Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Way the World Turns....

One of my dear friends, Breanna, just started a blog and she inspired me to start posting favorite songs again! I used to do it all the time but little to no response, so stopped. But just because I'm not getting any comments is no reason to stop doing something good! :) So here goes...

Life has not been easy lately. I mean, it's not usually easy, but it's been ESPECIALLY hard the past couple of months. But you know? Christ never promises that this life will be easy. And it's songs like these that help me see the bigger picture... Sanctus Real is an amazing band.


Empty moments when I feel hopeless
Have left me restless inside
Doubt and sadness have kept me in fragments
Longing for a better life
Oh, it's the way the world turns
The way, the way

And I feel the current pulling me down
Can't keep the world from turning around
So I keep turning to You
I keep turning
'Cause You're the hope of a new sunrise
Breaking over a desperate life
And I keep turning to You
I keep turning to You

I'm so distracted by senseless passions
Tempting my wandering eyes
But ever pursuit brings me closer to the truth
That only You can satisfy

When I feel the current pulling me down
Can't keep the world from turning around
So I keep turning to You
I keep turning
'Cause You're the hope of a new sunrise
Breaking over a desperate life
And I keep on turning to You
I keep turning

The way we're hurting keeps us turning to You
To You♫

Monday, October 17, 2011

We Can Cry with Hope....

Steven Curtis Chapman's song on his Speechless CD keeps running through my mind--particularly the chorus:

♫We can cry with hope
we can say goodbye with hope
'cause we know our goodbye is not the end
And we can breathe with hope
'cause we believe with hope
there's a place where we'll see your face again...♫

My grandmother, Dorothy Christine Robertson Cochran, passed away last Thursday, October 13th. She was a bright, energetic, spunky, fun, individual who could never be beat and never stayed sad. She had a difficult life, yet didn't allow that to quench her spirit and make her hard, bitter, and joyless. She chose instead to make nearly everything into a joke of some kind, love comedy, and make others laugh as much as she could.

During the last ten years we have lived far from her residence in FL--first in GA and now in CO. But the distance never lessened our love for her, or her love for us. I am so grateful that God lengthened her life to 81 years so we could know and love her longer.

The most difficult thing about her passing is that none of us are 100% certain she was a Christian. I don't say this out of arrogance but out of a painful desire to be truthful to myself. But like the song says, we can cry with  HOPE. We can HOPE that she is in heaven right now, waiting for us to get there. Knowing a peaceful and pain-free existence she really never had here on earth.

I honor, love, respect, and cherish my grandmother's memory, and I always will. I miss her so much and still can't believe she's gone at times, but it's just another reminder that this earth is not our home. She is the first of my close family members to pass away, and I know that if I live my full life expectancy, this is only the beginning of seeing death in those closest to me. I honestly don't know how I will deal with other family members' deaths who are even closer to me than my grandmother was. But I do know that God will never send anything my way that I can't handle with his strength.

I love you, Grandmother.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Is there STILL "no chance in the world" for him?

Harris Poll: Ron Paul Would Beat Obama 51-49

Congressman tells packed out NYC audience: “America is ripe for a true revolution”

Paul Joseph Watson
Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A new Harris Interactive poll released today reveals that Congressman Ron Paul would defeat Barack Obama 51-49 in a hypothetical run off, one of only two Republican candidates who would stand a good chance of preventing Obama from securing a second term in the White House.

Only Ron Paul and Mitt Romney would beat Obama, according to the poll, which found that Obama would defeat every other Republican candidate, including Rick Perry.

The survey is another indication that Paul is quickly moving into second place to become Romney’s main challenger as Rick Perry’s campaign crashes and burns.

The poll was conducted in mid-September and surveyed 2,462 US adults. Its findings reveal that Paul has now overturned Obama’s slim majority in a hypothetical run off between the two and would likely beat him, especially if he was afforded the kind of national platform that the corporate press have been loathe to provide.

As we have previously discussed, despite an admitted establishment media dirty tricks campaign to deliberately ignore Ron Paul’s candidacy, he has emerged as a top tier candidate with a genuine chance of challenging Romney. A Paul victory in the Republican primary would represent a major problem for Obama’s hopes of a return to the Oval Office because it would remove the incentive for many Democrats to back Obama.

