Airsoft Training Inexpensive And Fun

As ammunition prices have bounced all over the place and the threat/promise of increased firearms and ammunition legislation has increased, I have started doing more and more of my training with airsoft police tactical pistols or trainers. They have allowed me to train with my wife more often than we could if live fire were our only option. As an added benefit, I know that if it becomes illegal or a serious liability to train with firearms in the future, I have a backup plan in place to stay proficient as well as get new shooters up to speed with firearms.

These are a class of airsoft guns that are made of metal. They are the same size and weight as their real counterparts and have the same controls, including safeties, slide locks and magazine releases. They even break down the same way. In other words, these are not the clear-plastic toys you buy at Target.

Here’s a picture of a real Glock next to an airsoft Glock. (As a note, I didn’t choose the paint job. It came that way.)

The bottom one is a Glock subcompact frame and the top is an airsoft compact frame.

If you have ever picked up a $20-$50 battery-powered airsoft pistol from a gun show, you have probably been disappointed that it didn’t fit in your real holsters, that the magazines were toy-like, and that it wouldn’t shoot accurately past about 12 inches.

Airsoft trainers are a completely different animal. They fit in leather and Kydex® formfitted holsters, the magazines fit in your real magazine holders, and they shoot quarter-sized or smaller groups at 20 feet.

Beyond the look, here are some of the big pluses and drawbacks of using airsoft trainers:

Pluses: (Just The Basics)

Dry fire on steroids: It’s important to note that airsoft training is not a replacement for real shooting. You need to feel the recoil, hear the boom, know the feel of taking up slack on your trigger and the feel of trigger reset on your real firearms. A healthier and more accurate way to look at airsoft training is as dry-fire training on steroids that happens to be a lot of fun.

Cost: High-quality BB’s cost less than $20 for 4,000 rounds. You have to add the cost of gas since airsoft trainer magazines have gas cylinders in them, but it still costs less than a penny per round. Trainer Glocks, 1911s, etc., cost about $150 apiece and extra mags are $30 to $40 apiece.

Frequency of training: I am able to shoot 100 to 200 rounds of airsoft every day because the time/cost barrier of training is so low. I still shoot quite a bit of real lead, but I don’t have the time to shoot every day with my real firearms. Normally, when I go shooting, I shoot more rounds at one time to justify the travel time and range fees, but the frequency that I am able to train with airsoft allows me to build up and retain muscle memory much faster than shooting lead alone.

Variety of training: I practice my grip, presentation, sight acquisition, transitioning between targets, reloads, movement, odd angles, one-handed, off-hand, cornering, drawing-form concealment while seated and more… some of which just aren’t possible at most ranges.

Simplicity of training: I don’t have to drive to a range, pay for time, drive home or clean my guns… I just get up from my desk and take push-up/shooting breaks throughout the day. That’s not possible for most people, but you can shoot down a hallway in your house or in your garage.

Fun: I could do most of what I do with airsoft with snap caps and dry-fire drills… but I never did dry-fire training as much as I do airsoft training because airsoft training is fun. It’s fun to hit targets, make holes and knock things over, even if it is on a smaller scale than with a real gun.

Size and weight: Since the airsoft trainers are the same size and weight of their real counterparts, you can use the same holsters you normally use.

Social proof: The Japanese steel target team trains on airsoft all year, comes to the U.S. and shoots lead for just two weeks before meets, and the team places well each year. Several U.S. military units and police departments are training with airsoft as well.

Recoil/Flinch: Shooting airsoft will expose and cure you of anticipating trigger break and recoil. While big dips of the barrel may be hidden with real recoil, it shows up immediately with airsoft. There’s no need for it with airsoft, and you can train your mind to not flinch with a few hundred rounds of airsoft.

Training wives/kids/newbies to shooting: Since it’s fun and there is no boom, smell or recoil, airsoft is a great way to introduce people to shooting or to start teaching advanced techniques to current shooters. Without the recoil and the boom, you can focus on fundamentals until they are learned and then transition to low-caliber and defensive-caliber firearms.

Drawbacks

It’s a toy: Face it… airsoft is a way to compensate for not having enough time or money to shoot the real thing as much as you would like. It will never be as good as a real firearm. I resisted airsoft, tried it, and now have embraced it as a way to get a lot more trigger time. That being said, it’s better to get a lot of trigger time with an airsoft trainer than no trigger time with the gun you cannot afford or find the time to shoot.

