Posted by: reformedmusings | July 27, 2016

What Hillary doesn’t want you to know

This infographic from here is outstanding:

gun-use-infographic

Because:

when-prey-is-armed

And that’s a fact! Don’t let Clinton take your equalizers.

Posted by: reformedmusings | July 17, 2016

Jay Stalien: Black lives don’t matter to Black Lives Matter

Police officer Jay Stalien lays out the raw truth about the scandal of black-on-black crime and the self-serving lies of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) crowd in this post. All I can say is read it in its entirety. But do note on his page that Officer Stalien used to serve in Baltimore before he moved to Florida.

About the black lives that apparently don’t matter to BLM or the race baiters like Obama and Sharpton:

Complaint: More black people get arrested than white boys.

Fact: Black People commit a grossly disproportionate amount of crime. Data from the FBI shows that Nationwide, Blacks committed 5,173 homicides in 2014, whites committed 4,367. Chicago’s death toll is almost equal to that of both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, combined. Chicago’s death toll from 2001–November, 26 2015 stands at 7,401. The combined total deaths during Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2015: 4,815) and Operation Enduring Freedom/Afghanistan (2001-2015: 3,506), total 8,321.

Complaint: Blacks are the only ones getting killed by police, or they are killed more.

Fact: As of July 2016, the breakdown of the number of US Citizens killed by Police this year is, 238 White people killed, 123 Black people killed, 79 Hispanics, 69 other/or unknown race.

Fact: Black people kill more other blacks than Police do, and there are only protest and outrage when a cop kills a black man. University of Toledo criminologist Dr. Richard R. Johnson examined the latest crime data from the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Reports and Centers for Disease Control and found that an average of 4,472 black men were killed by other black men annually between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2012. Professor Johnson’s research further concluded that 112 black men died from both justified and unjustified police-involved killings annually during this same period.

Note that the last statistic is ANNUALLY, not total for the period. Also note that Chicago is only one city, and at times, not even the worst for black-on-black homicide. Where is BLM’s outrage on this tragedy? Why aren’t they marching in the mean streets of Chicago?

From Officer Stalien’s conclusion:

All of my realizations came to this conclusion. Black Lives do not matter to most black people. Only the lives that make the national news matter to them. Only the lives that are taken at the hands of cops or white people, matter. The other thousands of lives lost, the other black souls that I along with every cop, have seen taken at the hands of other blacks, do not matter. Their deaths are unnoticed, accepted as the “norm”, and swept underneath the rug by the very people who claim and post “black lives matter”. I realized that this country is full of ignorance…

Thank you, Officer Stalien, for having the courage to lay out the truth.

Posted by: reformedmusings | July 2, 2016

Independence Day 2016

I found an outstanding exchange from the British Parliament in February of 1765 over the Stamp Act. Here’s the website’s intro to the exchange and the exchange itself:

We had to include this very interesting exchange between Charles Townshend, who would later be author of the Townshend Acts, and Col. Isaac Barre, as reported by Virginia representative Jared Ingersoll.

Colonel Barre was a member of Parliament who had fought in America during the Seven Years War, receiving injuries that left him blind in one eye and severely scarred on his face.

Charles Townshend:

And now will these Americans, children planted by our care, nourished up by our Indulgence until they are grown to a degree of strength and opulence, and protected by our arms, will they grudge to contribute their mite to relieve us from heavy weight of the burden which we lie under?

Colonel Isaac Barre:

They planted by your care? No! Your oppression planted ’em in America. They fled from your tyranny to a then uncultivated and unhospitable country where they exposed themselves to almost all the hardships to which human nature is liable, and among others to the cruelties of a savage foe, the most subtle, and I take upon me to say, the most formidable of any people upon the face of God’s earth. And yet, actuated by principles of true English liberty, they met all these hardships with pleasure, compared with those they suffered in their own country, from the hands of those who should have been their friends.

They nourished by your indulgence? They grew by your neglect of ’em. As soon as you began to care about ?em, that care was exercised in sending persons to rule over ’em, in one department and another, who were perhaps the deputies of deputies to some member of this house, sent to spy out their liberty, to misrepresent their actions and to prey upon ’em; men whose behaviour on many occasions has caused the blood of those sons of liberty to recoil within them: men promoted to the highest seats of justice; some who to my knowledge were glad by going to a foreign country to escape being brought to the bar of a court of justice in their own.

They protected by your arms? They have nobly taken up arms in your defence, have exerted a valour amidst their constant and laborious industry for the defence of a country whose frontier while drenched in blood, its interior parts have yielded all its little savings to your emolument. And believe me, remember I this day told you so, that same spirit of freedom which actuated that people at first, will accompany them still. But prudence forbids me to explain myself further. God knows I do not at this time speak from motives of party heat; what I deliver are the genuine sentiments of my heart; however superior to me in general knowledge and experience the reputable body of this House may be, yet I claim to know more of America than most of you, having seen and been conversant in that country. The people I believe are as truly loyal as any subjects the king has, but a people jealous of their liberties and who will vindicate them if ever they should be violated; but the subject is too delicate and I will say no more. [1]

The Brits never did get it, but man, they eventually got it from us in God’s sovereign providence.

Also in honor of Independence Day 2016, I offer the following A Cappella cover of Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA:

I’m a rock guy to the core, but I love that song. Happy Independence Day!!! (and don’t burn your eyebrows off)

Posted by: reformedmusings | June 28, 2016

Asus Chromebook Flip C100PA

The Commissioner’s Handbook for the Presbyterian Church of America’s (PCA) General Assembly (GA) starts at about 860 8.5 x 11 pages. During GA, the handbook can grow to about 1,000 pages as Committees of Commissioners reports roll in. That makes for a large and heavy notebook to carry around. Add to that the Book of Church Order (BCO) and references like Robert’s Rules, etc., for more muscle building. I’ve been carrying all that around for over a decade of annual GAs. Enough is enough.

