Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Making Work Count

Work matters to God.

In an era of record ongoing unemployment, good work matters more than ever.

For the believer, its more than just a job. Colossians 3:23 teaches that work is an attitude: "whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."

God places work in our life as an opportunity to worship Him. Scripture teaches that God is always working, creating and sustaining His creation.

I believe that work and godliness go hand in hand.

Today, look at the work God has given you- in an office, driving a truck, teaching children, helping the sick, etc. All of its good and its more than just a paycheck and future retirement.

Good work pushes forward the Kingdom of God in powerful, redemptive ways.

Remember who your Boss is!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Trying to Fool the Voters

Here they go again.

Get the full story here.

In 2009, Democratic leaders in the Colorado legislature passed a series of tax hikes, circumventing TABOR by calling them "fees."

Well, they are at it again in 2010.

The latest episode is a push by a group of statist education zealots known as Great Futures Colorado.

This latest evolution centers on placing a referendum on the November ballot that would authorize the legislature to raise your taxes for more public school funding.

Their argument: that Colorado under funds its public education.

The problem with their idea is that its currently illegal to raise taxes without voter approval per TABOR...A little sidebar: if Colorado did not have the TABOR amendment, Democrats would have run our state into greater fiscal deficits than what we currently have.

While the legislature is our body of elected representatives, they are spending our money. And fiscal prudence, ie spending more money that what is available, is not a strength of most legislative bodies.

When it comes to more of my money being taken from me, I want to vote on it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Democrats Cook Their Goose

The Democratic majority in Congress will be short-lived.

The Democrats broke all of the rules to pass their Obama-care monstrosity. Time will illuminate the deals, corruption and unethical acts the Democrats employed to accomplish their goal.

Obama will likely be a one-term President. Unknowingly, he has lit a match to a lake of fuel.

Some believe that by November, American rage over this fiasco will have dissipatted. Not so. This is an era of new media. No longer can the liberal main stream media fool Americans.

It is our opinion that come November, average over-taxed Americans will vote out those who voted for Obama-care on Black Sunday.

Friday, March 19, 2010

House Of Ill Repute

Soon the United States House of Representatives will vote on a historic national health care bill. A bill that the majority of Americans are clearly opposed to.

Yet, the process continues likely culminating in a weekend vote.

To get to this point, a generation of American politicians have sold, bribed and threatened each other to gain votes.

Perhaps it has been done for the betterment of America, but we believe that power and the control of a large chunk of our economy is the driving goal.

The process has been done poorly with much deception. Its trail head begins in the Oval Office of the White House and treks into the Speaker of the House of Representatives office.

Neither party has a monopoly on bad political behavior. Yet, we have reached an all time low in 2010. These actions are poisoning our nation's soul. Young American eyes are watching this generation of leaders carefully noting how they are exercising their stewardship of the American enterprise.

What they see is America's politics at its worst, a la Chicago style.

President Obama campaigned on hope and change. As far as we can ascertain, there has little transparency but buckets of dirty politics as usual.

Its a House of Ill Repute.

Sadly, they don't care.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Who Was The Real Saint Patrick

You might be surprised....

Check it out here.

Or below:

Who Was the Real St. Patrick?

There are many legends and traditions associated with St. Patrick's Day. Who was the real St. Patrick?

St. Patrick was not actually Irish. He was born around 373 A.D. in the British Isles near the modern city of Dumbarton in Scotland. His real name was Maewyn Succat. He took the name Patrick, or Patricius, meaning "well-born" in Latin, after he became a priest.

During Patrick's boyhood, the Roman Empire was near collapse and too weak to defend its holdings in distant lands. Britain became easy prey for raiders, including those who crossed the Irish sea from the land known as Hibernia or Ireland. When Patrick was sixteen, he was seized by raiders and carried off to Ireland.

Most of what is known about St. Patrick comes from his own Confession, written in his old age. In his Confession he wrote about his capture:

As a youth, nay, almost as a boy not able to speak, I was taken captive... I was like a stone lying in the deep mire; and He that is mighty came and in His mercy lifted me up, and raised me aloft... And therefore I ought to cry out aloud and so also render something to the Lord for His great benefits here and in eternity-- benefits which the mind of men is unable to appraise.

After Patrick was captured and taken to Ireland as a slave by an Irish chieftain named Niall, he was sold to another chieftain in northern Ireland. Much of Patrick's time was spent alone on the slopes of Slemish Mountain, tending his master's flocks of sheep. During the long, lonely hours in the fields and hills of Ireland, Patrick found comfort in praying. In his Confession he wrote: ...every day I had to tend sheep, and many times a day I prayed-- the love of God and His fear came to me more and more, and my faith was strengthened. And my spirit was moved so that in a single day I would say as many as a hundred prayers, and almost as many in the night, and this even when I was staying in the woods and on the mountains;...and I felt no harm, and there was no sloth in me--as now I see, because the spirit within me was fervent.

