Subscription Preferences:

Are the millions of lives lost to abortion less important than lives lost to gun violence?


Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:            

MARCH FOR OUR LIVES TOUTED BY MEDIA

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, today in the news, I want to talk about the March for Our Lives. Now, this was the march that took place two weekends ago. As we compare the March for Our Lives and the March for Life, commemorating the terrible decision by the Supreme Court of Roe v. Wade, it’s interesting to note that the coverage by the major news networks was 13 times more for March for Our Lives than it was for the March for Life, which took place back in January.

The poster child for the March for Our Lives is a young man named David Hogg, out of the South Florida high school where the terrible shooting took place. It’s sort of a sad commentary that David has decided to have just a profanity-ridden rant every time he goes on the TV.

DR. REEDER: Yeah, and after the avalanche of profanity, the young man was asked, “What policy changes?” and he said, “Well, I don’t know what policy changes. I’m a teenager. You’re an adult. You ought to come up with policy changes.”  Well, actually, the adults that have been funding these things do have a policy change in mind.

WHO ARE THE ADULTS WHO ARE PROMOTING THIS?

Let’s back up just for a minute, Tom, and ask ourselves the question, “Why is it that you have this massive response to this situation of the March for Our Lives?” As you rightly point out, it’s not even comparable to the issue of the March for Life. The March for Our Lives is generated from the horrific shooting. We’re told that the problem is “gun violence”.

Now, what does the March for Life do? Well, it looks at not dozens of lives lost in a schoolroom, but it looks at millions of lives that are being lost in the womb. And so, when you take a look at the overwhelming statistical difference, you would think that the media, just on the basis of any objective reporting standards, would give attention to the March for Life, but they don’t — they pretty well now bury it on the third page and beyond — but they are fascinated with this. Why?

We don’t want to send our kids to school and have to worry about if they’re going to be gunned down. And we ask ourselves, “Is that because of guns or are guns actually a go-to instrument that’s being used in a culture of death?”

This young man has called for a response from “the adult population” with an adolescent fascination with profanity. He is now being promoted or “puffed” by the media and what he’s doing, of course, is somewhat revealing because you see the inability of our culture to discuss issues without resorting to epithets, name-calling and also profanity.

I  still hold pretty much to what I learned growing up where my dad and mom told me that, when people in a conversation or a debate resort to profanity and blasphemy, that reveals one of two things: Either their argument is weak and therefore they have to prop it up with profanity or the one presenting the argument is weak in terms of vocabulary and has to resort to profanity. And I think that’s true in this matter as well if we have a valid discussion on this, Tom.

WHEN DID GUNS BECOME A WEAPON OF VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN?

I went to school in a rural area — I was in a county high school — and a lot of the guys would come with guns in their truck. You actually had target practice classes that you could go to. How did we move in the culture to that place where you didn’t even worry about it because people would not have thought of it? How did we get there?

And, of course, you not only see this violence with the use of guns, but you also see the depression that is taking place among our young people. They are now reaching out for the answer to their significance in life with these horrific acts and their “15 minutes” — and, in this case, of course, stretches into days and months of weeks — of fame and notoriety. Why is that happening?

It’s not the presence of guns. With all due respect, guns don’t do violence — guns are instruments that can do violence. The question is, “Why are guns now being used in such a violent manner and they’re being used at places that would have been unthinkable such as churches and schools, etc.? Why is that happening?”

CULTURAL PASTIMES HOLD CLUE TO MINDSET CHANGE

Could we, perhaps, take a look at our culture that the adults are now foisting upon the young people such as video games where violence is objectified and video games where you’re rewarded for killing faceless people with horrific acts and pornography that objectifies women?

Should we be so amazed that people who spend hours in front of pornography walk into a business environment and objectify women in their comments? What is it that is filling the minds and hearts of the people in the culture? That’s what’s producing people who then do what would previously be unthinkable acts within the culture.

IS THIS A LARGER SECOND AMENDMENT ISSUE?

Tom, those are the questions we ought to be asking ourselves but then we’re back to why is this movement so publicized? Well, I think, very clearly, the Second Amendment is the target and, therefore, there has to be a discussion of why is there the Second Amendment? Well, the simple fact is the Second Amendment is there because the founding fathers believed in the sanctity of self-protection and the protection of the states from a runaway government so that they would be able to arm their citizens and could respond to any tyrannical move of the government.

What we need to ask ourselves is why is the valid provision of the Second Amendment now being used as a mechanism to access a weapon to be used for violence that objectifies people at targets to carry out my despair and depression in life? What is causing the despair and depression in the culture and what is it that is causing people to think in that direction?

