Join Jim and Greg as they get a kick out of New York Democrat Rep. Max Rose posting a six-second ad just to bash deeply unpopular Mayor Bill de Blasio and hope it means Rep. Rose is feeling nervous. They also wade into the supposedly explosive revelations about President Trump’s coronavirus approach in Bob Woodward’s new book. And they fume as our tax dollars help pay for an event calling for an end to capitalism and even the United States itself.
As Americans stand horrified by the atrocities in Las Vegas, a leading Christian author says turning to God is the only way to heal this nation from wounds of division, violence, and even natural disasters.
Dr. Michael Brown is a national radio host and a contributing editor at thestream.org. His latest book is “Saving A Sick America.”
“America is hurting, be it from the hurricanes ravaging our nation, be it from the murders that take place in our inner cities every single day, be it from the racial strife and division that’s in our nation to the mass murders. We are hurting and only God can heal America,” said Brown.
He says with the onslaught of horrible news in recent weeks and recent years, it’s easy to lose sight of just how devastating events like the concert shooting in Las Vegas is, with at least 58 people dead and more than 500 injured.
“We become so desensitized that I don;t even know if we understand how evil evil really is, how dark dark really is. What’s going to make it apparent? The light shining. Martin Luther Kind said, ‘The church has to be reminded it’s not the master of the state or the servant of the state but the conscience of the state,'” said Brown.
“My greatest concern is not so much with the presence of darkness but with the absence of light,” added Brown.
Brown says a reliance on God is vital to America thriving again.
“America can only be great if America is good. America cannot be good without God. The founding of our nation attached our freedoms to morality and morality to God,” said Brown.
However, Brown is very quick to clarify that the carnage inflicted in Las Vegas is the responsibility of one depraved gunman with massive firepower and should not be interpreted as dive judgment.
“This [isn’t] because of gays or abortion. No. There’s a madman who’s a murderer. He and anyone who’s complicit with him, he or they alone are responsible. I am not saying, oh this is because they’re in Las Vegas and it’s in Sin City. Come on. These are people attending a country music concert. They’re just like anybody else, any other family,” said Brown.
“To make it as if they’re the worst of sinners or this because of is Las Vegas or this is God’s wrath. No, this is human evil,” said Brown.
So what does a nation turning to God look like? Brown begins by explaining what it doesn’t include.
“I’m not talking about a theocracy. I’m not talking about imposing the Bible on the culture and hitting people over the head with it. I’m saying that our very liberties, our very foundation are based on scriptural principles, on human beings being created in the image of God and our need for him as a creator. If we turn back to Him, I believe He’ll help us,” said Brown.
“The problems are too big. This is not a gun control issue. This is a political issue. There’s no social band-aid. We need to say, ‘God, right now we need you.’ I don’t think there’s any other solution,” said Brown.
Brown says it’s clear to him that’s there’s only one smart direction for America to turn.
“Where are we going to go? Who can help us? Who’s big enough? You going to look to the president? You going to look to the Republican Party, the Democrat Party, the media? Even the church itself is often so compromised. Many times our pulpits sound like they’re entertaining people than challenging people.
“We need a fresh awakening. The bad news is I think America’s in critical condition. The good news is we’ve had really dark times before in our nation and those were followed by Great Awakenings,” said Brown.
He says such an awakening is possible because God rescued him from being “a heroin-shooting, LSD-using hippy rock drummer” in 1971.
Brown says Christians need to be the light that Jesus called them to be.
“I don’t believe people are really turning away from God. They’re turning away from religion as they know it. I believe if we could come – not with just a pep talk message but with a real message of truth. If those who claim to follow Jesus and believe the Bible can demonstrate there’s a better way, I believe our families will be healthier, our kids would be healthier, our country would be healthier,” said Brown.
Act for America‘s “March Against Sharia” unfolded in more than 20 American cities on Saturday, with the group’s chairman declaring great momentum from the events and blasting the groups behind the counter-protests in several locations.