MY COMMENTS: The last sentence in this article is poignant.... The reason Paul receiving the Republican nomination would bereave Obama of many of his supporters is because Paul wants to withdraw our troops from the 150 countries they are in. Not all in a day of course, but gradually taking the number down, rather than gradually increasing it (which is happening now). A sovereign, powerful nation does not mean a busy-body, sprawled out nation. Look at your history--that is how EVERY other nation in the past met its doom--by being too thinly spread.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Legislate YOURSELF

The case for blackmail and child labor
John Stossel also defends ticket scalping, price gouging, kidney selling

Posted: August 23, 2011
2:04 pm Eastern
By John Stossel

We grow up learning that some things are just bad: child labor, ticket scalping, price gouging, kidney selling, blackmail, etc. But maybe they're not.

What I love about economics is that it can show that what seems harmful is actually good for society. It illuminates what common sense overlooks.

This was the subject of my Fox Business show last week. It was inspired by the eye-opening book "Defending the Undefendable" by economist Walter Block.

Most people call child labor an unmitigated evil. But my guests, David Boaz of the Cato Institute and Nick Gillespie of Reason.tv, said that's wrong.

"If we say that the United States should abolish child labor in very poor countries," Boaz said, "then what will happen to these children? ... They're not suddenly going to go to the country day school. ... They may be out selling their bodies on the street. That is not an improvement over working in a T-shirt factory."

In fact, studies show that in at least one country where child labor was suddenly banned, prostitution increased. Good economics teaches that as poor countries get richer and freer, capital investment raises the productivity of labor and child labor diminishes. There's no shortcut through government prohibition – unless you like starvation and child prostitution.

What about price-gouging? State laws attempt to prevent people from charging "unconscionable" prices during emergencies.

"If I'm in the neighborhood of Hurricane Katrina," Boaz said, "what I want is water and ice and generators. ... If you are in Kentucky (and) you've got 10 generators in your store, are you getting up at 4 a.m. to drive all day to get to Louisiana to sell these generators if you can only sell them for the same price you can sell them for in Kentucky? No, you're going to go down because ... you can sell them for more."

Also, if prices rise during an emergency, that's a signal for people to buy only what they most need. That leaves more for everyone else. If the price remains low, an incentive to conserve is lost.

Ticket scalpers are seen as sleazy guys who cheat you by marking up the price of tickets. Profits go to middlemen instead of the performers. What good could they possibly do?

"I like to think of ticket scalpers as the guy who stands in line so that I don't have to," Gillespie said.

Time spent in line is part of the ticket cost. Scalpers let you pay entirely in money, rather than partly in valuable time.

Most people say that selling body parts is wrong.

"It also seems wrong to have people dying because they can't get a kidney," Boaz said.

Some 400,000 Americans are on a waiting list now for a new kidney, and they are not allowed to pay for one.

(Column continues below)

"We sell hair. We sell sperm. We sell eggs these days," Boaz added.

Gillespie added, "The best way to grow the supply and allow more people to live is to allow the market to price those organs."

Maybe the most counterintuitive position argued on my show was that blackmail should not be a crime. Blackmail (unlike extortion) is the demand for money in return for withholding information. Robin Hanson, a George Mason University economist, defends blackmail.

"The thing you're threatening when you're threatening blackmail (is) gossip," Hanson said. "If it should be all right to tell people, it should be all right to threaten to tell people."

What we don't like, however, is the blackmailer saying, "Pay me to keep quiet."

"But the effect of that is to make people behave," Hanson said. "If we (allow) blackmail, people behave even more because they are even more afraid of what might happen if they don't."

Maybe Ponzi-schemer Bernie Madoff would have been caught earlier?

"That's right. ... Blackmail is actually a form of private law enforcement."

Also, since gossip is free speech, blackmail is simply selling the service of not engaging in free speech. Why should that be outlawed?

I subtitled my last book, "Everything You Know Is Wrong." I was exaggerating, of course, but many things we're taught are fallacies. That's why I like economics. It explodes fallacies.

How about some REAL change....

Our Guide to the Best Coverage of Ron Paul and His Record

by Lois Beckett
ProPublica, Aug. 23, 2011, 2:19 p.m.

This is the second installment in a series of reading guides on 2012 presidential candidates. Our first one was one Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul is consistently disregarded by the media, a point made recently by comedian Jon Stewart and confirmed by a Pew Research Center analysis of news coverage.