Lack of recoil: The airsoft trainers do have recoil, but it’s nothing like a real firearm. This means that you cannot really practice multiple shots because it’s much easier to reacquire your site picture after each shot. What you can do is transition between targets, shooting each one once, or use airsoft training to develop your speed and focusing on follow-through (reacquiring your site picture) after each shot.

Dropping magazines: Airsoft trainer magazines have gas cylinders in them, which makes them heavy and causes them to break when you drop them on hard surfaces. You basically need padded carpet wherever you intend on dropping magazines during reloads. To clarify, picture a real magazine… it’s heavy when it’s full and light when it’s empty because most of the weight comes from the bullets. With airsoft, the little plastic BB’s weigh .2 grams, so the weight changes very little as it goes from full to empty. What I do is train with a drop pouch.

Authentic trigger feel: While the double-action triggers and single-action triggers work as they should, they just don’t feel like real triggers. The tension builds up different, the break isn’t as precise as with a real firearm, and the reset isn’t quite as pronounced. That being said, the double-actions I have are good enough to practice drawing up the slack during the extension phase of my presentation, and all the airsoft trainers I have shot can be used to do trigger-reset drills.

Precision: With airsoft trainer handguns, you won’t have much precision. My We Tech 1911 will shoot 1-inch to 3-inch groups at 25 feet out of the box. My KJ Glock is slightly less accurate. Both can be modified to shoot more accurately, but that hasn’t been a concern for me. Airsoft trainer rifles are another matter entirely. My Top Tech M4 will hold 8-inch groups out to 80 to 100 yards when there is no wind.

Safety: There is a distinct possibility that you will learn bad safety habits with airsoft. Don’t. You must treat airsoft guns like the real firearms they represent. Never point an airsoft trainer at an object you don’t want to destroy (unless you are doing force-on-force training, which is beyond the scope of this article). Always use proper muzzle/safety discipline so that when you are handling real firearms you won’t have any bad habits creep in.

Another issue that you will run into with high-quality airsoft trainers is what to use for targets. Cheap airsoft targets won’t take the abuse, and BB traps are loud and overbuilt for airsoft.

I have solved this problem by making my own target frame/backstop for under $30 and using full-size targets that are 2 feet by 4 feet. Granted, this isn’t original or rocket science, but it is a great solution for airsoft training.

This is the entire frame/backstop with a target attached.

Basically, I made the target frame out of two 10-feet sections of 1.5-inch PVC pipe. The four vertical sections are 3 feet long, the two horizontal crosspieces are 2 feet long, and the 4 legs are 1 foot long, for a total of 20 feet of pipe with absolutely no waste. I connected all the pieces with two elbows and 4 Ts and capped the legs with four caps. All of the PVC parts cost me about $20.

Here is just the frame. As you can see, it’s very simple and fast to put together.

Home Depot will let you cut PVC in the store with its saws, so you don’t even need to buy a saw.

There’s enough friction on the fittings to keep everything together, and it’s easy to break everything down as much as you want for storage.

As a bonus, 2-feet and 3-feet sections of PVC make great improvised weapons.

For the backdrop, I started out with a $7 tarp folded and draped over the top. It was louder than I liked, so I threw a $7 moving blanket from U-Haul over it. It’s absorbed thousands of focused hits so far without giving out; but when it starts to, all I need to do is slide the blanket up or down so my impact area is different.

When I triple-fold the moving blanket I have, it is just slightly narrower than my target. Two clothespins are all I need to secure targets in place.

I keep a box underneath the target/blanket and it catches 90 to 95 percent of the airsoft BB’s, making cleanup a breeze.

Of course, you could also accomplish the same thing by draping a blanket over a door at the end of a hallway or over a doorway chin-up bar, but the PVC frame will allow you to practice entering a room and engaging a target, engaging the target behind partial cover, or hundreds of other scenarios that most people don’t have the facilities to practice regularly.

What are your thoughts on airsoft training and/or about transitioning from 100 percent live-fire training to including some airsoft training? How about increased ammunition prices and regulations and their impact on how often you train? Let me know by commenting below.

Romney Blasts Obama For Shunning Boston Newspaper

Romney blasts Obama for shunning Boston newspaperFormer Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has accused President Barack Obama of violating “the spirit of the 1st Amendment.”

In an interview with WBZ Radio, Romney criticized the President for banning one of Boston’s major newspapers, the Boston Herald, from covering Obama’s recent visit to the Hub. He said that the White House unfairly held a grudge against the publication because of some of its negative coverage of the President.