Six years passed slowly by. Then in a dream, Patrick heard a voice saying, "Thy ship is ready for thee." This was God's way, he felt, of telling him to run away.

That night he fled. Assured God was leading him, Patrick plunged through the bogs and scaled the mountains which separated him from the sea. He escaped Ireland by ship, but God would call him back years later. Patrick had escaped his boyhood enslavement in Ireland only to hear the call of God as a man to return. He was being called on, he felt, to convert the Irish to Christianity. In his Confession Patrick wrote:

I saw a man named Victoricus, coming from Ireland with countless letters. He gave me one of them, and I read the opening words which were: The voice of the Irish ... I thought at the same moment I heard their voice: ' We beg you, young man, come and walk among us once more.'

And I was quite broken in heart, and could read no further, and so I woke up. Thanks be to God, after many years the Lord gave to them according to their cry. ...they call me most unmistakably with words which I heard but could not understand, except that...He spoke thus: 'He that has laid down His life for thee, it is He that speaketh in thee;' and so I awoke full of joy.

When Patrick began his mission about 430 A.D., Ireland was gripped by paganism. Idolatry prevailed and the Irish knew nothing of Jesus. Patrick decided to go first to the pagan chieftain or king who had enslaved him as a boy. Rather than be put to shame by a former slave, the king set fire to his house and threw himself into the flames.

Patrick then set out for Tara, the seat of the high king of Ireland. When Patrick arrived, Tara was filled with many local kings and druids who were attending the pagan feast of Beltine which coincided with Easter that year. Patrick encamped in the full view of the castle to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ.

On the eve of the festival it was the custom, upon penalty of death, that the high king should light the first bonfire before any others in the land. Patrick, however, had kindled a great fire which gleamed through the darkness. Patrick was summoned before the king. The confrontation which followed is as amazing as Elijah's victory over the prophets of Baal.

Patrick stood and called, May God arise and His enemies be scattered. Darkness fell on the camp. Confused guards began to attack one another. The ground shook and the next day, Easter, a broken king knelt before God's servant. This confrontation between Patrick's God and demonic forces marked the beginning of a thirty-year mission to Ireland.

Patrick traveled the roads and forded the rivers of Ireland for 30 years to see men and women "reborn in God" and come to know the Christ he loved so much. Patrick wrote in his Confession: We ought to fish well and diligently, as our Lord exhorts. Hence, we spread our nets so that a great multitude and throng might be caught for God.

By the time of his death, Patrick had baptized tens of thousands and established hundreds of churches throughout Ireland. Danger and hardship remained his constant companions. Twice he was imprisoned, but he was not discouraged. He wrote in his Confession: Daily I expect murder, fraud, or captivity, but I fear none of these things because of the promises of heaven. I have cast myself into the hands of God Almighty who rules everywhere.

Within a century this once pagan land became predominately Christian, possessing such a vigorous faith that Ireland in turn sent missionaries to Scotland, England, Germany and Belgium.

As an old man, Patrick looked back in awe: Those who never had knowledge of God but worshipped idols...have now become...sons of God.

The old saint died in his beloved Ireland on March 17th, 460 AD. The land that once enslaved him, had now been set free.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

It's Caucus Time in Colorado

I am going tonight! That's right, I am a caucus virgin.

I cannot think of a better year to make a rookie appearance. Who knows, I might be elected to do something.

Colorado's Caucus history stretches back to the 1800's. This is Colorado politics at its grassroots. Both major parties will caucus tonight. Any registered voter can participate.

As I understand it, caucuses are party meetings by precinct, district, or county, where registered party members gather to discuss the candidates and to select delegates to the next round of party conventions. Depending on the party rules of a particular state, delegates selected at a caucus might go on to a county or state convention before attending the national convention in the summer.

Wow. I thought I might wind up on a folding chair in stranger's living room. Instead, our precinct is meeting at the local middle school.

Those who show up to caucus are “more likely to be quite active in the political party in other ways,” he says. Caucus-goers also tend to be “people who are more educated, affluent, and stronger partisans,” says Alan I. Abramowitz, political science professor at Emory University.

Count me in.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Clueless in Colorado-Internet Tax Policy Bites Legislature

Our Democratic-led State Legislature is mostly clueless when it comes to tax policy.

Exhibit A today is the newly minted online internet tax signed several weeks ago by Governor Ritter.

What our Democratic friends have stumbled into is the well known "law of unintended consequences."

This law goes like this: actions have consequences. When it comes to taxes and economic growth, too much tax kills growth. When you impose taxes on businesses, they pass the tax (increased costs) along to their consumers or lessen production and cut jobs.

