Friday, July 31, 2009

VICTORY!

Customs Officially Backs Off

In a letter to Representative Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Customs has officially backed off their proposed revocations in recognition of the Amendment that was passed by the Senate (see below), at least until the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill is acted upon in Conference Committee.

You can read the letter here, but the key paragraph reads "The amendment would effectively obviate the need for CBP's proposed revocations and render the current issue moot. Additionally, due to the numerous comments received in response to the proposed revocation, it is unlikely that CBP will take any further action prior to passage of the Appropriations Act.

This is about as close to a victory as we can come at this time. It may not be over until the fat lady sings, and we actually get the Amendment through Conference Committee, but for all practical purposes, we shouldn't have to worry about Customs reaching into your pockets for your pocket knives anytime soon. Do take note that Customs has included some ambiguous wording in their letter, leaving their options open, no surprise. But, make no mistake, they have gotten the message; don't mess with our pocket knives!

You'll note mention of the "numerous comments received." That is entirely because of all your efforts to write and mail those comments in. You got their attention, and you got Congress' attention with all your emails, letters and faxes to your Senators and Representatives. We are very pleased to have been a part of the coalition of advocacy groups that have helped bring this effort to this point. None of us could have done it alone and we want to thank AKTI, NRA, the Congressional Sportsmen Foundation and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms for their cooperation and support. I'd also like to give recognition to Les de Asis and Benchmade's own legislative team who have played a major part in the coalition efforts that have led us to this point.

We still need to get this Amendment through the Conference Committee, but that becomes much easier with each passing day as the pieces, such as this, fall into place. We'll continue to work in cooperation with the other advocacy groups to line up support in the House to accomplish that after the August Recess. As we noted in an email earlier this week, for the moment, just sit back, celebrate this victory and bask in the knowledge that we have come together to overcome great odds to get to this point. YOU did this, the voice of the people; the system sometimes still works.


Brethren, it is time to rejoice.

We have sent them a message. A strong message. We have shown them that not only are we interested in our guns, we are interested in our way of life. No edict of man has the power or right to remove the ability for the people of God to do what he commanded (Luke 22:36).

The warrior class has won this battle. We will have many, many more, but I wonder if there has been a shift. Our warriors are tired, sick and tired. No longer will we submit to the malignant encroachments of those who would see us beaten to the ground.

Today is our day. The battle is not yet over, nor will it ever be, most likely. But for now, we have done our job, and we have done it well. Carry your knives well, my brothers, for if it comes to being men and warriors, you will have need of it.

You can have my knife when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

Spencer

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The "right to choose" does not apply to us

Cathy, an operating room nurse, was working her weekend on-call shift, when she was asked to assist in an “emergency” abortion. Cathy, who is a devout Catholic, strongly objected – but was left with a difficult choice: help a woman allegedly in need, or lose your job and your license to practice.


Spencer

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Are You a Republican, Democrat, or Southerner?

This makes me an ol' Southern boy. But then again I knew that anyway. ;-D

The answer can be found by answering the following question:

You're walking down a deserted street with your wife and two small children.
Suddenly, an Islamic Terrorist with a huge knife comes around the corner, locks eyes with you, screams obscenities, praises Allah, raises the knife, and charges at you. You are carrying a Glock .40 caliber, and you are an expert shot. You have mere seconds before he reaches you and your family.
What do you do?

Republican's Answer:
BANG!

Democrat's Answer:
Well, that's not enough information to answer the question!
Does the man look poor or oppressed?
Have I ever done anything to him that would inspire him to attack?
Could we run away?
What does my wife think?
What about the kids?
Could I possibly swing the gun like a club and knock the knife out of his hand?
What does the law say about this situation?
Does the Glock have appropriate safety built into it?
Why am I carrying a loaded gun anyway, and what kind of message does this send to society and to my children?
Is it possible he'd be happy with just killing me?
Does he definitely want to kill me, or would he be content just to wound me?
If I were to grab his knees and hold on, could my family get away while he was stabbing me?
Should I call 9-1-1?
Why is this street so deserted?
We need to raise taxes, have paint and weed day and make this happier, healthier street that would discourage such behavior.
This is all so confusing! I need to debate this with some friends for a few days and try to come to a consensus.

