Friday, July 28, 2006

Bob Etheridge deserves thanks for his vote.

I remember interviewing Bob Etheridge when he was running for Congress. Bob has never been one of my favorites in Congress, but every so often, he does something appropriate that deserves praise. He voted to protect the gun ownership rights in disaster situations. During Hurricane Katrina, law abiding citizens in Louisiana had their guns confiscated from them while they were simply staying on their own property and not bothering anyone. They wanted to be able to protect themselves from looters and other such criminals. That is only right. It is their right. Not according to law enforcement and military officials. Those guns were confiscated illegally.

Congress has been working to make such confiscations illegal. Rightfully so, I say. The 2nd Amendment can not be abridged merely because there are criminals running amok. That is the very time you need an armed citizenry. The law abiding pose no threat to the military and law enforcement officials called in to help. They actually complement them. But NOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Over zealous and controlling figures illegally want to deprive people of self preservation.

Hopefully both houses of Congress will come together and work out decent legislation together.

Thank you, Bob Etheridge, for voting to preserve the 2nd Amendment. David Price, my neighboring district's Representative, I hope you lose your next election by a landslide. Price voted against preserving YOUR right to defend yourself in an emergency situation.

Here is a blurb from an email news brief I got today.

"...legislation passed the House of Representatives by a whopping 322-99 vote. The bill -- introduced by Rep. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) -- is similar to the Vitter amendment which passed the Senate earlier this month.

...Jindal's important bill (HR 5013)...would legislatively block federal agents from confiscating firearms during an emergency. Jindal's language would even give aggrieved gun owners a cause of action in federal court to recover their firearms and would recompense victorious plaintiffs for their attorney's fees."


Quick, before they sell out! Get your collector's edition copy of this week's "The Selma News" before they are all sold out. This week's edition has the first and ONLY edition that will contain the banned photograph of me with one of my favorite firearms for a column picture. Since the picture will be gone starting next week, this is your ONLY week to get a copy. They may be worth money some day, you never know. Make this edition a huge seller for "The Selma News"! And now for a little subliminal advertising: BUY, BUY, BUY, BUY, BUY your copy of "The Selma News"! Subscribe, subscribe, subscribe to "The Selma News"! NOW!

I'm a Crown Vic man

Opinion ONLY: I prefer Crown Victorias over Impalas. I drove Chevy, Ford, and Jeep products when I worked for a law enforcement agency. I have owned Crown Vics and Chevy products. Much like NASCAR fans, I have my preferences. I like Crown Victoria over pretty much anything GM. Hey, at least they were a bit cheaper and get better mileage. I hope the new decal work was cost effective. Galls has some good priced packages. I have no idea where Selma gets theirs done.

Selma Police Unveil New Cruisers - Three new police cruisers are on the streets of Selma . Police Chief Charles Bowen said the department purchased smaller Chevy Impala’s this year instead of the larger Ford Crown Victoria ’s. Bowen said the cars offer better fuel mileage and cost about $3,000 less. Reliability was not compromised, Bowen said. Each car cost about $17,500 and was paid for with funds in the 2005-06 Selma budget. They replace three high mileage patrol cars. “To me, these are the best looking police vehicles we’ve had,” Chief Bowen said.

Society of the offended

We have the right to free speech, free press, freedom of religion, and others so enumerated. For those who have never read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, I have just given you links to go and download your own copies. You will even find a few "freedom from"s in there. What you will not find, however, is freedom from being offended.

I don't go out of my way to attempt to offend (except this week when I got ripped off by and ebay seller, but that is another story). The picture that you see on this page for a profile and was used this week in my column was used for a reason. I had actually considered names such as "Shooting Straight", "Taking Aim", or something similar for my column in The Selma News. The picture identifies three passions in life. One is on my head, one is in my hands, and the other on my finger. All three represent common sense, time tested, family oriented, conservative values.

It didn't take long for people who must live to find things to be offended about to complain to the newspaper. Did they complain about my writing, my opinions, or the fact that there was a new column taking up space in the local paper? No. They complained that there was a picture of a gun pointed at them. Not a real gun, a picture of a gun. Actually, of me holding a gun, in a picture, shrunken down and printed in a newspaper. That is supposedly offensive.

