Friday, November 28, 2014

A Psalm for Giving Grateful Praise

OK, so I know I'm late getting a Thanksgiving post up. We were too busy with family and food to get on the computer.

I'm just going to keep this very simple. I opened our dinner prayer by reading Psalm 100 (NIV). It's short and sums up the spirit of Thanksgiving quite nicely, I think:
1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
    2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God.
    It is he who made us, and not we ourselves;*
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.
My apologies for my tardiness, and I hope everyone had a wonderful and delicious Thanksgiving.

Stay safe.

* - For the third verse, I used the New International Version's alternate text, "and not we ourselves" instead of the "normal" version, which says, "and we are his". It's well established throughout Scripture that we belong to the Lord, but the context of this line is that we were crafted by the Lord — we did not make ourselves — and since the very next phrase says (again) "we are his people", I find the "normal" verbiage somewhat redundant. YMMV.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Ferguson Follies

It now looks like the Ferguson/ Michael Brown crisis is largely behind us. Thankfully, we’re mostly past the press conferences, the racial hucksters, the street theater, oh so concerned officials and the overly earnest activists. We’re over the continuous coverage, the breathless reporterettes, bored Nation Guard troops, morons in Guy Fawkes masks, violence-addicted thugs, opportunistic looters, their fellow opportunistic politicians, oily lawyers, and family members of every stripe.   

Thankfully, the Ferguson riot was no more than a mere shadow of the ‘60s Days of Rage or the Rodney King riots. O
ne possible death as opposed to hundreds, a few buildings burned instead of thousands,  a hundred arrested instead of many thousands. Ferguson was nowhere near as bad as it was implied.

We’ve been fooled. 

The “movement” was self-contradictory from the start. Within weeks, Michael Brown could be seen as closer to a garden variety thug than an angelic teenage victim. As a result, this issue seemed to never have gotten any lasting traction within the greater African-American community. The protest had to be outsourced to the professional agitators of Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, New York and DC. The media continued their drumbeat of misconceptions, fear -- and outrageous lies. Meanwhile, millions of ordinary citizens, much more alike than not, continued to happily interact. We -- I -- defamed Black Americans by believing they would stoop to violence over this issue.  

When the Grand Jury findings were finally revealed – it was largely a non-issue: a play-date for the unstable, politicians, and cameras. There never were the overwhelming numbers of protestors that we were led to expect. The most publicized confrontation featured an estimated 250 protestors – and 250 media. Within hours, normal life resumed as reality reasserted itself.

Leaving a lot of us feeling a bit foolish. Leaving me feeling like a bit of an idiot.

There’s a lesson here, an important one: there’s profit in wedge politics; in dividing the whole against one another. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, the New Black Panthers, Lesley McSpadden, Senator Chappelle-Nadal, Jay Nixon, Barack Obama, et al, and their sycophantic media all cynically, dishonorably furthered their own interests by dancing on Michael Brown’s grave. They traded in division and fears for their own ends.

Ferguson shows that we, as a city, state, and nation, are better than that.  We have our differences, we’re human after all, but in the main, we’re a integrated, just, striving, happy people. Much, much more alike than different.  And we shouldn’t let the hucksters and the wedgers tell us any different.  

Work remains to be done. There never should have been the immediate, pervasive assumption that the police assasinated an innocent. Something is obviously wrong. But as a society, we should be aware of just how far and how fast we've come. In societal terms, America's recognition of the error of racism and its largely successful correction has been completely unprecedented in human history.

Today, perhaps now more than any other time, we can see just how much we should be thankful for.  

Happy Thanksgiving. To all of us.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Grand Jury Findings Summary

Everyone who wants to understand why the St Louis Grand Jury did not indite Officer Darren Wilson must listen to Prosecutor Bob McCullough's deft summary. 


Understanding Grand Jury Ruling Michael Brown's Death

Listen with an open mind. Pass the link around.

Highly recommended.  


