it costs a million dollars. The candy is inherently a good thing, but other objects available for purchase at such a price would be more beneficial. The reasoning of the space program was that America got something good; however, we could have got something better. As far as opportunity cost goes, we came out in the red.

 

Additionally, a space program confines itself to the understandable realm of space. (That sounds silly, doesn’t it?) A public welfare program sprawls, snowballs, and snatches at such a rate that cataloging every star in the Milky Way may seem easier in the long run than repaying the debt incurred. (There are hundreds of other reasons that welfare programs will never work; the reasons covered here only list two.)

 

The results of the space race were considered patriotic, and are regarded as some of the greatest accomplishments of modern times to boot. NASA’s scientific discoveries benefited people around the world. Yet LBJ’s Great Society failed even to hint at success. Hopefully the reader now understands the simplest reasons for space exploration’s comparative success and the welfare state’s costly failure.

 

A post starting with a rhetorical question should end with a rhetorical question: if government can spend billions of dollars on searches for alien life, why can’t it spend billions (or trillions) of dollars on welfare programs, too?

The Drover Generation

Drover never grows up: one reason is because growth must be intentional. When one is a child, one automatically grows and improves. After a certain age, automation ceases. It is up to the individual to improve.

Drover never grows up: one reason is because growth must be intentional. When one is a child, one automatically grows and improves. After a certain age, automation ceases. It is up to the individual to improve.

 

Fans of John R. Erickson’s series Hank the Cowdog series will remember Drover, Hank’s scared, sweet, goofy and absent-minded sidekick. Hank must tell Drover something several times before it actually happens. He has no ambition, and would rather stay home than do anything.

 

Right now we are “led” by a man who is acting very immaturely. Governed by men and women who care little about others, we are being led by individuals lingering in childhood. There is a worldwide shortage of mature men and women ready to take a stand for truth. Instead, boys are growing up with toys and video-games, becoming physically mature, but never really maturing. Girls never seem to recover from the teen years. There is nothing wrong with being a kid, but there comes a time when you must grow up, leave the house, and make your mark on the world.

 

“Yeah,” The Drover in us says, “But that’s after you grow up.” “That’s the point,” our parents tell us, “in human years, you are twenty-five years old.” Or thirty. Or forty.

 

In the Ephesian church, there were plenty of child-like Christians, content with where they were and unwilling to go any further, but Paul put a stop to it, saying “he gave us the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, to Mature Manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”(Ephesians 4:11-13) The child-like Christians in their laziness were rejecting what they had been given. But Paul warned that they were also putting themselves in danger. “so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”(verse 14)

 

We cannot fight like children. We are only dishonoring our cause. Ours is the Drover Generation, millions refusing to stand for what is right because “it might hurt” or because it puts us out of our comfort zone. As children, we must rely on others to save us. And we cannot afford to do that. Stand up, Drover. We should follow our captain in what he tells us to do. What is his command?

 

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” (v. 15) Yes, Captain.

 

To Boldly Edit

Will the rules have changed in a couple of centuries?

“Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

 

Any fan of  Star Trek will recall William Shatner reading these words at the beginning of every TOS episode. However, Grammar Nazis have been recollecting something far different about the Original Series: a grammatical blunder of immense (most of us would say diminutive) proportions.

 

To go is a basic example of an infinitive, perhaps known to schoolchildren as the most easily identified verbal. However, if one learns about infinitives, one must also learn about their usage: because infinitives are counted as a single word, inserting a word into an infinitive would be obviously incorrect.

 

The phrase to boldly go is errant on the same grounds that exp boldly lore would be incorrect. Modifying adjectives can be placed in a variety of locations, but not in the middle of the word. This is why Grammar Nazis call this error a split infinitive. 

 

The duty of Grammar Nazis: to boldly edit where most people don’t want to even go.

 

All In One Dish

This is a simple recipe that doesn’t take long to make.

  • 1 medium cabbage
  • 1 lb. ground beef or turkey
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 large can of tomatoes
  • 2 cups of water
  • seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste

Put a little cooking oil or melted butter in the bottom of a pot. Place chopped cabbage, rice, tomato sauce, tomatoes, and water in the pot. Salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat. Meanwhile, brown meat and onions. Stir cooked meat mixture into cabbage. Bring to a boil and then turn to low. Cover and cook for about an hour or a little longer. Make sure your rice is done.