That is one thing that I have struggled with here in the South. Don't get me wrong, it is rampant in the liberal mindset propagated across the country. People who are offended are portrayed as victims. Everyone is allowed to be offended about something (unless you are a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant male, apparently) in the current political scene. People in general have little in the way of sense of humor compared to the French Canadian, European, and Yankee influences around which I was reared. It is not a matter of holiness or piety here in the "Bible Belt". That is a peril of zealous piety; self righteousness and false holiness that permeates a society. I say that as a born again Christian and one who has ministered in pulpits, in small groups, and online for years.

I don't blame the newspaper for wanting to pull a picture about which they received a whopping two complaints. I received one phone call of compliment and had a few in person. I do, however, detest the paradigm of taking offense at everything in life in the name of decency.

It was for this reason that I don't have fellowship with some brethren whom I loved dearly. I would not submit to their ideas of things that were unrelated to holiness. Here is a link to a book that I found to be greatly helpful in giving me freedom from that mindset. It is perhaps one of the greatest books I have read on the subject and mirrors what I had in my heart as impressed by the Lord. As a matter of fact, I just paused my writing to order another copy on the internet. I had lent my copy to someone several years back and never got it returned.

Anyway, I don't plan on removing the picture from this site unless I just want a change of scenery, which I tend to do from time to time, as evidenced by the change of the blog appearance recently.

If you like the picture as is, call the paper. I gave you the link to the newspaper web site. They will use the standard portrait picture, probably, until I can come up with something better. Look out, I have a few ideas.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

An improvement project for Selma appearance and a social commentary

Some days, I have to make a trip to the post office here in town. Occasionally, I get to park right in front of the building in the on street parking in front of the facility. I never park far enough down to be in front of the yellow paint on the sidewalk. That paint, by the way, is really fading.

Several times while parked there, a vehicle will come from the opposite direction, swing across the street, park in the wrong direction, right along the yellow no parking area. Then, someone will get out of the car and walk into the post office and walk out just as capably as I am able to do the same. More often than not, the vehicle has a handicapped parking placard in the window, hanging from the rear view mirror.

Not only is the vehicle illegally parked and in the wrong direction on a town street, the driver was disregarding the clearly marked handicapped parking space reserved especially for her. It is not that she needed a handicapped space, but there was a special creation for her use and flaunted it. Apparently the law was something to be flaunted and a handicapped accessibility placard unnecessary. I know several people who legitimately require handicapped parking because of a disability. I know one who refuses to use handicapped parking, even though he has a handicap and was even a posterboy at one time in his life. I am proud of him for that, by the way.

Now this may seem to be rather politically incorrect, but I notice this sort of behavior as being far more prevalent with minorities. That is a sad commentary, but true none the less. Leaving race alone, are people just that plain lazy and disrespectful today? Do some people believe that they are owed something or entitled to do as they please, regardless of the illegality?

That last question has caused me much ponderance over the past few years. I have strengthened my convictions in some areas and changed behaviors in others because of that very question.

One thing that has been needed for years is a repainting of no parking zones with bright, perhaps reflective yellow paint. That would help with the identification of such zones and help with the appearance of the town.

Repaint, ye sinners, repaint...for the scofflaw driveth nigh.

Sorry to see this

I never like to see businesses close, relocate, lay off workers, etc. But, it is often a necessary part of business. A local factory in Selma will be shutting down soon. Apparently, there's a slow down in the market for the product being manufactured in the Selma facility. Buggy whips are no longer manufactured, either, so I understand. I hope the best for all Eaton Corp. employees that are being relocated, laid off, or just leaving.

Here is part of the WMPM news story.

Eaton To Close Selma Facility, 200 Workers Impacted - Eaton Corporation announced Thursday plans to close its Selma electrical facility in early 2007. The facility’s vehicle controls product line will move to an existing Eaton facility in Reynosa , Mexico . Two hundred full and part-time workers will be affected. The product line move is aimed at maintaining the long-term competitiveness of Eaton’s vehicle controls products amid fierce price pressure and preparing for the anticipated 2007 slowdown in the North American Class 8 truck market. Eaton projects that the slowdown in the Class 8 truck market will reduce demand by at least 40 percent for the product now being assembled at the Selma facility.

Two issues in Selma

I see that the former Selma courthouse will be painted and undergo some minor renovations. The building is rather fugly, not just ugly. Hopefully, this will help. Just a few days ago, I looked at that building and commented on how ugly the building is.