Quote of the Day — Jennifer Hast (November 25, 2014)

Talking about (what else?) the "civil disturbance" in Ferguson, Missouri:
[T]ruly, if your grievance is that the powers that be treat you like you are just thugs bent on crime and disorder, you aren't bolstering your cause by proving them right. The person climbing out of the broken window on the front of the local electronics store carrying a brand new flat screen doesn't exactly look like the victim here. It’s hard to argue that the police don’t need riot gear by staging a riot.
Bingo! If you want to be treated like upstanding citizens instead of thugs, start acting like upstanding citizens instead of thugs. Behaving in the manner the status quo predicts you will behave does not help change the status quo; it reinforces it. This is not a difficult concept, people!

Bonus quote: "Be the change you wish to see in the world." — Mahatma Gandhi

Stay safe.

[Please note: The above message is directed at the rioters/looters/arsonists specifically, and not the community in general.]

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Need For Self-Defense: Another Object Lesson

Ferguson/ Florissant burned Monday night.

(Daily Mail)

No firemen were in evidence. The few cops were largely spectators. The oft promised National Guard was notable in its absence. The rioters, looters, and arsonists owned the night. There are whispers written allegations that the order to not resist came from Gov. Jay Nixon and Attorney General Eric Holder. For the second time, the residents and business owners of the area were sacrificed on the altar of political correctness and expediency. 

This is an eloquent lesson in the need for a capable self-defense and a vibrant, uninfringed Second Amendment. Your homes, livelihoods and even lives can and will be sold on the barrel-head for political gain.   

When Seconds Count - The Cops Are Only Minutes Hours Days Away

Businessmen Armed With AR-15 Rifles Saved Ferguson Strip Mall From Looters

Rush Limbaugh Drops Bombshell About the National Guard in Ferguson

Quote of the Day — Ferguson P.D. (Nov. 24, 2014)

Heard in the live video feed from Ferguson, Missouri, following the announcement of "no true bill" (i.e., no indictment) on any charges against Officer Darren Wilson. I'm calling it the Quote of the Day simply because it's the one sound byte from last night that's still playing in my head:
Stop trying to turn over the police vehicle immediately!
Everyone in our house stopped what they were doing and looked at each other, as if to say, "Did we really just hear that?"

Yes, yes we did. It was no joke:

Protesters in Ferguson trying to turn over a St. Louis County police vehicle
(source: New York Times)

However, the crowd did NOT succeed in turning over the vehicle. So naturally, they did the next best thing:

St. Louis County police vehicle in flames
(source: New York Times)

I believe that is the same car.

In all seriousness, I have to hand it to the police officers who had to be out during all this. From everything I've heard and seen, they only used smoke and tear gas. There were gun shots — St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar says he personally heard about 150 shots — but apparently none were fired by police. If anyone hears different, let me know, but for now: Bravo!

This will likely not be the end of the "disturbances" in the aftermath of Officer Wilson's non-indictment. Protesters previously out for "justice" will now be out for vengeance, whether they use the word or not.

Stay safe out there.


Celebration: Protestors parade in the parking lot of a burning auto parts store in Ferguson
(Daily Mail)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Waffle House Life

Took the wife out to a Waffle House breakfast. She's never had the pleasure. It was the usual good time: fast, friendly service, tasty food, unique atmosphere, and amenable fellow patrons. Americana at its finest.

Mid waffle, my wife asked me to look around. There were about 50 people packed into the little coffee shop: a broad range of ages, demographics, colors, native languages, etc. All pleasantly rubbing elbows with one another. A melting pot, with syrup.

This is the real St Louis, the real America.

We shouldn't forget that.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Seen Elsewhere in the Gun Blogosphere...

Or, as The Tam says, "because I hate wasting good material at an away game."

Herschel over at The Captain's Journal offered up some discussion, "Will Democrats Control the Legislative Agenda on Guns?"

Naturally, this drew a ... dissenting opinion, this time in the spectre of commentator "Kaiser Derden":
seriously ? they think the lame duck Senate can pass gun control ? so far the GOP House has stopped everything ... quit crying wolf ... this is just a fundraising stunt ...
... to which people responded appropriately (actually rather kindly and patiently, in my opinion).