So, I wanted to go fully electronic for the PCA General Assembly this year. I looked at tablets, but they are pretty expensive, especially with a keyboard. Laptops are too big and heavy. I did not want to spend big bucks on something that wouldn’t be used very often. I was between a rock and a hard place until I read this article on ZDNet. It recommended looking at Chromebooks. So I did.

After carefully researching the market, I found the best of all worlds – an Asus Chromebook Flip.

asus-flipbook-open

The beauty of the Asus Chromebook Flip is that it has a 10.1 inch touch screen like a tablet, a keyboard like a notebook computer, and you can fold it on its hinge all the way around so that it basically becomes a tablet:

asus-flipbook-positions

When folded back on itself, the keyboard is disabled and it automatically goes into tablet mode. Very cool! I bought the version that has 4 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage. It also takes a micro SD Card, so storage shouldn’t be an issue. And, of course, it’s made to work with Google Drive. The Asus runs on a ARM-based Rockchip Quad-Core RK3288C CPU, which will enable it to run most Android apps by the end of the summer, although it can be “hacked” to run some now. I’m running Bible Study by OliveTree‘s Android app right now.

The Flip sports a 10.1″ 16:10 WXGA (1280×800)/Wide View Angle LED Backlit Touch Screen run by a Rockchip Mali T764 GPU, and it looks great. The aluminum case feels very solid, and houses two USB2 ports, one micro-HDMI port, audio jack, proprietary charging port, volume controls, and a power button around its edges. It also has a digital microphone, speakers, and an HD webcam. All that weighs in at a hair under two pounds (.89 kg).

The keyboard is a comfortable size, but the tradeoff is that it doesn’t have all the standard keys. Some missing key functions can be had using shift key combinations, but not all. For example, there’s no home or end key, nor have I found a way to get that functionality. It does have some Chromebook-specific keys for web browsing. The touchpad has no buttons, but right-clicking can be simulated by clicking the touchpad with two fingers.

That brings us to the primary limitation of Chromebooks. They are designed to be connected to the Internet pretty much all the time. The built-in 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi and Bluetooth™ V4.0 help with that, but you need a source with which to connect. Providentially, most restaurants, coffee houses, hotels, etc., have WiFi available. You can also store data locally to work with, but even those work through the Chrome browser interface. That’s not necessarily bad, but it is different.

Chrome OS works OK, being a model of simplicity. If you can use a browser, you can use a Chromebook out of the box. Chrome OS is automatically updated on a regular basis. I had a few major updates to install when I bought mine, and then another today. If you have an Android phone with Bluetooth enabled, you can authorize the Chromebook to unlock if it detects your phone in close proximity. That’s very cool, especially in table mode.

For GA, this all worked out fine. I loaded the Commissioner’s Handbook, the BCO, and my supporting documents on the Chromebook. They are automatically backed up on Google Drive so that you can get them anywhere on any device that supports Google Drive. However, you need to “right-click” on each document and select the proper option if you want it locally available. The Chromebook defaults to storing things on Google Drive, not locally, and it’s easy to make a mistake in location.

WiFi in my hotel was fine, but it was pretty spotty at GA. There were a few times that I had to use my phone’s WiFi hotspot capability to get documents on the floor of the Assembly, but that worked fine.

The battery life of the Flip is amazing. Asus claims 9 hours, but that’s conservative. Our longest day went until almost midnight. I used my Flip almost all day and it was in standby the few times that I didn’t have it open. When I returned to my hotel room after midnight, the battery still had 19% left. Incredible.

The only real downside is performance. I like the Rockchip CPU because it is ARM-based and will easily run Android apps, but it doesn’t provide the snappiest performance. The 4 GB of SDRAM helps. A faster processor would provide snappier performance, but also eat more battery. It will also take significantly longer to get Android apps to run on Intel processors. Everything is a tradeoff. The Flip works fine, but doesn’t keep up with my Dell tablet that I have for work. Still, it works well for document work, which is mostly what I use it for.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with my Asus Chromebook Flip. For $249 on Amazon, it was a great deal for the capability. It served its initial purpose very well, and will do so for some years to come. With the keyboard, the Chromebook does more than what a tablet will do at a lower price point, and is smaller, lighter, and less expensive than a laptop or even a standard notebook. Can’t beat that with a stick.

Posted by: reformedmusings | June 16, 2016

Facts and Myths for the PCA on Racial Reconciliation

The PCA will consider a host of overtures at the 44th General Assembly that purport to deal with racial/ethnic reconciliation, although most merely parrot Overture 4.  I believe that all but a couple of the reconciliation overtures are seriously flawed. I hope to briefly explain a few of the issues.

Let me make clear up front that racism is sin. Exegesis that states or implies that ALL men do not equally bear God’s image is wrong and self-serving, not God honoring. Not loving ALL of our brothers and sisters in Christ as John admonished in his first letter is sin. Let’s get that off the table up front.

The Ninth Commandment

Westminster Larger Catechism Q/A 144 says that the 9th Commandment requires in part:

A. The duties required in the ninth commandment are, the preserving and promoting of truth between man and man, and the good name of our neighbor, as well as our own; appearing and standing for the truth; and from the heart, sincerely, freely, clearly, and fully, speaking the truth, and only the truth, in matters of judgment and justice, and in all other things whatsoever…and unwillingness to admit of an evil report, concerning them; love and care of our own good name, and defending it when need requireth…studying and practicing of whatsoever things are true, honest, lovely, and of good report.

