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42 posts from October 2011

Chuck Colson shares his plan to give hope to "Generation Limbo" who can't find a job

Remember Chuck Colson who used to work in the Nixon White House and spent some time in prison for his misdeeds?  Check this column where he writes about the dim future that young people face today with a decaying economy and uncertain job prospects.  

He seems to be saying the local churches need a big kick in the butt and start walking their talk with what the New York Times calls "Generation Limbo."  Churches, he says, need to practice what Jesus lived and be intentional about reaching the 18-29 year-olds.

Should kids be required by state law to say the Pledge of Allegiance everyday in school?

Does your child recite the Pledge of Allegiance everyday in school?  

State Senator Roger Kahn, a Republican of Saginaw, has introduced a bill requiring students to do that and that requires each school to display a U.S. flag.

According to this Grand Rapids Press story, Michigan is one of only seven states not requiring the Pledge to be said everyday.

What's the benefit of requiring this?  What happens if a school disregards it?  Would it be better if the schools did it voluntarily?

Are voters being bullied into believing that Lansing City Council-member Carol Wood is an obstructionist?

There's a kind of, sort of campaign going on right now for Lansing (MI) City Council.  Why do I describe it that way?

The main target seems to be incumbent Council-member Carol Wood who asks questions when the city administration makes proposals.  She wants to know the "who, what, when, where, how, why and so what" of their proposals often made at the last minute before some deadline.

I've watched city council meetings on local television for the past three years and I have talked to her on many different occasions.  

Nobody during this campaign period is giving evidence of her being an obstructionist.  There's lots of name-calling and lots of ridicule, but there's not a serious discussion.

Check this WKAR Radio story describing how the city hall establishment and local Chamber of Commerce are fighting her and City Council-member Derrick Quinney with the obstructionist label.



Bologna or baloney makes page one of the Lansing (MI) State Journal

When was the last time you bought baloney or bologna in the store?  Did you find it to be cheap?

The Lansing State Journal this morning has a page one online story about the rise in popularity of this pseudo meat as a cheaper choice during this down economy.

With a city and a state that is struggling to keep its head above water, is this a real news story?  

And is baloney a cheaper choice in the supermarket?

Muskegon Sheriff's Deputy gives gripping account of fatal shooting of a bank robber

You see stuff like this on television all the time, but very seldom do you get to view a running gun battle with bank robbers through the eyes of a police officer.  Read this account from the Muskegon Chronicle about Muskegon County Sheriff Lt. Shane Brown and see what it's like.  It's gripping and it shows how dangerous the job can really be.

How much trust can you put in local crime statistics?

There's a big niff-naw going on over Vice President Joe Biden's use of crime statistics for the city of Flint and it raises questions of accuracy about such statistics generally.  He was in the city earlier this month to promote a bill in Congress for more funding for local cops and firefighters.  

He quoted these stats for Flint, according to the Flint Journal:

Biden cited these statistics, provided by the city of Flint:
• 2008: 91 rapes and 35 murders
• 2010: 229 rapes and 65 murders

But those numbers clash with the statistics reported by other law enforcement agencies.

• 2008: 103 rapes and 32 murders
• 2010: 92 rapes and 53 murders

Michigan State Police:
• 2008: 102 rapes and 32 murders
• 2010: 81 rapes and 51 murders

Are citizen volunteers going to replace cops in more police functions in Michigan?

Local units of government are struggling to pay for services that we typically take for granted like police protection.  Take the city of Flint, for example. According to this Flint Journal story, They had more than 100 volunteers out last night to watch for pre-Halloween firesetters.  Is this going to become more of a pattern with cities around the state?

Listening to news about Satan on a Sunday morning in Michigan

Do you ever think much about Satan or whatever you call him, the Devil, Lucifer?

Has he ever touched your thinking about life and about your relationship to God? 

That's the topic of today's devotion in Our Daily Bread.  Pastor Joe Stowell writes about how Satan is the father of lies about anything that can make us doubt God.

Has that ever happened to me?  I'm thinking about it as I get ready for church.  I know that God's Word is the only effective weapon against Satan.


Good solid prayer advice from last night's World Series game between St. Louis and Texas

Our best prayers are probably not to get the immediate results we want, but rather to experience the right kind of spirit.


Mart DeHaan of the Radio Bible Class based in Grand Rapids gave a callout this morning to St. Louis Cardinal Lance Berkman who spoke to a reporter after last night's game.

One of the starts of a really great game, he shared that before the game he prayed to have the right attitude. He asked for "calmness and an ability to compete because I think that's all you can ask for."

DeHaan likens that to the challenges we face in life. As we live daily, we should pray for the right kind of spirt, rather than just the immediate results.

Will MI State Rep. Paul Scott be recalled for supporting Gov. Rick Snyder agenda?

Recall organizers want to oust Scott for several reasons, including his support of cuts to K-12 funding, voting for new pension taxes and influence in legislation that weakens teacher tenure protection.