Southerner's Answer:
BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! Click..... (Sounds of reloading)
BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!
BANG! Click "D***! I'm out!"
Daughter: "Nice pattern Daddy! Were those the Silver Tips, black talons, or them new Hollow Points?"
Son: "Can I shoot the next one Daddy?"
Wife: "You ain't takin' THAT to no Taxidermist!"



P.S. Please do beware a few slightly off-color jokes on the same page.

Spencer

Obamacare and "genocide"?

Please read the last paragraph, and the comments. If only my computer could handle the audio....

Spencer

The demise of a free America?

Yet another reason to love Ben Stein....

Spencer

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Demons of my Dreams

I had what was probably one of my scariest dreams ever last night (and that's saying something!).

It was only about two hours after I'd gone to bed. It took place in my backyard area, in my real home. I was inside looking out, and instead of the end of my backyard there was a wall-like building or structure there, with holes in it (almost like the kind you'd think of being in the walls of the Alamo--that color, too). On top of this structure stalked a skeleton--no joke. For some reason we all knew these beings were a threat to our safety, and my sister, who was behind me, was very frightened. I summarily ordered her upstairs (for some reason this was a safe area), and I stepped outside. If there was a skelly on the wall, there would be more, and someone had to stop them.

As in so many of my dreams, I was very drained and incredibly slow. My movements were so laborious that I was neither strong nor fast, and my task was therefore ridiculous. Somehow I got high enough on the wall to engage this osteo-enemy, and thankfully he was pretty slow too. I had to muster all of my strength to even hurt him, and then that was incredibly difficult. I used a knife that had been in my right pocket, a big folder, as my only weapon. I cut a limb bone off, and after some more wrangling I used the glass breaker tip at the butt of my knife to smash his skull, driving hard until I'd crumbled the entire cranium and made contact with the other side of his skull.

But there were more. More skellies came, and then even more disturbing, there appeared a number of human-like little ghouls, or goblins. I can't describe them accurately very well I'm afraid. Only around three or four feet tall, skin-toned, naked, hairless bodies with very hairy heads--long, spiky locks and loads of facial hair. Suffice it to say, they were demonic.

As they stalked slowly forward, I fought hard, but more and more appeared. I couldn't plug every gap in the wall at once, and the last thing I remember was being at the biggest hole and having one or two skellies opposing me and around half a dozen of the troll beasts....

I woke up with a start. Man, that had been freaky! My wits came about me instantly, and I got up to use the restroom. Still half-asleep as I went back to bed, I was unusually freaked. I was getting chills up my spine and still felt somewhat...well, scared actually. I half-expected to see a troll somewhere, waiting to jump out at me. That's what happens when you're not all there I suppose....

Very strange. I don't know where this dream came from, really. The setting was in my own home/backyard, I used one of my own knives (I'm not sure, but some of the time I may have fought underhanded, like Michael Janich's method I recently saw illustrated--except for when I used the glass breaker), and the trolls were similar to a little drawing I saw on the net a while back (used to signify internet trolls). And the skull crushing I did was strangely similar to what I described the main character of Cornwell's book Agincourt having done with a crossbow bolt. Very odd.

And a night or two before that I was literally in the shoes of Bryan Mills of the film Taken. Not him, but myself in his shoes. Different setting, but I was still busting baddies. Yesh, I much prefer that dream....

Spencer

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Movie Review: The Dark Knight



On the one-year anniversary of its theatrical release, I have finally gotten around to publishing my review of one of the greatest films ever to be made. Sorry I'm so late, guys! First, I didn't see it until late August. Second, I wanted to see it again before writing this and that didn't happen until Christmas. Third, I have no excuse from then on. :-P

Firstly, the nature of the film and the discussion which I will present will definitely spoil the story for you. If you haven't yet seen the movie for whatever reason (?), then I suggest you do so, and only then can you return to this post. :-)

There is so much to say that I don't know where to start. If I could sum up this film with mere words, I would say dark, deep, gritty, intense, chilling, exciting, frightening, amazing, glorious, principled, shocking.... The list goes on and on.



I'm sure I could talk over the film like all those director's commentaries (seriously), therefore I don't believe I can actually physically write a fully comprehensive review (apologies in advance!). So, I suppose I will instead begin with my usual comments on what I call "watchability" (for the Christian viewer).