But the 76-year-old Texas Republican congressman's tiny-government ideals have become increasingly relevant to the national debate. And despite some eye-rolling by television anchors, there's been plenty of substantive coverage of Paul's ideals and track record. Here's our guide to some of the best reading on Ron Paul.
The basics:

The best place to start is a 2001 Texas Monthly profile by Sam Gwynne, who explains why Paul remained such a viable Republican congressional candidate despite his refusal to toe the party line.

Paul, an obstetrician who has delivered an estimated 4,000 babies, is a pro-life Libertarian who believes that much of the federal government is unconstitutional. (His son, Kentucky Republican Rand Paul, is a U.S. senator and Tea Party favorite.)

Ron Paul's 2012 campaign website summarizes his policy views, which include abolishing the Federal Reserve and the IRS, eliminating income and capital-gains taxes and refusing to raise the debt ceiling.

On principle, Paul supports ending federal bans on marijuana, heroin, cocaine and prostitution, although he says he’s never used marijuana himself, and is so conservative in his personal life that he does not travel alone with women. He says on his website that he avoids discussing his Christian faith publicly because he wants “to avoid any appearance of exploiting it for political gain.”

As a doctor, he would not accept Medicaid or Medicare funds, reportedly treating patients for free instead. (He has argued that Medicare and Medicaid are unconstitutional.) He does not believe members of Congress should receive pensions, so he has opted out of receiving his own.

As an Atlantic profile explains, Paul’s views are defined by his affinity to Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, who opposed central banking and argued that most problems with the economy result from government interference. Paul believes that the United States should return to the gold standard, and describes Aug. 15, 1971, when President Nixon ordered that U.S. dollars no longer be backed by gold, as a watershed moment that inspired him to begin his career in politics.
Overview of his record as a congressman:

The Texas Monthly profile explores the tension between Paul’s principled approach to politics and his ability to get things done in Washington. He earned the nickname “Dr. No” for his tendency to vote against bills with wide Republican or bipartisan support. He voted against the USA Patriot Act and the federal ban on same-sex marriage—and also against congressional gold medals for Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks and Mother Teresa. (“It’s easier to be generous with other people’s money,” he noted at the time, and suggested that if his fellow legislators wanted to award medals, they should contribute $100 each.)

You can see the highlights of his congressional voting record on his Washington Post profile page, or look through the full list of his votes at GovTrack.us.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mankind Legally Blind

"Thus, too, it happens in estimating our spiritual qualities. So long as we do not look beyond the earth, we are quite pleased with our own righteousness, wisdom, and virtue; we address ourselves in the most flattering terms, and seem only less than demigods. But should we once begin to raise our thoughts to God, and reflect what kind of being He is, and how absolute the perfection of that righteousness, and wisdom, and virtue, to which as a standard, we are bound to be conformed, what formerly delighted us by its false show of righteousness, will become polluted with the greatest iniquity; what strangely imposed upon us under the name of wisdom, will disgust by its extreme folly; and what presented the appearance of virtuous energy, will be condemned as the most miserable impotence. So far are those qualities in us, which seems most perfect, from corresponding to the divine purity."
-John Calvin in his book The Institutes of the Christian Religion

How often do we, as Christians, think we have it all figured out? Oh to be sure, we don't come out and SAY this in words, but we live like we do. We don't consult with our Lord on every action we take, every decision we make, every movie we watch, every book we read, every word we say, every thought we think! The mindset is that we have "freedom" in Christ to do whatever we jolly well want, without actually seeking "what would please the Lord." (1 Thess. 4:1) As this quote so brilliantly states, we are HUMAN and our minds are naturally set on the things of this world. It will take work, perseverance, faith, and an ACTIVE seeking of the Lord and his Word to overcome this natural tendency we have as fallen man.

Just some food for thought :) Be encouraged! There is hope because God has seen fit to renew our minds. This means always scrutinizing what we allow into our minds, and what we allow into our hearts....

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

An Interesting Perspective

Marital roulette
Exclusive: Vox Day advises men to avoid wedding working women

Posted: May 30, 2011
1:00 am Eastern

Sunday, May 29, 2011

By Vox Day

There has been an amount of discussion of a marriage strike in recent years as various male and female commentators alike attempt to explain the continuing decline in marriage rates throughout the advanced nations of the West. As more and more men have become aware that women file for most divorces and that family courts are now little more than thieves' dens designed to funnel financial resources from men to women by any means or legal-sounding excuse necessary, they have understandably become considerably more marriage-averse.