I contend that in regard to the duties required by the 9th Commandment in the WLC Q/A 144, all overtures requiring the PCA as a whole through “covenantal and generational involvement” to repent of events related to or following the Civil Rights Movement causes the PCA as a whole, presbyteries, and the bulk of the current PCA particular churches and members to violate many, most, or all of the above excerpted requirements in regard to their own history and sins, depending on individual circumstances. And while anecdotes and stories are interesting and tug nicely at the emotional cords, it is hard data that should inform all decisions and votes.

The PCA did not exist during the Civil Rights era to which many overtures refer, commonly pegged as 1954-19681. The PCA’s first constitutional assembly was in December of 1973. How can the PCA confess and repent of something that happened before its founding? How could the PCA as a whole be complicit in something that happened before it existed? Individual churches in existence during the Civil Rights era that later joined the PCA may or may not have something of which to repent, but not the PCA as a whole as called for by these overtures. To do so would fail to tell and uphold the truth, maintain the good name of the PCA, or practice what is true, at the least.

According to Dr. Sean Lucas’ book on the history of the PCA2, the PCA was explicitly created to be open to all races and ethnicities3. There were no organizational, polity, or policy barriers raised to prevent reconciliation4. That’s not to say that individual churches could not or did not raise such barriers, and we know that some certainly did so, but such was not and is not the PCA’s either informal or formal policy. In fact, Dr. Lucas points out that there was a significant contingent of younger pastors who joined the PCA that actively opposing segregation5. Many proposed overtures appear to do these men, their congregations, and the overall design of the PCA a serious injustice.

Further, the PCA had 260 congregations with around 41,000 communicants at the initial founding in December of 19736. Many of those early officers and communicants have gone to glory. By God’s grace, the PCA has grown to 1,534 churches with over 370,000 communicants as of the 44th GA7. In 1973, the PCA was primarily a regional denomination. Today, by God’s grace, the PCA has spread throughout the entire country. The bottom line is that – without passing any judgement whatsoever – the PCA of today is quite literally not the PCA of 1973, and even that PCA did not exist during the Civil Rights era. Even if all the original communicants were still with us, they would constitute just 11% of the current PCA. Just 11%. These are hard facts.

The PCA membership today is significantly different than at its founding. For example, God graciously placed my church, and indeed my presbytery, in an ethnically diverse community. Our membership literally spans the globe. Our annual Lessons and Carols service features readings in Urdu, Lingala, Spanish, Mandarin, Dutch, German, and others as well as English. We have first and second generation legal immigrants from around the world who and whose ancestors had nothing to do with the 60’s Civil Rights issues in this country. To ask them to confess and repent as a church of such issues amounts to asking them to bear false witness to their and their families’ history and sins, and fail to preserve their good names or the truth.

Corporate Repentance and the Continuing Church

While there are a few examples of corporate repentance in the Old Testament, recall that only a tiny fraction of Israelites remained faithful to God at those times, 7,000 out of at least several million in Elijah’s case. That’s clearly not the case in the PCA according to our own statistics.

Yet even in the Old Testament just prior to the Exile, when faithfulness was at an all-time low in Israel, God deals directly with so-called “sins of the fathers” in Ezekiel 18 and Jeremiah 31. The issue in those passages bear similarity to the bulk of the proposed overtures. From Ezekiel 18:

The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? As I live, declares the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.

God’s sums up His admonition, which covers all of Ezekiel 18, with His declaration in Ezekiel 18:20:

The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son.

In Jeremiah as well, God clearly states that each man will be judged for his own sin, not for those who came before. That’s black and white Scripture, not anecdotes or convenient interpretation. I believe that these passages negate the corporate and/or covenantal argument as applied in most of the overtures.

We are a “continuing church” in regards to Reformed doctrine, missions, and church government as TE Jack Williamson made clear at the first General Assembly8, but God makes it clear that sins are individual unless that sin is encoded in our governing documents and/or policies, which demonstrably isn’t the case in the PCA. Anyone who sins against their brother or sister is violating our constitution and should be challenged, and if appropriate, brought up on charges in accordance with BCO procedures. That negates any “institutional racism” by policy or construct. To say that the PCA as a “continuing church” bears the sins of those from which it separated says more than most would want. That would make us liable for the sins of rejecting the authority of Scripture, which led the old church to a host of fatal theological errors. Does the PCA bear the guilt of those sins as well? Where do we draw that entirely arbitrary line? Who gets to decide?

One advantage, of course, of the corporate approach is that it diffuses the responsibility away from individuals and courts who actually did sin. Just like the old saying “Be a team player, it diffuses the blame.” If we blame everyone, practicality speaking, we blame no one. It takes courage to hold individuals, sessions, and presbyteries specifically accountable, but it’s easy to make broad pronouncements that make us feel good but ultimately hold no one accountable. That’s exactly what the bulk of the reconciliation overtures do.

Burden of Proof

I was blessed through my military service to live and travel across our great country, worshiping with many congregations. Although trained through 30 years of military leadership to spot and address these kinds of racial and ethnic issues, I’ve not seen widespread evidence of a systemic or institutional racial or ethnic problem in the PCA. The burden of proof – not personal anecdotes or catchy liberal buzzwords – falls on those making these accusations – the 9th Commandment demands it – but I haven’t see any hard data offered. It is easy to make broad-brush claims, but where is the evidence of wide-spread racism in the PCA? Any argument using statistical demographics must be accompanied by evidence of malfeasance at their root as opposed to cultural or sociological patterns unrelated to wrongdoing by anyone in the PCA. Sociology can not usually be boiled down to a few numbers.