According to the Boston Herald, administration officials objected to the newspaper’s front-page placement of a Mitt Romney op-ed about job creation in America. In an email to the Herald, the White House Press Office said that pool reporters are selected based on whether they cover news “fairly.”

Romney, a likely contender for the 2012 Presidential nomination, said that Obama is thin-skinned and took out his frustration on a reputable publication, ignoring the ideals of the 1st Amendment.

“I think it’s embarrassing for the White House to have taken a retribution-type of act against a leading journal like the Boston Herald,” Romney told WBZ.

Huntsman Attacks Obama’s Handling Of Libya

Huntsman Attacks Obama's Handling Of LibyaFormer Utah Governor Jon Huntsman has not yet solidified his candidacy for the 2012 GOP Presidential nomination, but he has begun criticizing his former boss.

During a recent interview on ABC’s Good Morning America, he said that President Barack Obama made a mistake when he intervened in Libya. Huntsman, who most recently served as United States ambassador to China, claimed that sending military troops to Libya “is not core to our national security interest.”

“We probably don’t need to be in certain parts of the Middle East where there are domestic revolutions playing out, where we probably just ought to let them play out,” said Huntsman.

The 51-year-old Mormon, who officially relinquished his ambassadorship last month, has also pledged his support for a repeal of Obama’s healthcare law. Many pundits agree that Huntsman’s ties to the Obama administration may hurt him in the Republican primaries. According to media reports, he called the President a “remarkable leader” not long after the 208 election.

Meanwhile, Huntsman has decided to set up his campaign headquarters in Orlando, Fla., the Orlando Sentinel reported. He has also hired Nikki Jerger, a longtime aide to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, to direct his political operations in the Sunshine State.

Texas Law Will Require Sonograms Prior To Abortions

Texas law will require sonograms prior to abortionsPregnant women in Texas who want to get an abortion must first get a sonogram, according to a new law signed by Republican Governor Rick Perry.

According to Reuters, most women will have to wait 24 hours after the ultrasound before they can have the abortion. Individuals who live more than 100 miles from an abortion provider will have a two-hour window between the sonogram and the procedure.

The measure states that women will have the option of hearing the baby's heartbeat and seeing the sonogram image, the media outlet reported. Moreover, the patient's doctor is required to describe the image, detailing the size of the embryo or fetus.

"Governor Perry was pleased to sign this important legislation, which bolsters our efforts to protect life by ensuring Texans are fully informed when considering such an important decision," said Katherine Cesinger, a spokeswoman for Perry.

Under the law, women who became pregnant as a result of rape or incest can decline to hear the description of the sonogram.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in Minnesota have approved two bills that are designed to limit abortions. According to the Minnesota Star Tribune, the State Senate recently voted to eliminate government funding of abortions and to prohibit all abortions that take place more than 20 weeks after conception.

The legislation now advances to the desk of Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton.

Study Links Tai Chi To Improved Balance, Better Mental Health Among The Elderly

Study links tai chi to improved balance, better mental health among the elderlyA new study reveals that a popular martial arts practice can help elderly citizens avoid falls as well as improve their emotional well-being.

According to the report, which appears in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, tai chi can help people acquire better balance and avert potentially devastating falls. The Chinese martial art is a blend of deep breathing and relaxation with slow, gentle movements.

Researchers examined tai chi’s effects on elderly people who suffered from a variety of diseases, including Parkinson’s disease, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure and cancer. The team concluded that the technique was linked to improved psychological conditions and other general health benefits, such as fall prevention.

“We recommend tai chi for older people for its various physical and psychological benefits,” the study’s authors wrote.

According to a 2007 survey by the National Institutes of Health, approximately 2.3 million adults in the U.S. practiced tai chi within 12 months of taking the poll. The exercise is commonly used by people who wish to improve their sleeping patterns and easy physical pain such as that stemming from osteoarthritis.

Congressional Leaders Finally Agree On Something: Extending The Patriot Act

On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) made a deal, calling for a vote to grant a four-year extension to several expiring parts of The Patriot Act.

“The provisions at issue allow the government to use roving wiretaps on multiple electronic devices and across multiple carriers and get court-approved access to business records relevant to terrorist investigations,” according to an article on FoxNews.com. “The third, a ‘lone wolf’ provision that was part of a 2004 law, permits secret intelligence surveillance of non-U.S. individuals without having to show a connection between the target and a specific terrorist group.”