“The growth out of this movement has been phenomenal. We have added 250,000 followers to Act for America,” said Act for America Founder and Chairman Brigitte Gabriel. “A quarter of a million patriotic Americans stepped up and said, ‘We are joining you.’ We are excited. This is the movement we have been waiting for.”
She says many Americans are realizing that if they don’t stand up to Sharia law now, they may not have the chance years from now.
“We need to come together to save America because it’s the last man standing. Europe is gone. Nobody else in the world can stand up to Islamofacism the way we can. We need every American who loves this country involved,” said Gabriel.
Gabriel says thousands of Americans turned out for the marches across the nation and many more supported the effort on line, some because they had to work and others because they feared for their safety. She says the absence of injuries ought to convince many more people to get involved.
“The most important thing that this rally showed to every conservative out there is that you can get out and nobody’s going to kill you. Nobody’s going to harm you. The worst they can say to you is you are an Islamophobe,” said Gabriel.
Sharia is the Islamic law that is increasingly seeping into western courtrooms. Even in the United States, Gabriel says 143 cases in 22 states have allowed Sharia law as a defense. She says issues like female genital mutilation and honor killings are very real issues in American culture.
Gabriel says Americans may be shocked to know just how many girls have suffered as a result of Sharia’s endorsement of female genital mutilation as a means of supposedly tamping down “hypersexuality.”
“[The Centers for Disease Control] came out and said over a half a million girls – 513,000 girls – in the United States today in 2017 are at risk of female genital mutilation or have already been victims of female genital mutilation. That’s over half a million American girls,” said Gabriel.
“Who would have thought that in America today we were going to be discussing or sealing with such a barbaric practice that people think is only practiced in the backwoods of Africa and the Middle East,” said Gabriel.
Gabriel says honor killings also continue in our own communities.
“These are girls and women who are killed by a male in their family for simple things such as asking for a divorce, wanting to wear make-up, wanting to go out on a date, or wanting to go out to a cafe with male and female friends,” said Gabriel.
When critics accuse the March against Sharia of being anti-Muslim, Gabriel points to these issues to stress the movement is explicitly anti-Sharia.
“We welcome people to our country from all over the place, from different backgrounds, different religions, different sexual orientations, whatever it is. I am an immigrant to America. But we want people who come to the United States to abide by our rules, obey our Constitution. adopt our culture and become part of the American fabric and live in a way that is compatible with our western democracy and respect for human rights,” said Gabriel.
She says that is clearly not happening.
“We do not want people coming here genitally mutilating young American girls, killing American girls in the name of honor or teaching the hatred and encouraging the killing of gays and lesbians, etc.,” said Gabriel.
Gabriel says the active involvement of many Muslims in the March Against Sharia is also evidence of what its focus truly is.
“Our rally included a former imam who helped us organize the rally, four practicing Muslims speaking at our rallies. The Muslim that organized our Atlanta rally was named Mohammed and he’s the one who pulled it all together. We had acid attack survivors who spoke at our rallies. We had Miriam Ibrahim speak at our rally in Virginia Beach,” said Gabriel.
Ibrahim was the woman sentenced to death in Sudan for converting to Christianity and forced to give birth while shackled in prison. Fierce international pressure eventually led to her release.
Despite those testimonials, Gabriel says the Muslim groups and their liberal allies had no intention of listening.
“Their voices were drowned and that is such a shame because the left is not listening to those voices crying for help and standing up for America’s liberty and security and our western values. They don’t understand what we’re dealing with and they are being used as useful idiots,” said Gabriel.
She also says the anti-Muslim label is an example of “intentional confusion.”
“Because they could not argue with the facts that we were presenting, they had to change the conversation and make us look like we are Islamophobes and this is anti-Islam,” said Gabriel.
Gabriel says the nexus of groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, and far left groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter are joining forces to “drown the voices of patriotic Americans.”
Act for America is looking to build on its momentum at an October conference in Washington, D.C.
“We are going to descend on Washington, D.C., put pressure on elected officials and remind them that America’s national security is the number one concern for the country. We will not follow the path of Europe,” said Gabriel.