Earth Day and Endangered Species: What a Big Contradiction!

Creation is worth preserving, but we need to watch our motives for preserving it. And we need to watch not only our mindset, but how we go about "having dominion" over the world God has given us.

Creation is worth preserving, but we need to watch our motives for preserving it. And we need to watch not only our mindset, but how we go about “having dominion” over the world God has given us.

If you go around and look at the TV in April you might see the reports are on Earth Day. A leader steps onto the screen with a big smile and tells us how much the earth is worth to us. It has been around for 6 billion years, he claims, and why would we foul it up now? We have been destroying it for too long, he says; then he tells us to plant trees or recycle. If you look on Animal Planet you see shows about endangered species that evolved into the stunning birds, cats, dogs and fish that we see. They plead for donations to keep them alive.

 

But wait a minute. According to these people’s evolutionary mindset, life on earth is survival of the fittest. It is obvious that we are stronger than a bird or plant. With our cleverly crafted devices and weapons, we are stronger than elephants. We need wood to make us rich, and to build homes. So what if we destroy the homes of numberless species? What if we kill rhinos in inhumane ways? The obvious conclusion would be that we are merely speeding up evolution. Instead, these leaders contradict themselves and convince us that we need to protect these creatures — for all the wrong reasons.

 

It is our duty to take care of what God has given us, and that does include (to some extent) “saving the whales.” But our motives and our methods need constant evaluation.

 

What’s up? If this is what they truly believe, they are destroying their own teaching. These people really have not thought about what they believe. That is pretty common, because it is easier to just believe something than to prove it true. Do we sometimes fall into this trap?

 

God gave us dominion over the earth. We are superior to critters. At the same time, we should study Scripture to understand how God wants us to take care of the earth.

 

We are told to always have an answer for what we believe in. Sadly, most Christians have never took the time to understand why they believe what they believe. It’s time to step forward. Christians, it’s time to clean off that rusty armor and restore it to its peak! Learn why you believe what you do. Strap on your sword. Don’t forget that we are in a war here. In order to be good soldiers, we must know our tactics. I’ll go in depth in further posts.

 

Unit Conversions and Ideological Conversions

“You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man’s age-old dream–the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order — or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism,” Ronald Reagan said in 1964.

 

Left and right, as the future president pointed out, are meaningless*: if a nation moves to either extreme of the spectrum, tyranny results. Military dictatorships and Communism are structurally differentiated, but individual liberty and personal rights disappear in either situation.

 

Hitler hated Communists and their creed — he declared that they qualified for the death sentence before Jews, whom he viciously persecuted. Lenin hated Fascists nearly as much as Hitler hated Communism. Despite being from different sides of the aisle, both of these men were malicious dictators. In view of their records and their governments’ records, Hitler and Lenin would have despised each other. In both instances their efforts achieved the same unsuccessful and heartless results, slaughtering millions upon millions of innocent people.

 

Democrats — although quite questionable at times — are not usually Communists. Members of the Tea Party are never Nazis, nor are their Republican counterparts. Hitler and Lenin are two examples of right and left, proving not that our political measuring stick is inaccurate but that it is really no stick at all: it is a circle. If you go too far in either direction, the destination is the same!

 

The Founding Fathers did not employ this left/right system. Rather, they used a smarter method of measuring: the anarchy/tyranny scale. With the left/right system, purely centrist ideals are not desirable in anyone’s eyes. However, the anarchy-tyranny scale requires a perfectly centered balance. Tyranny is horrible; on the other hand, so is anarchy. In the middle is rule by the people (with some aspects of both rule by one and the absence of rule).

 

Government must be forceful enough to enforce a basic framework of laws; at the same time, this government must not have too many laws to enforce, power cannot be concentrated into an individual’s hands, nor can the enforcement become Orwellian. Rights must be preserved, but likewise the law.

 

Any dabbler in science or math understands that unit conversions within the English system are complicated and inconvenient. The metric system is clean-cut and much more effective. While the left/right spectrum has dozens of befuddling quirks and circular exceptions — inviting doublespeak and misuse — the anarchy/tyranny spectrum is linear.

 

The United States clings to more than one inconvenient and confusing measuring system. Some maintain that now is the time to change how distance is measured. More importantly, America should change the way it thinks about political ideologies. Make unit conversions and ideological conversions easier.