Exhibit B: as a result of this new Colorado internet tax, has dropped its retailing network in Colorado, hurting Coloradans who rely on that company for income.

Our state Democrats who lead our legislature by and large do not understand this concept. It just bit them in their tail feathers.

See this story regarding Amazon retailers in today's Denver Post.

Using Drugs For Religious Purposes Is Bogus

Trevor Douglas, 25, told a court that he uses marijuana as a religious sacrament.

You can read the rest of his comments here.

Give me a break.

Recently, Mr. Douglas was arrested by a Colorado State trooper during a routine traffic stop. During the stop, the officer smelled pot and Mr. Douglas got the cuff.

The court got this one right. Using pot for personal use does not meet the definition of religious practice. Thus, under the law, Mr. Douglas' marijuana use is not protected by First Amendment rights.

Instead, it is simply drug use and its illegal in Colorado.

Let Voter's Decide-Judicial Fiat Strikes Washington DC

Once gain, homosexual activists have used the court to accomplish by judicial fiat what they could not do by the ballot box.

On Tuesday, homosexual marriage became legal in the District of Columbia.

In December, Washington DC Mayor Adrian Fenty, signed legislation authorizing the city to issue same sex wedding licenses. This decision was supported by the Washington DC Superior Court. When this decision was appealed, the US Supreme Court turned a deaf ear to it.

Along with DC there are now five states which allow same sex marriage.

The common ground in these states: the voters have never approved of it.

In fact, whenever voters have been permitted to exercise their right to vote on the issue, it fails.

In Colorado, voters approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as an act between a man and a woman in 2006. The vote was 58-42 percent.

Our prediction: DC homosexual couples will have their day for a while, but if and when a vote comes, it will be overturned.

Monday, March 08, 2010

A Tax Increase Is A Tax Increase-Thank Goodness for TABOR

Former State Senator Mark Hillman succinctly opined in his latest on why taxes increases are truely tax increases..

Make sense? Believe it or not some Coloradans don't see it that way.

Here is Hillman's article in the Denver Post:

The anti-taxpayer majority on the Colorado Supreme Court soon will have another chance to stand the constitution on its head, thanks to a remarkably unambiguous ruling by the Colorado Court of Appeals.

In an opinion written by Judge Sean Connelly, a three-judge panel ruled that the Colorado Department of Revenue cannot increase the severance tax rate applied to coal mining without a public vote.

Adopted in 1977, the severance tax is paid by companies that extract minerals, oil or gas from the ground and is calculated by multiplying the quantity extracted by a statutory rate that accounted for changes in the Producer Price Index. Originally, the tax rate for coal was set at 36 cents per ton and had increased to 54 cents by 1992.

When Colorado voters adopted the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR), the Department of Revenue concluded that it was precluded from further increases unless it obtained voter approval.

In 2006, a state audit suggested that the Department could increase the rate and that it was obligated to do so under state law. An advisory opinion from the attorney general's office concurred, citing a 1995 Supreme Court case that concluded voter approval was not necessary for statutes that existed prior to TABOR. Accordingly, the department increased the coal tax to 76 cents per ton.

Once the rate increase was imposed, the Colorado Mining Association and several of its members filed suit, claiming that when TABOR passed, such tax rate increases were barred. After all, TABOR is a constitutional amendment, therefore superior to any statute, and specifically requires voter approval for "any . . . tax rate increase."

Denver District Court Judge Larry Naves sided with state government.

Ironically, Judge Naves didn't hang his hat on the pre-existing statute argument, but ruled instead that increasing the tax rate from 54 cents to 76 cents was not a tax rate increase.

Fortunately, the Court of Appeals, in a refreshingly brief seven-page opinion, ruled that a tax rate increase was precisely what it appeared to be and found that "TABOR precludes increasing the coal severance tax rate without voter approval."

The opinion, written by Connelly, a 2008 appointment by Gov. Bill Ritter, offers a wonderfully succinct conclusion:

"(1) TABOR prohibits increasing tax rates without voter approval.

"(2) Applying the statutory formula increased the coal severance tax rate without voter approval.

"(3) Therefore, TABOR was violated."

Such a simple approach, Connelly wrote, "is appropriate because we must look to the intent of the voter as (TABOR) is an initiated constitutional provision."

The court "must consider how the typical voter would interpret 'tax (rate) increase,' " he continued.

Such fidelity to the law and to the voters is sure to rile the high court, which just one year ago ruled in 45 tortuous pages that the state legislature could change the way school districts calculate property taxes, thereby increasing tax revenues by $117 million in just the first year, without seeking voter approval as required by TABOR.