Despite unilateral agreement at the top, individual lawmakers have expressed reluctance to extend the controversial law, especially freshman members of the House, who were largely elected on promises to limit the power of government.

“I still have some concerns, and at this point I’m leaning against (voting for) it,” Representative Andy Harris (R-Md.) told Fox News.

Recent Grads Not So Hot For Obama Anymore

President Barack Obama is losing some of his most ardent supporters, according to several new polls.

The Daily Caller reported that, in a recent informal survey, of 83 percent of recent college graduates who voted for Obama in 2008, only 27 percent say they are committed to voting for him again.

“Eighty percent said they would consider voting for a Republican,” an article on the site read. “The bad news for Obama was underlined May 19 with a report by a job-firm, Adecco, that roughly 60 percent of recent college grads have not been able to find a full-time job in their preferred area. One in five graduates have taken jobs far from their training, one in six are dependent on their parents, and one in four say they’re in debt, according to the firm’s data.”

Such statistics could spell disaster for Obama, especially in swing states, according to The Daily Caller’s interview with Kellyanne Conway, president of The Polling Company, who also polled recent grads and found similar results.

“‘Overall, roughly one-third of young voters have some college education, and one-half have college degrees,’said Conway. ‘Many are underemployed or unemployed, they’re worried about their debts and economic trends, and they’re worried about the value of their educations,’” the article read.

In 2012, Conway said, “I suspect a fair number will return to Obama, but maybe not enough, and not in the (swing) states where he needs them.”

Dems In No Real Hurry To Cut A Deal On Budget

On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) rejected a proposal for $2 trillion in budget cuts, saying cuts alone are an unacceptable way to balance the budget.

“You can’t do $2 trillion just in cuts,” Reid said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “There has to be a mix of spending cuts, including defense. There has to be a more fair apportionment of tax policy in this country.”

Reid’s statements reflect a fundamental conflict in Congress. As budget talks drag on, GOP lawmakers refuse to raise the debt limit until an agreement to cut trillions of dollars from the budget can be reached. However, Republicans claim they will not even discuss raising taxes, saying hikes would not be “on the table.”

“The Senate is preparing to vote on the House-passed GOP budget drafted by Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin that cuts nearly $6 trillion in spending over the next decade, partly by privatizing Medicare,” the Times also reported. “The deeply unpopular Medicare provision is expected to doom the bill in the Senate. But Democrats are content to keep the GOP Medicare proposal in focus as a weapon against Republicans.”

High Court Grants Police An Exception To The 4th Amendment

High court grants police an exception to the 4th AmendmentThe Supreme Court has ruled that police officers have the right to enter a private residence without a warrant if they believe a suspect may be destroying crucial evidence.

On May 16, the nation’s highest court decided 8-1 in favor of the State of Kentucky over Hollis King, who filed a lawsuit after police entered his home without a warrant. King was arrested for possession of cocaine and later convicted of drug trafficking.

In defense of their actions, police claimed that the smell of marijuana emanated from King’s residence, and they heard noises that sounded like evidence was being destroyed. The Supreme Court ruled that the officers’ conduct “was entirely lawful.”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg provided the only dissenting vote, saying that the decision grants law enforcement officials an excuse to ignore the 4th Amendment, which protects citizens against unwarranted search and seizure of their property.

“How ‘secure’ do our homes remain if police, armed with no warrant, can pound on doors at will and forcibly enter?” Ginsburg asked.

John Wesley Hall, a criminal defense lawyer in Little Rock, Ark., told the Los Angeles Times that he was shocked by the ruling. He was surprised that eight of the nine justices condoned the idea that police can enter a private residence if “they hear suspicious noises inside,” the news provider reported.

Bipartisan Letter Asks President To Hire More Government Watchdogs

Bipartisan letter asks President to hire more government watchdogsA group of legislators have urged President Barack Obama to hire more inspectors general in order to help prevent waste, fraud and corruption in the Federal government.

Eight lawmakers, including four Republicans, three Democrats and one Independent, signed a joint letter to Obama, expressing their concern over the lack of watchdogs in various departments, according to The Wall Street Journal. There are nine inspector general positions currently vacant, including at the State, Justice, Homeland Security and Labor departments.

“Many of these vacancies involve departments and agencies responsible for oversight of several of your Administration’s most important initiatives,” the letter reads.

Eight of the nine positions require Senate confirmation. Many of the officials who previously assumed the inspector roles were controversial figures, which may explain why they have not been filled, the news provider reported.