In the last 40 years, the percentage of 25-34 American adults who were married has dropped from 80 percent to 45 percent. In 2009, it was reported that at only 52 percent, the percentage of married adults of all ages was the lowest percentage recorded since the U.S. Census Bureau began collecting marital information 100 years ago.

When one considers the widespread availability of wildly entertaining, time-intensive video games as well as high-quality, high-definition pornography produced to suit even the most esoteric sexual tastes, it is not terribly surprising that American men are becoming ever more disinclined to risk pledging their lives and fortunes to the increasingly adipose, decreasingly reliable creature known as the American woman?

Dr. Helen Smith writes: "Nowadays, for many men, the negatives of marriage for men often outweigh the positives. Therefore, they engage in it less often. Not because they are bad, not because they are perpetual adolescents, but because they have weighed the pros and cons of marriage in a rational manner and found the institution to be lacking for them."

The problem is that marriage is more than an institution; it is a structural foundation of society. Moreover, marriage is historically proven to be the best means of producing and raising healthy children, which means that it is integral to the continuation of both American society as well as the human race. Without a strong base of healthy marriages between men and women, no society is likely to survive, let alone prosper.

(Column continues below)

So, what is a young man who wishes to be a happy and productive member of society but does not wish to find himself locked into a life of post-divorce serfdom to an ill-tempered, overweight woman with a legal obligation to children who may not even belong to him? Fortunately, the answer is both clear and easily applied. To increase your chances of marital and familial success in life, it is vital to stay away from what are known as "career" or "working" women.

While this will not eliminate all the risks of what has become known as Marriage 2.0, it will return a man's probability of successful marriage to that of the earlier, more marriage-friendly era. Marriage to a stay-at-home wife rather than one with a full-time job reduces the risk of divorce by nearly one-third. Just the simple act of avoiding romantic involvement with working women is nearly enough on its own to again make marriage a viable option for young men.

Moreover, stay-at-home mothers make for much better mothers as they spend 91 percent more time with their children than working mothers do. The most remarkable observation is that stay-at-home mothers spend 12 more minutes per day on the physical care of their children than working mothers spend with their children in total; the net result of this insufficient attention is that the children of working mothers are 23 percent less likely to pass college entrance exams, 29 percent more likely to be unemployed and are more likely to be overweight by age 11.

Although it may appear to be disturbingly like one, this column is not intended as an indictment of career women or working mothers. The facts are what they are, and my only objective is to point out to men that it is a mistake to conclude the societal changes of the last 40 years have rendered all American women equally unsuited for marriage. No one would dispute that the odds of successfully raising a family with a meth head or crack addict tend to be on the low side, and no one should be upset by the statistically observable fact that men who wish to marry and have children will have a significantly greater probability of success if they choose to marry women who are dedicated to making a career of being a wife and mother.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


If you have never read CJ Mahaney's book HUMILITY, then it's time to make room on your reading list--like around #1 position. No kidding--this book is short, sweet, sharp, and very much to the point. No really--it IS short (only about 150 pages and very small pages at that), sweet (in the sense that it gives us so many ideas for how to be more sweet *smile*), sharp (meaning intelligent) and to the point--well that's sort of self-explanatory.

Humility. As soon as you think you have it down--you're prideful to even be thinking that. And when you don't have it down, you don't have it down, and are therefore being prideful! It seems this elusive character quality is impossible to achieve.

Guess what?

It IS indeed impossible.

And this is where I realized that humility and the Gospel are so inseparable, that trying to have humility without the Gospel is like trying to swim when there's no water, or trying to breathe when there's no air. It's impossible! Our works of piety on our own accord are completely abhorrent to God because they reek of pride, and our own sinful propensity to think we are just amazing if we do something right.

And so without the Gospel, there is hopelessness for humility. Don't discount the Gospel! It's not just the first building block in your walk as a Christian, it's the entire framework! We never outgrow it as Christians, and we never stop needing it--every second of every day. What struck me most about Mahaney's book was how he never failed to being the saving grace of the Gospel into every point he made on humility.