No overt sex is found in the film. No nudity is ever present, but we do get a kiss or two, some bikinis, a low cut evening dress, and the worst such scene where a man and woman are seen fumbling with their clothing after being disturbed by Bruce Wayne, apparently having hijacked his bed (still very, very tame). (Have Alfred wash those sheets but good, Bruce!) Language is a very tasteful minimum (yes, you can have an excellent movie without strains of profanity ever other scene). Violence, while somewhat prevalent, is very bloodless and, in the worst scenes, is implied and not shown onscreen.

So, we have nothing to frown about here. Now I'll move onto what I liked about the film.



As any regular peruser of my reviews will note, few things please me more than fight scenes. The more martial arts, the better, and here moviegoers are dished up a pleasing plate of realistic combat sequences. After having studied the Keysi Fighting Method (KFM for short) for the first film, Batman Begins, Christian Bale remained a student of the system, and apparently has become quite good at it. Coupled with the fact that Bale is known to be excellent at fight choreography, his knowledge of KFM is apparent. Different from the dark, in-your-face feel of the fight sequences in Begins, the scenes are shot wider and the viewer therefore can get a clearer view of the moves. (Watching all the fight scenes on slow-mo is also worthwhile.) While the KFM techniques used were likely adapted for this film as they were somewhat for the first (where they were mostly toned-down--no joke), one can see the influence on screen (mostly the KFM ready stance, hands at head and elbows high). I know little of Keysi and therefore have little to say in the way of recommendation or condemnation, and thus will leave it at that. For the purposes of the film, what is presented to us is a film with several excellent fight scenes. While not as strong of a martial arts film as Begins, we still have Batman beating and bashing things his way, and he doesn't feel bad about it.



The production value of TKD is almost beyond belief. Really, there is little I can say here that will do it justice. The cinematography is excellent, the script is so amazing that you want to insert quotes in daily conversation (The Joker's lines are particularly memorable, yes, it is true), and Hans Zimmer serves up another amazing score. While worked from a similar set as Batman Begins, Zimmer trades the animal feel of that music for an edgier, much more technological, almost machine like feel here. Very fitting for The Joker....

And, of course, the character that had everyone talking, and plenty quoting, was none other than The Joker himself. This fella, as portrayed by the late Heath Ledger under Christopher Nolan's directing, deserves a little discussion. Everything the critics and the average joes alike said is true and more. Heath Ledger has provided what may very well be the best acting job in all of cinematic history, and I say this in all seriousness. (Why so much serioussssssness? :-] ) Slimy, filthy, repulsive and the very essence of evil, Ledger gives a chilling performance of a man who clearly knows what he is doing, is not truly insane, but is so twistedly evil that it's almost shocking your first time seeing the movie. He kills people without thought and literally loves it every minute of it. He also finds great joy, and expends immense energy, in attempting to get others to fall into evil as well. Ledger (as The Joker) is very disturbing for some viewers, and rightfully so, being a guy who loves to cut people's faces with knives (as stated before, all such violence is off-screen). Often forgotten is that almost every other actor in this film did a fantastic job, as well.



While some may claim that the movie was all about The Joker, and others still may say that The Dark Knight was a celebration of such evil, they clearly missed something. Director Nolan has given the public one of the most morally-guided films in many years, and while not overtly Christian, we have some real meat to digest here. I felt that the intended meaning of such a dark character was something of a moral statement. It's hard to describe unless you know Nolan's Joker. Either way, it ain't no endorsement.

After leaving the theater, I had the overall feeling of having seen a very dark film, and a very evil Joker. Yes, the film is very, very dark and very bleak, but I would ask people not to avoid it for these reasons (although I would recommend exercising a good amount of caution when considering allowing children to view this film, and I don't say that often). The darkness of the film is indeed one of the things that attracts me to it so much...and I had better define my usage of the word "dark" before continuing. I do not mean the kind of darkness associated with evil, satanic things, rather I use the word "dark" to illustrate the feel of the film in a real-world setting. In other words, TDK takes you to the deepest, darkest corner of humanity. In The Joker we see the essence of morality devoid. Behind all of this is a very compelling real-world setting. If you're tired of the silliest movies being hailed as cinematic masterpieces and movies that we all simply must go see, then you will appreciate the realism that pervades The Dark Knight.



