Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Part 2 Whip Yourself Into Self Reliant Shape!

Part 2 of this two part series focuses on how the average American can exercise on a daily basis without having to become a gym rat.

We all like to make New Year resolutions.  One of those resolutions usually involves a gym.  Unfortunately, that resolution generally goes out the window around February for the average American.  The reason for that is simple: Most folks try to do too much at once and then get burned out.  With that in mind, Part 2 is not going to focus on gym related exercises.  Instead, it will focus on small incremental steps that you can take starting today to get your fitness kick started.  This will then make a transition into a strength and fitness program much more achievable and likely to succeed.

Let us assume that you are sedentary and non-athletic.  In other words, you work at a desk and you are not into playing any type of sports.  However, you want to lose extra weight and be able to perform at a moderate ability when it comes to physical activity i.e. picking up your children and playing with them.  How do you go about getting there?

The best way to start adjusting to a more active lifestyle is to be more conscience of how much you move throughout the day.  For example, if you normally try and find the parking spot closest to the entrance of the office or super market, then instead park further away and walk the extra distance.  The same idea applies to using the stairs versus the elevator.  Sit all day at your desk?  Get up and take a walk around your building if you are able.  Or walk around your office floor if you cannot get outside.  Do this every hour and a half or so.

Walking is an underrated form of exercise especially for those just starting out on their fitness journey.  Go out for a walk instead of hunkering down in front of the tube after dinner.  You will be burning off some of the calories you just ate.

I also highly recommend doing a few body weight exercises.  I suggest doing a push , pull and lower body exercise and just do as many as you can throughout the day.  For example, I do push ups (push), pull ups (pull) and body weight squats (lower body).

Set a total number that you would like to do for the day.  Do as many as repetitions as possible for a given set without killing yourself.  Count each repetition toward the total amount.  Do not worry how many sets it takes to get there or about dividing the repetitions evenly between the sets.  This will quickly condition your body and begin to build strength.  Here is an example of what I just described:

Total Daily Pushup Goal: 100 push ups

8 am - 30 push ups
10 am - 25 push ups
2 pm - 25 push ups
4 pm - 20 push ups - Total met.  No more for this day.

You should stretch often throughout the day as well to keep yourself somewhat flexible.  I suggest doing this immediately following your body weight exercises.

So, putting it all together:

  • Make the conscience decision to be in motion as often as possible.
  • Walk as much as possible.  Specifically take a walk for exercise everyday.
  • Throughout the day sneak in body weight exercises when possible.
  • Stretch as often as you do your body weight exercises to stay loose and avoid injury.

This is a very simple plan.  It should be doable by most folks and you should be able to then parlay it into a more traditional fitness program that you see in fitness magazines.  Keep in mind that your chances of success to get fit and lose any extra weight you are carrying are much, much higher if you also follow the diet guidelines laid out in Part 1 of this series.

Do you have any secrets or tips of your own to share?  Comment below and let us know.  I will touch on fitness and nutrition in other posts in the future and build on what has been laid out in Parts 1 and 2.  I hope this gives you a good starting point to begin your steps to a more physically fit well being.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

An Open Letter from the Special Forces Community Concerning the Debate on Gun Control

I am a member on and the following is a letter that was forwarded to from the Special Forces (SF) community over at the Professional Soldiers website.  You can read the original posts here:

Professional Soldiers Original Letter

It takes about 10 minutes to read:

A Letter From The Special Forces Community Concerning The Second Amendment
Jan 29th, 2013 @ 03:14 pm 

I received this letter from members of the SOF community on their concerns for America and the Second Amendment. This letter was signed by over 1100 members of the SOF community, of which the names will not be published as this is Active and Retired members.

Whether you agree with it or not, it is well worth the read.

29 Jan 2013
Page 1 of 3

Protecting the Second Amendment – Why all Americans Should Be Concerned

We are current or former Army Reserve, National Guard, and active duty US Army Special Forces soldiers (Green Berets). We have all taken an oath to “…support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.…” The Constitution of the United States is without a doubt the single greatest document in the history of mankind, codifying the fundamental principle of governmental power and authority being derived from and granted through the consent of the governed. Our Constitution established a system of governance that preserves, protects, and holds sacrosanct the individual rights and primacy of the governed as well as providing for the explicit protection of the governed from governmental tyranny and/or oppression. We have witnessed the insidious and iniquitous effects of tyranny and oppression on people all over the world. We and our forebears have embodied and personified our organizational motto, De Oppresso Liber [To Free the Oppressed], for more than a half century as we have fought, shed blood, and died in the pursuit of freedom for the oppressed.