Meanwhile, Obama has withdrawn the nomination of attorney Paul Tiao for inspector general at the Department of Labor. According to The Washington Examiner, the candidate was harshly criticized by Republicans and members of the business community because of his perceived bias toward organized labor.

From The Peanut Gallery

*Please, Mr. President, shut up. There’s a lot I love about the South, particularly my adopted state of Georgia. But there’s one thing I am definitely not proud of: the wacky pronouncements from incredibly ineffective do-gooder Former President Jimmy Carter. Did you hear his latest? He said we are guilty of a “human rights violation” because we “deliberately withhold food aid to the people of North Korea.” After all, “one of the most important human rights is to have food to eat.” So every hungry person in the world has a claim on what we grow? Only a peanut brain — excuse me, I meant a peanut farmer — would say so.

*Someone should tell the Feds to butt out. The U.S. Department of Justice has promised to investigate whether college football is unfair in the way it selects its national champion. I kid you not; the Federal agency says it is concerned that the Bowl Championship Series may violate Federal antitrust rules. It wants to know why college football doesn’t use a playoff system, as so many other college sports do. If you think this issue sparks some heated debates now, just wait until Washington tells us how to pick the winner.

*Elvis no longer makes the list. For the first time in 55 years, “Elvis” is not one of the 1,000 most popular boys’ names in America. When he heard the news, Commissioner of Social Security Michael Astrue, whose agency tracks baby names via applications for Social Security numbers, said: “I was all shook up.” The most popular boys’ name continues to be “Jacob.” The most popular girls’ name is “Isabella.” Also continuing a very old tradition, “Barack” did not make the list.

*Aren’t you glad you didn’t bid? Here’s another example of how quickly computers can screw things up. It happened when two booksellers offered the same title on eBay — but one instructed the auction house to list its copy for a little bit more than any other copy. When a second seller told eBay to price his copy at 99.83 percent of the highest price, a robotic price war broke out. Before it ended, eBay was offering “The Making of a Fly” (surely not the most popular book it ever offered) for $23.7 million. You will not be surprised to learn there were no takers at that price — or even .01 of 1percent of it.

–Chip Wood

Jailed For Questioning Barack Obama

Some of the more emotional reunions I have ever witnessed occurred at airports. Few can match the joy of wives (and, sometimes, husbands) and children as they welcome a service member returning safely from overseas.

This past Saturday, such a reunion took place at Baltimore Washington International Airport. But in this case, the highly decorated veteran wasn’t returning from Iraq or Afghanistan. Instead, he had just been released from military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Lt. Col. Terry Lakin had been sentenced to six months in jail and dismissed from the Army because he had the temerity to question whether Barack Obama was Constitutionally qualified to serve as President of the United States and, thus, as his Commander in Chief.

But this is not just another “Birther” story. The issues Lakin raised, and the mockery of a trial he received, go much deeper than that. Bear with me while I tell you a little more about them.

First, you need to know that Lakin served his country honorably and well for more than 17 years. His numerous awards and decorations include: the Army Flight Surgeon Badge, Combat Medical Badge, the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Service Star, the Armed Forces Expedition Medal, the Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon sixth award and the NATO service medal.

Lakin previously served with distinction in Honduras, Bosnia, El Salvador, Korea and Afghanistan. His problems began two years ago, when he was first exposed to material that made him question whether Obama was Constitutionally eligible to serve as his Commander in Chief. Yes, Lakin got sucked into the whole “Birther” controversy.

For more than a year, Lakin asked — first through his chain of command (this was the Army, after all) and later through his congressional delegation — for proof that would satisfy his questions. Then, something happened that stiffened his resolve: He received orders in February 2010 to report for deployment in Afghanistan. And as part of his orders, he was told to provide a certified copy of his birth certificate to the responsible authorities.

Normally, Lakin would have had no problem complying with either the deployment (he had served with honor in Afghanistan once before) or with the request. He had provided a certified birth certificate when he was commissioned in the U.S. Army the first time, when he applied for a marriage license and when he received his first security clearance. This time, however, he had a concern.

Lakin asked his commanding officer why, if he was required to routinely provide such evidence, wasn’t his Commander in Chief?

As you might guess, Lakin never received a satisfactory answer. So he then did something he later admitted might not have been the smartest decision he ever made: He declined to go until he was shown the proof he had previously requested.