In that Orwellian decision, Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey wrote:

• "(L)egislation requiring local districts to provide a share of jointly funded programs does not amount to the imposition or levy of a tax on those districts by the state." Translation: requiring a school board to raise taxes is not a tax increase.

• The state constitution should "be interpreted as a whole with effect given to every term contained therein." But within just a few pages, she dismissed TABOR's provision requiring voter approval of a "tax policy change directly causing a net revenue gain to any district" as an "undefined catch-all phrase" that "cannot be applied" if it has only a "de minimus impact." She later argues that "any district" doesn't mean any district.

• That the legislature's decision to increase property tax revenues was not a tax increase but a "reflection," a "recognition," an "implementation," a "stabilization" and a "clear statutory direction."

When the state Supreme Court gets hold of the severance tax case, rest assured that Mullarkey and her anti-taxpayer majority will explain again that "up is down," "round is square," "more is less" and that the plain language of the constitution doesn't really mean what it so obviously says.

Mark Hillman is a wheat farmer in Burlington and a former state senator. Contact him at

Marijuana Use and Kids

Most Coloradans know that our state is embroiled in a medical marijuana disaster.

In 2008, Colorado voters approved the legalization of marijuana possession for medicinal use. What they didn't bargain for was the disaster it has become.

Last week, the issue came to a head at the Colorado State Legislature.

Speaking before a state senate commmittee, a young recovering heroin addict spoke how marijuana use in young people increased their likiehood of future drug use.


As I have written here before, for nearly 5 years I directed the downtown Denver Rescue Mission. Most of the addicts we saw that came through our doors began their drug addictions smoking pot.

In today's Denver Post article on this issue "many members of the law enforcement community, the growth of the state's medical-marijuana industry is a plague that threatens to increase marijuana use of all kinds among teens and young adults — with disastrous results for the state.

"The revenue generated from the marijuana industry," state Attorney General John Suthers wrote to lawmakers in a letter opposing a bill to regulate dispensaries, "will not cover the societal costs we will all incur."

Medicinal marijuana use should be repealed by voters in 2012.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Losing Jobs In Colorado

The Democratic majority in the Colorado legislature does not get it when it comes to jobs creation.

In the energy sector, Colorado had a booming coal and natural gas industry. There is still plenty of the stuff left. Why are we not expanding and encouraging companies to explore? Good jobs will follow.

Governor Ritter's election ushered in an era of job killing measures for Colorado's existing energy economy. Instead, our state has tried to grab the elusive tail of renewable energies.

We are seeking millions of dollars into largely unproven "alternative" energy sector. Don't get me wrong, I would be for wind, solar, etc if there was a real market for these energies. There is not at this time. I still need petroleum for my car, natural gas for my home heater and electricity from coal-powered plants.

Alternative energy options are too expensive right now.

Below is an excellent summation of the illusion of renewable energy.

Why increasing the Renewable Portfolio Standard is bad for Colorado

Senate Republicans stood up for jobs, the environment and consumers in one fell swoop by opposing a Democrat proposal that mandates utilities rely more heavily on taxpayer subsidized energy sources.

“This proposal may as well be called Colorado’s own ‘cap and tax’ bill because it is going to strangle our state’s economy and our pocketbooks,” said Sen. Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs. “Economic growth does not come from political mandates; it comes from increases in productivity.”

House Bill 1001 would mandate large utilities to get 30 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2020, mainly wind and solar. The Democrat controlled Senate approved the measure on a party-line vote, defeating nearly a dozen GOP amendments. The GOP warned that raising the Renewable Portfolio Standard would kill jobs, increase pollution and hike up energy bills.

As the state is forced to rely on renewable energy sources, like solar and wind, Republicans say thousands of jobs in the traditional energy sector will be put at risk. “Proponents of these mandates ignore the potentially thousands of good paying jobs in coal mines and gas fields that, as ‘disfavored technologies’, will be destroyed by the restrictions imposed by government,” Cadman said.

Republicans also railed against the bill for a provision requiring solar installation employees obtain labor union certification. “With unemployment hitting record numbers, it is astounding that Democrats would want to lock out a significant number of Coloradans from these positions,” said Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction. “The union carve out in this proposal is reminiscent of the sweetheart deal Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson secured for his state in the national healthcare bill.”

Consumers also have cause for concern. “As utilities struggle to keep up with the mandate, their added costs are going to inevitably be passed along to consumers,” said Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Greeley.

Renfroe offered an amendment to HB 1001 that would have exempted households with income at or below the federal poverty level from higher energy bills incurred by the renewable energy mandates. Democrats defeated the proposal. “This vote against poor, at-risk families just proves that Democrats are bent on implementing their radical agenda, despite the strain it will put on the budgets of some of our most vulnerable populations,” Renfroe said.