Though there may be some individuals and churches now in the PCA who have something along these lines of which to confess and repent during their previous membership in other denominations prior to the PCA (I’ll mention one shining example later), they are a very small minority in the current PCA as the numbers clearly show. Even if ALL the founding officers and congregants of the 1973 PCA were still in the 2016 PCA, which we know isn’t the case as many have gone to glory, and if ALL of them required such repentance, and we also know isn’t the case, they would only make up only 11 percent of the current denomination. Should an entire denomination repent of the sins that something much less than 11 percent of their members MAY have committed before the denomination even existed? That doesn’t make sense to me, nor does it agree with God’s explicit commands in Ezekiel and Jeremiah.

I know that there continue to be racial/ethnic issues in isolated cases in the PCA, just as there are in society at large. Those involved must repent of these sins and rely on Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sins, as do we all. That’s what the disciplinary processes coded in the BCO should be used to address where necessary, as it was in Western Carolina Presbytery a few years back. The process was painful for the faithful, but it worked. But, it hardly seems appropriate for an entire denomination to repent for the sins of a relatively few – at most way less than 11%. Again, God’s commands in Jeremiah and Ezekiel relative to the sins of the fathers clearly argues against this.

Back to the Ninth Commandment

The 9th Commandment issues come clearly into focus when using set theory and logic to examine the overall situation. Every communicant member of the PCA falls under the shepherding of their session, their local court. Every PCA session is wholly contained within the set of its presbytery. Similarly, all presbyteries are collectively and wholly contained within the set of the PCA. Think of this as a set of concentric circles with the individual communicant in the smallest inside circle, wholly contained in the larger session circle, itself wholly contained in the presbytery circle, and the largest PCA circle wholly containing the presbytery circle. So, when the PCA as a whole confesses and repents, as most of the overtures require, the entire set of the PCA includes successively every presbytery, every session, and every communicant member. When the PCA repents of anything, that carries through to the every communicant in the pews, which causes them to violate the 9th Commandment when they have not sinned in that way. It’s logically a package deal.

Where do we go from here?

Albert Einstein is famously quoted as observing that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different outcome. The PCA passed overtures and personal resolutions in 20029, and a pastoral letter in 200410 at the GA level, a 2002 paper in Potomac and Chesapeake Presbyteries, and others as well. Yet, there we were in 2015 and here now in 2016 proposing to do the same thing. Such overtures are not binding, but considered deliverances of the Assembly, to be given due and serious consideration in the denomination according to BCO 14-7. How did that work out in 2002 and 2004? Apparently not so well since here we are again.

The PCA needs a different approach, which Potomac Presbytery has proposed in Overture 45. We believe that it is time to break the cycle of overtures and resolutions based on emotional anecdotes and generalities – called information-free decision making by my boss – and approach the subject of racial and ethnic reconciliation in a deliberative manner to garner specific facts and issues to be resolved, resulting in specific actions to be taken as we saw in Western Carolina. Like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the PCA must address specific sins with specific measures which presbyteries and sessions may implement without ambiguity. The Civil Rights Act didn’t just say “Stop that,” it addressed specific wrongs with specific, implementable solutions. That’s exactly what Potomac’s overture recommends that the PCA do.

After all, how can we solve problems if we cannot state specific, identifiable, perhaps quantifiable issues that must be addressed? How can we learn about those specific problems if we do not take the time to ferret out the details and perform something like a root cause analysis? And how can we reach a final resolution and put these issues behind us if we don’t propose specific, implementable solutions? How can we know what success looks like unless we make the effort to define a measurable and achievable desired end state? The answer to all these questions is that we cannot, as recent PCA history demonstrates.

Specific Recommendations

Potomac Presbytery has put forth an alternative overture which corrects the defects in most of the other related overtures to the 44th General Assembly. Potomac’s Overture 45 asks for specific, concrete actions to affect lasting change, something that most of the overtures lack. I say this with an eye firmly on the peace and purity of the PCA, basing my position on Scripture, hard data, verifiable history, and logic, while seeking analytical rigor. I encourage the commissioners to the 44th General Assembly to perfect and approve Overture 45.

At the same time, I also encourage the commissioners to approve Overture 53, as it puts forth specific, concrete actions to be taken in accordance with our polity to hold those guilty of racial/ethnic sins accountable. The men of the First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, MS, set the bar by taking concrete action to repent of specific past actions of the church and deal directly with specific issues in specific past session minutes. This leading by setting the example by taking concrete steps to repent of specific past actions, is also true of First Presbyterian Church, Montgomery, AL, and Independent Presbyterian Church, Memphis TN11. Every church court and individual who so sinned must do the same.

The commissioners of the 44th General Assembly should reject any and all overtures that purport to address racial/ethnic reconciliation, yet do not hold anyone or any church court accountable under BCO procedures. Let us not repeat the errors of the past by passing feel-good overtures that diffuse the blame, sounding pious but accomplishing nothing. Otherwise, we’ll be back here in 10 years doing the same thing all over again. It will be déjà vu all over again.