Like you, we are also loving and caring fathers and grandfathers. Like you, we have been stunned, horrified, and angered by the tragedies of Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Fort Hood, and Sandy Hook; and like you, we are searching for solutions to the problem of gun-related crimes in our society. Many of us are educators in our second careers and have a special interest to find a solution to this problem. However, unlike much of the current vox populi reactions to this tragedy, we offer a different perspective.

First, we need to set the record straight on a few things. The current debate is over so-called “assault weapons” and high capacity magazines. The terms “assault weapon” and “assault rifle” are often confused. According to Bruce H. Kobayashi and Joseph E. Olson, writing in the Stanford Law and Policy Review, “Prior to 1989, the term ‘assault weapon’ did not exist in the lexicon of firearms. It is a political term [underline added for emphasis], developed by anti-gun publicists to expand the category of assault rifles.”

The M4A1 carbine is a U.S. military service rifle – it is an assault rifle. The AR-15 is not an assault rifle. The “AR” in its name does not stand for “Assault Rifle” – it is the designation from the first two letters of the manufacturer’s name – ArmaLite Corporation. The AR-15 is designed so that it cosmetically looks like the M4A1 carbine assault rifle, but it is impossible to configure the AR-15 to be a fully automatic assault rifle. It is a single shot semi-automatic rifle that can fire between 45 and 60 rounds per minute depending on the skill of the operator. The M4A1 can fire up to 950 rounds per minute. In 1986, the federal government banned the import or manufacture of new fully automatic firearms for sale to civilians. Therefore, the sale of assault rifles are already banned or heavily restricted!

The second part of the current debate is over “high capacity magazines” capable of holding more than 10 rounds in the magazine. As experts in military weapons of all types, it is our considered opinion that reducing magazine capacity from 30 rounds to 10 rounds will only require an additional 6 -8 seconds to change two empty 10 round magazines with full magazines. Would an increase of 6 –8 seconds make any real difference to the outcome in a mass shooting incident? In our opinion it would not. Outlawing such “high capacity magazines” would, however, outlaw a class of firearms that are “in common use”. As such this would be in contravention to the opinion expressed by the U.S. Supreme Court recent decisions.

Moreover, when the Federal Assault Weapons Ban became law in 1994, manufacturers began retooling to produce firearms and magazines that were compliant. One of those ban-compliant firearms was the Hi-Point 995, which was sold with ten-round magazines. In 1999, five years into the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, the Columbine High School massacre occurred. One of the perpetrators, Eric Harris, was armed with a Hi-Point 995. Undeterred by the ten-round capacity of his magazines, Harris simply brought more of them: thirteen magazines would be found in the massacre’s aftermath. Harris fired 96 rounds before killing himself.

Now that we have those facts straight, in our opinion, it is too easy to conclude that the problem is guns and that the solution to the problem is more and stricter gun control laws. For politicians, it is politically expedient to take that position and pass more gun control laws and then claim to constituents that they have done the right thing in the interest of protecting our children. Who can argue with that? Of course we all want to find a solution. But, is the problem really guns? Would increasing gun regulation solve the problem? Did we outlaw cars to combat drunk driving?

