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Friday, November 23, 2012

Learning the Hard Way

Having four children 10 and under offers plenty of intimate, hands-on lessons on human nature. For example, sometimes, in spite of Michelle’s and my best efforts, good parental instruction is ignored and hard lessons have to be learned. I’m not talking about situations that lead to enforced discipline, but rather those that result in sad and tough natural consequences.

A good recent example for us is one that many families have experienced: the misplaced bike. What happens in this case is that the child not only fails to put away his bike properly, but leaves it in such a place that it is run over by the family car. Of course, much sadness and sorrow ensue, but this is also a great opportunity for learning.

A great biblical example of learning things the hard way is the parable of the lost son. In this story, Jesus described a father with two sons. The younger son approached his father and demanded his share of the estate. Shorty after this, the younger son took all he had and left for a distant land. There he “squandered his wealth in wild living.” After losing all he had and staring at starvation and poverty, the son “came to his senses,” repented of his sins, and humbly returned to his father.

I’m afraid that similar such hard lessons loom for this nation.

After winning on November 6, gloating liberals boldly declared, “The right has lost the culture war.” Who could blame them for such a conclusion? In spite of a weak economy and terrible employment numbers, Barack Obama, the most pro-abortion president in our nation’s history and the only sitting U.S. president to declare support for same-sex marriage, easily won reelection.

Harry Enten of the UK Guardian concluded that, “The 1990s culture wars were fought over many social issues that many on the right thought were being redefined from their traditional normals by progressive activists and the liberal media for the next generation. Three of the key points of contention were abortion, gay rights, and recreational drug use. The results from last Tuesday's election indicates that the right is losing the war on these three issues.”

In addition to Obama’s reelection, the results that form such thinking are as follows: For the first time ever, voters in U.S. states (Maine, Maryland, and Washington) approved same-sex marriage. Voters in two states (Colorado and Washington) passed ballot measures that allow for the recreational use of marijuana. Wisconsin elected America’s first openly gay U.S. senator. What’s more, the GOP lost two very winnable senate races (Indiana and Missouri) partly due to their candidates’ inability properly and intelligently to articulate the pro-life position when it comes to abortion in the rare case of pregnancy due to rape.

Liberals have also declared themselves the winners in the “class war.” Writing for New York magazine, Jonathan Chait noted that, “Like every president, Obama won for myriad reasons, important and petty. But his reelection was hardly small and hardly devoid of ideas. Indeed, it was entirely about a single idea. The campaign, from beginning to end, was an extended argument about economic class.”

In spite of the class warfare, as I noted just after the election, I’m convinced that millions of Americans voted for Obama, et al, for no other reason than for their support of legalized killing of children in the womb, and for their support of perverted (same-sex) marriage. Too many Americans want the social and legal approval of sex without consequences.

What liberals forget, or choose to ignore, is that even if such social and legal protections are achieved, this does not remove the tough natural consequences of immoral behavior. In other words, winning elections isn’t going to bring back a child killed in the womb or cure the many diseases that stem from illicit sexual activity.

Along with the loss of a life, the sad consequences of an abortion are myriad. According to National Right to Life, women having an abortion face more than a doubled risk of future sterility along with an increased risk of future miscarriages. Thirteen out of 17 studies in the U.S. reported an increase in breast cancer among women choosing abortion. Abortion has also been associated with cervical and ovarian cancer.  

Besides the physical trauma, many post-abortive women are doomed to a lifetime of guilt and pain, with common experiences such as depression, anxiety, self-hatred, loneliness, and hopelessness. A 1995 study revealed that women who have had an abortion are 89% more likely to abuse their other children.

Just as one can’t violently end a pregnancy without suffering some consequences, a culture can’t redefine the foundational institution of human society without suffering for it. (And remember, libs, ANY definition of marriage is discriminatory.) Even without same-sex marriage, the destruction of the traditional (biblical) family unit is already well underway.

The number of U.S. households headed by unmarried adults now outnumbers those led by married adults. Also, more than half of all American children born to women under 30 are born out of wedlock. In addition to this, 41% of all births in the U.S. are out of wedlock. This includes 29% of white children born to unmarried mothers, along with 53% of Hispanics and 73% of black children.

Of course, as I have noted before, the push for same-sex marriage has little to do with marriage. Marriage is just the means to a more sinister end for the homosexual movement. This is about sex and about legitimizing, through the American judicial system, a sexual lifestyle that many Americans find immoral (and, as I have noted, dangerous).

Then there is the inevitable consequence of a nation living well beyond its means. Make no mistake about it, for far too many Americans, the primary function of the U.S. government is to provide income, food, housing, and health care. As Robert Samuelson recently reported, “In 2011, ‘payments for individuals’ including health care, constituted 65 percent of federal spending, up from 21 percent in 1955. That's the welfare state.”