A couple of thoughts. First, it is good to see that money was budgeted ahead of time to spend on the building. I am all for maintaining existing facilities as appropriate. About $5000 is not a huge amount of money to spend. From what I can see by reading the article in today's Selma News, it looks like we are getting a decent amount of necessary work done for the money.

The next thought is that it is good to see that the town's decision takers are going to stick to the budget. I agree that the sides of the building need to be aesthetically improved. However, since the cost would exceed the budget, that has to wait. Good. I would be willing to volunteer to join in with other citizens to work on painting the building, if the town decides to put together a citizen work crew. That is how things got done in the early days, and it is not a bad idea to consider doing that very thing again. We are a small town and can work together for our collective benefit. This may slso be a good service project for the Boy Scouts, 4H, inmates, whatever.

Next issue for commentary: I agree with Police Chief Bowen regarding the driving of vehicles home for detectives. I commented on that earlier, but the entire article was not available online, so I didn't see his commentary until today. I would rather have emergency response staff on call with the tools they need to do the job than collect $600 a year. That is a justifiable expense to me.

So, let me see if I understand this correctly

State legislatures and governors in general do not support the idea of parental notification/permission for their daughter to have an abortion, thereby killing a human being. Extinguishing its life. Terminating its earthly existence. Murdering a child. HOWEVER, it is entirely appropriate to require parental notification and permission for a minor child to do something as grave, serious, life threatening, and dire as simply using a tanning bed? Sound absurd? Not in New Jersey. Here's the story.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I think that I have created a monster

When I first started my first blog, I sort of felt like the end of the TV show "Doogie Howser, MD". When I was going to run for town council here in Selma last year, I started this blog. That has led to some great opportunities and feedback from town officials, friends, strangers, and other assorted readers alike. For that, I am grateful and humbled.

As a result, I present to you Weaver World. Jeff Weaver, Selma Town Councilman, photographer, and all around good guy has entered the "blogoshpere". Jeff is a regular reader who has started his own blog after putting up with mine for a year. I bid you good success, Jeff.

OK, you have his blog link, now go read it. Go. Now. Really. No joke. I am watching. Then again, so is the NSA. Ooops, now we both have a file with the FBI and you can expect an agent to knock on your door any day.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Education spending and quality

There are a couple of stories on WMPM's news page I have read yesterday and today that I have considered commenting upon. I have not yet looked at "The Herald" online yet, affectionately referred to as "The Smithfield Heresy". I have been travelling quite a bit today, so I wanted to sit down, unwind, and type. A lot of windshield time gives me plenty of pondering time.

Let's start with this: "Parents of students who attend Corinth Holders School have until August 4 to notify officials if they want their children to attend a different school this fall. The Johnston County School system has announced Corinth Holders failed to meet federal benchmarks under the No Child Left Behind Act, for two consecutive years, in the area of reading. Federal legislation requires every student in a sub-group pass, and that did not happen, placing Corinth in a category known as “School Improvement” for the 2006-07 school year. This allows parents to decide if their children should attend a different school."

OK, so the school isn't doing well. They would be if parents had the choice of whether or not their children went to that school to begin with. School choice means that schools must excel in order to attract customers, in this case, parents placing their children as students. We are "footing the bill" and should be allowed to determine where our children are educated. To take it one step further, since the state constitution requires free public education, it would be best for parents to get a school choice voucher worth $x to go to whatever school they prefer, even private institutions. A private company contracted to run that school would yield a much better education for less money. But, this isn't private industry.


"Johnston Community College (JCC) in Smithfield plans to ask County Commissioners for $70 million for construction needs in the form of a bond referendum before county voters. The biggest project, $28 million, is a 28,000 square foot building to house information and technology services, computer lab, cafeteria, and library. A $19.5 million, 50,000-square-foot building, shared with Johnston County Schools, would give the Middle College more space. Renovations and additional classrooms in the Elsee Building would cost over $8 million. $3 million would be spent to renovate the building that houses the Paul A. Johnston Auditorium and library."

The school had better be darn sure that the auditorium needs renovation before spending money on renovating a perfectly good facility. The same for a new library. A "Middle College"? Explain why we even need a "middle college" and its function to the public before expecting me to vote for millions of dollars. The entire county school budget is $150 million. This one single institution wants almost half that amount in one bond?