—————————

1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African-American_Civil_Rights_Movement_(1954–68). Accessed Dec 13, 2015

2 Lucas, Sean M., For a Continuing Church, The Roots of the Presbyterian Church in America, Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2015

3 Lucas, p.296

4 Lucas, pp. 307-308

5 Lucas, pp 323-324

6 PCA Administrative Committee website, http://www.pcanet.org/history/. Accessed Dec 13, 2015

7 Administrative Committee Report for the 44th General Assembly of the PCA, p. 253

8 Lucas, p. 313, Derived from Jack Williamson’s opening sermon at the first PCA GA: “We have committed ourselves to be the rebirth and continuation of a Presbyterian Church loyal to the Scripture, the Reformed faith, and committed to the spiritual mission of the Church as Christ commanded in the Great Commission.”

9 PCA Historical Center, http://www.pcahistory.org/pca/race.html. Accessed Dec 13, 2015

10 Ibid, http://www.pcahistory.org/pca/racism.pdf. Accessed Dec 13, 2015

11 Haynes, Stephen R., The Last Segregated Hour, New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2012, pp.228-245.

Posted by: reformedmusings | May 29, 2016

Memorial Day 2016

some-gave-all

Memorial Day is not just another day off, but a day to remember and thank those who provided and protected the freedom that you have and exercise every day that you breath on this earth. Remember them, pray for their families, and thank God that in His Providence He blessed us with those willing to sacrifice all so that others may live free. Our military members don’t fight because they hate what is in front of them, but because they love what is behind them.

Posted by: reformedmusings | March 27, 2016

New firearms store in Arlington

NOVA Armory had their grand opening yesterday morning. That wouldn’t usually be a big deal, but the anti’s tried to stop the opening. They tried the same tactics that they used against the store in Cherrydale, but it didn’t work this time. Incidentally, the store front in Cherrydale is still empty, so the landlord really took it in the shorts when he caved to the antis. Oops.

The anti’s, as usual, used lies and almost truths. They claimed that 88% of the Lyon Park community voted against the firearm store in their neighborhood. What they didn’t say was that that less than 1% of the neighborhood even bothered to vote on their pet referendum.

The grand opening featured Delegate Rich Anderson, a personal friend of mine, and VCDL president Philip Van Cleave, and a representative of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. The store and the opening were packed. Of course, the press was present, including WTOP.

nova-armory-ribbon-cutting

The crowd went way to the right of the picture above. The crowd inside packed the place to the gills wearing orange Gun Save Lives stickers, and was constantly refreshed for the hour that I was there. While the official opening wasn’t until 0900, folks started showing up shortly after 0800 and were welcomed.

nova-armory-crowd

NOVA Armory gave out 100 free t-shirts. They were gone in just a few minutes. From the time I saw someone with a shirt until I made my way to the former shirt pile was less than 5 minutes. 100 shirts, boom. Most folks in the store at that time did not get one. That’s an illustration of just how many folks showed. The pictures don’t do the crowd justice, because the crowd spilled out onto the Pershing Road side because it was so tight in the store and all the body heat really made the temperature inside uncomfortable after a while. That’s a lot of people.

Of course, the anti’s couldn’t let the opening go without their nonsense. The seven incredibly liberal politicians that represent Arlington at various levels held a mini-protest in Lyon Park about 2 miles away from the store. I drove by there on my way home. It was a cold morning, just over 40 degrees F, and the group at Lyon Park would not have exhausted the t-shirt supply, not by a long stretch. WTOP has a picture of their sparse turnout. Worse, the anti’s were so self-absorbed that they usurped people who reserved Lyon Park to set up for an Easter Egg hunt. Nothing’s more important to an anti than their own twisted anti-liberty message.

Yesterday was a good day for liberty and the freedom to open a legal business that sells the only consumer product protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Posted by: reformedmusings | March 27, 2016

Catchup on good 2nd Amendment posts

Dr. John Lott wrote a great piece entitled Guns in America: You know the case for background checks is weak if… Dr. Lott shows clearly how gun controllers lie to make a case that doesn’t exist.

Tactical Ted wrote 12 Years of Campus Carry – Results. He does a nice job of showing that 12 years of concealed carry on college campuses has produced only great results for the carriers. All of the doomsday pronouncements of the anti’s never came to fruition. They never do. The streets aren’t running with blood. Only the blood of thugs and rapists have been spilled.

Contrary to the lies of the gun grabbers, Gun Owners Stopped Numerous Crimes and Saved Countless Lives in a Year. I’ve posted sites before that collect defensive shooting incidents. Anyone who says that they don’t happen or are rare is ignorant or lying. It’s as simple as that.

Along the lines of lying anti-liberty types, Liberal Media and Gun-Grabbers Ignore Latest CDC Report – It Doesn’t Fit Their Narrative. The Gateway Pundit documents how the gun grabbers ignore data that doesn’t fit their schemes. As usual.

John Risenhoover, a retired BATF Senior Special Agent, wrote AN ACTUAL STRATEGY TO REDUCE GUN VIOLENCE. Not surprisingly, his strategy doesn’t involve targeting law-abiding citizens. John suggests going after real criminals.

Makro Kloos wrote about why the gun is civilization. I and many others have written about this before. Before there were firearms, the strong and powerful preyed on the rest of society. Women were property and used as the strong desired. The real war on women is led by those who would make women vulnerable to the strong and powerful again.

That’s about it for now. All this should keep you busy for a while.

Posted by: reformedmusings | February 17, 2016

Great demo on magazine size in an active killer scenario

A Sheriff department demonstrates that magazine capacity makes little difference in an active killer scenario. Standard capacity magazines (14-16 rounds pistol, 30 rounds for a modern sporting rifle) provide no significant advantage over a host of sub-capacity magazines for active killers.

More anti-liberty lies exposed.

I love the M1911 demo. Don’t need no stinkin’ plastic pistols.

The money quotes – Magazine capacity restrictions:

Don’t create realistic opportunities to “tackle” an active killer during reloads.