Much in the media has been made recently of the “fiscal cliff” facing the U.S. Almost certainly, Congress and the President will come to some agreement and the media will report that we have “stepped back from the brink.” However, it is very unlikely that much will be done to deal with the trillions in debt that the “welfare state” has wrought.

Whoever wins elections does nothing to change the natural consequences of disobeying what is often referred to as Natural Law. There is no getting around it; human beings were meant to behave themselves in a certain way. When we violate the standards set by Natural Law, or when our own laws are in conflict with Natural Law, hard consequences await. The important thing is to learn from our mistakes, and as in the parable of the lost son, to return to what is right.

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2012, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Americans Choose More Government, Less God

With Barack Obama’s decisive victory on Tuesday night, one thing is clear: far too many Americans have surrendered themselves to a liberal/secular Big Government philosophy. With the GOP losing, not only the presidency, but also failing to make gains in the Senate under conditions that could hardly be more favorable, and with same-sex marriage finally winning the approval of an American electorate (though rather liberal ones—Maine, Maryland, and Washington), the United States continues its march towards godless socialism.

I mean, what does it say about our electorate when a decorated Lt. Colonel, Allen West—a great example, not only to the black community, but all of America, loses (but demanding a recount) his congressional seat, but Jesse Jackson Jr., while being the subject of two federal investigations and who has been at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for weeks supposedly getting treatment for a bipolar disorder (though there have been plenty of reports of drug abuse), easily wins reelection (winning 63% of the vote)?!

In the same vein, what would compel Americans to give four more years to a president that has presided over so much financial disaster? I’ll tell you what: a deep commitment to secular/godless liberalism. This is especially the case when it comes to those driven by their libidos. I’m convinced that millions of Americans voted for Obama, Jackson, et al for no other reason than for their support of legalized killing of children in the womb, and for their support of perverted (same-sex) marriage. Too many Americans want the social and legal approval of sex without consequences.

This much also seems clear: for America to turn from this path, hard lessons are going to have to be learned. Sadly, I suspect that we are all going to suffer. Those of us who know the truth need to be prepared for the inevitable disastrous consequences that loom for those on such a godless path. We need to be prepared with loving and open arms for those (and there will be some) who eventually see the light and are looking for answers.  

This is NOT the time to give up. In fact, it is time to become more entrenched and bold when it comes to our defense of the truth. This is the time for more prayer and for more seeking out God’s will and His ways. It is time to go deeper with Him. I’m afraid that we (conservative Christians, myself included) expend too much time and energy on mere political efforts. For things to really change in America, we need a spiritual awakening. We need true revival. Then the politics will take care of itself.

We also need to remember that God desires a relationship with ALL of us. He deeply loves even those who have turned from Him. Those of us who know Him are to be His agents for real “hope and change.” Let’s get busy!!!

Copyright 2012, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My 2012 Presidential Election Prediction

States Romney will win (with electoral votes):

  • Alabama (9)
  • Alaska (3)
  • Arizona (11)
  • Arkansas (6)
  • Colorado (9)
  • Florida (29)
  • Georgia (16)
  • Idaho (4)
  • Indiana (11)
  • Iowa (6)
  • Kansas (6)
  • Kentucky (8)
  • Louisiana (8)
  • Mississippi (6)
  • Missouri (10)
  • Montana (3)
  • Nebraska (4)
  • New Hampshire (4)
  • North Carolina (15)
  • North Dakota (3)
  • Ohio (18)
  • Oklahoma (7)
  • Pennsylvania (20)
  • South Carolina (9)
  • South Dakota (3)
  • Tennessee (11)
  • Texas (38)
  • Utah (6)
  • Virginia (13)
  • West Virginia (5)
  • Wisconsin (10)
  • Wyoming (3)

That’s a total of 32 states for a total of 315 electoral votes. (It is possible that Romney could also win Michigan (16), Minnesota (10), and Nevada (6). If he does, I think that this is his absolute ceiling.)

States Obama will win:

  • California (55)
  • Connecticut (7)
  • Delaware (3)
  • DC (3)
  • Hawaii (4)
  • Illinois (20)
  • Maine (11)
  • Maryland (10)
  • Massachusetts (11)
  • Michigan (16)
  • Minnesota (10)
  • Nevada (6)
  • New Jersey (14)
  • New Mexico (5)
  • New York (29)
  • Oregon (7)
  • Rhode Island (4)
  • Vermont (3)
  • Washington (12)

That’s a total of 18 states plus DC for a total of 223 electoral votes.

