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PARENTS: Who is teaching your child, the iPad, the teacher you disagree with, or you?


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IS OUR PSYCHOLOGICAL DIET AS IMPORTANT AS OUR PHYSICAL DIET?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I want to take you to an op-ed piece in USA Today. It appeared about two weeks ago written by Art Friends, a clinical psychologist. He says — remember, you are what you eat and we apply that to what we eat physically — when you go into a restaurant, oftentimes, you see what the calorie count might be, how healthy it is for your life — you can make that decision.

However, he goes on to say, in particular, it is easy to not notice the unhealthy or even toxic ingredients in the massive amounts of television programming, social media apps and various tech and screen activities that we expose ourselves to each and every day.

PARENTS MUST MONITOR CHILDREN’S EXPOSURE TO TECHNOLOGY

DR. REEDER: Tom, let’s put the Christian world and life view framing around this upfront: parents need to be engaged, not simply in what is your child looking at on television and what is your child accessing through the technology of iPhones and iPads, but even should be they be in front of the television and should they even have that technology in their hands? And, if so, when and, if so, how do you engage in parental oversight?

Yesterday, we looked at the erosion of parental rights. Today, we want to look at actually activating your parental rights for your child’s nurturing environment as they grow up. And you’ve got to understand that, while television and technology are amoral — they’re not evil — they also are instruments. They are mediums and something is coming through them. It is not the iPhone that is the sin, but what is coming through the iPhone and what your child is accessing.

You type something in on your internet search because you want to shop for something and, the next thing you know, within ten hours, you got 30 ads by various companies on that object or related objects. Well, that happens way beyond the consumption of goods in terms of people that are using the internet to get into your life and determine what information’s coming to your life.

JESUS GIVES US SAGE GUIDELINES

What we’ve got to do, Tom, is believe our Savior. Our Savior said this. These are three phrases that He said related to the parable of the sower and a couple of other parables:

-Be careful who you listen to.

-Be careful what you listen to.

-Be careful how you listen.

Therefore, who, what and how you listen and realize that, when you move into the area of public broadcast or cable broadcast, to a certain degree you start losing control. And then your child, who has less abilities than you to make discerning decisions about who, what and how to listen through their use of television and technology, your child, many times, is out there in this wasteland that is utterly destructive.

You made a great point of nutritional information and knowing that you are what you eat. Well, spiritually and lifestyle, you are what you listen to, who you listen to and how you listen to it. Here’s what Jesus said when all is said and done, the pupil will become like his teacher. In other words, the blind will lead the blind and they both fall into the pit.

Who are you listening to? You’re going to start being affected too. What are you listening to? You’re going to be affected by it. How are you listening? You’re going to be affected by it. That’s why Paul commended the Bereans that they examined the Scriptures to see if these things are so. Learners must be discerning of who you are learning from, what you are learning from and how you are factoring and filtering what you are learning and how you are dealing with it and what you’re going to do with it.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO CHOOSE WISE TEACHERS, TOO

We who are engaged in the media, we have to bear responsibility for what we teach and how we teach it because the teacher incurs a stricter judgment. Why would the teacher incur a stricter judgment? Because teaching communication actually does have effects and consequences. That’s why we incur a stricter judgment.

Well, if teachers incur a stricter judgment because what they teach and do affects people, then all of us when we are in positions of learning, we need to be careful who we select as our teachers, what we are listening to and how we are listening to it.

That includes reading as well: everything that is produced in communication has a world and life view. Nothing is neutral, but those who are using it are not unneutral and they are not amoral — they have a world and life view that is being communicated.

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, for many of us, it’s obvious what is moral and immoral and those decisions might seem black and white. As you talk about discernment for what we read and who we listen to, how can you discern which ones will be speaking the truth?

EXAMINE TEACHERS’ WORLD AND LIFE VIEW

DR. REEDER: Whenever I’m listening to a teacher, I don’t demand that they are Christian, but I do look at their world and life view and, thankfully, even non-Christians, because of common grace, can make communication worthwhile. There are a number of people I won’t mention who are not believers who talk about issues very competently and, because of God’s common grace, they not only know their stuff, they have remnants of a world and life view that are actually beneficial.

Therefore, I don’t demand that they are Christians in every area, but I do say choose your teachers. We will send our children into institutions of learning by teachers that you wouldn’t let your children spend 30 minutes with alone outside of that classroom because of their lifestyle and you’ve got to realize that their lifestyle comes from a world and life view and that world and life view affects how they present the data within a classroom or the data if they’re mentoring someone.

Be careful who you listen to — I can’t say it any better than Jesus — be careful what you listen to and how you listen to it. “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, does not stand in the path of sinners and does not sit in the seat of the scorner.” Go on to that next verse, “His delight is in the law of the Lord and, in His law, he meditates day and night.”

Find teachers who not only know their stuff and are affected by God’s common grace, find teachers who extoll redeeming grace and, certainly, the best way to deal with the teachers that are in the world as we are seeking to learn throughout life, is to make sure you’re under solid Biblical preaching day in and day out.

DISCERNMENT IN CHURCH SELECTION IS ALSO IMPORTANT

Be somewhere in a church where there is expository preaching that is being applied to all of life. Don’t just pick a church where there’s an appealing and attractive personality on the podium and tells good “coach me up” stories, but that pastor is a pastor-teacher who is equipping you with expository preaching.

And then, from that, start choosing your teachers in life within your vocation. Who is teaching you, what are they saying and how are they saying it? That will affect not only what you are learning, but it will affect your heart and then, from your heart, you will begin to speak and make decisions in life.

Just as you are what you eat, you are what you listen to and you become like those whom you listen to. Therefore, in your how to listen, make good choices who you’re listening to and what you’re listening to, who you are reading and what you are reading.

BUILD A CORE LIBRARY OF KNOWLEDGE AND STICK TO IT

Build in your life, first of all, good preaching, then get some good books. There are four programs that I will watch and, because we are out doing things when those programs happen, I’m thankful for the technology. We actually tape them so not only can I be selective of the four programs I want to watch in light of their value and enjoyment as well as instruction, but I also get to fast forward through all of the commercials. And, by the way, they affect you also — believe me, those people are experts at controlling your wants and desires to make yesterday’s luxuries today’s necessities that you think you can’t live without.

STUDY THE WORD OF GOD TO GROW CLOSER TO HIM

Honestly, I’m grateful to be able to fast forward by the commercials but let me give a commercial here: Come to Jesus Christ and love His Word because, through the Word of God, you can know the God of the Word. Now, you can know the Word of God without knowing the God of the Word but you cannot know the God of the Word without the Word of God.

And, when you know from the Word of God the God of the Word, then you can leave a life by the grace of God to the glory of God and choose those teachers who exalt the Lord, your God, in your life from His Word in every arena of life.

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.

 

7 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.

 

 

7 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.

8 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

9 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.