Nolan has successfully removed the silliest elements from the Batman franchise, and those he needed to keep (the cape, the ears, The Joker's clownish persona), he adapted into the most realistic version we could possibly hope for. On the other hand, the most unrealistic aspect of the film would have to be Harvey Dent's face (second would be that The Joker's plans always seem to fall perfectly into place...). Half burned and ghoulish, "Two-Face" has no left cheek (revealing teeth), no eyelid (showing a strangely unharmed eyeball) and a voice that is perfectly normal, which in reality would likely be very different (what with half of his mouth fried off). To be fair, however, he isn't in this state long (it happens near the end of the film, at least in the way of timeline, perhaps only a day or two) so we can at least use the excuse that he might die off soon or something of that sort. Fans of the first film will be elated to see the Tumbler return, will be enthralled with the Batpod, and possibly be a little skeptical when they see the new Batsuit. (But you'll come to love it and drool over it, as I soon did.)

As to morality, this film is certainly something that brings some thoughtful discourse to the table. As the first one, it raises the question of vigilantism (which, in the end, I don't feel either film attempted to actually answer--perhaps a good approach), but this movie also raises deeper, darker questions. Practically the entire film deals with Bruce's own struggle with the evil of his enemy. Should he kill The Joker to stop him? Batman's one rule is: no killing. But The Joker masterfully chips at this seemingly stout wall inside of Batman, with the intent of demolishing his morality, even if it means The Joker's own death in the process.



"...and tonight you're gonna break your one rule," The Joker taunts in the interrogation room, perhaps the movie's second most stressful sequence (the first being the final Harvey, Gordon, Batman scene). "I'm considering it," he replies. (Might I interject that the interrogation room scene also raises the question of torture. Batman beats The Joker to find kidnapped Harvey's whereabouts, and he soon ratchets things up when he learns that Rachel is missing as well. Again, we don't get any direct answers, but I preferred that here. It's up to you to decide if you would accept this kind of behavior in such circumstances or not.) You could see this as more idle threat than revelation of inner turmoil (his own frustrations as he starts to lose the hold of his enemies' fear are seen elsewhere), but to get a clearer picture we must remember that before this Batman (in my own personal interpretation) tries to bring himself to kill The Joker by running him over with the Batpod, but at the last second, yells out, swerves and crashes instead. To spoil it for you all, Batman never breaks his rule, though sorely tested. I personally loved this in his character. A Hollywood dude refusing to break his rules? Very, very laudable. From a biblical standpoint, however, Batman would be justified in killing him. Therefore, Batman's rule is a rule Spencer does not have (which means that if Spencer were a superhero, he'd be a pretty gnarly one!). Still, while I don't agree with it I absolutely loved how it was handled here.

In other scenes we also see him struggle with his own persona ("Batman has no limits," he says early on, a statement he will later come to regret) as well as find himself wrought in turmoil over The Joker's ultimatum (turn yourself in, or I murder innocents). Bruce's initial decision does not play out, and the resulting events are, again, good for discussion. (Did I mention that this movie is also exceedingly manly?) Another time is when Batman uses (hijacks?) some of Lucius Fox's technology to create a city-wide "sonar" scanner to locate The Joker's location. Fox strongly objects (in my opinion, somewhat misguidedly due to the nature of events at that point in time) in a scene I felt was more to bring up the question of violation of privacy/yet another moral issue than anything else. In the end Batman has the machine destroyed, and Fox is apparently satisfied.



The end of the film is also one of the most epic endings ever. It grabbed me, it awed me, it sucked me in. Harvey, once a very good and principled man, is destroyed when he loses what he holds dear. Clearly much weaker than Bruce, he turns into a monster, killing those responsible (if and when they lose the coin toss). You may understand his rage as he kills some really nasty people, but when he crosses the line and is about to execute Commissioner Gordon's little son, you hate him. (The most stressful scene in the film--gah! As crazy and unlikely as it is, they almost had me thinking Batman was dead first time around! :-O I was strapped to my seat and must've had white fingers.) Once Batman defeats Harvey, he reveals his plan to keep hope alive (gosh, that really sounded dorky).