Is MI Rep. Paul Scott, a Republican from the Flint-area a courageous leader or is he a puppet of the state's Gov. Rick Snyder?

That's what voters in his 51st House District will decide at the polls on Nov. 8 when they decide whether he should be recalled from office.

He's chairman of the House Education Committee which was the first test in the Michigan House for much of the controversial public school legislation approved by lawmakers.

Parents in the city of Detroit should be raising hell about these class sizes

The Detroit News reports that some teachers are tasked with controlling rooms filled with more students than they can reasonably handle. With 54 kids in one kindergarten class, such as in a Nolan Elementary School classroom, it's a sure bet that even the best teacher can't do more than manage behavior.

The problem isn't only affecting lower grades. Recently, a science class at Finney High School was swamped with 72 students, according to the Detroit Federation of Teachers.


Think about the class sizes in your local school district. Some can get kind of high with 30-40 kids which makes the ability to teach and learn questionable.

Then take a look at the class sizes in these Detroit Public School classrooms.

What about 54 kids in a kindergarten classroom? How would that work? Would you want your kindergartener in that class? Shouldn't parents be kicking some serious butt?

My son-Justin Thorp-talks about being part of the D.C. tech community

I invite you to catch up with my son Justin on his blog Oatmeal Stout-Justin Thorp's Blog.  This morning he posted about being part of the Washington, D.C. tech community.  When he started working in D.C. more than five years ago, the tech community consisted of a bunch of guys and maybe a girl getting together at a bar.  Now it has grown to get-togethers where a major auditorium is filled.

This community has served as a foundry where tech types throw their ideas and their contacts into a big pot and form a synergy that benefits everybody.

Did you know that he changed jobs?  He started with the Library of Congress, moved to Clearspring/Add This and he's now at Hello Wallet.  


How much has the Iraq war cost us in lives and money?

The announcement signals the imminent end of a war that has cost the U.S. more than $800 billion dollars and claimed the lives of 3,525 American service members.


President Obama announced today that all United States troops will be pulled out of Iraq by the end of the year.

It's a remnant from 9/11 and it has been costly.

The above figures are from the online version of the Wall Street Journal.

Would you want your young, single-daughter moving to the city of Detroit?

Sit back in your chair for a moment and think the word "Detroit."  What's the first thing that comes to your mind?  Is it a place that you'd want your single daughter to move to?  It might be, according to this story in the Detroit Free Press this morning.  Is this true or did the reporter take too many happy pills or maybe write it from a Starbucks in Birmingham?

Getting ready for church in Port Au Prince, Haiti

I remember going to church on our first Sunday in Haiti exactly one year ago.  I hope I never forget getting up in an orphanage filled with noisy children who had either lost or been abadoned by their families.  As we crossed the small compound, they would reach out with their hands wanting to be picked-up.  Their eyes were windows to a world that most never experience.

Our bus driver Leonard drove us through the heart of Port Au Prince where thousands of men, women and children were dressed in their Sunday clothes with Bibles in hand walking to church.  Exhaust from the vehicles on the road was borderline nauseating.  

It's hard to imagine that they had more than two sets of clothes, one for Sundays and the other for everyday.  

The church was on the side of an inner-city hill and its outward appearance it was very humble, but inside it was a cathederal of hope.  Everybody in the service introduced themselves to us and shook our hands and they shared their Creole hymnals during the singing.  The liturgy was an occasion for them to shout out their faith in God and to state their hope in Jesus.

They had so little.  In fact, they had almost nothing, except down deep, we saw that they had everything.  They were free.  Check this video from the Billy Graham Evangelism Association about how they are sharing the Gospel there this year.

Happy Anniversary to Krista and Adam, my daughter and son-in-law!

Dear Xavier,
Your grandma and I are thinking about you and your family today as your mom and dad celebrate their third wedding anniversary. You might be only 15 months old but you can help them "hoop and holler" a little bit to let the world know.

Because of that day when they got married and committed their lives to each other and to God, you are part of a special family. You have a mom and dad handpicked for you.

When we come to visit you in the spring, I can tell you about their wedding and how I walked your mom down the aisle and handed her off to your father.

They are special people. They love you very much. I have all kinds of neat stories about your mom. I was there when she was born and I was part of her growing-up. I've gotten to know your dad pretty well too and I'm impressed with his love for you and your mom.

Today's a day for cake and ice cream or some suitable substitute.

When your mom and your Uncle Justin were growing-up, they were an important part of celebrating our wedding anniversaries. And you need to carry on the tradition.

You need to know that Grandma Thorp and I went to your favorite store last Sunday--the Apple Store--in the Woodland Mall in Grand Rapids. Will I have a new computer to show you when we visit? Not yet, but I'm looking.

I love you big man.

Grandpa Thorp

Oct 4, 2011