Uh-oh. That’s when the feathers hit the fan. (I suspect soldiers use a stronger term.) Asking a question about your Commander in Chief became disobedience of a lawful order. A court-martial would follow.

Lakin looked forward to his day in court. He hoped to present his case, tell a jury how he came to have such questions, call witnesses, ask for discovery, present evidence: all the things we Americans have come to expect as a normal part of the justice system.

But this wasn’t “the justice system;” it was the U.S. military. And as the saying goes, things are different there. A military judge ruled that the only issues before the court martial were “the facts of the matter.” That is: Did Lakin disobey a lawful order? He was not allowed to explain why he did so; he was not allowed to call any witnesses or present any evidence.

So no one, not even Lakin or his most ardent supporters, was surprised with the result: Guilty as charged. Lakin was sentenced to six months in Leavenworth (it could have been five years), a reduction in rank, the loss of pension and pay and dishonorable discharge. It is a heavy price to pay for what many will consider a legal dispute.

Then, just days before Lakin was due to be released from military prison — and after two years of stonewalling — Obama changed tactics. He asked officials in Hawaii for a copy of the long-form “Certificate of Live Birth” that would prove he was, in fact, a native-born American. So eager was he to get it that he had a staffer fly from Washington to Honolulu to pick it up. Express Mail wasn’t good enough.

In a statement afterward, a spokesman for the Lakin family said, “Had the Obama Administration agreed to allow the document unveiled today and other related documents as requested for discovery in Lakin’s first pretrial hearing, the matter would have been resolved and soldiers assured their military orders were lawful, given by a lawful Commander in Chief.”

The statement added, “A good soldier, having played his part in this issue, would have returned enthusiastically to the service for which he is so ably trained.”

Of course, none of that was allowed to happen.

As many of you know, I wrote extensively about the whole “Birther” issue last week, in a column called Obama’s Birth, Bin Laden’s Death. As expected, nearly 1,000 readers have added their 2 cents to the debate. In fact, many wrote so extensively and so passionately that I should probably say their $2 worth. The debate got hot and furious. And I don’t think it will calm down anytime soon.

But Donald Trump has declared he will not run for President next year. No other viable candidate seems interested in making Obama’s antecedents an issue. Time will tell if the old adage “ignore it and it will go away” will work again, as it has so many times in the past.

In the meantime, if you would like to thank one brave soldier for taking a principled stand — and who paid a pretty high price for doing so — go to www.terrylakinactionfund.com and send Lakin and his wife, Pili, a note of appreciation. You might even consider making a donation to help them pay the mountain of bills they face.

Lakin could probably make a bunch of money on the lecture circuit or writing a book about his ordeal. But until the military process is complete — and that could take years — he has been ordered to keep his mouth shut.

As I said, military justice isn’t what you’re used to seeing on Law and Order. I think it’s the right place to try any al-Qaida terrorists we capture. But I’m not sure it prevailed in this case. What do you think?

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

–Chip Wood

Homosexual House Speaker Takes Heat For Endorsing Civil Unions Bill

Homosexual House Speaker takes heat for endorsing civil unions billThe nation’s first openly gay House Speaker, who serves in the State of Rhode Island, has angered many advocates of same-sex marriage by backing legislation that would legalize civil unions for homosexual couples.

Late last month, Gordon Fox (D-Providence) pledged his support for a law that would allow civil unions for gay citizens. His decision has triggered protests from gay-rights groups that believe Fox has turned his back on many of his supporters.

“In my opinion, he’s a self-loathing homophobe,” Gary D’Amario, who recently attended a rally at the Rhode Island State House, told The Associated Press.

Fox has defended his actions, saying that many people do not understand the political process. He told the news provider that the civil unions bill is a calculated measure that, if approved, will be a step in the right direction for gay couples.

Meanwhile, the National Organization for Marriage’s Rhode Island chapter has slammed the bill, calling it “an engraved invitation for the court to mandate same-sex marriage,” The Providence Journal reported. The group claims that the legislation does not properly define marriage as a union between one man and one woman, and it provides a divorce mechanism for gay couples that is similar to marriage.

End Of The World? Only The Father Knows

This will be the last Freedom Watch I will write. The world as we know it ends tomorrow, according to Harold Camping, who said his calculations come from his reading of the Bible and comparing numerological calculations to historical events like the founding of Israel in 1948.

Camping has been broadcasting on his Family Radio Worldwide independent ministry that the Rapture — the time when Christians both dead and alive will be taken into heaven and a period of tribulation will begin on Earth — will definitely occur Saturday.