Basically, we have a need so great that only Christ and his Word can fill it in our soul. But even once He has filled that desire, every day the temptations to do evil will overwhelm our defenses. And here's the greatest mystery of all of this... Our INADEQUACY and INABILITY to be humble on our own leads us to the only way we CAN be humble: in acknowledging that we are not! God loves working like this (check out 1 Corinthians 1).

I could go round and round on this--in circles. But the bottom line is, that if we keep our eyes fixed on Christ and what HE and not WE have accomplished, we will indeed be humble! He promises it.

Be encouraged in that today, and keep your eyes fixed on Jesus Christ. It's that simple.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Determinism or Chaos?

This morning I was reading through Chalcedon magazine, and came across a fantastic article by RJ Rushdoony. First off, let me state my high admiration and respect for Rushdoony. I wish he were still alive so I could meet him somehow... Ah well, in heaven! :)

Anyway, this article addressed the caving in of churches and Christians to the idea that it took God longer--perhaps as long as billions of years--to create the world. Basically, the surrender of many godly people to the theory of evolution. First of all, I don't presume to judge any of my brothers and sisters in Christ who may believe in theistic evolution, or just plain evolution (I might argue that it's basically the same thing, but that's another blog post). I simply seek the TRUTH and this argument made sense to me...

Just like creationism, evolution relies on DETERMINISM and craves it. Determinism = the fact that there is order in any given circumstance, and that we as human beings discern situations from the perspective of already having a determined way it ought to be. The problem with evolution is that it rejects an idea of a supernatural being, so it cannot find a way to use determinism in its theory. Yet determinism is REQUIRED. The opposite of determinism is CHAOS. Let me quote directly from the article as the wording is perfect...

"Science thus WANTS a universe of law and of causality without God, but it would rather ascribe all the magnificent order of the universe to chaos rather than to God, because the scientists involved are fallen men, in rebellion against God and bent on suppressing their knowledge of Him. Men will either presuppose God, or they will presuppose themselves as the basic reality of being."

So if evolution rejects determinism, and the alternative is chaos, therefore evolution began out of chaos.. WAIT A SECOND. Is this really science? Science is socially thought to be a marketplace of ideas that are rationally and reasonably tested, hypothesis applied, theory applied, and finally fact applied it if holds up under the testing and scrutinizing of scientists. How can the very idea that our entire UNIVERSE sprang from chaos even have a seat--much less a high one!--amongst academic science!

OK so you believe that God DID create the world, he just did it a whole lot slower than six 24 hour days... This would lead us back to the Bible--does the word day mean day or DAY!? The word day in Hebrew literally means 24 hours. This is a whole lot simpler than many have made it....

There is a whole lot more from this article, but I will just encourage you to read this book. Find a review HERE.

We can either give glory to chaos and chance, or to a mighty God who DOES exist and who each one of us will see face to face once we die. I pray for a reformation among Christians and non-Christians alike, and a return to moral creationism as opposed to amoral and chancy evolution.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

one of those "times"

i broke my wrist 5 weeks ago and therefore this post will be short, messy, and sweet. but i just wanted to first say im not dead and i DO plan on blogging here more regularly... i was reading something in politics today that i just sat down to post but suddenly remembered how long it takes me to type (and im so very wordy about politics--politics and theology *smile*). SO i will hold off on that post until i get my cast off in about four weeks.... im sure ull be waiting for it oh so eagerly haha :)

so breaking (or rather, shattering) a bone is no fun, and having surgery in the bargain definitely didnt help matters--but u know, as God fully intended, this trial has definitely brought me closer to my Elder Brother... it was so fitting because God timed my break right around the time (actually nearly right on the day) i started memorizing Romans 5, and the third verse in that incredible chapter goes as follows...

"More than that we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces HOPE, and hope will not put us to shame because God's LOVE has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

needless to say, i feel loved. our GOD, Lord, Saviour, Friend, Healer, Redeemer, and Lover will never leave us nor forsake us. and not only that but he works all things together for our GOOD.

remember that today. live it.

Monday, March 7, 2011


I began memorizing Romans 4 today, and as is my custom, wrote out the entire chapter on separate 3x5 cards. As I was doing so, I found it incredible that Paul talks at length about how Abraham NEVER wavered concerning the promise of God, that he and his offspring would be heirs of the world!

No mention of Hagar, and Abraham's illicit relationship with her at Sarah's bidding. I was struck at God's mercy and the way he blots out our sin, his chosen children's sin, from his gaze and remembers it NO MORE. What an awesome God we serve!