 

*As the reader may notice, the terms left and right are used frequently in Outpost articles. It may seem hypocritical, but these are the accepted and understood titles for political ideologies, just as the English system is the accepted system for measuring in the United States.

Laissez-Faire Extraordinaire

Drones, aircraft, military devices, toys, and video games are only a few of the things that remote control technology has positively affected.

Drones, aircraft, military devices, toys, and video games are only a few of the things that remote control technology has positively affected.

For over a hundred years, remote control technology has been developing and innovating at a remarkable rate.

 

The inspiration for remotely controlled devices has been around for a while: in 1898 Nikola Tesla demonstrated a radio-controlled boat, which he called a teleautomaton, during a show of electric technology at MadisonSquareGarden. Tesla’s patent (U.S. Patent 613,809) explains the equipment used.

 

Remote controls are taken for granted by most users in the United States. Readily available since the 1950s, remote controls became prevalent after Eugene Polley and the Zenith Radio Corporation sufficiently refined a wireless system.

 

The “Zenith Space Command”, one of the first wireless remotes, was mechanical and employed ultrasound. Each button on the remote produce an extremely high-pitched sound; dogs could hear it, but average humans could not. The technology was innovative, but did cause some problems: music and household noises could affect the television.

 

By the 1970s, technology had improved by leaps and bounds: infrared light could control remote controls, many companies found. Numbers from one to nine were added, making the device easier to use. Thousands of other improvements soon gave the world remote controls compatible with different appliances. Modern remote controls now include features that allow users to operate them by Bluetooth — overcoming the previously small ranges  afforded by controls using sound or light. Video game consoles and other devices detect motion and interact with the user through their movements.

 

Drones, airplanes, toys, phones, bombs (Jihadists have discovered remote controls), pumps, industrial mechanisms, garage doors, and gates benefit from remote control technology, albeit in an entirely different way.

 

Starting with pioneers such as Nikola Tesla and with no end of them in sight, remote control innovators have changed the world — and all because nobody wanted to change the television channel.

Because of a petty inconvenience, a new field of technology emerged. Big government expects citizens to suffer inconveniences every step of the way. Only a free market would attempt to fix what all other economic systems would not acknowledge as a problem in the first place.

 

 

Note: The authors realize that the American economic system has never been completely laissez-faire (no system in history has been quite that way), and for the past seventy years better fits the description of “interventionist.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garlic Green Beans

This green bean recipe is a favorite at the Outpost. We hope you enjoy it, too:

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 pound of green beans, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce (optional)

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add salt and green beans; cook for 3 minutes, until tender but still somewhat crisp. Drain.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add oil and swirl pan to coat. Add green beans and cook, stirring frequently, until spotted with brown – after that, cook for a couple minutes more. Make a well in the center of the pan and add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Stir continuously until fragrant (about 30 seconds) and then mix together with the green beans. Stir in the soy sauce, if you’re using it. Serve immediately.

Bow Tie Rights

The Republican National Committee on Tuesday announced a new strategy to reach out to new voters and diversify their base of supporters. Although some minority groups have responded to GOP efforts, the RNC noted in a statement that a number of groups have been ignored by Republicans altogether – and that “We can never expect them to respond if we refuse to reach out.”

 

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus explained, “Our party believes in equal opportunities for all, and equal treatment for all. The statistics say everything: only 0.09% of current Republican males wear bow ties. Believe it or not, the Democrats have seized over 58% of the bow tie-wearing vote.”

 

To many Republicans, it is baffling that once faithfully Republican bow tie-wearers shifted so far to the left, particularly since Democrats were historically opposed to the nerdist civil rights movement. A gang of Democrat senators employed the filibuster and halted the passage of the famous Bow Tie Rights Act of 1971.

 

Members of the bow tie-wearing population have in recent years been dubbed nerdists by international media and the whole of neck tie-wearing society. Nerdists have suffered a long history of discrimination and unequal rights. Since the 1920s, the situation has steadily gone downhill for bow tie advocates – who are now 23% more likely to be caught for speeding.  Republicans are now leading the effort to not only include bow tie wearers, but to also obtain justice for the victims of a discriminatory judicial branch.