What can we learn from experiences with this issue elsewhere? We cite the experience in Great Britain. Despite the absence of a “gun culture”, Great Britain, with one-fifth the population of the U.S., has experienced mass shootings that are eerily similar to those we have experienced in recent years. In 1987 a lone gunman killed 18 people in Hungerford. What followed was the Firearms Act of 1988 making registration mandatory and banning semi-automatic guns and pump-action shotguns. Despite this ban, on March 13, 1996 a disturbed 43-year old former scout leader, Thomas Hamilton, murdered 16 school children aged five and six and a teacher at a primary school in Dunblane, Scotland. Within a year and a half the Firearms Act was amended to ban all private ownership of hand guns. After both shootings there were amnesty periods resulting in the surrender of thousands of firearms and ammunition. Despite having the toughest gun control laws in the world, gun related crimes increased in 2003 by 35% over the previous year with firearms used in 9,974 recorded crimes in the preceding 12 months. Gun related homicides were up 32% over the same period. Overall, gun related crime had increased 65% since the Dunblane massacre and implementation of the toughest gun control laws in the developed world. In contrast, in 2009 (5 years after the Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired) total firearm related homicides in the U.S. declined by 9% from the 2005 high (Source: “FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Master File, Table 310, Murder Victims – Circumstances and Weapons Used or Cause of Death: 2000-2009
Are there unintended consequences to stricter gun control laws and the politically expedient path that we have started down?

In a recent op-ed piece in the San Francisco Chronicle, Brett Joshpe stated that “Gun advocates will be hard-pressed to explain why the average American citizen needs an assault weapon with a high-capacity magazine other than for recreational purposes.”We agree with Kevin D. Williamson (National Review Online, December 28, 2012): “The problem with this argument is that there is no legitimate exception to the Second Amendment right that excludes military-style weapons, because military-style weapons are precisely what the Second Amendment guarantees our right to keep and bear.”

“The purpose of the Second Amendment is to secure our ability to oppose enemies foreign and domestic, a guarantee against disorder and tyranny. Consider the words of Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story”: ‘The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defense of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.’

The Second Amendment has been ruled to specifically extend to firearms “in common use” by the military by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in U.S. v Miller (1939). In Printz v U.S. (1997) Justice Thomas wrote: “In Miller we determined that the Second Amendment did not guarantee a citizen’s right to possess a sawed-off shot gun because that weapon had not been shown to be “ordinary military equipment” that could “could contribute to the common defense”.

A citizen’s right to keep and bear arms for personal defense unconnected with service in a militia has been reaffirmed in the U.S. Supreme Court decision (District of Columbia, et al. v Heller, 2008). The Court Justice Scalia wrote in the majority opinion: “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.“. Justice Scalia went on to define a militia as “… comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense ….”
“The Anti-Federalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved.” he explained.

On September 13, 1994, the Federal Assault Weapons Ban went into effect. A Washington Post editorial published two days later was candid about the ban’s real purpose:“[N]o one should have any illusions about what was accomplished [by the ban]. Assault weapons play a part in only a small percentage of crime. The provision is mainly symbolic; its virtue will be if it turns out to be, as hoped, a stepping stone to broader gun control.”

In a challenge to the authority of the Federal government to require State and Local Law Enforcement to enforce Federal Law (Printz v United States) the U.S. Supreme Court rendered a decision in 1997. For the majority opinion Justice Scalia wrote: “…. this Court never has sanctioned explicitly a federal command to the States to promulgate and enforce laws and regulations When we were at last confronted squarely with a federal statute that unambiguously required the States to enact or administer a federal regulatory program, our decision should have come as no surprise….. It is an essential attribute of the States’ retained sovereignty that they remain independent and autonomous within their proper sphere of authority.”

So why should non-gun owners, a majority of Americans, care about maintaining the 2nd Amendment right for citizens to bear arms of any kind?

The answer is “The Battle of Athens, TN”. The Cantrell family had controlled the economy and politics of McMinn County, Tennessee since the 1930s. Paul Cantrell had been Sheriff from 1936 -1940 and in 1942 was elected to the State Senate. His chief deputy, Paul Mansfield, was subsequently elected to two terms as Sheriff. In 1946 returning WWII veterans put up a popular candidate for Sheriff. On August 1 Sheriff Mansfield and 200 “deputies” stormed the post office polling place to take control of the ballot boxes wounding an objecting observer in the process. The veterans bearing military style weapons, laid siege to the Sheriff’s office demanding return of the ballot boxes for public counting of the votes as prescribed in Tennessee law. After exchange of gun fire and blowing open the locked doors, the veterans secured the ballot boxes thereby protecting the integrity of the election. And this is precisely why all Americans should be concerned about protecting all of our right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment!