President Donald Trump’s inaugural address sends a clear signal that business in Washington is about to change and his vow of action has an eager Congress ready to work, according to Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla.
Yoho, who gained headlines two years ago by challenging sitting Republican House Speaker John Boehner, says the shift from President Obama to President Trump is huge and needed.
“It is a new day in America and I think Donald Trump did a good job just talking about making America great again at the end of his speech. It’s goodbye to the old and hello to the new,” said Yoho.
Trump began his inaugural address by proclaiming his presidency served as the moment the power in the United States returned to its rightful owners.
“Today’s ceremony, however, has a very special meaning because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people,” said Trump.
What does that look like? Yoho says it means a government who remembers who it works for.
“The way I took that is you’re going to see a government that’s much more responsive to the people,” he said.
In his speech, Trump also slammed the business as usual approach of Washington.
“In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving. We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining but never doing anything about it,” said Trump. “The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.”
Yoho says that’s the message the American people have been sending for years.
“If you look at the progression of the tea party from 2009 forward, the people being elected now – me being one of them – are from people who were fed up with the status quo and they wanted people outside of the Beltway. Donald Trump is the epitome of that,” said Yoho.
But one message emerged strongest of all from the Trump speech.
“From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families,” said Trump.
Trump’s “America First” approach to the presidency is drawing a wide variety of reactions. Yoho is encouraged by it.
“Whatever we do from government, we need to do what’s best for America. If we do that, that’s bringing power back to the people. Let’s treat this country first and foremost,” said Yoho.
One of Yoho’s greatest frustrations is how important legislation, such as appropriations bills, are often derailed or delayed by unrelated issues. He expects that to stop now that the GOP has the power in Washington.
“Two years ago we got that whole process stopped on the confederate flag issue. This last year, in 2016, it got stopped over the LGBT issue. I’m not saying they’re not important issues, but they should not be a distraction to getting our legislative work done,” said Yoho.
Trump has made it clear to Congress he expects them to be very productive in the early days of this administration. Yoho says Vice President Mike Pence put lawmakers on notice.
“Mike Pence came into our conference twice now and he goes, ‘I hope you guys are holding on because Mr. Trump is ready to get going. He has boundless energy and he doesn’t accept failure. He’ll be pushing the cart rather than waiting for somebody else to lead. He’s going to lead,” said Yoho.
And Yoho says Republicans on Capitol Hill are eager to get to work on much of the Trump agenda.
“The optimism that we see, not just in America but up here in the legislative body, there’s just a whole new atmosphere up here and it’s all positive,” said Yoho.
The top of the legislative agenda is clear.
“In the first 100 days, I think you’re going to see a push for the replacement of Obamacare. Following that you’ll see a push for tax reform. We’ve already got a good product teed up for tax reform,” said Yoho.
While Trump assumed the presidency Friday, scores of protesters were arrested for violence ranging from vandalism to arson. Yoho says the demonstrators fail to appreciate the source of their right to protest.
“The American dream comes from opportunity. The opportunity comes from our founding principles, our core values that’s held together and protected by the Constitution. Those ideas are neither Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal, white or black. Those are American ideologies,” said Yoho.
“Even these lackluster protesters should have the common sense to say, ‘We have something bigger than a party or a political belief. We better all work together to preserve what made this country great,” said Yoho.
While Yoho hopes the protesters eventually realize the unique opportunities they have in America, he says America itself has some excellent opportunities in the coming days.
“Seems like we were always running away from President Obama or trying to undo what he’s done. We’ve got a president now in the White House who will be leading the charge and I think it’ll be a lot easier to get things done in a positive direction for this country,” said Yoho.
By Ryan Brown
College tuition and debt are rising. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that in the 2013 academic year, the average sticker price for a college education rose to $8,893, a $247 increase from 2012.
Additionally, the Institute for College Access and Success reported that the average college student graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 2012 had a student loan debt over $29,000—65 percent of an average graduate’s starting salary.