That’s really what the adults ought to bring to the conversation but, instead, the adults are using the First Amendment right of assembly and free speech — which was exercised in the March for Our Lives — which we must preserve that First Amendment right but, yet, those with an agenda to remove the Second Amendment funded and are now using the valid concerns of these students in order to promote their own agenda. And then they also fasten themselves on a spokesperson who then brings the passion of profanity to bear upon the entire exercise.

CHRIST’S MESSAGE OF HOPE IS THE ONLY REMEDY TO OUR CULTURE

Let’s realize the dynamic of what’s happening in the coarsening of our culture but I think there’s something even more fundamental for believers and that’s this: let’s bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to bear upon the culture and the glorious statement of life and what it means to live life and that life is not hiding away in a room playing video games that objectify violence and people as faceless targets for violence that creates this environment of despair and this environment of depression in which aggressive behavior against others becomes the route of affirming myself from faceless notoriety to being somebody in the culture.

Let’s bring the truth of the Gospel in the dignity of humanity, the glory of the love of Christ for sinners, and the reclamation that you are made and saved for a distinct purpose in life, and that there is dignity to life, and there is dignity to being made in the image of God and there is hope in being restored  by the glorious presence of Christ who died for our sins and again that we might have life and that we might have life abundantly filled with hope.

Therefore, while I want to speak to the constitutional issues and I want to challenge people to think of the culture that is producing these acts of violence whereby the adults have affirmed violence against children in the womb, then why are we amazed when the children grow up and decide to bring violence against other children, not in the womb but in a classroom? What is it in our culture that’s doing that?

What we’ve got to bring is the hope of the Gospel to the culture, recognizing all of those factors and the death spiral of the culture that’s producing it. What is it that we can bring that will elevate people to hope and life? And I believe it’s the glorious news that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of sinners and takes us from hopelessness to a blessed hope that is unconquerable and that makes men and women walk in the hope of new life and eternal life in Christ.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

5 hours ago

The surprising link between Alabama seafood, timber and U.S. national security, and how Shelby is leading the way

There are plenty of areas of debate over exactly how and where the U.S. should spend its foreign aid dollars. But for Alabamians in particular — and the entire Gulf Coast region more broadly — the international assistance that flows into cracking down on illegal wildlife trafficking is paying massive dividends, both economically and, perhaps more surprisingly, in terms of national security.

A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation indicates Americans grossly overestimate the amount the federal government spends on foreign aid.  The average answer was foreign aid accounts for a whopping 31 percent of spending. Fifteen percent of respondents actually thought it represented over half of the U.S. budget.

In reality, according to the Congressional Research Service, it accounts for about 1 percent total when military, economic development and humanitarian efforts are combined.  And it is paying massive dividends for Alabama.

Here’s how:

476

First, foreign aid dollars fund multi-nation efforts to combat illegal trade in timber and fish. These illicit practices cost U.S. foresters and fishers billions of dollars in lost revenue every single year by flooding the market and driving down prices.

According to the Alabama Department of Commerce, “Alabama has the second largest commercial timberland base in the U.S., with 23 million acres. Forestry is the state’s second largest manufacturing industry, producing an estimated $14.8 billion worth of products in 2013, the latest data available.” Alabama also ranked second in the country in fish production. By cracking down on the black-market trading of timber and fish, our foreign aid dollars are protecting Alabama jobs.

Second, foreign aid that flows into international conservation efforts, which has enjoyed bipartisan support for decades, helps countries manage their natural resources sustainably. This prevents the scarcity of water, food or forests that often contributes to instability and sparks regional conflicts.

Third, cracking down on illegal wildlife trafficking cuts off a major source of income for armed groups and organizations with terrorist ties throughout the world, many of which pose a direct threat to American interests.

A report by the United Nations and Interpol found that the “illegal wildlife trade worth up to $213 billion a year is funding organized crime, including global terror groups and militias.” Additionally, “the annual trade of up to $100 billion in illegal logging is helping line the pockets of mafia, Islamist extremists and rebel movements, including Somalia’s Al-Qaeda linked terror group al-Shabaab.”

Fortunately, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who recently rose to the powerful post of Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, has remained a staunch supporter of ensuring that resources continue to flow into efforts to combat the illegal trade in timber and fish.

“The Committee has worked together to strike the appropriate balance between the competing priorities of law enforcement, national security, scientific advancement, and economic development,” Shelby said after announcing critical funding for Fiscal Year 2018. “Additionally, the measure includes necessary oversight provisions to fight waste, fraud, and abuse. This is a step forward in maintaining critical funding for core programs and addressing the needs of our nation while staying within our spending boundaries.”

