This is an amazing story about an American that flew a British Spitfire Mark XI in World War II, and an improbably connection and meeting with a piece of his own history. I wouldn’t mind flying a Spitfire myself…
Today marks the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s 2nd Inaugural Address. In typical Lincoln style, it was short, to the point, and incredibly discerning about the national situation. At this point, the Civil War had been going for four incredibly bloody years. In the end, the official count would be 620,000 killed (~2% of the population), 476,000 wounded, and 400,000 missing or captured – over 1.5 million casualties. It was the costliest war in human terms for the United States.
The consequences of the war devastated communities and families, as they often fought together. According to civilwar.org:
The 26th North Carolina, hailing from seven counties in the western part of the state, suffered 714 casualties out of 800 men during the Battle of Gettysburg. The 24th Michigan squared off against the 26th North Carolina at Gettysburg and lost 362 out of 496 men. Nearly the entire student body of Ole Miss–135 out 139–enlisted in Company A of the 11th Mississippi. Company A, also known as the “University Greys” suffered 100% casualties in Pickett’s Charge. Eighteen members of the Christian family of Christianburg, Virginia were killed during the war. It is estimated that one in three Southern households lost at least one family member.
One in thirteen surviving Civil War soldiers returned home missing one or more limbs. Pre-war jobs on farms or in factories became impossible or nearly so. This led to a rise in awareness of veterans’ needs as well as increased responsibility and social power for women. For many, however, there was no solution. Tens of thousands of families slipped into destitution.
In that light, Lincoln’s immortal words in his 2nd Inaugural Address seem beyond wise:
At this second appearing to take the oath of the presidential office, there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement, somewhat in detail, of a course to be pursued, seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention, and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself; and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.
On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it–all sought to avert it. While the inaugeral [sic] address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war–seeking to dissole [sic] the Union, and divide effects, by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.
One eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the Southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union, even by war; while the government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war, the magnitude, or the duration, which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has his own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” If we shall suppose that American Slavery is one of those offences which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South, this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offence came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a Living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope–fervently do we pray–that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether”
With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan–to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.
Oh, that our nation would find such a leader today! Instead, we get socialist community organizers and race baiters. God’s judgements are indeed true and righteous altogether.
Reformed Theological Seminary posted the videos from their ReForum on confessionalism and the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF). Dr. Howard Griffith, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Academic Dean, hosted the event.
Dr. Chad Van Dixhoorn, Associate Professor of Church History, delivered the opening address, titled “Confessing Christianity: Yesterday’s Reformation for Today’s Public Life.”
This was followed by a panel Q&A period. The panel consisted of Dr. Peter Lee, Associate Professor of Old Testament, Mr. Geoff Sackett, Dean of Students, and Dr. Chad B. Van Dixhoorn.
This is excellent material and well worth watching and considering. The panel addresses most of the current controversies about the WCF and confessionalism in general. This proves timely, as Federal Visionists want to rewrite key parts of the Confession, well-known people like Dr. John Frame question the usefulness of confessionalism in general, and young bucks want to write new additions to address their current social concerns.
Bottom line is that the WCF and its Catechisms are as accurate and correct as they were 350 years ago, and they speak clearly to God’s people today in the contemporary world.
Obama’s dance to avoid identifying the civilized world’s most obvious enemy – radical Islamists – has come to the point of absurdity. Obama called the targeted attack on Jewish citizens in Paris as a “random attack”. His press release ignored the Christianity of the 21 beheaded in Libya by referring to them as “twenty-one Egyptian citizens”. Apparently there’s no religion in Obama’s happy little world. Well, except for playing into the Islamic terrorists hands by bringing up the crusades from hundreds of years ago. How can you defeat an enemy that you cannot even name?
Obama has an idea along those lines, though – community organizing, jobs in desolate deserts, and more understanding for psychopaths. Clueless. Studies have shown that most of these Islamic psychopaths are actually from middle class or better backgrounds, including Bin Laden himself. They don’t need to be coddled by the community-organizer-in-chief, they need to be killed. Dead. Period. That’s how you win wars against barbarians.
BTW, here’s a tidbit about the crusades. Islamists invaded Spain in April of 711 and weren’t kicked out until 1492. The first crusade wasn’t launched until 1096. I’m not defending the crusades by any stretch, but who started the whole mess? Don’t bother asking Obama.
LATE ADDITION: Here’s a 12-year-old American who is apparently way smarter than the president:
I bet if Obama had a son, he wouldn’t look like or think for himself like CJ Pearson. Good on you, CJ!
This video is a must-see. It features Lt Col Dave Grossman, USA, Ret., who is incredible. I’ve met him and heard him speak. He’s dynamic and knows his stuff upside down and backwards. Dave has helped more people than anyone could count. His advice goes beyond combat or self-defense shootings, but to any critical incident in life. Dave Grossman is always worth the time.