I have no problem with upgrades to a computer lab. I work in a technical field and have seen computer related stuff advance trememdously in the past dozen years.

What I want is a promise or confirmation that the facilities are being used to their fullest potential NOW before considering funding more construction. I know churches that never use their facilities fully but want to build a new edifice. The same thing often happens in institutions of higher learning. It is often an ego trip rather than a necessity.

Monday, July 24, 2006

These words are of no consolation to me

This idiot can apologize all he wants, but it doesn't replace the thousands of dollars that I lost, just like other investors. Unlike Steve Cast, I don't think that the AOL/Time Warner merger was "a good idea".

AOL founder says he is 'sorry' for Time Warner merger

Mon Jul 24, 2006 11:57 AM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Steve Case, co-founder of the one-time biggest online service AOL, apologized for the company's merger with media conglomerate Time Warner Inc. in an interview with U.S. journalist Charlie Rose.

In an interview broadcast on Friday, Case, who was shoved aside as chairman in 2003 and who left the board entirely in 2005, said, "Yes, I'm sorry I did it," referring to the 2001 merger of Time Warner and AOL.

The deal, known as one of the worst corporate mergers in history, destroyed some $200 billion in shareholder value.

Last October, Case argued in a Washington Post article that AOL should be split from Time Warner, echoing sentiments shared by billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who earlier this year sought to break up the world's largest media company to boost shareholder value.

Although Case called the deal's aftermath a "disappointment," he said he still believed it was "a good idea," according to the interview with Rose.

"I'm disappointed and frustrated that it hasn't developed in the way that we all hoped at the time it could," Case told Rose.

Time Warner is expected to discuss a new strategy for AOL on August 2, after it reports its second-quarter financial statement. Sources have said the company is exploring a plan to give away AOL services for free to users who already have an Internet connection. It does not plan to give away dial-up Internet service.

Necessary and unnecessary projects

The City of Raleigh is now up to about $1 billion in debt for different projects in the last few years. Some are appropriate, others not so much. The new convention center is a "boondoggle". Water treatment plants and road widening are appropriate expenditures of taxpayer money. So called affordable housing projects (another form of welfare and government entitlement program), subsidising new hotels, and more park space are not necessarily appropriate. Parks, OK, maybe, but it is still a stretch for me on that one.

Now the company that developed the new North Hills wants the city to pay for a $75 million dollar parking deck at that facility. Hey, North Hills is gorgeous now. I used to live right around the corner in an apartment complex that has since been torn down and the property is being developed by that same company. A parking deck would be nice to have. Just not at taxpayer expense. The entire facility is a marvel of free enterprise. Let it continue to be so.

The N&O has an article on this.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Selma budget cuts

As y'all may have read by now, I am all for cutting budgets and spending in Selma. I am also for fully supporting essential city services. I have worked in emergency services jobs for years and know how important they are. I also know how important having electricity, water, and sewer are.

In the latest money conservation efforts, the town is looking to cut fuel expenses. I have no problem with that. Some things are better left alone, I believe. I come from a perspective of living that last sentence. I am a service technician for Time Warner Cable Media Sales. I travel a lot across the state, mostly the eastern half. I am on call at least every other weekend and every weeknight. That means that if I have a problem to fix, I have to travel with my service vehicle to play troubleshooter.

There was a time when the company tried a policy of cutting down on fuel expenses and required us techs to leave our company vehicle at the office. That idea didn't work out so well. We cover a much larger geographic territory than the 3.5 square miles of Selma. I will not go further into that topic, since I never know who is reading.

I was in the fire service for about nine years or so. A fire chief does need mobility for his job as incident commander. In Selma, our local fire chief gets a town supplied vehicle. I have no problem with that, since he serves an important function. He takes the vehicle home at night and on weekends. We don't have a full time chief on staff in our volunteer department. I find this reasonable accommodation.

The town is going to charge a fee of $50 per month in order for the chief (or other town employees) to take the vehicle home. This amounts to just $600 per year in town savings. Normally, I would say that in my estimation, this is one measure that simply is not worth the effort nor the bad relations it generates with the administration. Been there, done that.