Throughout history, disarming the populace has always preceded tyrants’ accession of power. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao all disarmed their citizens prior to installing their murderous regimes. At the beginning of our own nation’s revolution, one of the first moves made by the British government was an attempt to disarm our citizens. When our Founding Fathers ensured that the 2nd Amendment was made a part of our Constitution, they were not just wasting ink. They were acting to ensure our present security was never forcibly endangered by tyrants, foreign or domestic.

If there is a staggering legal precedent to protect our 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms and if stricter gun control laws are not likely to reduce gun related crime, why are we having this debate? Other than making us and our elected representatives feel better because we think that we are doing something to protect our children, these actions will have no effect and will only provide us with a false sense of security.

So, what do we believe will be effective? First, it is important that we recognize that this is not a gun control problem; it is a complex sociological problem. No single course of action will solve the problem. Therefore, it is our recommendation that a series of diverse steps be undertaken, the implementation of which will require patience and diligence to realize an effect. These are as follows:

1. First and foremost we support our Second Amendment right in that “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”.

2. We support State and Local School Boards in their efforts to establish security protocols in whatever manner and form that they deem necessary and adequate. One of the great strengths of our Republic is that State and Local governments can be creative in solving problems. Things that work can be shared. Our point is that no one knows what will work and there is no one single solution, so let’s allow the State and Local governments with the input of the citizens to make the decisions. Most recently the Cleburne Independent School District will become the first district in North Texas to consider allowing some teachers to carry concealed guns. We do not opine as to the appropriateness of this decision, but we do support their right to make this decision for themselves.

3. We recommend that Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) laws be passed in every State. AOT is formerly known as Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC) and allows the courts to order certain individuals with mental disorders to comply with treatment while living in the community. In each of the mass shooting incidents the perpetrator was mentally unstable. We also believe that people who have been adjudicated as incompetent should be simultaneously examined to determine whether they should be allowed the right to retain/purchase firearms.

4. We support the return of firearm safety programs to schools along the lines of the successful “Eddie the Eagle” program, which can be taught in schools by Peace Officers or other trained professionals.

5. Recent social psychology research clearly indicates that there is a direct relationship between gratuitously violent movies/video games and desensitization to real violence and increased aggressive behavior particularly in children and young adults (See Nicholas L. Carnagey, et al. 2007. “The effect of video game violence on physiological desensitization to real-life violence” and the references therein. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 43:489-496). Therefore, we strongly recommend that gratuitous violence in movies and video games be discouraged. War and war-like behavior should not be glorified. Hollywood and video game producers are exploiting something they know nothing about. General Sherman famously said “War is Hell!” Leave war to the Professionals. War is not a game and should not be “sold” as entertainment to our children.

6. We support repeal of the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990. This may sound counter-intuitive, but it obviously isn’t working. It is our opinion that “Gun-Free Zones” anywhere are too tempting of an environment for the mentally disturbed individual to inflict their brand of horror with little fear of interference. While governmental and non-governmental organizations, businesses, and individuals should be free to implement a Gun-Free Zone if they so choose, they should also assume Tort liability for that decision.

7. We believe that border states should take responsibility for implementation of border control laws to prevent illegal shipments of firearms and drugs. Drugs have been illegal in this country for a long, long time yet the Federal Government manages to seize only an estimated 10% of this contraband at our borders. Given this dismal performance record that is misguided and inept (“Fast and Furious”), we believe that border States will be far more competent at this mission.

8. This is our country, these are our rights. We believe that it is time that we take personal responsibility for our choices and actions rather than abdicate that responsibility to someone else under the illusion that we have done something that will make us all safer. We have a responsibility to stand by our principles and act in accordance with them. Our children are watching and they will follow the example we set.

The undersigned Quiet Professionals hereby humbly stand ever present, ever ready, and ever vigilant.

1100 Green Berets Signed this Letter

We have a list of all their names and unlike any MSM outlets we can confirm that over 1100 Green Berets did sign. The list includes Special Forces Major Generals & Special Forces Command Sergeants Major down to the lowest ranking “Green Beret”.

Please spread this letter and share it with others.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Part 1 Whip Yourself Into Self Reliant Shape!

Part 1 of this two part series focuses on the average American's diet and how it can be modified to reverse the weight gain that has affected 1 in 3 Americans with becoming obese.

