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What Toys ‘R Us, colleges, and social security have in common


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TOYS ‘R US ANNOUNCES CLOSING OF STORES — WHY?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, an institution for kids, Toys ‘R Us, that sprouted off another business called Babies ‘R Us, was 800 stores wide across America and it was recently reported by a number of media outlets that it is now shutting down. Harry, is this the internet taking over or is there another story behind this?

DR. REEDER: Babies ‘R Us because babies are rare. Toys ‘R Us shutting down because toys aren’t needed since babies are rare. And why are babies rare? It’s called the industry of abortion, protected, propagated, perpetuated, tax-funded now and the most prolific purveyors of abortion, Planned Parenthood, were included in the last spending bill of our Congress.

IS THIS A CONSEQUENCE OF SEXUAL REVOLUTION?

We have made a comment a number of times from a Christian world and life view and that’s this: You cannot break God’s law without God’s law breaking you. If you insist on sexual immorality — its practice and the attempt to normalize it — you can’t normalize it and it’ll break you physically, it’ll break you emotionally, it’ll break you medically — they call them sexually transmitted diseases.

Well, if that’s true of the seventh commandment, you can rest assured it’s true of the sixth commandment, “You shall not murder”. We murder unborn children. We have a society that rationalizes, promotes and protects the murder of the child, not the life of the child in the womb.

Therefore, what has happened? Well, you lose 1.5 million children a year since 1973, what happens within a nation? A nation begins to realize, “That’s 1.5 million taxpayers, that’s 1.5 million consumers, that’s 1.5 million students a year that are being lost.”

Secondly, you promote the Planned Parenthood agenda and now, in America, the reproduction rate is 1.77 children per woman and that rate, of course, will not sustain a population. We don’t feel it in America because both legal and illegal immigration continues to cause this nation’s population to grow, to some extent — not significantly, but it is growing because of immigration.

WHERE HAVE ALL THE MARRIAGES AND FAMILIES GONE?

TOM LAMPRECHT: On top of that, Harry, a CNS news story says that Pew research cites that young Americans today are less likely to be married today than any prior generation. In 1965, nearly 80 percent of “Silent Generation” members between 21 and 36 years old were married — 80 percent. Today, that number is 37 percent.

DR. REEDER: And that means, without marriage, there are less children desired and less children that are born. And, unfortunately, those that are born out of wedlock are born into unstable situations and usually end up in some kind of poverty, which then ends up into some kind of downward cycle of addictive behaviors or criminal behavior.

Toys ‘R Us has to close down why? There’s no children to go in there to buy like there were. They’ve had to start closing down and closing down and then once you begin having to close stores, the whole model was built on growth and there’s no growth. You’ve got to have kids to have stores for toys because it’s kids who want the toys. And, obviously, Babies ‘R Us also has lost its marketplace.

SMALL COLLEGES ARE FEELING THE PINCH OF LESS STUDENTS

Tom, I just got out of a meeting this last week in which we went through a survey. It is estimated that, in the next 18 years, over 50 percent of the small colleges and universities in America will close down.

There are multiple reasons why that is happening, but one reason it is happening is a diminishing pool of eligible students. The pool for students is rapidly decreasing. In fact, if it weren’t for international students, the rate of closures would be going up rapidly. Again, just as immigration is saving the population numbers, the immigration for our colleges — that is, international students arriving — is, at the moment, saving their very existence but it can’t last forever.

And then there will be another wave of closings after these large private schools with large endowments run out of their endowments. Right now, the only thing that they think is going to have any stability are the big state universities because of their athletic receipts and revenues and because they are taxpayer supported.

You see colleges diminishing. Why? No students. You’re looking at the blip on the timeline moving up. Babies ‘R Us — no babies, closed. Toys ‘R Us — no children, closed. Colleges — no students, closed.

SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM TEETERS ON THE BRINK

And then, of course, let’s go to the end of the timeline and that is retirement. We have a Social Security system that, unless it is fully funded by the government, which will further destroy the economy of the United States, it also is at the moment of crisis and implosion as it implodes upon itself. Why? The whole system was built upon increasing the population of those entering the workplace to take care of those who were exiting the workplace.

Now it’s top-heavy. Now the number of those exiting the workplace drastically dwarfs the number of those entering the workplace or who are in the middle of their careers where they ought to be earning their most money. Therefore, those at the end of the timeline will suffer.

Therefore, look at the flow: Babies ‘R Us — no babies, close the stores. Toys ‘R Us — means no children, close those stores. Colleges — no students, close those colleges. Now retirement — there is no retirement for there’s no one in the system that can support those who are at the conclusion of their life in the system which, by the way, is payback because it is those who are coming to collect their Social Security that created the death culture and approved the death culture that destroyed the young who will not be there to take care of them in their old age.

You see these particular news stories become a metaphor to remind us of what happens when a country walks away from a Christian world and life view with the sanctity of sexuality, the sanctity of marriage and the sanctity of life, both in the womb and at the conclusion of life.

ABORTION MINDSET WILL STRIKE BACK AT SENIORS WITH EUTHANASIA

One final thought on this, and that is if there are all these now at the end of life and, because of the culture of death, there aren’t many to support them in the middle of life, it won’t be long until the culture of death visits those at the end of life with not passive euthanasia, but mandated euthanasia as people will decide who will get treatment at the end of life and who will not, due to the expense of keeping people alive and we don’t want to have to feed people who are living off of us. No matter what they did with their lives before they got there, they’re now in the way of our lives.

Those who survived the abortuary, those who were able to get through their childhood and get their education now look at older ones and realize, “There aren’t enough of us to support you, therefore we’ll have to cull the herd,” and the aged will have to be removed.

TOM LAMPRECHT: Lest anyone thinks you’re overstating the situation, the U.S. Census Bureau predicts that, by 2035, senior citizens will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history.

THE REMEDY IS TO LIVE BY GOD’S OUTLINE FOR LIFE AND FLOURISH

DR. REEDER: And that is an untenable position for a Social Security system and even for the economics of a nation. Therefore, what are the answers? Well, people know what I’m going to say: The answer is to get out there and share the Gospel and then disciple people so that they begin to live with rationality instead of the irrationality of rebellion against God, and the culture of death, and the culture of immorality and the culture of rebellion against the God of glory.

God’s Word gives us the outline for life. If we embrace it, then you can see human flourishing so let’s love the Lord with all of our heart, soul and mind. And Jesus is the one who will bring you because of the love of the Lord for you and, when that happens, then you can love your neighbor as yourself and we can return to sensibility when we love the Lord with our mind, our heart and our soul.

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 has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

4 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:

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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.

 

 

4 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.

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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.

5 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.

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“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

6 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.

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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.”

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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.