Harvey Dent was the new posterchild for justice, reform, and crime crackdown in the city. People's hopes rose as he began to take down the mob. Sadly, he was defeated by The Joker's evil, and he himself became a part of that evil. Gordon despairs that the murders committed by Harvey will cause people to lose hope. "They must never know what he did," says Batman, deciding to take on Harvey's sin. Only he and Gordon knew of what Harvey had done, and he forces Gordon to accept the plot. "But The Joker cannot win," he says. Now, in the eyes of the people of Gotham, Batman is a killer. He is what he has fought so hard not to be. A murderer. (While Batman's choice to avoid killing was a principled one, his plan to lie to the whole city was a pragmatic one. Neither one is something I would recommend, but that's beside the point.)



In the final few moments of the film, Zimmer's wondrous score echoes loudly as the police chase after a wounded Batman. He has lost what he also held dear, just as Harvey did (okay, I'll tell you, Rachel died!!!), and clearly must feel like a man having struck bottom. Unlike Dent, he brings something out of it, and sacrifices himself in the process. Gordon tries to explain all of this to his son, who was a witness to it all. "Because he's not a hero. He's a watchful protector. A dark knight."

And this, this story of the dark knight, is one that resonates deeply within me. It is because of this that I recommend it to you today.

Spencer

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Back!

Unpleasantness aside, a few interesting little tidbits from my absence are something to offer to the blogosphere.

-I discovered that no, it wasn't silly to have wanted to bring my Leatherman. I found several tasks I could have used it for. Wish I'd brought it. Take it from me--if you have to cut through metal, no matter how thin, don't use a blackened knife blade. I ruined Mucius, my little Gerber folder. I'm just deeply grateful that I didn't shred a knife that cost a fortune. I can handle $11.99--the worst part was that I was kinda attached to Mucius. No biggie, would of happened sooner or later. You all just know I was planning on shanking the Tin Man one of these days anyway...

-I caught a dragonfly, without a net. A closed garage did prove useful, however...we'll see how he pins.

-Spencer does not like lizards that can taunt him with their upside-down climbing skills.

-I had an amazing culinary experience at an Asian buffet, where my plate was adorned with food that stared back up at me. A crab shell with a lopsided eyestalk, a whole shrimp, whole crawdad, and a whole octopus. That was yummy.... Eel apparently isn't bad, either (at least in sushi). The only time I wasn't happy is when someone else pointed to something on my plate and I about freaked when I looked at it closely. I was told it was merely octopus ("October" was the word used in broken English--hilarious), but I'm pretty sure it was a squid (which I also ate, as well as clams and mussels). But, I swear, for a minute there it looked like nothing less than tripe. As my readers will likely readily attest, if it moves Spencer will likely eat it, but if there's one thing he doesn't want on his table, it's gut chunks.

-I am still working over some crazy television programs in my mind.

Hmmm....

Spencer

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Away Message

Will be gone well into next week. Sorry, but expect no email or comment replies until then.

Spencer

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Is somebody watching you?

This song makes me crack up so hard. Those commercials have to be some of my all-time favorites, right up there with the Capital One Vikings and Jack Link's Messin' with Sasquatch.



While I'm not into rap or hip hop or anything, the viewer has nothing to fear from this video besides the harsher cousin to the word "heck." (Unless of course inanimate voyeurs made of legal tender frighten you to a level of phobic intensity.)

Spencer

Victory within our grasp?

Only if we continue to fight hard (i.e., flood the offices of our congress critters).

Amendment Revising Federal Switchblade Act Introduced, Supported by the Administration.

We’re going to ask you to write yet again, because your letters and emails and faxes are WORKING. You are the ones who have made this happen. [emphasis mine]

While our primary focus had been on stopping funding for Customs relating to their proposed rule, another track was being worked in the background that would permanently solve the problem. It was initially conceived as a follow-up to the urgently required need to stop Customs dead in its tracks, giving us time to work on a more permanent solution. Late Tuesday evening, even as we were marshaling support for the Cornyn-Wyden stop funding amendment, we received an amendment introduced by Senators Pryor (D-AR) and Hatch (R-UT) that would revise the Federal Switchblade Act (FSA); an amendment that was being supported by Customs.