Being responsible for your own well being is something I think every person should be mindful of.  As a responsible American you owe it to yourself and others to be fit in mind, body and spirit.  This series is going to focus on being physically fit.  

Not taking care of yourself physically not only puts you at a distinct disadvantage in life, but you do a disservice to others by not being ready for what life may throw at you.  For example, if you allow yourself to become sedentary and unfit, then what will happen if disaster strikes and you are forced to carry a loved one out of your burning home?  That is just one scenario that plays out all across America.  

You are responsible for your well being.  And by being responsible for yourself, then that allows you to be able to perform acts of charity to others if the need arises.  Being able to physically help others who are in danger or cannot help themselves is a very good thing.  Part of being an American is helping your fellow man.  How can you do that if you cannot even take care of yourself?

In America, obesity has become a serious issue.  One in three people are considered obese.  There are many contributing factors to this growing (pun intended) problem:
  • Modern jobs do not require as much manual labor i.e. desk jobs are prevalent.
  • More people eat out in restaurants or at home they eat junk food instead of cooking at home using whole foods (vegetables, cuts of pork, chicken, beef, etc.).
  • The portions in restaurants is generally large and have a high calorie content.
There are other factors as well.  However, I believe that this is by and large a huge portion of the problem.  When you get over weight, then it brings on a whole host of other medical and social issues.  What I am going to focus on is how personal fitness is affected and how remedying your nutritional and dietary habits can be altered so that you can reverse the damage you may have caused yourself without intending to.

People truly think that exercise alone will be all that it takes when they embark on a journey to shed extra pounds.  Infomercials and quick fix programs have conditioned that into people.  Unfortunately, it is not that easy.  The hardest part is having to discipline and changing your eating habits so that in the long term you will not fall back into bad eating habits.  Exercise is important, but how you eat is paramount.

You could always calculate your caloric need and count your calories.  However, I know a lot of people simply will not do that.  Here are my rules for basic sound nutritional "commandments":
  • Thou shalt not eat out: Avoid restaurants whenever humanly possible.  You may not like it, but this is critical.  When you eat food from a restaurant such as McDonald's there are very few nutritionally sound options.  And since we are basing these rules on the idea that you won't count calories, then this rule becomes sacrosanct.
  • Thou shall prepare your own meals:  Fix your own meals and pack them in the morning if you are on the go:  This is basically the exact opposite of the first rule, but it must be stated.  Fixing your own meals will allow you full control over what exactly goes into your body.
  • Thou shall only eat what God created:  Use the most natural sources possible:  Ever wonder why "Whole Foods" has the name it has?  Whole food sources are those items such as apples in the produce section and boneless skinless chicken breast in the meat department.  The closer you get to the source of a food, then the healthier it is going to be.
  • Thou shalt not drink your face off:  Stop drinking your calories!:  This one is a big one.  A lot of folks drink way too many calories.  The biggest two are soda and alcohol.  Stick to water and the occasional glass of fruit juice or milk.
  • Thou shall ask for a to go box:  Cut your portions down in half:  How much you eat is a just as important as what you are eating.  You could eat nutritionally sound food all the time.  Eating too much of nutritionally sound food will still put weight on you.
  • Thou shall not pass a water faucet without drinking: Drink water... lots of water:  Do not drink whenever you feel thirsty.  This means you are probably already dehydrated.  You can tell if you are dehydrated if your pee is anything darker than a light yellow.  Also, some people misinterpret dehydration for hunger pains.  Simply put, drinking adequate amounts of water makes you feel fuller.
  • Thou shall eat a variety of food: Eat well rounded meals:  Always try to eat a well rounded meal of protein and carbs.  Try to keep your fat content down, but do not fret if you occasionally eat something that is a little higher in fat content.  Remember, your portion control is more important at this point.
  • Thou shalt not wolf down your food: Eat slowly until you feel full:  I am guilty of breaking this one.  I am a fast eater.  However, it certainly does hold true.  The longer you take to eat, the more time you give your body to signal that you feel full.  Stop eating as soon as you do not feel overly hungry anymore.  You can always eat more later if you get sharp hunger pains.
Hopefully, the rules above will help you get started.  My last bit of advice is to start small and slowly incorporate these habits into your life.  The key to all of this is consistency.  If you stay on track, then over time it will become easier.  If you lapse in any of these, then do not give up.  Do not give up just because you failed once.  Just keep plugging away at it.  Even if you only stuck to it 50% of the time, then that means the other 50% you were successful.  Stay tuned for my next part focusing on the other half of the equation: Exercise.