Do make it harder for civilians to protect themselves from violent criminal attacks.

Magazine restrictions don’t pass the common sense test.

Along those lines, here’s some great wisdom on gun control in general:

gun-control-and-drunk-driving

Posted by: reformedmusings | February 13, 2016

New U.S. Army Shooter Training Videos

The Firearm Blog published links to the Army’s new training videos. I haven’t been through them yet, but I plan to review them. It’s always interesting to see what the Army’s doing for training.

So, I went to Ft. Benning’s Shooter’s Channel on Youtube to find a lot more videos. Enjoy!

Louisiana Senator Elbert Guillory explains why he left the Democrat plantation to become a Republican. Awesome from a man who knows the difference.

Posted by: reformedmusings | February 13, 2016

The True Intent of the Second Amendment

First, the Second Amendment appears in the Bill of Rights. The Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution to lay out the powers of the federal government. The Founding Fathers created the Bill of Rights to lay out the limitations of the federal government and recognize, not grant, God-given freedoms. We seem to have forgotten that basic fact.

CBS’ Ben Swann of Reality Check investigated the true intent of the 2nd Amendment and actually got it right.

Extremely well done!

So, when I was growing up, playing Army was all the rage. We had tons of creative toy gun options, including the imaginative Johnny Seven One Man Army setup.

But I really wish I had a Tommy Gun, the king of WWII house-to-house weapons:

Ah, those were the days when men were men, and boys were brought up to be men.

 

 

Posted by: reformedmusings | February 13, 2016

Follow-up for the whiners at Mizzou

So, I wrote here and here about the whiners at Mizzou. Now Remy provided a great musical summary of their demands.

Dr. Phil offers advice that applies perfectly to the Mizzou whiners:

“This is the greatest country in the world, this is the greatest people in the world, but sometimes we forget common sense,” Dr. Phil said. “We’ve got to stop rewarding bad behavior in America. When people don’t work and produce, then they need to get kicked to the curb.”

“Get a damn job. Carry your own weight.”

Well said.

Posted by: reformedmusings | February 13, 2016

UFOs and the CIA

I must confess that I was a UFO aficionado back in the 1970’s and early ’80’s. I’ve been interested in space since I can remember, going through an astronomy hobby (still in it a bit) and eventually astrophysics. UFOs, or flying saucers, held the fascinating possibility of life elsewhere in the universe. It seems that the making of six new X-Files episodes (yep, I’m a huge fan) sparked some real-world activity.

I saw a headline on the Fox News website about the CIA declassifying a host of their UFO-related materials. Ah, a teenage dream come true. And I was not disappointed. There are hundreds of documents available, but the Agency made a page of the documents that Mulder would most be interested in and those that Scully would find interesting. I found the Scully list most interesting, especially since it contained the highly-sought-after Robertson’s panel Scientific Advisory Panel’s report (PDF) which has been highly sought for decades.

A great summary of the CIA’s study of the UFO phenomenon is located here. I found it well-written and very familiar based on my earlier reading experience. Project names like SIGN, GRUDGE, and BLUE BOOK, as well as individuals like Rupelt and Keyhoe, all came flooding back. I still have several books by both Rupelt and Keyhoe laying around somewhere. Based on my wide variety of experience, I found the CIA’s summary both well-written, well-researched, and highly credible.

The bottom line is that there was never any credible evidence that UFOs were extraterrestrial or threats to our national security. Both the USAF and CIA concluded that virtually all sightings can easily be explained as natural or man-made phenomenon. The few that cannot be explained easily still offer no evidence of anything other than the scant evidence that they provide towards solving those cases. True believers like Rupelt, Keyhoe, and others kept the pot stirred for a long time, perhaps even to the current X-Files mythology thread, but it was and is all sound and fury, signifying nothing. In God we trust, all others bring data. And there is no physical data or evidence that the few unexplained UFO cases are anything extraterrestrial.

As an aside, the new X-Files altered the UFO mythology a bit. I won’t include spoilers, so don’t worry. However, a key part revolves around gravity warp drive and element 115. Unfortunately for the particle physics challenged, element 115 is unstable with a survival time of just 30-80 milliseconds. That’s hardly enough time to conceive of a spaceship much less build or fly one. X-Files mythology I get, but there are websites dedicated to the concept. Go figure.

I_Want_to_Believe_UFO_poster

Like Mulder, I want to believe. However, facts are stubborn things, and even Scotty couldn’t change the laws of physics.

Posted by: reformedmusings | December 24, 2015

2nd Amendment Civil Rights under fire again

So, two Islamic terrorists walk into a party, kill 14 and wound 21, a small number compared to their other plans.  They had legally purchase the pistols and illegally acquired two rifles purchased by another legally. The do all this in the gun control capital of the United States, California, which is rated #1 by gun control groups and has implemented every proposal put forward by gun controllers over the years. Who gets the blame from the royal emperor Obama? Why, law-abiding firearms owners of course. Obama wants our guns.

dont-judge-all-by-one

Of course, Obama’s post-killing speech was full of lies. Worse shootings happen in many other countries. America doesn’t even rate in the top 10 for violent crime in the industrialized world. John Lott has a number of great articles on this topic. Lott has a very nice statistical study and discussion that clearly puts the lie to Obama’s mantra. Very strict gun control didn’t save the French. But that doesn’t stop the parade of lies.

Law-abiding firearm owners in the U.S. currently own around 300 million firearms. The New York Times called for gun confiscation in a rare display of liberal honesty, but that would require changing the Constitution and confiscating said 300 million firearms. How do you think that would go? Don’t forget what sparked the hot part of the American revolution – the Brits were marching to confiscate colonist’s guns. That’s why we have a 2nd Amendment, not to shoot deer.