“Beyond the shadow of a doubt, May 21 will be the date of the Rapture and the day of judgment,” he said in January.

A lot of people believe it. There are news reports of unrest and gatherings in countries around the world as Camping’s followers prepare. One of his followers, Chris McCann, told Fox News he plans to spend Saturday with his family, reading the Bible and praying. McCann works with eBible Fellowship, which met for the last time on Monday.

“We had a final lunch and everyone said goodbye,” McCann said. “We don’t actually know who’s saved and who isn’t, but we won’t gather as a fellowship again.”

Likewise, I won’t be writing another Freedom Watch, unless…

Jesus is quoted in Matthew 24:36: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”

I’m not certain what calculations Camping used to come up with his date, but it takes a great deal of hubris for someone to think he knows more about God’s schedule than the Son of God. I, personally, wouldn’t deign to say Christ is coming tomorrow — or that He isn’t. Or that He is coming the next day or in 1,000 years.

But I do think it’s great that McCann will spend the day with family reading the Bible and praying. That’s something we should all do every day. After all, we are guaranteed only the time we are in. A heart attack, a lightning strike, a meteor, a bus, a crazed gunman and a host of other possibilities exist that could take us out in an instant.

And that’s why we should heed Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24:44: “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

So this will be the last Freedom Watch I will write, or it won’t. But since we can’t be sure if the world will end tomorrow, we are going to go ahead and have Monday’s Personal Liberty Alerts™ put together this afternoon, as we normally would, so you can get it first thing Monday… if you’re still here.

Nugent: Guns Save Lives

Nugent: Guns save livesRocker Ted Nugent might be best known for his 1977 hit single “Cat Scratch Fever,” but nowadays the outspoken guitarist has struck a chord with gun-rights advocates.

Appearing on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight on May 18, Nugent said that “more guns equals less crime.” When Morgan mentioned that 80 Americans die each day from gunshot wounds, the musician argued that most of those victims are prisoners who are freed by “corrupt judges and prosecutors.”

Nugent claimed that the areas of the country with the highest number of armed citizens have the lowest crime rates, while the places with the strictest gun control have the highest levels of violence.

“Anybody that wants to make me unarmed and helpless, people that want to literally create places where more innocents are killed called gun-free zones, we’re going to beat you,” said Nugent. “We’re going to vote you out of office or suck on my machine gun.”

Earlier this month, Nugent provided the closing speech at the annual National Rifle Association conference in Pittsburgh. According to Reuters, he urged 2nd Amendment advocates to bolster their public relations campaign and spread the pro-gun message.

GOP: Mr. President, Would You Kindly Follow The Law?

Six Republican senators wrote a letter to President Barack Obama on Wednesday, asking whether the President plans to act in compliance with the War Powers Act, with regard to the Unites States’ military campaign in Libya. The resolution requires the President to receive approval from Congress for military action lasting longer than 60 days.

“Friday is the final day of the statutory 60-day period for you to terminate the use of the United States Armed Forces in Libya under the War Powers Resolution. Last week, some in your Administration indicated use of the United States Armed Forces will continue indefinitely, while others said you would act in a manner consistent with the War Powers Resolution,” the letter read, according to a political blog on CNN.com http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/18/republican-senators-press-president-on-war-powers-deadline/.

“Therefore, we are writing to ask whether you intend to comply with the requirements of the War Powers Resolution. We await your response.”

Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) signed the letter.

The Senators also said they believe the President is technically already in violation of the part of the War Powers Act “which says the President’s Constitutional powers allow him to only deploy troops into ‘hostilities’ with a declaration of war, specific authorization from Congress or a national emergency caused by an attack on the U.S.,” according to CNN.

Census Bureau: Marriages Lasting Longer

According to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau, more married Americans are staying together for longer amounts of time.

An article on WashingtonPost.com read: “Three in four couples who married after 1990 celebrated a 10-year anniversary, according to census statistics reported Wednesday. That was a rise of 3 percentage points compared with couples who married in the early 1980s, when the nation’s divorce rate was at its highest.”

“Marriage has become a much more selective institution in today’s society,” said W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, in an interview with The Post. “People who are college-educated, more affluent or more religious are more likely to get married and stay married. People who are not are less likely to get married in the first place, and if they do marry, they’re more likely to divorce.”

The report shows about one in four marriages ends in divorce, which is down from the 1980s zenith. However, fewer Americans are choosing to get married in the first place.