Please comment below and follow me on Twitter (P_Patriot1) and Facebook (The Prairie Patriot Page).  As always, please feel free to share my blog as well.  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Building Up Your Skills for Self Reliance

You have heard it before:  People are creatures of habit.  The majority of us go through our daily lives doing just about the same thing day in and day out with little variation.  We take vacations to break up the monotony, but by and large, we stick to a set routine.  I am just as guilty.  However, in the past couple years I have started to try and break out of this mold.

A good way to do this is by building up your own personal skill set that will allow you to become self reliant. Now, I am not talking about harvesting your own crops and building a house with your own two hands.  But I am referring to the notion that you do not need to hire someone to come and fix your minor home repairs.  I am also referring to cooking for yourself instead of going out for dinner.  Learning how to do things for yourself saves you money, gives you a sense of self worth and can be a lot of fun.

For example, I have my own list of skills that I am want to try and start or maintain.  This is by no means an all encompassing list:

  • Marksmanship: Pistol
  • Marksmanship: Rifle/Carbine
  • Marksmanship: Archery
  • Combatives: Unarmed Defense
  • Combatives: How to fight using a Knife
  • Combatives: How to fight using a Pistol
  • Combatives: How to fight using a Rifle
  • Combatives: How to fight using a Baton
  • Combatives: How to clear a house
  • Hunting: Large Game Taking with Rifle
  • Hunting: Trapping Small Game
  • Hunting: Field Dressing a Deer
  • Hunting: Tracking
  • Fishing: Rod and Reel Basics
  • Orienteering
  • Emergency First Aid: Tourniquet Application
  • Emergency First Aid: IBD Application
  • Emergency First Aid: Packing a wound with gauze
  • Field Craft: Starting a fire with Magnesium and Steel
  • Field Craft: Starting a fire with Weatherproof Matches
  • Field Craft: Setting up a tent
  • Gardening
  • Raising Small Livestock: Chickens
  • Raising Small Livestock: Rabbits
  • Construction: How to frame a house
  • Construction: How to lay tile
  • Construction: How to wire a structure
  • Automotive:  Changing Oil and Oil Filter
  • Automotive:  Maintenance
  • Automotive:  Repairs
  • Sewing: How to sew on a button
  • Sewing: How to repair a tear
  • Cooking: How to smoke meat
  • Cooking: Over an open fire
  • Home Repair
  • Knot Tying: The Square Knot
  • Knot Tying: The Bowline
  • Knot Tying: Two Half Hitches
  • Knot Tying: Taut Line
  • Knot Tying: Clove Hitch
  • Knot Tying: Figure Eight
  • Knot Tying: Sheetbend

There are items that are not on the list that cannot be pigeon holed into a particular skill.  The other day I resolved to turn my garage into a mini man cave by Summer of 2013.  Will I be able to do it all?  Probably not.  I need an electrician for the additional plug ins I need.  I plan on doing everything else.  It is a project that I am going to use to learn how to do things on my own.

What other skills would you add to the list above?  What keeps you from expanding your knowledge and skill set?  What projects need to be done around your home that you could attempt to tackle on your own?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

President Obama's Executive Orders On January 16th, 2013: Why You Should Be Concerned Part Two

Part Two of this two part series addresses the overall idea behind all 23 orders and the spirit in which they were ordered.  Part One addressed some of the 23 executive orders.

I am going to focus on our current president's most recent Executive Orders (EO) that were issued on January 16th, 2013.  If you decide to comment, then please do not bring up past president's executive orders.  I am concerned about the here and now.  I am also of the opinion that they have been abused throughout history.

Executive Orders in and of themselves are nothing new.  However, throughout United States history, there has always been criticisms in cases where the president has over reached his authority.  The checks and balances between the three branches of the government should always be fiercely preserved in order to best represent the interests of "We the People".