The move did not go unnoticed by leaders in the seafood industry, a major source of economic activity in all Gulf States, including Alabama.

“We cannot thank Senator Shelby enough,” said Southern Shrimp Alliance Executive Director John Williams after fiscal year 2018 appropriation. “Their extraordinary efforts ensure the survival of the domestic shrimp fishery in the face of what has been an endless stream of illegal shrimp imports.”

Support for foreign assistance and international conservation is smart domestic policy. It protects our economy and cuts off the flow of cash to criminals and terrorists. Sen. Shelby and the bipartisan coalition of lawmakers from whom he has helped rally support deserve recognition and praise for their leadership.

Allison Ross is the owner of Yellowhammer News.

 

 

5 hours ago

What’s wrong with Calhoun County’s economy?

Earlier this week, Zippia, one of the many job search websites out there, released its list of 2018’s 50 worst job markets in America. Only one in Alabama made the list: Anniston-Jacksonville, AL, which came in at number 43.

That’s not bad given what we’re told about Alabama and poverty. But it does raise one question: Why are Anniston and its surrounding areas struggling compared to other similar places in the state?

Although unemployment in Calhoun County is not nearly as high as counties in the Black Belt, compared to other quasi-urban areas of Alabama, Calhoun has the highest unemployment rate, coming in at 5.9 percent according to data posted recently on the Alabama Department of Labor’s website.

514

That far exceeds the seasonally adjusted numbers for the state of Alabama, at 4.1 percent, and nationally, at 4 percent.

So, what gives? Why does Calhoun County struggle economically?

“It’s a good question,” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Saks) said in response to that in an interview with Yellowhammer News back in April. “I saw those numbers come out for my congressional district and Calhoun County had the highest unemployment rate, still. It is better than it has been, but I don’t know the answer to that question.”

Rogers said part of the answer to that question may be tied to military spending during the Obama administration and its impact on the nearby Anniston Army Depot.

“[T]here was a real downsizing at the Depot,” he added. “They had had a couple more thousand employees than they have now at the height of the war and there had been a downsizing since the drawback from Iraq and Afghanistan. You don’t need to refurbish as much equipment. But now they’re trying to ramp back up as we try to rebuild our military.”

He credited the potential for a turnaround in that trend to President Donald Trump’s commitment to the military.

Beyond that, why isn’t Calhoun County booming? It seems like every other day, Gov. Kay Ivey is announcing a new addition or manufacturing facility in the Huntsville area that includes a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Let’s compare the Anniston-Oxford area to another economic hot spot in Rogers district, the Auburn-Opelika area.  Although Lee County isn’t quite enjoying the successes of Madison and Limestone Counties, it seems to be growing. Its unemployment rate is 4.7 percent – a little higher. But when you look around Auburn and Opelika, there are all kinds of new commercial and residential construction projects.

That doesn’t seem to be a trend in Anniston and Oxford.

Both Lee and Calhoun Counties have some similarities. Having Auburn University in Lee County is a big difference. Besides that, the two approximately the same distance from Atlanta and its international airport. The two are served by the Interstate Highway System – I-20 in Calhoun County and I-85 in Lee County.

If Lee County can make it work, then why not Calhoun County?

Getting to the bottom of determining what is ailing Calhoun County is not an easy chore. Although reading the pages of The Anniston Star is not quite the adventures of “Alice in Wonderland” it was when H. Brandt Ayers was in charge, under Josephine Ayers and Anthony Cook, it still tends to dwell in the politics outside of Calhoun County.

Addressing Calhoun County’s struggles is a politically worthwhile endeavor. While Kay Ivey is patting herself on the back for economic prosperity in north Alabama at plant-opening ceremony number 105, and Walt Maddox is championing his heroics in Tuscaloosa post-2011 tornado devastation, what about Anniston? What about Oxford? What about Jacksonville?

From an outsider’s perspective, there seems to be a presentable case for manufacturing to make Calhoun County a home given its infrastructure and proximities it Atlanta and Birmingham. But first, we need to determine what’s behind its current struggles.

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

6 hours ago

Six vote difference: Republicans Todd Rauch and Debbie Wood in tight race for House District 38

Todd Rauch and Debbie Wood are in a tight race to become the Republican nominee for House District 38, where only six votes separate the two candidates. Wood has 2,165 votes to Rauch’s 2,159 votes.

The number is well within Rauch’s reach considering there are still votes to be counted.

A winner won’t be declared until at least next Tuesday, July 24, when provisional ballots are officially counted and even then, it could take longer for Secretary of State John Merrill to certify the results officially declaring a winner.