Clinton managed to pass the failed “assault weapons” ban, but it had no affect on crime whatsoever. Rather than address Islamic terrorism or serious mental health issues, it’s much easier for liberals to target and demonize law-abiding citizens. Hey, it worked for Stalin and Hitler. I’ve written on this many times before.

GunControlHitler

But, what was Clinton’s real goal? Dave Hardy researched the Clinton library materials for gun control stuff. He found that Clinton had a master plan to have the government gain control of firearm manufacturers and Federal Firearm Licensed dealers – the back door to eliminating the 2nd Amendment. I admit that even I was shocked to read of the scope of the scheme. Indeed, tyranny stands but a generation away, or less.

One of the enduring lies of the freedom haters is that armed citizens can’t stop mass killings. That’s a lie. Here’s yet another compilation with links of examples. There are many others that are difficult to find because disaster was prevented, hence the incidents don’t show up in statistics or news stories. The truth is, good guys and gals with guns prevent violent crimes every day. Every day. That’s why Detroit’s police chief encourages his citizens to arm up.

If America wants to survive the coming Islamic terror wave, it needs to become more like Israel and less like France.

To close on a lighter note, here’s the creative and true Gun Control Song.

Legally arm up and stay safe!

 

Posted by: reformedmusings | December 12, 2015

Upgrading a rooted Moto X Pure 2015 to Android 6.0 Marshmallow on Linux

I love my Moto X Pure 2015 in daily use. It’s seriously one of the best phones I’ve ever owned. I wrote previously how I unlocked the bootloader, installed TWRP recovery on it and rooted it. The Pure has been a joy to use, and rock-solid stable.

One of the reasons for going with Motorola in this round was their use of almost pure Android and their excellent reputation for keeping phones updated with the latest Android version. Sure enough, last week I had a new icon in my status bar which told me that an over-the-air (OTA) update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow was available. I followed the link to the changes, which proved very informative.

So, I successfully downloaded the OTA update, then smartly copied it from /data/data/com.motorola.ccc.ota on the phone to my 128GB external card for preservation. That was a smart move, as the update failed to install on a rooted phone with a different recovery installed. Time for Plan B, thanks to the good folks at xda-developers.com.

Important safety tip: I spent several days researching the best way to update my rooted Pure from Android 5.1.1 to 6.0, plowing through hundreds of related posts on xda-developers.com. It would be fool-hearty to attempt this task without researching the wisdom of the community and tapping into their vast knowledge. Words to the wise before jumping in with both feet.

I needed a few files to make the OTA update work from a non-rooted Pure 2015, which it requires. Providentially, Shaun5162 provided a set of files to return the Pure to stock. Rooting requires the newer version 2.8.7.1 of TWRP as well as version 2.52 of SuperSU. Lastly, you’ll need a modified boot image provided by DaMadOne that will allow root by bypassing some of the changes in the Android 6.0 kernel.

Once you have all the tools assembled, copy the OTA update file from your external MicroSD card to the root of your internal SD card. You’ll also need fastboot for Linux installed on your PC.

First, extract the files listed in the commands below from the return-to-stock archive, CLARK_RETUS_5.1.1_LPH23.116-18_cid9_subsidy-DEFAULT_CFC.xml_SHAWN5162.zip. Don’t flash the entire return-to-stock archive as that will wipe your device. Since the Moto update file only checks the system partition, and requires a stock recovery partition to run, they are the only areas that need to be brought to stock.

Done correctly, all your apps, data and settings will be preserved, but backup everything with a nandroid backup just in case things to south.

The files that you need from CLARK_RETUS_5.1.1_LPH23.116-18_cid9_subsidy-DEFAULT_CFC.xml_SHAWN5162.zip are:

recovery.img
system.img_sparsechunk.0
system.img_sparsechunk.1
system.img_sparsechunk.2
system.img_sparsechunk.3
system.img_sparsechunk.4
system.img_sparsechunk.5
system.img_sparsechunk.6
system.img_sparsechunk.7
system.img_sparsechunk.8
system.img_sparsechunk.9

You could create a bash file to flash these in batch, but it’s quicker to type them into the terminal because only the last character of 10 of the files is all that changes from line to line.

Ensure that these files and the TWRP image file are ready on your PC, and that the Motorola OTA update file, the modified boot image, and SuperSU 2.52 are all on your internal MicroSD card. If so, you are ready to begin.

My directions assume that you have an unlocked bootloader, TWRP installed, phone rooted, and that your phone is above 80% charged. 100% is always best.