This goes to show that God looks at things so differently than we do--he defies "logic," that is, man's reasoning. History, and all other subjects, must be viewed through HIS lenses. The way God views everything is the ONLY way to view it. And I am so glad he's chosen to view his children as spotless and without blemish.

Be downcast no more, oh my soul, but rejoice and be glad! For our Lord Jesus Christ has looked on us with favor in our distress.

Friday, February 18, 2011

This is what I'm talking about....

Up From Paulism

By W. James Antle, III on 2.14.11 @ 6:09AM

On the same day Ron Paul won the presidential straw poll of the nation's largest gathering of conservative activists, one of the nation's oldest conservative-libertarian activist groups kicked him off their national advisory board. Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) announced it had severed ties with the twelve-term Texas congressman, who had been on the advisory board for over two decades, over what it described as his "delusional and disturbing alliance with the fringe Anti-War movement."

Later, Paul triumphed at the at Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll for the second year in a row. He beat Mitt Romney, the only other candidate with an experienced campaign organization, 30 percent to 23 percent. Paul left the other possible Republican presidential contenders who are favored by either the mainstream media or the conservative movement -- most of whom got fewer votes than libertarian fellow-traveler and former Paul endorser Gary Johnson -- in the dust.

While some individual participants may have been out of the mainstream, CPAC as a whole was hardly fringe. It attracted over 11,000 people, mostly mainline conservative activists. Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Haley Barbour, Newt Gingrich, Mitch Daniels, and Rick Santorum were among the other possible Republican candidates on hand. This wasn't, as some of the conference's conservative detractors imply, a joint meeting of the Log Cabin Club and the Libertarian National Committee.

Straw polls aren't scientific surveys and thus can't be used to refute Donald Trump's CPAC prediction that Paul has "zero chance" of winning the presidency. But it is a good barometer that at this very early stage the other 2012 aspirants lack either grassroots support or organizational strength -- and in some cases, probably both -- at least in sufficient amounts to overcome Paul's zealous backers.

The straw poll win coupled with the YAF flap shows the dilemma for the movement Paul is trying to lead. On the one hand, it was once unusual to hear Republican leaders not named Ron Paul talking regularly about the Constitution. Now it is commonplace, and not a single Republican contemplating the presidency defends the constitutionality of Obamacare. There is much more mainstream conservative interest in auditing the Federal Reserve, the doctrine of enumerated powers, nullification, and Austrian economics. But deep divisions still remain.

Even at CPAC, there was little obvious comity between Paul's supporters and those who preferred other candidates. About half the crowd booed when the straw poll results were announced. All hell broke loose when Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld appeared with the audience still full of Paulites who had been there to hear the congressman's son Rand, now a freshman Republican senator from Kentucky, speak. They heckled the former vice president and defense secretary. The more traditional Republicans and movement conservatives on hand responded by shouting, "USA, USA!"

One side believed Cheney should present and Rumsfeld should receive an award for defending the Constitution, while the other thought they had a record of undermining it. The Paul supporters at CPAC branded these men "war criminals" while YAF declared that opposing their preferred foreign policy "border[s] on treason." What common ground can there be between these two extremes?

"Paul's supporters have all the lungs and confidence of fourth-century Christians overwhelming the pagans," writes professional Paul-watcher Dave Weigel. But this can sometimes backfire. When they attempted to shout down Orrin Hatch as he explained his support for the bailout, they won him sympathy from the rest of the crowd -- even though most rank-and-file conservatives agree with Paul and disagree with Hatch on the issue.

Yet Rand Paul struck a much different tone. He unapologetically made common cause with the Tea Party: "Is there anybody here from the Tea Party? Are we going to let Washington co-opt the Tea Party? Will you help me fight for and defend the Constitution?"

The younger Paul also invoked Barry Goldwater in reminding the audience that strict constitutionalism was part of the conservative movement's heritage. He cited the following from Goldwater's Conscience of a Conservative: "I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is 'needed' before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible."

Of course, Rand Paul's father also favorably quotes conservative and Republican leaders of days gone by in his speeches, from Robert Taft to Ronald Reagan. But the son made common cause with his GOP contemporaries as well. Just as he has cosponsored legislation with Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, David Vitter of Louisiana, and Jim DeMint of South Carolina, the younger Paul enlisted Oklahoma conservative Tom Coburn in his speech. He even gave a shout out to Maine's moderate Susan Collins. Nancy Pelosi and other leading Democrats  were cast as villains.