I had this to say in reply:
As has been implied, the GOP - while in power - doesn't have to push "gun control" for us to get "gun control". Or "immigration reform", or single-payer healthcare, or any other "Progressive" policy change.

They just have to not actively oppose it.

Don't underestimate how painfully easy it is to convince a lazy or spineless individual to do nothing.
Emphasis added on that last line; it's the important one.

So the Senate has changed hands and will be controlled by the GOP? Big deal. That will mean absolutely nothing if the Democrats can convince a just few RINOs to cross the aisle and most of the rest to simply not vote against The Agenda.

Also, click over to David Codrea's piece about the upcoming "continuing resolution" vote that inspired Herschel's post. It's a stark display on how a little "go along to get along" can produce massive setbacks and unintended (or intended?) consequences.

The GOP, starting in January, will control both chambers of Congress. Let me be clear(er than the President, who misuses/abuses the phrase): It's not over, and this is not the time to grow complacent. We won big, no doubt, but we have to keep the GOP lawmakers' feet to the fire, or all that we have gained will be just as quickly lost. The GOP Congress must cede no ground — not on gun rights, not on "immigration reform", not on healthcare, not on the budget, not on anything the Executive Branch doesn't have the explicit Constitutional power to control. Keep the pressure on.

And please, stay safe.

Quote of the Day — C.S. Lewis (1954)

C.S. Lewis, c.1949 (age 50)
(source: Wikipedia)
Found while reading The Chronicles of Narnia. This particular quote is from the end of The Horse and His Boy, regarding natural limits to a just ruler's power:
The King's under the law, for it's the law makes him a king. Hast no more power to start away from thy crown than any sentry from his post. (emphasis added)
I can think of nothing to add to that.

Stay safe.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Situation: Ferguson

Be careful what you wish for: The wife and I wanted to put the Grate State of California behind us. So, last year we moved her to Missouri while I renovated and sold our home in LA. We leased a nice house, with a big fenced-in yard for the pups, in a quiet 'burb of NW St Louis.

Ten miles from Ferguson. 


There's no doubt that the situation here is very tense. The Michael Brown shooting has been the activist's cause célèbre for the three months since that August day. Professional agitators such as Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, President Obama, the new Black Panthers, etc. are working hard to keep the incident in the national consciousness. Most of the mainstream media seems to be bent on keeping the country's eyeballs on this issue, often resorting to sensationalism and questionable reportage.

It's much the same here in St Louis - but even more so. The news is full of Ferguson: protestors are the top stories almost nightly. They’re earnest, involved – and angry. They’re continuously marching, protesting, training, holding press conferences, conducting street theater- all greedily sucked in by the news cameras. The possibility of violence is unstated, but there nonetheless.  

See if this doesn't chill your spine: Ferguson Action

City and state officials make occasion appearances. Their talk is all on their preparations and their support the First Amendment Rights of the protestors. The hidden, heavy hand of political correctness weighs on their words and actions. Signs of preparation can be found. Additional poice presence, training, additional expenditures, etc. The Feds are in evidence: seventy Homeland Security vehicles were photographed in a hotel parking structure. (At four per vehicle, that's 280 agents.) 

Average Joe is the one with little media attention. They're the ones that'll take the brunt of any disruption. Their businesses, homes and loved ones are being literally put under the gun – for something they do not think they’ve done. I’ve seen fear, but even more frustration with the activists apparently willing to resort to random violence to get their ends. A lot aren’t afraid to call this terrorism - and demand it be treated as such. Many are responding by purchasing their first gun, and many are seeing young blacks buying concealable handguns.

In spite of all their concerns, the citizens are being told to go about their business. Then, oh-so politically correct MO Gov. Jay Nixon declares a state of emergency and calls in the National Guard. (BTW: ol’ Jay is incredibly inarticulate when someone is not putting words in his mouth. His incompetence would be laughable if it weren’t for the critical nature of these times.) The stress levels appreciably jumped, and then jumped again when the FBI said to expect violence.