The concern that you as an American citizen should have with President Obama's EOs are the spirit with which he has ordered them.  He is concerned with his own power and authority.  He has no regard for the other branches.  And that means no real concern for "We the People".

In October of 2011, President Obama in Las Vegas said, “We can’t wait for an increasingly dysfunctional Congress to do its job.  Where they won’t act, I will.”  This was in reference to using his executive authority.

He has made similar statements since then.  So, with that in mind, and by looking at Part One's concerns you begin to see why some in the media have begun to call him "King Obama".  Please ask yourselves these questions and pose them to others if you have this conversation with them:

  • Do you want a president to be able to unilaterally order your physician to ask whether or not you own a firearm?  Furthermore, do you want that response to be then recorded into a database?  
  • Do you want a president to be able to unilaterally order that your rights and private medical information, protected under HIPAA, be made available outside of the doctor-patient relationship to purchase a firearm that is already your right as a human being?  In other words, you have to trade your privacy (protected already by law) in order to purchase a weapon for self-defense (a right protected by human God-given rights).
  • Do you want a president to be able to unilaterally tell the Attorney General to start making lists of citizens who cannot own a firearm without defining exactly the classes themselves?
  • Do you want a president to be able to unilaterally mandate that full government background checks be made to return your own property when you have done nothing wrong as is the case in any CCW holder scenario where the defense of life was necessary?
  • Keeping in mind that gun violence is not a disease, do you want a president to be able to unilaterally direct the CDC to conduct studies surrounding causes and prevention of gun crime?  Keep in mind that many that work in the CDC come from academia which is traditionally more liberal than conservative.
You will notice that the word "unilaterally" is used in all of these questions.  These are all items that should be debated in Congress and voted on by your duly elected representatives.  We should also have had time to write our representatives to express our stances on these matters.  This is an abuse of power designed to cut out ourselves and our representatives from being able to influence the course of action that "We the People" want to take.  You should not stand for it.  I encourage you to write the president and your representatives to communicate your dissatisfaction with the these EOs and any other further orders or legislation.  Get involved!

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

President Obama's Executive Orders On January 16th, 2013: Why You Should Be Concerned Part One

Part One of this two part series addresses some of the 23 executive orders.  Part Two will address the overall idea behind all 23 orders and the spirit in which they were ordered.

President Obama has issued 23 executive orders aimed at curbing gun violence.  Some of these orders are outright disturbing.  Others make sense.  However, I will only touch on the ones that you should be concerned about.

Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.

This could be broadly interpreted to the average citizen's disadvantage.  The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, aka HIPPA, was passed in an effort to keep sensitive medical information private among other functions.  This order could be construed as permission for your physician or insurance company to share your medical record with the government's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).  Taking medication for your depression?  Sorry, the background check shows that you are on antidepressants.  Even though you are a functioning adult with your condition under control you can no longer purchase a firearm for your protection.

Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.

What categories are we talking about?  Because the only categories of people that I can think of are criminals and those who have been found to be mentally unstable by a psychiatrist.  However, once again, this is another potential abuse of power by Attorney General Eric Holder (or anyone in his position, for that matter).  It would be all too easy and predictable for the Justice Department to target groups that they had it in for.  If you think that is far fetched, then just remember that these are the same folks who apparently could not keep track of guns they let walk into Mexico that have killed hundreds of Mexicans as well as our own Border Patrol agents.  It is hard not to be skeptical of their competence to do anything right.  Or should I say to do the right thing?

Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.

This screams out as a violation of the 4th Amendment.  Concealed carry holders are told in their training classes that their weapons will most likely be confiscated initially if they are ever put in the situation where they had to use them.  This executive order would effectively deny that person their right to their own property for a lengthy amount of time and is unreasonable.  A full background check conducted by the government can take months.  There would be an influx considering how many successful defenses there are a year in the United States involving firearms.  Could you imagine how much longer it will take for the government to process the increased amount of checks with the same amount of people?  And if they need extra people, then who is going to pay for those extra workers to run these checks?  That's right, you and I as the taxpayer.

Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.