We all knew that, in the words of Christopher Booker, “The fiddling with temperature data is the biggest science scandal ever.” Booker’s previous article recounted Paul Homewood’s checking of South American temperature data, finding it had been manipulated to increase the ground temperature readings, turning a cooling trend into a warming trend. Homewood checked other data around the world and found the same thing. Extreme cooling trends in the 1970’s were wiped out by carefully massaged data. Here’s another great summary of the situation.
In my career, if I had massaged data like that, people would literally have died. Accuracy and truth trump feelings and politics when the rubber hits the road. The truth in engineering always manifests itself because physics doesn’t lie. The Verrisano Bridge episode provided a graphic example. Although the global warming frauds continue to sell their wares to a gullible, science-ignorant public, their predictions have repeatedly failed to materialize. Few seem to notice. But the truth will become apparent, just as the global cooling lies did in the 1970’s.
The earth represents a complex open system that not only hosts intricate interactions on the planet and in the atmosphere, it also receives light, heat, radiation and charged particles of various types from the sun and inded the larger universe. Only arrogant men and women would claim to have a lock on a situation this complex. As I’ve posted before, the underlying equations require a host of assumptions to solve. A change in any initial or boundary condition requires reconsideration of the whole.
Science is about questioning more than answering. So-called “climate deniers” are the only ones practicing real science in the whole global warming debate. So why do so many pseudo-scientists sign on to anthropological global warming? As usual, follow the money. Science for sale. Sickening. Not how I was taught to do science in school. Ask questions, do experiments, collect data, ask more questions, repeat. That’s science. Massaging data, selling your message, collecting money, repeat, is not science. It’s fraud.
As gun controllers push for so-called universal background checks, which are really universal gun registrations that inevitably lead to confiscation, more evidence piles in showing that the existing checks are largely ineffective. The Oregon Firearms Federation reviewed the background check data from the Oregon State Police and found that only 0.025% of checks resulted in arrests. We don’t know how few or many of those resulted in eventual charges and convictions.
So, if background checks are so critical to keeping guns out of bad guys’ hands, then why aren’t more denied people arrested and convicted? Probably because criminals don’t opt to go through a background check that they know they won’t pass. They steal their weapons or buy them on the street. Duh.
Universal background checks are just a ruse to create a government database of all gun owners, to be used eventually to confiscate private arms in defiance of the Constitution:
Think that they respect the rest of the Constitution? Guess again. Your right to protected speech as codified in the 1st Amendment is not a right according to liberals, it is simply a special privilege. Therefore, the 1st Amendment only applies to credentialed professionals:
Sound familiar from the folks that think only the military and police should have guns, and then only when the government says so? Remember that the 2nd Amendment is the only earthly guarantee of all the rest of the Bill of Rights.
There’s an excellent article at Active Response Training that discusses the threat of terrorists in stolen police uniforms and how to spot them. Such attacks have occurred around the world and certainly will again. Remember that the armed citizen IS the first responder. Know thine enemy!
Excellent video from Bill Whittle with the real truth on murder rates vs. gun ownership:
Gun grabbers now say that they want “common sense” gun control to cut “gun violence”. Anti-liberty types want “compromise”. Well, their definition of compromise is take everything. This graphic tells the story from the factual history of gun control:
And that’s the truth! We’re finally living in the last pane. If gun controllers treated the First Amendment like they treat the Second, they’d have to get government approval and pay for permits to open their lying mouths, and then be limited to the number of words per article and could only use quills and ink wells with which to write. And, of course, assault quills would be outlawed:
As I commented earlier, the barbarians are entrenched inside the gates of the city. What’s the nature of the threat and how can we realistically prepare?
Gabe Suarez is one of the international gurus of physical security. He has written an excellent assessment of the radical Islamic attack in Paris: ISLAMIC TERROR STRIKES FRANCE – OUR PERSPECTIVES ON IT. He followed that up with EVERY MAN IS A COUNTER TERRORIST. You should read both articles to get a professional’s assessment, and it’s not pretty. Bottom line is that you as a concealed or open carrier may be the only thing between predatory, violent terrorists and a host of civilian casualties. You need to seriously prepare, as Mas Ayoob says, not because of the odds but because of the stakes involved.
Also understand that saving others may cost you your life. We in the military serve with that understanding, but you need to mentally prepare ahead of time for that eventuality. In all likelihood, you would be killed if you do nothing because that’s what the terrorists are there for, so you have little to lose. Personally, I’d rather die fighting back rather than begging for my life.
Is it really impossible to succeed with a concealed pistol against terrorists armed with AK-47s? Yes. Charl van Wyk did with a snub-nosed revolver against four terrorists with hand grenades, fully automatic rifles, and gasoline bombs. Trust in your training, take rapid and violent action against the enemy, be accurate, be ruthless, and be smart. Even before that point, stay aware of your surroundings at all times. Even a couple of seconds warning can make all the difference.
This is the land of the free and home of the brave. Let’s live up our American legacy.