Everyone’s on edge waiting for the Grand Jury’s decision.  

I remain cautiously hopeful: the months the officials have spent preparing will probably limit the violence in Ferguson. However, it’s very likely that other spots will erupt around the city – and the nation.  EVERYONE, regardless of their location, should look to their preps in the next days. 

We’ve been warned.

I’m going to stay with my prediction of an indictment of Officer Wilson: based entirely on the last two shots that entered Michael Brown’s head from above. It will be far too easy for the GJ to question the timing of those shots – and refer the issue to a court of law. There, I believe a jury with all the evidence, presented by both sides, *should* acquit Wilson. What happens then…   

Saturday, November 15, 2014

In St Louis

I'm  now on the ground in St Louis , MO. The wife and I have escaped California - and landed our fat right in the fire of Ferguson, Missouri. 

There's no doubt that the situation hear is tense. The news is full of angry protestors, worried citizens, and preparing authorities. The Grand Jury findings are expected any day. 

I'm still getting a feel for the situation. And I'm working 14 hour days to bring order out of the chaos of the move. And KAOS is winning. Blogging will continue to be light, despite Archer's excellent efforts. However... be sure to keep checking back. I've got a couple of important posts  coming soon. 

And watch your six. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

California Must Accept CCWs?

New court decision could end California's restrictions on conceal-carry permits: Fox News

Wholly Carp!

The State of California and the Brady Bunch have just been denied standing in the Peruta v San Diego Concealed Carry Permit case. This apparently allows the 9th Circuits ruling requiring CCPs in California to stand. 

More information as it becomes available. 

A Justice System No Longer

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

On This Veterans Day...

I wish I had more eloquent words for our veterans today. It is truly inspiring that so many would risk so much mdash; and sometimes give all — so that the rest of us may live as we wish.

And all I can think to say is, "Thank you." It's not, and will never be, enough, but I pray it suffices.

But now, because Veterans Day is for celebrating the lives of our service men and women, allow me to offer this:

Because American Armed Forces, F$@# YEAH!

And this:

Because nothing says "America" quite like playing the Star-Spangled Banner in your backyard. With a rifle.

Thank you, veterans, for protecting our country and our freedoms. It's still the greatest nation on Earth, in no small part because of your service.

(Note: this post has been slightly modified as follows: the size of the videos has been increased and minor formatting changes have been made to the text. The Android tablet device used to create the original would not let me touch the HTML coding to make these changes. Stoopid 'Droids.)

Monday, November 10, 2014

"The Gun Wire" is Back!

Good news, everyone! (Yes, I shamelessly ripped that off from "Futurama".)

Via Dave Workman, I'm pleased to report that as of this morning, "The Gun Wire" is back after a six-week hiatus.

'The Gun Wire' logo
(image links to source)

As Mr. Workman notes, The Gun Wire is "the equivalent of the Drudge Report for gun-related stories". Founder Todd Bergin posts dozens — sometimes hundreds — of links and videos every day, updated as they happen.

Stay safe. Stay informed. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

On Electoral Pacifism — or, an Oregon 2014 Election AAR

So I've been going over the final tallies of the Oregon State House and State Senate, and there are a few interesting developments. I'll have to check out previous years' results to see if there are any patterns, if I ever find myself with copious amounts of free time. *snerk*

Here's the deal: the Oregon State House has 60 seats, who are elected or re-elected every two years, just like the federal House of Representatives. According to (see links above), going into the 2014 election, Democrats controlled 34 seats, Republicans 26. After the election, Dems have 35 and Repubs have 25 — a net loss of one.

But here's the kicker: 18 of those seats — a full 30% of the House — won an uncontested vote. No primary challenges, no opposition. 11 of those went to Democrats.

The Senate wasn't any better: 16 of the 30 seats were up for grabs, and five were uncontested, four of which are Democrat-controlled. We had one seat flip red-to-blue, for an end result of 17 Dems, 13 Repubs.