Say hello to President Romney!!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Predicting the Presidential Election

I love Electoral College math. I mean, I teach mathematics and I write about politics, so pouring over various Electoral College combinations is right up my alley. Experts all across the country are telling us that this presidential election is coming down to a handful of “battleground” states. Thus, Romney and Obama are spending virtually all of their time and money in these final days before November 6 in states like Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and the like.

For most American voters, the memory of the 2000 election, where George W. Bush beat Al Gore in a narrow Electoral victory (271 to 266) while losing the popular vote 48.4% to 47.9%, is still fresh. The weeks-long battle to count and recount votes in Florida, where the phrase “hanging chads” entered our vernacular, is a path to which no one wants to return. For 36 days, the winner of the 2000 presidential election was in limbo. After countless hours of elections officials leering at ballots, nonstop media coverage, and 47 lawsuits, ultimately it took a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court to put the matter to rest.

Do not let your hearts be troubled. In spite of the seeming closeness of this race, another outcome like 2000 is highly unlikely. In fact, only four times in our nation’s history has the winner of the popular vote not gone on to occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Prior to the 2000 election, the last time such an event occurred was 112 years earlier, in 1888. Incumbent Grover Cleveland narrowly won the popular vote (eight-tenths of a percent), but Benjamin Harrison easily (by 65 votes) carried the Electoral College. Two other times during the 19th century the winner of the popular vote failed to win the presidency.

The closest Electoral College result in American history occurred in 1876 when Democrat Samuel Tilden won the popular vote by three percent but lost the Electoral College vote to Republican Rutherford Hayes 185 to 184. Probably the strangest presidential election result was one of the earliest. (An excellent source for such data is Dave Leip’s (online) Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections.)

In 1824, four candidates received significant support: Henry Clay, William Crawford, Andrew Jackson, and John Quincy Adams. Jackson won the popular vote (41%), followed by Adams (31%), Crawford (16%), and Clay (14%). Jackson also won the Electoral Vote with 99 votes. Adams received 84 while Crawford and Clay received 41 and 37 respectively.

However, Jackson’s Electoral support was not enough to win the presidency. According to the 12th Amendment, the election then went to the House of Representatives where Adams was the winner.

A significant mathematical note here is that in only one case where the winner of the popular vote lost the Electoral College did the candidate actually receive over 50% of the popular vote: Tilden in 1876 with 51%—and remember this was the closest Electoral result in U.S. history. So out of the 56 U.S. presidential elections, only once did a candidate receive over 50% of the popular vote and not make it to the White House.

All of this is to say that, in spite of the ENORMOUS amount of attention (not to mention polling) paid to a handful of states, perhaps the best indicator of who will win the presidency are the national popular vote polls. If it looks likely that a candidate is going to receive at least 51% of the national popular vote, an Electoral victory is almost certain.

Political expert Charlie Cook (The Cook Political Report) said as much back in June of this year. “All of this time and effort spent parsing state-level polls would be better spent more closely examining the national polling data, particularly looking at how the candidates are performing now compared with Obama and John McCain in 2008, and examining how likely the members of specific (and potentially decisive) demographic groups are to actually vote.”

Cook also notes that, “If a race is close nationally, it will be close in a lot of individual states, too.” His implication above is that the inverse is also true. If the race is not close nationally, then it will not be close in very many states, including the “battleground” states. In other words, once a candidate reaches a particular level of support nationally, any of the states that were particularly close are almost certainly in line with the national vote.

As I indicated above, that level of support seems to be around 52%. If Romney or Obama gets to this number, any states that are seemingly tied are virtually guaranteed to be in the camp of the leader. Therefore, as we approach November 6, keep an eye on the national polls. (Real Clear Politics (RCP) is an excellent source.)

Of course, currently Romney is the candidate in the best position for such an outcome. As of this writing, Romney’s RCP national polling average stands at 48% while Obama is at 47%. Also, Romney has been at or above 50% in about half of the national polls in the last ten days. Gallup, in its six day polling average, has had Romney at or above 50% since October 15. During this same period Obama has been at 47% or below. No presidential candidate that has polled at 50% or better in the Gallup survey by the middle of October has gone on to lose the election. (Gallup has correctly predicted 16 of 19 presidential races dating back to 1936.)

Keep a particularly close eye on the national polls on the Saturday through Monday prior to Election Day. Most polling agencies will then produce their final predictions. These are the polls upon which their reputations mostly rest, and accuracy will be essential. Plus, extreme efforts to predict any voters left undecided (most of which will prefer the challenger to the incumbent) will be taken. Of course, when all else fails, just check in Wednesday, November 7. This (usually) will tell us everything.

Copyright 2012, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World