  1. Ensure that the checkboxes next to OEM unlocking and USB debugging are checked in Settings -> Developer options
  2. Hold down the power and down volume buttons together to reboot to the bootloader. Hold the buttons down until the Android character appears on the screen.
  3. On this screen, use the volume buttons to change the selected function on the right side of the screen until Recovery appears next to the power button, then hit the power button. Your phone will reboot into recovery mode (TWRP).
  4. Use TWRP to make a nandroid backup of your phone in its current state. If something goes south, you can restore the nandroid and start over.
  5. Reboot back to the bootloader from TWRP or re-execute step 2 above.
  6. Your phone is now in fastboot mode. Open a terminal on your PC and navigate to where your above file collection resides.
  7. Connect your phone with a data USB cable to your PC. The charging USB cable that came with the Pure will work fine, but not all 3rd party charging cables will work. Your phone should indicate that it is connected at the bottom of the text screen.
  8. Type “sudo fastfoot devices” without the quotes in your terminal. It should return with your device name. That means that you’re good to go.
  9. Type the following commands into the terminal in order. You don’t have to type the last 10 in every time. After typing the second command, arrow up at the terminal prompt to display the last command and change the last character to the match the next file in the list:
    sudo fastboot flash recovery recovery.img
    sudo fastboot flash system system.img_sparsechunk.0
    sudo fastboot flash system system.img_sparsechunk.1
    sudo fastboot flash system system.img_sparsechunk.2
    sudo fastboot flash system system.img_sparsechunk.3
    sudo fastboot flash system system.img_sparsechunk.4
    sudo fastboot flash system system.img_sparsechunk.5
    sudo fastboot flash system system.img_sparsechunk.6
    sudo fastboot flash system system.img_sparsechunk.7
    sudo fastboot flash system system.img_sparsechunk.8
    sudo fastboot flash system system.img_sparsechunk.9
    sudo fastboot reboot
    The phone will respond after each command with the time each flash took and after the last command will reboot to the normal system, but you will no longer be rooted and TWRP will be gone. That’s OK, it is exactly what we want.
  10. Hold down the power and volume down buttons together again until the Android character appears.
  11. Just as in Step 2 above, use the volume buttons to select Recovery and press power to launch recovery
  12. Now press and hold the power, then press the volume up button for a second or so and release both. This will put you into a text screen with a scrollable highlight section at the top. Use the volume buttons to scroll the highlight to Install from SD card and press the power button.
  13. Navigate to the Blur_Version.23.21.18.clark_retus.retus.en.US.zip file and select it with the power button. The OTA update will now check your system and then install. This takes a while, so be patient. When the installation is complete, use the volume keys to navigate to “reboot system now” and press the power button. Marshmallow should appear in its full glory after it installs all the apps. If you don’t want to install TWRP or reroot, then you are done. Note that you will have lost your custom boot image to the nasty unlocked bootloader warning. We’ll deal with that in another post.
  14. To install TWRP, press and hold the volume down keys together until the Android character appears. If your USB cable isn’t plugged in, plug it in now. The bottom row of text on the phone should then indicate that you are connected.
  15. In your terminal on the PC, type:
    fastboot flash recovery twrp.img
    When that completes, use the volume keys to navigate to Recovery on the right side and hit the power key.
  16. The Pure will reboot into TWRP. Make an immediate backup of the current Marshmallow system. In case anything goes wrong after this, you will have a good Marshmallow image to restore.
  17. After backing up in TWRP, navigate back to Install, then select boot_root_mm_clark_retus.zip and flash it, then navigate back to Install, select BETA-SuperSU-v2.52.zip and flash it.
  18. Reboot to the system. If everything worked, and it should have, you now have fully rooted Android 6.0 on your Moto X Pure 2015. Enjoy!

This entire sequence was knit together from a number of posts on xda-developers.com, then additional details added as I thought necessary. This is the exact sequence that I used to obtain a rooted Marshmallow setup on my Pure, and all my apps, data, and settings were perfectly preserved. While it looks like a lot of steps, the process is actually quite straight-forward.

Kudos to Motorola for the Android 6.0 update, and many thanks to the xda-developers community for their collective wisdom, expertise, and experimentation.

Posted by: reformedmusings | November 26, 2015

Proclamation of Thankgsgiving

By THE PRESIDENT

OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

 

A   P R O C L A M A T I O N.
hereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and-Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”  Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us. And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

G. Washington

Posted by: reformedmusings | November 15, 2015

Narcissism taken to new heights in Mizzou

I wrote here of the blatant stupidity of the narcissists in Mizzou, wanting everyone else to pay for and take responsibility for them, but have total freedom in the process. Well, after the horrendous mass murder by Islamic barbarians in Paris, the spoiled, narcissist children of Mizzou doubled down, equating the mass murder in Paris with the failure of the world to fall down and concede their childish demands and keep all eyes on their childish displays. These children are wasting our air and shaming their families. I can not find the words to describe the depths of my disgust.

Posted by: reformedmusings | November 13, 2015

The voice of stupidity

Stupid is not a word that I use lightly, but I just watched stupid in action. Typical progressive mantra with nothing behind it – no thought, no reasoning, no planning, just empty words. Neil Cavuto, one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, tries to gently explain economic reality to this young lady, but she doesn’t get it even after multiple examples and presentation of hard data. My head hurt just watching this youngster:

This just goes to show that one can buy a useless degree, but you can’t buy intelligence or wisdom.

According to her, her parents scraped and sacrificed to send her to college. I regret to inform them that they wasted their money. Their hard-earned money would have been more wisely and productively invested in an 84-inch HDTV and an appropriate NFL Game Day and Red Zone sports packages. At least that would not embarrass their family in front of the world on national television.

I praise the Lord that I know people her age who can think logically and actually leverage their college degrees into productive jobs that materially contribute to society. Keely Mullen is obviously not one of them.

Posted by: reformedmusings | November 7, 2015

Fixing VMWare Workstation 12 on an Ubuntu 15.10 host

When I upgraded to Ubuntu 15.10, my VMWare Workstation 12.0 installation stopped working. After a quick search, I found the answer. According to this thread on VMWare’s forum, the answer involves telling Workstation where to find a particular file.

Open up a terminal, then copy and paste the following line:

echo /usr/lib/vmware/lib/libglibmm-2.4.so.1 | sudo tee -a /etc/ld.so.conf.d/LD_LIBRARY_PATH.conf

Then copy and paste this:

sudo ldconfig

After this, the Workstation GUI will start normally. Simple and quick solution!

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