With rising debt numbers, a lot of students are wondering if an education at a top-tier university is really worth the extra debt load.
Anthony LeCounte is a 2011 graduate of Yale College who tells a different story about his Ivy League education. LeCounte graduated with hopes of following the path of his father, a career soldier, and landing a job in the defense sector. In a blog for the Huffington Post, LeCounte says it’s hard to find a job due to increasing cuts in defense spending. Instead, he pursued a series of internships and temporary positions. Not only does he not have a full-time job, but because he had to take out loans to pay for his Yale education, LeCounte also has a lot of debt hanging over his head. He deferred payment of those loans due to unemployment. It’s clear from the title of his blog post, “Turns out my Ivy League education is worth squat,” how LeCounte feels about his time in expensive education.
Delece Smith-Barrow, an education reporter for U.S. News and World Report covering graduate schools, says an expensive education may still be a wise choice.
“It’s better if you have an idea of what you want to do—the career you want to go into—to look at that first, and see which school can offer you what you need,” she said.
She says that certain schools have specializations, and believes that should mean more to a prospective student than a specific ranking.
“Every school is different, and typically every school specializes in certain career paths. If you want to go to law school and specialize in health care law, whether it’s an Ivy League institution or a state school, the offerings at the school can really vary,” said Smith-Barrow.
Specializations aside, however, the fact remains that it seems like many who attend a private, expensive university end up being better off.
Kendel Christensen, a 2013 University of Pennsylvania alum, who’s now working for corporate training startup Self Spark, said that in a perfect world this wouldn’t be the case.
“The information you need to be competent is out there. If it’s all about what you can deliver, what your skills are, what knowledge you have—if it were only about that, I would say stay away from the Ivy League. It is hugely, ridiculously, almost embarrassingly over-priced,” he said.
He notes, though, that the opportunities that can come with a well-known university can often be worth it.
“It’s not just about competency. We live in an era of snap-judgments. People take ten seconds to look at your resume. I kid you not when I hand out my resume the first thing they say is ‘Oh, the University of Pennsylvania!’,” said Christensen.
This doesn’t mean that you should drop whatever you’re doing and apply to an Ivy League school, however. Reyna Gobel, author of CliffsNotes: Graduation Debt and a Forbes contributing writer, cautions against going after a degree just because of the institution’s name.
“You shouldn’t get a car that you’re not really going to drive and that isn’t going to get you to work on time. You should get a car that is practical and reliable and is worth what you’re spending,” she said.
Gobel warns that, besides the name, students need to look at their future career goals and match that with what they’re paying for school.
“If the school is 40,000 a year, you better get a pretty nice job when you get out that’s going to allow you to pay for that,” she said.
So how can you determine if the money you’re putting in is really worth it? That’s where something called an ROI, an abbreviation for Return on Investment, can come into play.
Allie Bidwell, another education reporter for U.S. News and World Report, says that looking at the ROI for a school is a vital step in researching a college education.
“Typically return on investment looks at the costs that students are paying for their college education versus how much they’re making in their jobs after they graduate. It focuses on whether they end up making a profit, coming flat, or losing on their investment,” said Bidwell.
So what’s the school out there with the best ROI? If you thought Harvard you’d be wrong. The best return on investment actually comes from Harvey Mudd College, a private science college in Claremont, California. Tuition at Harvey Mudd will run you a four-year cost of $229,500, but the return on that investment is huge. You’ll ultimately make out with $980,900.
And what’s the worst? Valley Forge Christian College. Four years will cost you over $114,000, and the thirty-year ROI is $-178,000.
At the end of the day, however, a degree is really what you make of it and students should not hesitate to ask questions as they decide which school to attend.
“Call up the places you want to work for and ask them, ‘Will this make a difference if I have a degree from X school?’ Schools can tell you whatever they want, they’re still salespeople. But the place where you want to get employed, those are the people that you should care about,” said Gobel.
As more and more families see college expenses continuing to rise, determining whether the cost of higher education is worth it will become even more important.