“Nearly a third of adults never marry at all. That number has marched upward in every age group over the past decade and a half,” the article read.

 

 

White House Bars Newspaper From Press Pool, Alleges Bias

The White House Press Office snubbed the Boston Herald on Wednesday, denying the paper full access to President Barack Obama’s fundraiser in Boston. The Press Office told the paper via email that press pool reporters are chosen by their ability to “fairly” cover the news.

An article on BostonHerald.com discusses the rejection, which came after the paper ran a Mitt Romney opinion piece on the front page — more than a month before the President’s visit.

“My point about the op-ed was not that you ran it but that it was the full front page, which excluded any coverage of the visit of a sitting U.S. President to Boston,” White House spokesman Matt Lehrich told the Herald. “I think that raises a fair question about whether the paper is unbiased in its coverage of the President’s visits.”

The article also quotes Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom, who defended the March 8 piece, saying: “That op-ed was about jobs, which apparently is a sensitive subject for the thin-skinned people around the President. The White House may be able to manipulate pool coverage, but they can’t manipulate the fact that millions of Americans are out of work because of President Obama’s failure to create jobs and get our economy moving.”

Daring Scientists Challenge Widely Held Beliefs About Extinction Rates

A Chinese/American joint study suggests species may not be going extinct at the high rates that have previously been estimated.

An article for FoxNews.com discusses the study, which was published in the May 19 issue of the scientific journal Nature.

The article explained: “We don’t even know how many species actually exist, though it is known that biodiversity is declining drastically. But previously estimated extinction rates — some experts thought half the world’s plant and animal species would be gone by 2000 — haven’t matched what’s actually been observed.”

“To prove a species is extinct… one has to find the last remaining example of that animal. And (the study scientists) explain that the amount of habitat needed to find the last individual is much larger than the amount needed to find the first,” the article read. “In fact, the researchers mathematically prove in their paper that the habitat loss required for extinction is always larger, usually much larger — up to 160 percent — than the area required for discovery of a species.”

The scientists, who include Fangliang He of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, and Stephen Hubbell of the University of California at Los Angeles, argue in their paper for a new method of estimating species and habitat loss, called the “endemics-area relationship.”

“This is welcome news in the sense that we have bought a little time for saving species,” Hubbell said in the Fox News article. “But it’s unwelcome news in one sense, because we have to redo a whole lot of research that was done incorrectly as a result of the incorrect method.”

If It’s On A T-Shirt, It Must Be True

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign unveiled T-shirts that mock the Birther movement.

A political blog on ABCNews.com described the shirts. They feature Obama’s face and the slogan “Made in the USA” on the front, with a picture of the President’s recently- released long-form birth certificate on the back. One can receive this “limited edition” shirt by donating $25 to Obama’s campaign.

The shirt’s message seems at odds with statements the President made in April when releasing his latest birth certificate: “We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We’ve got better stuff to do.”

“Selling products featuring the long-form birth certificate might be a risk for the campaign,” The ABC News blog said. “Merchandise featuring the birth certificate could be seen as trivializing those concerns, or even crassly exploiting them to raise campaign cash.”

A campaign official told ABC News, the blog reports, that the T-shirts are at least partially a reaction to this week’s publication of conservative author Jerome Corsi’s book “Where’s the Birth Certificate?: The Case that Barack Obama is not Eligible to be President.”

Bipartisan Poll Shows Obama’s Strong Position Heading Into Election Cycle

Obama holds advantage over leading GOP candidates heading into election periodThe next presidential election may be 18 months away, but the political world is abuzz as a diverse group of candidates on the Republican side is vying for the party’s nomination.

Yet, as the media’s full attention has been focused on those who are running, hinting at running or bowing out, President Barack Obama appears to have built up significant political capital, according to a survey jointly conducted last week by Republican and Democratic pollsters.

Politico.com revealed the results of a Battleground 2012 poll, which found that nearly 60 percent of respondents would either vote or consider voting for President Obama.

The current President also easily won when matched up against two of the leading contenders for the GOP nomination. Specifically, a total of 40 percent of the voters said they would vote for Obama if he ran against former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (25 percent).

In a hypothetical race against former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the President won by 40 to 27 percent.

On top of this, Obama’s approval ratings have soared in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s assassination. Politico‘s poll suggests the Commander in Chief enjoys 52 percent approval, although a Gallup poll puts his ratings at only 48 percent.