 

Ty Beauregard, a middle-of-the-road representative from Idaho said on the House floor, “Bow tie wearers should not forget that 19th and 20th Century Republicans were, in fact, faithful bow tie men. They even considered a constitutional amendment that explicitly protects the right of Americans to wear bow ties but faced such fierce opposition from Democrats that it couldn’t happen.”

 

Beauregard is now one of the forerunners of the 2016 race for the presidency. Independents have shown strong support for the Representative, whom they have dubbed “Ty.”

 

Considered a champion of individual liberty and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Charles Carroll of Carrollton wrote in a 1775 letter, “I am not afraid to sever our ties [with Britain] for they have endorsed tyranny and set up a tyrant. Our unalienable rights have been infringed upon in a most disgraceful way. They have taxed us unreasonably and persecuted us. They have taken away our God-given right to wear bow ties and subject us to warrantless searches and seizures …”

 

Representative Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat from Oregon and a faithful bow tie-wearer, explained, “The Republicans don’t even have a bow-tie wearer in the Senate or the House. If they ever get one, trust me – he will be just a token player that they use to try to show their ‘diversity.’ Republicans are just about as diverse as a Kansas cornfield. Balderdash that they were or are ‘champions’ of bow tie rights.”

 

Although Republicans are surprised that a once faithful voter base deserted them in the past century, it is no surprise to Democrats – who won over bow tie-wearers with a newfound talk of tolerance, acceptance, and justice. Even as Democrats threaten the existence of bow ties with revolutionary legislation, the nerdist voter base continues to swing left.

 

“Bow tie-wearers have apparently forgotten that the Founding Fathers – whose ideals were the antithesis of the modern Democrat Party – signed their names to the Declaration of Independence to end a rule of tyranny and to ensure that Americans would have the right to wear bow ties in a free nation…” the president of a well-known bow tie company exclaimed in a tie protest in front of the capitol.

 

Nicknamed stiffnecks, neck tie-wearing Republicans aren’t pleased with the attempts at inclusion, mainly because of the typical nerdist lifestyle. Neither are nerdists accepting the Republican offer: the blogosphere has exploded with the comments of left-leaning nerdists, resonating a firm no.

 

The ongoing saga of nerdist rights as of yet has not received much media coverage. Congress has put it on the back burner. The White House has not so much as acknowledged the existence of the issue. Despite the status of the issue, nerdists are definitely waging war.

 

Famous stiffneck activist Nick Tyson screamed as he was dragged away from a violent protest, “We will win this fight. We will be back!”

 

More than ever, it looks as if the stiffneck and nerdist dispute is heating up – and it shows every indication of coming to your area.

A Big Government Success Story

Rarely are Democrats braggarts. Modest about even their greatest accomplishments, they humbly neglect promoting their hard-won achievements. Patrons of leftist ideals cannot bring themselves to boast about the results of their endeavors, even if it constitutes the epitome of the Democrat Party.

 

Unsuccessful stimulus packages; GDP growth rates barely pushing 2% (meaning that the economy is actually shrinking); millions of unemployed and underemployed workers losing hope and dropping out of the workforce entirely; and penalty-packing mandatory health insurance exchanges with websites that aren’t even operational barely receive a mention in media. Chief of the rejected is the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), an agency that many believe has changed the world.

 

“My guess is that left-leaning news outlets don’t want to brag about it [the DMV]. It’d odd, since the DMV is their finest and most functional work,” an anonymous Texan policy analyst, whom we will call Mark, theorized. “These people are apparently humility itself.  The success of the Democrat Party is under-reported. They support smarter, not smaller, government, they say, but they are too modest to mention the success stories like the DMV.”

Agencies and departments, such as the DMV, were started by Democrats; since then, the departments and their creators have have been criticized and ridiculed. Many times these critics ignore that the DMV is not a complete abject failure as other agencies are. At the same time, it contributes to mankind: waste papers are recycled.

“The Department of Motor Vehicles has secured a special place in every American’s heart: a majority of Americans indicated that if the DMV closed, they would be affected emotionally.” Mark added,  “Those who I have interviewed mentioned that they would expect a change in quality throughout such a scenario.”

Any DMV customer would understand that its mind-boggling customer service could not be duplicated by the private sector; nor would the private sector sustain a similar institution for so many years.