Now this is absurd.  For years, the CDC has treated gun violence like an actual health issue akin to obesity.  This is a back door tactic to, as Obama likes to say, "gin up fear" about guns themselves.  As if owning a gun makes a person violent.  Framing the topic of gun violence as a disease distracts from the real issues driving American's culture of violence.  Firearms are not a disease.  People do not get infected by firearms.

Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.

 No one, not even the federal government, has a right to know what you have in your own home.  This is another backdoor attempt to create de facto gun registration.  Remember the earlier order about those pesky HIPPA laws?  If you do not think that some physicians are not recording your response into a electronic medical record (EMR), then you might want to rethink your answer when you are asked a question about being a gun owner.  And, in case you were not aware, the federal government has been throwing out big incentives for hospitals to implement EMRs at a staggering pace.  So, your answer gets recorded and reported once you are asked.  Its a possiblity that you could very well be denied certain coverages if it is deemed that the you or your children live in "an unsafe or high risk environment."  Oh, and they know where to knock once they decide to confiscate.

This last one is not some much a concern, as it is a high lighting of what the left pilloried the NRA for suggesting:

Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.

Oh really?  So, the NRA's proposal for officers in schools was ridiculous huh?  The National School Shield Program is completely funded by members of the NRA and would cost the tax payer ZERO dollars with experienced trained and certified instructors teaching volunteers how to protect our children.  If tax dollars are going to go to schools for security, then it should come from the individual states' coffers, not in the form of incentives coming from the bloated federal government.

Stay tuned for Part Two!  Please comment below and share this with others via Twitter, Facebook, etc

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Muay Thai: Back into the Mix

I joined a new gym and they offer MMA classes.  One of the deals signing up was that I got a free week's worth of classes.  I wish I could take the whole week off and just train.  That would have been a great way to shock my system to start back on the road to martial arts.  Unfortunately, I have not figured out the secret to early retirement.  And, since I was in town this week instead of being on the road for work, I was able to attend my first class.

I decided to start with something I was comfortable with.  Muay Thai, for those who do not know, is basically kickboxing.  The techniques taught originated from, you guessed it, Thailand.  It has an emphasis on stand-up striking and not only using punches and kicks, but also knees and elbows.

My background in martial arts has been fairly rounded, but intermittent.  I started Tae Kwon Do around the 5th grade and advanced up to Blue Belt (cannot remember which gup level that is) until I stopped after reaching high school.  I picked it back up after high school and it took two more years to reach a 1st Dan black belt.  For the record, I never liked sport TKD.  I was fortunate enough to have an instructor who was very realistic, eccentric, and hardcore.  I was encouraged to work on my boxing and other aspects of martial arts.  In essence, and reality, my instructor was a mixed martial artist (he was a master in other disciplines as well).  I also spent approximately a year doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu through a couple different schools.  That did not come as naturally to me and at the time I had moved between two cities.  Life got busy with work and traveling for work and it fell by the way side.

So, tonight was my "comeback" so to speak.  And, I have to say, I felt like I have not missed a beat when it comes to mindset and mechanics.  My cardio definitely needs improvement, but the technique was still there!  I am super pumped to start again.  I will not bore you with what we did in class, but needless to say, I am hooked again.  It is too bad I have to travel for the next three weeks.  Hopefully, I can take advantage of the road to work on my cardio.

Do you practice martial arts?  If so, are you more into the traditional technique or "art" side of it?  Or, do you train based on real fight technique?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

First Shots with the S&W M&P9c

After waffling back and forth between a Glock G19 and a Smith and Wesson M&P 9 mm compact I finally settled on the S&W.  Of course, with the proposed legislation coming down the pipeline, I had a hard time finding either one.  I had a gunsmith install a set of Meprolight 3 dot night sights and today made it out to the range.

As you can see, at 7 yards, I have some work to do on tightening up my groups.  The top grouping was by far my best group.  I also need to play with my grip a bit as evidenced by the bias to the left of the bulls eye.  If anyone has any suggestions on technique based off the target, then I am all ears.

So, to ignite a debate, which would you have preferred?  A G19, M&P9c, or another compact?


Hello all,

Welcome to The Prairie Patriot Blog!  The topics are going to vary depending on the current events and my own personal current interests.  Please check back often!