While Ron Paul challenged the CPAC crowd by saying that he bet half of them wouldn't support cuts in the defense budget, Rand Paul led with entitlement reform, asking to applause, "Is there anybody here who would like to opt out of Social Security?" Then he emphasized the significance of national defense, calling it "the one primary and most important constitutional thing our government does." But he also referred to Pentagon cuts as the "one compromise we will have to make as conservatives."

Rand also put himself convincingly to the right of the Republican leadership. "They're talking about cutting $35 billion," he said. "We spend $35 billion in five days. We add $35 billion to the debt in nine days. It's not enough, and we will not stop the ruin in our country unless we think more boldly." Just as Reagan once called for a platform painted in "bold colors, not pale pastels."

When it comes to the substance of his positions on the Patriot Act, the Iraq war, and foreign aid to Israel, Rand Paul is still his father's son. But just as in his CPAC speech, he is trying to speak in tones less jarring to Republican ears, bringing his father's supporters and more traditional conservatives together.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sad but Unsurprising...

Study: Many college students not learning to think critically

Sara Rimer, The Hechinger Report | The Hechinger Report
last updated: January 17, 2011 04:52:23 PM
Posted on Tue, Jan. 18, 2011

NEW YORK — An unprecedented study that followed several thousand undergraduates through four years of college found that large numbers didn't learn the critical thinking, complex reasoning and written communication skills that are widely assumed to be at the core of a college education.

Many of the students graduated without knowing how to sift fact from opinion, make a clear written argument or objectively review conflicting reports of a situation or event, according to New York University sociologist Richard Arum, lead author of the study. The students, for example, couldn't determine the cause of an increase in neighborhood crime or how best to respond without being swayed by emotional testimony and political spin.

Arum, whose book "Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses" (University of Chicago Press) comes out this month, followed 2,322 traditional-age students from the fall of 2005 to the spring of 2009 and examined testing data and student surveys at a broad range of 24 U.S. colleges and universities, from the highly selective to the less selective.

Forty-five percent of students made no significant improvement in their critical thinking, reasoning or writing skills during the first two years of college, according to the study. After four years, 36 percent showed no significant gains in these so-called "higher order" thinking skills.

Combining the hours spent studying and in class, students devoted less than a fifth of their time each week to academic pursuits. By contrast, students spent 51 percent of their time — or 85 hours a week — socializing or in extracurricular activities.

The study also showed that students who studied alone made more significant gains in learning than those who studied in groups.

"I'm not surprised at the results," said Stephen G. Emerson, the president of Haverford College in Pennsylvania. "Our very best students don't study in groups. They might work in groups in lab projects. But when they study, they study by themselves."

The study marks one of the first times a cohort of undergraduates has been followed over four years to examine whether they're learning specific skills. It provides a portrait of the complex set of factors, from the quality of secondary school preparation to the academic demands on campus, which determine learning. It comes amid President Barack Obama's call for more college graduates by 2020 and is likely to shine a spotlight on the quality of the education they receive.

"These findings are extremely valuable for those of us deeply concerned about the state of undergraduate learning and student intellectual engagement," said Brian D. Casey, the president of DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind. "They will surely shape discussions about curriculum and campus life for years to come."

Some educators note that a weakened economy and a need to work while in school may be partly responsible for the reduced focus on academics, while others caution against using the study to blame students for not applying themselves.

Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard's Graduate School of Education known for his theory of multiple intelligences, said the study underscores the need for higher education to push students harder.

"No one concerned with education can be pleased with the findings of this study," Gardner said. "I think that higher education in general is not demanding enough of students — academics are simply of less importance than they were a generation ago."

But the solution, in Gardner's view, shouldn't be to introduce high-stakes tests to measure learning in college because, "The cure is likely to be worse than the disease."

Arum concluded that while students at highly selective schools made more gains than those at less selective schools, there are even greater disparities within institutions.

"In all these 24 colleges and universities, you have pockets of kids that are working hard and learning at very high rates," Arum said. "There is this variation across colleges, but even greater variation within colleges in how much kids are applying themselves and learning."

For that reason, Arum added, he hopes his data will encourage colleges and universities to look within for ways to improve teaching and learning.