An example of the capability and smarts of the left-leaning parties, the DMV should be proudly displayed as the results of the Democrat Party’s ideals — a big government success story.

The DMV sometimes works at a speed of such unsustainable characteristics that it results in days like this, when the line doesn't even extend to the street.

The DMV sometimes works at a speed of such unsustainable characteristics that it results in days like this, when the line doesn’t even extend to the street.

“Republicans and Tea Partiers have always been forced to admit that they opposed the establishment of the Department,” a Southeast Texas Democrat said, “I think we’ve been too quiet about this. It should be, like, the Democratic poster child! Enough of the silence.”

After the miserable failure of rule by bureaucracy in dozens of nations around the world, it came as a pleasant surprise for the left that the DMV morphed into such a remarkably efficient, empathetic, and user-friendly system. As a plus, it yields an unexpected amount of customer satisfaction.

“Just imagine your last trip there. The friendly help at the desk glares at you. Sneezing, coughing, screaming, whispering, the comforting noises of bored people playing with their cell phones. Grungy floors, peeling paint, and bathrooms that are cleaned once a week.” Mark continued, “The administrators have created a setting in which you can be comfortable during your six-hour wait. The very demand of DMV’s services and the long lines that stretch two blocks past the parking lot bespeaks their competence: why would people keep coming back if they didn’t like it?”

Now that the left has proved to America what it can do with the small things, it is no wonder that they were likewise trusted with healthcare, schools, and utilities.

The DMV’s remarkable reputation influenced the participants of a poll to agree that the department couldn’t get any better.

Mark concluded, “It’s as good as big government can ever be. It’s more than I ever hoped it would be.”

 

 

Flakey Biscuits

Homemade biscuits are about the best-tasting thing a person can eat for breakfast. Here’s a special recipe for them:

Sift the following ingredients together in a large mixer bowl:

  • 4 cups soft whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Whip in 1 cup of chilled butter in small chunks. Mix in 1 1/2 cups milk.

In this recipe you won’t want to mix very much after adding the milk, or else you could end up with a tough biscuit that does not rise enough. Heat your oven to 375 degrees.

Roll the biscuit dough into proportionate balls and flatten them to about 2 inches thick. Don’t be afraid to put them close together. Bake for 11 minutes, and serve with butter and honey.

Conservative Optimism

Political ideologies affect your outlook on life.

Political ideologies affect your outlook on life.

When it comes to political ideologies, there are obviously many differences.

 

Stances on abortion, socialized medicine, bailouts, welfare, environmental protection, taxes, and income inequality tell a great deal about people. It may even tell how happy they are.

 

In studies conducted throughout the nation, liberals and conservatives consistently scored on opposite ends of a “happiness spectrum.” Liberals were depressed, gloomy, pessimistic, and dissatisfied with the world; conservatives were actually quite happy with their situation — no matter what it was.

 

Income is a key factor in happiness for many Americans, and when a worker’s income drops, his reaction is closely correlated with his political affiliation. Those who called themselves conservatives showed more optimism; those who called themselves liberals had less hope.

 

93% of Republicans said in a Gallup Poll that they are extremely proud of their country, while only 85% of Democrats said the same.

 

“I believe that many of these differences stem from the presence or the lack of optimism, in all areas of life, but particularly in the area of our national outlook. Liberals tend to look at the negative side of things, and they don’t believe America is ‘all that great.’ They make the mistake of underestimating the American people.” a policy analyst at a Texan-based think tank stated anonymously.

 

He continued, “Conservatives have faith in the power of freedom and true conservatives always act on this truth: America has gone through some fiery trials, but she has always emerged victorious. Why can’t we make it again?”

Awesome Oatmeal Cookies

This recipe for oatmeal cookies is a favorite here at the Lumberton Outpost. It was hard not to triple-check the recipe!

In a mixing bowl place:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup plain sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

Mix the above ingredients in a heavy-duty mixer, whipping until smooth and creamy. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add to the above mixture until well mixed:

  • 2 1/4 cups soft whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup flaxseed meal
  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder, plus one heaping pinch

Slowly add while the mixer is running:

  • 2 cups large raisins
  • 2 cups large pieces of walnuts (optional)

Bake at 375 for 8-12 minutes or until done. (We’ve found that it differs from batch to batch, depending on the ingredients. Watch it carefully.)