It was a good start, but was not quite acceptable for a variety of reasons. Knife Rights led an effort to "perfect" the language of the amendment. Working with our attorneys and AKTI representatives late into the night and early morning hours, Knife Rights drafted language that we felt would permanently solve the issue. With the cooperation of AKTI and NRA lobbyists this revised language was handed off to Sen. Pryor who worked to get Customs to accept the revised language. After a concerted effort by Sen. Pryor, a consensus revision emerged that had the support of Customs and was acceptable to Knife Rights and the industry. Late today a new Amendment Number 1447 was introduced by Senators Cornyn, Pryor, Hatch, Vitter, Risch, Chambliss, Corker, Enzi, Barrasso, Graham, Roberts, Wyden and Crapo that adds another Exception in Section 1244 that clearly covers conventional assisted openers and one-hand openers. It's not perfect, but it's good enough and a major step forward. Even better, it is a permanent solution rather than a stop-gap measure.

View the amendment here: http://www.KnifeRights.org/SAmdt%201447.pdf

This cooperative effort has resulted in a bi-partisan amendment that has the critical support from the Senate committees which have responsibility for the FSA and which is endorsed by the Administration (Customs and Border Production have signed off on it). That gives it a very good chance of making it through the process, but first we have to get it voted into the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill.

NONE of this would have occurred without the groundswell of negative reaction to the Customs proposal. Your thousands of written letters mailed to Customs and the thousands more emails and faxes sent to Members of Congress asking them to stop Customs, are what raised the issue to a level where it could no longer be ignored. [emphasis mine] As the efforts by Knife Rights and AKTI garnered more support from others with more political pull, that led to the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus' letter to Sec. Napolitano. It all added up to a great deal of pressure on Customs to fix the problem. Customs has responded, to their credit.

The coalition of advocacy groups including Knife Rights, American Knife and Tool Institute, National Rifle Association, Congressional Sportsmen Foundation, Second Amendment Foundation, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and others were able to leverage YOUR outrage into an effective political force in a very short time. None of us individually could have done it alone and it would not have happened without the grassroots support you have provided. You deserve to pat yourself on the back for this effort to get it this far. In an age when we often feel like Congress and the Administration simply ignore the citizens' wishes, this is an example of them actually listening to the citizens. YOU made this happen!

Now, we need to get the job finished. The next step is a vote on this Amendment in the Senate. Yes, that means it is time to write again. And, hopefully you'll need to write again to support an effort to get it through Conference Committee. That we are in a position to ask you to do this is proof positive that it works. We have a short and simple letter this time. Please WRITE NOW!

Locate YOUR OWN Senators and their email forms here:

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Sample Letter to YOUR Senators (copy and paste into the email form). If your Senator is one of those listed at the end as co-sponsors, change the closing to THANK them for their efforts co-sponsoring this amendment.:

RE: Amendment Number 1447 to DHS Appropriations H.R. 2892

Dear Senator [Insert Senator's Name],

As a pocket knife owner, I support Amendment Number 1447 as a fair and reasonable solution to Customs' rulemaking which would expand the interpretation of what a Switchblade is. I am pleased that Customs has endorsed this amendment as a solution.

I strongly urge you to accept Senators Cornyn, Pryor, Hatch, Vitter, Risch, Chambliss, Corker, Enzi, Barrasso, Graham, Roberts, Wyden and Crapo's amendment, Number 1447, to the Homeland Security Appropriations bill.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

[Individual Signature]


Spencer

Return of the Beast

I would very much appreciate everyone's prayers right now--again.

Remember the issue that was plaguing me for many months that was only recently alleviated (in part)? Well, it all went down the hole again. Seriously. I'm right back where I started. I'm much more stoic about it this time (I can't pretend that I didn't half expect) but still, it's gonna be a tad rough, eh?

Prayers much appreciated.

Spencer

Knife Rights Action Alert: Let's move!

Knife Rights News Slice Vol. 2 Number 12
...
Senators Cornyn, Wyden, Vitter, Crapo, Enzi, Merkley, Roberts, and Risch's have introduced an amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations bill to restrict funding. This would prevent Customs from implementing their proposed ruling that would prohibit the import of assisted and one-hand openers and in the process would broadly re-defined what a Switchblade is to cover almost all pocket knives, with potential far-reaching consequences. We need your help NOW to rally Senate support for this amendment to stop funding for this Customs rulemaking.

We have gotten this far in large part due to your letters that have flooded in to Senate offices. We now need you to write AGAIN in support of this Amendment. Contacting your Senators is critically important to get this Amendment into the appropriations bill.