So, I’ve been having strange issues with Moneydance, an excellent personal financial program. Dialog boxes would work intermittently and were sometimes delayed in appearing. Starting and restarting Moneydance sometimes fixed the issue and sometimes not. Moneydance worked fine in Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty, so this seemed odd.
I know that Moneydance is written in Java, so my first thought was to see what version of Java I was currently running. To my surprise, it turned out that I had NO Java version installed. Not sure how that happened, but loading OpenJDK 7 (Iced Tea 2.5.3) using Synaptic fixed all my issues.
Recall that my upgrade from 14.04 to 14.10 went very poorly and I ended up installing clean. Apparently, a Java runtime isn’t installed by Utopic 14.10 by default. Like the lack of ffmpeg support in the Utopic repository, this seems like an odd decision. Hopefully all this will be fixed in 15.04.
I didn’t realize until I loaded Minitube and ClipGrab onto my Ubuntu Utopic system, but Ubuntu dropped ffmpeg from the Utopic repository. Apparently it wasn’t there in 14.04 Trusty, either. I found a quick fix for the issue at this site. Adding the repository at the link worked like a charm. Back in business!
So, I bought a couple of movie DVDs from Amazon last week (Serenity and Inception). Along with the order acknowledgement, I received emails saying that I could watch them using Amazon instant video for a few weeks. The catch? Amazon video streaming requires Windows. Right? No way!
I found a website that showed me how to watch Amazon instant video in Firefox on Linux. I used their excellent step-by-step directions to load an updated HAL to run the video under the Adobe Flash plugin. I then went a step further to load Pipelight under WINE, then use the User Agent Switcher extension for Firefox to watch the movie with Silverlight. It all worked like a charm.
The open source community never fails to amaze me with their ingenuity. And Serenity was a great movie! It really ties up the loose ends from the excellent but short-lived Firefly show. (I reviewed Inception here.)
There can be no doubt that the barbarians are inside the gates of the city. We’ve seen it at Fort Hood in 2009 and again in 2014, in Moore, OK in 2014, Boston in 2013, and most recently Paris in 2015. Here’s a list of Islamist terror attacks in the USA over the last several decades. American officials, referring to the Paris attacks, describe this as the new normal. But it doesn’t have to be.
France has some of the strictest gun control in the world, yet Islamic terrorists had no trouble getting AK-47s to murder 10 journalists and 2 police officers, one execution style, then take hostages and kill many of them as well. Fort Hood is a gun free zone by Federal law, but that didn’t stop a wacko jihadist from executing 13 unarmed soldiers and civilians.
History shows that cowardly Islamic jihadists much prefer soft targets that feature unarmed civilians – all of the above incidents plus Mombai, the Westgate Mall in Nigeria, Dijon, and the list runs on and on.
What should we do? Leave town? Cower in our homes? Providentially, the Founding Fathers of the United States of America had a better plan for Americans. It is called the 2nd Amendment in our Bill of Rights. Justice Joseph Story, the youngest Justice ever to serve on the Supreme Court, wrote the definitive commentary on the 2nd Amendment in 1833. The founders weren’t protecting our hunting rights, but our human rights. They determined that the USA would never be a soft target for tyranny or anything else. Note carefully Justice Story’s words:
The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.
But, he warns:
There is certainly no small danger, that indifference may lead to disgust, and disgust to contempt; and thus gradually undermine all the protection intended by this clause of our national bill of rights.
Justice Story was clearly a man of great vision and practicality. He foresaw the current liberal drive to gut our Constitution by a thousand small cuts. France has seen this warning come home to roost, as have we as noted above. It will only get worse until we wake up.
The 2nd Amendment provided our original and real homeland security, not a collection of federal bureaucrats. An armed citizenry presents a very hard target for terrorists and predatory criminals. Our founders and wise people today realize that, and support and exercise those rights. Inside a deli, mall or office building, a concealed or open carrying citizen can stop an AK-47 toting Islamist. Citizens with modern sporting rifles like the AR-10 and AR-15 can do even better. We the People have the power, given by our heavenly Father and recognized and codified by the Founding Fathers.
Now, anti-liberty liberals like Bloomberg, Feinstein, Obama, Biden, etc., want to strip us of our ability to defend against terrorism, tyranny, and violent criminal predators. The U.N. even wrote a treaty to disarm citizens worldwide. They all use cleverly crafted lies, half-truths, and emotional arguments. But the truth is far greater. A super 30-minute summary of the facts is available in a 32-minute film that documents the importance and effectiveness of the 2nd Amendment, DISARMED: A History of Gun Control:
Chuck Woolery makes a great defense for modern sporting arms and their purpose:
Do ya really think that violent criminals and Islamic jihadist terrorists will obey the law? Their entire existence is based on BREAKING laws.
Wake up and arm up, America! The barbarians are not at the gates, they are inside the gates and seeking soft targets. Don’t be one.
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