This is just … wrong on so many levels. Not the part where one party controls both chambers of a Legislature — that happens from time to time, nature of the political beast and all — but the part where so many seats went to the incumbents without any challenge whatsoever.

I'll admit I get upset that the national party committees don't seem to give a crap what happens in Oregon, preferring to concentrate on Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida as "swing states". But what do you call it when the GOP doesn't even offer up a candidate — one guy or gal to make the incumbent work for his/her seat, and if nothing else, force the Democrats to spend a little cash maintaining their majority? Or worse yet, when the voters themselves will write-in the other party's candidate because they didn't feel like troubling themselves making any other options?

I'm going to label this behavior "electoral pacifism", if not outright laziness, and what happened here is the pinnacle of it. It's no wonder Oregon ended up bluer after this election than it was before; the Dems rocked their Get Out The Vote campaigns, and the Repubs couldn't even be arsed to hold a f@#$ing primary.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Oregon's 2014 Mid-Term Election Results

It's rare that I'm disappointed in my State. I'm a native Oregonian, and I love this place, but sometimes — especially where politics are concerned — I just can't figure what the people around me are thinking.

The U.S. Senate, House, and the Gubernatorial races all went to the incumbents. We figured they would. As it always seems to go, Multnomah County — the small, highly-urban, deep-blue heart of the Portland Metro area — carries the state in any election where the whole state votes.

Sorry, all you conservatives nation-wide who were hoping for a Republican Senate sweep. Dr. Monica Wehby was a lackluster candidate (at best), Oregonians strongly favor incumbents (almost to a fault), and Jeff Merkley is kind of a do-little Senator; he just hasn't done much wrong (or right, or at all) to get enough people pissed at him.

The State House and Senate races are a bit more interesting. Those votes are still being counted, though; with all the rush to get the results of the Gubernatorial and national Congressional races, who cares about the local ones, right? Still, they also strongly favor incumbents, so it's not likely much will change overall.

I already discussed the ballot initiatives, so I won't rehash what they are, but here are the results:
  • Measure 86: Failed
  • Measure 87: Passed
  • Measure 88: Failed
  • Measure 89: Passed (Why?)
  • Measure 90: Failed (Thank God!)
  • Measure 91: Passed (Handily; they thought it'd be closer)
  • Measure 92: Failed (See update)
[UPDATE 11/5 12:43 pm: Measure 92 failed by an extremely narrow margin, after setting a new record as the most expensive ballot measure in Oregon's history. List updated accordingly.[/UPDATE]

So, how'd you all do? Any notable flips or interesting results in your respective areas?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Vik Khanna in the News Again

Vik Khanna
(source: Khanna on Health Blog)
Remember Vik Khanna?

As it turns out, he's launched a new website and e-book entitled Your Personal Affordable Care Act: How to Avoid Obamacare, available from both Amazon and Smashwords.

Being a healthcare professional, you might suspect him of having a pro-big-government, pro-bureaucracy point of view. Rightly so, but his writing places a strong emphasis on independence, personal choice, and personal responsibility, and minimal reliance (read: dependence) on the government or the "healthcare industry".

From a gun-rights point-of-view, that sounds familiar, doesn't it?

(source: Amazon)
The book is only $3.49 USD. The prologue is a free (yes, free) download from the Your Personal Affordable Care Act site, and nearly every section header is a potential Quote of the Day. This is one e-book I'm going to have to pick up.

Case in point: "Numbers lie and, in healthcare, they lie with greater power than in any other industry."

Check it out.

(Hat tip: David Codrea's Examiner article, E-book Arms Americans with Practical Health Advice, which also notes, "To encounter a health professional who believes in gun rights is always a valuable find. To see he is also knowledgeable enough to withstand and prevail over the inevitable treatment 'heretics' receive when challenging false doctrines makes his entry into the gun rights discussion one of real value." Amen.)

It's Never Been More Important