Please note that multiple members of a household can and should each write separately.

We encourage you to use the sample letter below and copy and paste into the Senators' email forms. If you want to further personalize your letter, please be POLITE and NON-PARTISAN. The "enemy" is Customs, not the Administration. We can only succeed with the support of both parties. DO NOT yell, don't rant and don't be rude! Stay focused and stay on message. This is NOT the time or place to express your frustrations or make any other political points or complaints.

Locate YOUR OWN Senators and their email forms here:

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Here is a Sample Letter to your Senators (copy and paste into the email form). If your Senator is one of those listed at the end as co-sponsors, change the closing to THANK them for their efforts co-sponsoring this amendment.:

RE: Amendment Number 1408 to DHS Appropriations H.R. 2892

Dear Senator [Insert Senator’s Name],

As a pocket knife owner, I am extremely concerned about the recently announced Customs ruling, which wrongly interprets federal law and would prohibit the importation of many of the sporting and utility knives that I use and enjoy. Their overly broad and novel new interpretation of what a Switchblade is could make me a felon for carrying a simple pocket knife. Additionally, the economic impact of the ruling on the knife trade would be severe. Pocket knives utilizing assisted or one hand opening technology are the dominant share of the market, and prohibiting the use of the technology would force significant job losses, and the potential loss of entire businesses.

This type of Federal regulation is totally unnecessary. I strongly urge you to accept Senators Cornyn, Wyden, Vitter, Crapo, Enzi, Merkley, Roberts, and Risch’s funding restriction amendment, Number 1408, to the Homeland Security Appropriations bill, that prevents Customs from implementing this ruling.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

[Individual Signature]


Spencer

Saturday, July 04, 2009

233 Years

Happy Fourth of July!

Remember this day, the commemoration of the birth of our country (brought about by the first war of independence...there were two, for the record).

Spencer

Thursday, July 02, 2009

URGENT ACTION ALERT: Kniferights.org

Write your Senators NOW to STOP funding for Customs' Pocket Knife Grab. As you are aware, Customs is proposing to prohibit the import of assisted and one-hand openers and in the process has broadly re-defined what a Switchblade is to cover almost all pocket knives, with potential far-reaching consequences. Our best bet to stop Customs in the short term is for Congress to prevent them from spending a dime to implement their proposed ruling. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Bill will be taken up by the Senate on Tuesday, July 7th. We need your help NOW to rally support for an amendment to stop funding for this Customs rulemaking.

Timing has not worked in our favor as D.C. has become a ghost town due to the July 4th recess. We will have only two days to make this work upon their return. Your emails to Senate offices will get their attention upon their return and will be a huge help as our lobbyists and legislative representatives work Monday and Tuesday to get an amendment introduced and voted into the DHS Appropriations Bill. Contacting Senator Patty Murray [D-WA] and Senator George Voinovich [R-OH] is particularly important because they are ranking members on the Senate Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Homeland Security. Still, contacting your own Senators is also very important and their support is needed as well.


PLEASE read. Pre-written letters are also provided. This will take you five minutes.

If you want your right to what Jesus himself commanded you to do (Matthew 10:34), then you might want to think about speaking up.

Spencer

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Book Review: So Much More, by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin




When this book was published several years back, I knew it was a good one. Besides being a "follower" of Vision Forum and their ministry, I had serious interests in this book for apparent reasons. Though some may claim it is geared solely for ladies, I was still very interested in this book that, to me, looked like an excellent anti-feminism work.

Now that I've finally gotten around to reading it, what I got was...well, sorry to sound so cliche, but it really was "so much more"!

First, before continuing, I'd like to encourage (No, exhort!) every single reader here to go and get this book and read it. This is not merely a book for little girls, or perhaps mothers. This is a book for them, yes, but it is also a book for all ladies, and even all men. This is a book for every single Christian who wishes to change the culture, inside out, and who wishes to subdue the Earth to the majesty of our King, Jesus Christ.

The book itself was extremely well-written, organized in chapters by subject, with related topics discussed in sections inside these chapters. At the end of the book, we have an excellent interview with the Botkin girls and their father, Geoff (I enjoyed this immensely, as it gave us a direct manly view of the book's purpose and thrust), and another highlight is a section of damning quotes straight from the mouths of feminist leaders. (I would remind everyone that this is not a book dealing only with feminism--it deals with the whole issue of how young ladies are to live biblically. It isn't a defensive book, it's a direct offense, and this is exactly the kind of stuff we need, ladies and gentleman!)