118

“There’s never a winner until everything is certified,” Secretary of State John Merrill told Yellowhammer News.

Even in the case of such a wide margin as Attorney General Steve Marshall has over Troy King – 62 to 38 percent – there is still no official winner because it hasn’t been certified, Merrill said.

Provisional ballots are provided to those whose names do not appear on the voter roles when they show up to vote but who insist they belong, and still want to vote.

In order to have their votes counted, those who participate in the provisional process must prove to the board of registrar’s office that they ought to be on the roles.

@jeremywbeaman is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News

7 hours ago

Alabamians less likely to be understood by ‘Alexa’ and other ‘smart’ tech because of southern accents

The remarkable drawl that embodies Southern culture may be responsible for the frustration many Alabamians feel when trying to get their smart tech to answer a question. The repeated “Sorry, I didn’t get that” can lead people with accents to underutilize voice-activated devices such as Alexa and Google Home that are rapidly growing in popularity.

study conducted by the Washington Post and two research groups revealed people with Southern accents were three percent less likely to get accurate responses from a Google Home device than those with Western accents.  Foreign accents face the largest challenge with 30 percent more inaccuracies.

But, help is on the way.

146

According to the study, the artificial intelligence used in programming the technology is taught to comprehend different accents by processing data from a variety of voices.  The more it learns, the more accurate the programming will become.  Even though these tools may be more useful for some people at the moment, Amazon, the maker of the smart home product Alexa, says to keep trying.

“The more we hear voices that follow certain speech patterns or have certain accents, the easier we find it to understand them.  For Alexa, this no different,” Amazon said in a statement.  “As more people speak to Alexa, and with various accents, Alexa’s understanding will improve.”

Over 20 percent of U.S. households with WiFi utilize smart speakers, and the number of users is growing.  Hopefully, for the benefit of Alabamians, that growth will happen in the South.

Allison Ross is the owner of Yellowhammer News.

Learning from President Trump: Words matter

“I don’t see any reason why it would be”.

Those words, voiced by President Trump when asked whether he believed it was true that Russia interfered with the 2016 election, set off a media firestorm early this week.

Trump, of course, is used to media criticism, but this time was different. Joining the normal critics were a multitude of Fox News hosts including Neil Cavuto, Bret Baier, Brit Hume, Dana Perino, and even Brian Kilmeade of the oft-lauded by Trump Fox and Friends.

The morning after Trump’s press conference with President Putin, Kilmeade spoke in second person “you” language and pleaded for President Trump to clarify his statement and his belief in our intelligence agencies over Russians who, as Kilmeade said “hate democracy.”

410

To his credit, Trump – who had previously agreed that Russian meddling existed – corrected his statement within twenty-four hours.

Regardless of whether his clarification was believable or timely, this episode reminds us that in politics and government – and in everyday life – words matter.

19thcentury German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche recognized the power of words. Nietzsche wrote, “All I need is a sheet of paper, and something to write with, and then I can turn the world upside down”.

Nietzsche’s statement wasn’t merely hypothetical. His declaration that “God is dead” shattered worldviews across western civilization into pieces that PureFlix (the movie company behind God’s Not Dead and its sequels) is still trying to pick up.

Even so, it seems that many have forgotten the power of words and have embraced the idea that simply being heard, regardless of content, is of utmost importance.

In NBC’s hit show The Office, Michael Scott tells viewers, “Sometimes I’ll start a sentence and I don’t even know where it’s going. I just hope I find it along the way.” I think a lot of us are more like Michael Scott than we’d like to admit.

We might do well to envision more intentional dialogue from ourselves and from our elected officials, especially our state and local representatives.

In an environment where soundbites are everything, Trump’s statements in Helsinki and the backlash that ensued ought to prompt Alabama officials and candidates to rethink any “wing it” sympathies they may have towards public statements, press conferences, or tweets.

This is even more important in the post-primary period of our election cycle.

Now that the nominees are chosen, we must remind each of their responsibility as leaders to use words, strategies, and express differences in a way that is less divisive and more unifying, less bombastic and more genuine. Our officials and candidates should think twice before resorting to name-calling or vilifying their opponents, as doing so endorses that type of behavior and lowers the standard of Alabamians for those who represent them.

We should also expect, now that the in-fighting of our primary process is over, nominees to run thoughtful campaigns where issues, not personalities, are articulately debated.

Candidates and regular Alabamians alike must remember that words yield tremendous power. Therefore, as Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the BFG, and Matilda, suggests, “Don’t gobblefunk around with words”.

Parker Snider is Manager of Policy Relations for the Alabama Policy Institute, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research and educational organization dedicated to strengthening free enterprise, defending limited government, and championing strong families.