Arum co-authored the book with Josipa Roksa, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Virginia. The study, conducted with Esther Cho, a researcher with the Social Science Research Council, showed that students learned more when asked to do more.

Students who majored in the traditional liberal arts — including the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences and mathematics — showed significantly greater gains over time than other students in critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing skills.

Students majoring in business, education, social work and communications showed the least gains in learning. However, the authors note that their findings don't preclude the possibility that such students "are developing subject-specific or occupationally relevant skills."

Greater gains in liberal arts subjects are at least partly the result of faculty requiring higher levels of reading and writing, as well as students spending more time studying, the study's authors found. Students who took courses heavy on both reading (more than 40 pages a week) and writing (more than 20 pages in a semester) showed higher rates of learning.

That's welcome news to liberal arts advocates.

"We do teach analytical reading and writing," said Ellen Fitzpatrick, a history professor at the University of New Hampshire.

The study used data from the Collegiate Learning Assessment, a 90-minute essay-type test that attempts to measure what liberal arts colleges teach and that more than 400 colleges and universities have used since 2002. The test is voluntary and includes real world problem-solving tasks, such as determining the cause of an airplane crash, that require reading and analyzing documents from newspaper articles to government reports.

The study's authors also found that large numbers of students didn't enroll in courses requiring substantial work. In a typical semester, a third of students took no courses with more than 40 pages of reading per week. Half didn't take a single course in which they wrote more than 20 pages over the semester.

The findings show that colleges need to be acutely aware of how instruction relates to the learning of critical-thinking and related skills, said Daniel J. Bradley, the president of Indiana State University and one of 71 college presidents who recently signed a pledge to improve student learning.

"We haven't spent enough time making sure we are indeed teaching — and students are learning — these skills," Bradley said.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hello New Year...

I was just getting on my friend for not blogging the entire month of January, and OH MY WORD my blog doesn't have a January post either!!! *gasp* Well, since it's too late to remedy that, I figure I'd best blog before February is too far gone...

Frankly I am surprised at myself for even thinking of blogging--especially around this time! For those of you who don't know, I work at H&R Block during tax season (which is right now, for those of you who are completely out of it haha). AND, this is their BUSIEST two weeks out of the entire year!! However, when I need to blog, I blog. So here I am :)

I have nothing amazing to say--nothing spectacular or off record incredible. But life is like that. I am trying to be realistic here. Perhaps you were expecting some of my new year's resolutions. I could put some down, sure. But I was just thinking (uh oh) what are these things called "new year's resolutions" or "new year's goals"? For some it's a way to prick themselves into action--get them moving. For others it's just "what you do" and they write out their list, only to lose it within their next pile of junk. But really, why goals--and for many, only at the beginning of each year?

I have a couple questions on this subject. Number one, if goals are so awesome and amazing, how come we wait an entire year to make a list of them!? I am speaking generally here of course (I know you list freaks are out there---don't try to deny it!). And my second questions is, why even MAKE goals. I see where this is going, and it's the nature of man. Again. But that's ok--it's a subject I would do well to dwell on!

We make goals because we want something more than what we have. Most of our natures desire something BETTER than what we have: a better lifestyle, body, health--you name it! And yet that same nature fights against this desire, making us creatures of the moment, ease, and convenience, rather than FIGHTING our flesh. We make goals for several reason, I grant you, but I contend that the main reason most people make goals is to make themselves feel better about themselves.

The thing is, we want everything INSTANTLY! Patience is definitely out of style. So making goals is easy--sitting there and making a lovely list on lovely paper in stylish hand writing. But for most of us, when it really comes down to business, we turn to the "easy" little things that give us satisfaction in the moment, but at the end of the day only make us feel sick with how much time we wasted.

I am definitely not trying to bash new year's resolutions or say that no one should ever do them etc etc. But it seems to me that new year's goals have become not only fashionable, but fanciful. Goals are amazing and everyone should have them, but how about you make some NOW. If you didn't make some on New Year's Eve, and think inspiring thoughts while you watched the ball drop, who cares? What matters is to honor God in this life with EVERYTHING we do--and goals can definitely be one of them :)

I know this was sort of random--I just wrote it on the spot. Thanks for riding through it with me, and as always, I hope I caused some thoughts to go through your head. I love thinking, and I love getting others to think as well.