Covering topics ranging from marriage, courtship and chastity, fathers and the family, male headship and authority, work, education, problems with today's culture and even our churches, and a host of other issues, one would not err in calling this a manual for a young Christian woman. It's really very difficult for me to describe this book without saying, "Read it for yourself, read it, read it, read it!"

It is true: reading this book tempts one to hold the position that the Botkin sisters must be some of the most Godly young ladies on the face of this earth, but no, this book is not meant to make people feel "bad" or somehow lesser. While, of course, following our Heavenly Father in righteousness will sometimes be associated with guilt as we leave our sinful ways (and therefore only because of sin), the brightness of the future should overshadow and overcome this. (Also, solutions are provided for girls who have led previous lives without Christian purity, and at least some ideas are provided for dealing with fathers who forsake their daughters--father/daughter relationships being the forefront topic here. Also of interest was the proposition that, if a suitable father figure was not available either by physical lack or complete abdication on the part of the biological father, a responsible brother could "take the place" of the father, or perhaps another father figure, or even an entire family if the girl is completely kinless.)

Let's make one thing clear right here: if you aren't willing to be challenged, to have your mind work like mad, or you aren't willing to shed the comfortable blanket of worldliness, you won't like this book. This book will seriously, seriously challenge you, more than likely (as it did somewhat for me in places, I'll admit). While I believe in what the Botkins, and of course publisher Vision Forum, believes (deeply so), I would not have anyone take the position that I'm passing this book off as anything akin to inspired Scripture. As any work penned by the hand of man, we must be willing to acknowledge shortcomings in even our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. That somewhat unnecessarily said, I didn't have any direct conflict with the beliefs of these ladies (of course having become a "follower of the movement" already, so-to-speak). If anything, a tiny handful of comments made me at least think through things a little bit (and I don't think I'm bound by some great law to agree to every single tiny little comment), but to be fair they were more comments than points, and they must've been very, very insignificant as I can't seem to remember a single one of them!

As to manliness, I have to say, I really want guys to read this book as well! While upon completion of this work I was very enthusiastic about the need for a direct man's "version" of this book, young men can still benefit enormously from So Much More. This book acknowledges that God designed men as leaders, protectors, and warriors (in fact it would seem that the Botkin sisters understand the role of manhood far better than the vast majority of males out there today). I found I could easily change perspectives and follow the points and discussions from a masculine point of view. (The one thing I would add to all of this, however, is that as protectors of our women, this also means that we are to protect them physically, and with lethal force if necessary. Translated into Spencer-ese: This means that we blow bullet holes into the skulls of anyone that even thinks of touching our ladies. *halo* :-D)

This book has attained a popularity inside our small "circle" that is well deserved! (I'm incredibly interested in seeing their film now, as well as checking out the soundtrack!) As you can tell, I can't recommend it enough. It is not my purpose here to recap all the points and positions made in the book; it is merely my purpose to give a truthful review (Which can only lead me to grant an official endorsement!), and in turn this of course means I am feeling that this is a very inadequate analysis I am providing here for you.

Now, I will offer my readers three different ways to go out and purchase this book.

1) from Vision Forum's website
2) from my Amazon store
3) by donating to Jennie Chancey's Ladies Against Feminism (which is where I obtained this copy)
4) from the Botkin sisters' own website, Visionarydaughters.com
5) or, as a last resort, if you honestly cannot afford to purchase the book at the moment, leave me a comment with your email address (which I will keep private) and I will get you a copy myself

Like Deborah (the real Deborah, not the feminized poster girl of today), the Botkin sisters are hard at work, exhorting the leaders to war with all courage and righteousness. You read about great revivals in your history books and you think it's just in the past? In the name of Jesus Christ, Lord, Savior and King, and semper reformanda, it is time to change the world.

If you're ready for a book that will bring you into the fight, that will give you a great vision for Christ, and may just be lifechanging for you, then you had better read So Much More. It's time we left the culture of worldly, college de-educated, sexualized, global citizen thinking and Godless womanhood behind. Our ladies were designed for something something more...so much more.

Spencer