In the case of our fire chief, however, I am ambivalent. The reason? Our own fire chief does not even live in the town. That is a problem, in my opinion. Yes, it is much the same as a chief shopping in another town and then responding to a fire call in terms of response time. Then again, people don't shop every night, all night. In regards to running a town's emergency response agency, I find it inappropriate to have a directing officer who is not a local resident. This almost goes doubly so, since he is also the head of the water department. But I can deal better with the water department head living outside the town better than I can for our emergency response chief.

It is good to see that our canine officer will be an exception to the rule imposed. It is only appropriate.

I remember when I worked for NCSU Public Safety in the late 80's. There was one deputy director that took a state owned vehicle home as a perk. He worked in Raleigh and lived in Coats. That was quite a commute and benefit for someone who would never be called back into work for emergency response. I did emergency response constantly and never took a vehicle home. Then again, we had others on duty when I was not there or we simply dealt with simply not having that staff function in the evenings. By the way, that deputy director ended up leaving that job in disgrace, as did several other ranking members of that department. Sad.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Neighboring house finally for sale

The house next door is FINALLY up for sale. When we first moved in, there was an Hispanic couple living there. There was always a Volvo with a Columbia University sticker and New Jersey license plates there. After a while, we only saw a Latina there with a little yard monkey that couldn't be more than three years old. By the way, I use the term yard monkey as a humorous way of referring to a toddler or young child...nothing more than that.

After a while, we saw the Latina loading up her vehicle with food stuffs and other kitchen items. They put a food refrigerator unit from a Mexican grocery store in the driveway. After a year or more, they removed the refrigeration units. The grass has grown up to over knee high on many occasions.

Recently, there were a few people doing yard work there several days in a row. Yesterday, a "FOR SALE" sign went up in the yard. WONDERFUL! I am glad to see it. I hope the house sells soon and to some good neighbors. My prayer is that we will have some neighbors that we can become friends with.

I have always thought that it was a nice house. It is a great location, too. A half acre lot and a front porch appeal to me. Apparently, the house is larger than I thought. It is over 3100 square feet and has four bedrooms. Wow. The asking price is $250,000. After the house sells, this link will no longer work, but it will at least take you to the web site of a friend of mine.

I did some calculations on a mortgage on that house. With 20% down, expect a mortgage of about $1500 a month. Lower the down payment to just 5% and the monthly goes up to over $1800. That is more house than I can currently afford, but I do like the house.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Watching for those evil assault weapons to strike.

I have seen this web site before. Oh, those evil assault weapons! Each time I have checked the site, I have not seen any violence. But, you never know....

Hey, Selmites, did you know this about your hometown?

Check out this bit of history about Selma. Read more about our town history here.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Let Israel handle their own affairs

I was reading over the past few days about the Israeli and Lebanese fighting. Hezbollah militant Islamic fascists have attacked Israel, kidnapped Israeli soldiers, and have been bombing targets in Israel. For those of you who have read this blog for any length of time, you know that I have been accused of being a zionist. Within the past few days, the person who called me that has even posted an anti-zionist web link on a message board I check and participate on from time to time.

Make no mistake about it...anti-semitism is sinful and contrary to scripture. That is my take on it. I am very much opposed to the evil "religion of peace" of Islam, falsely so called. Our dealing with Afghanistan and Iraq and soon to be Iran is a religious war. Make no mistake about it. We were involved with war against Islam in the First Barbary War. That wasn't good enough, so we had a Second Barbary War. We have had a bunch of skirmishes with militant Islam over the past few decades. Israel deals with it daily.

I read yesterday that the U.S. has told Israel that we will give them one week to pound the crap out of Lebanon and Hezbollah before joining in on opposition to their efforts. We need to cease that position at once and just step back and finally allow Israel to deal with their own problems without intervention.

The U.S. invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. We were attacked on one day (yes, there were others, but one major attack) on our soil. Israel has been putting up with smaller such attacks for sixty years. Rockets have been hitting their cities daily. We dealt with our problems, yet we tell Israel to hold back. We have no right to do so as a nation and should just back off and let Israel do the world a favor in their dealing with militant Islam.

Little things

There are so many little things about which I have an opinion and have contemplated using as a blog topic. One showed up in the mail yesterday. We got a bill from Lab Corp. for $10.02.

My wife and I do attempt to make regular trips to our dentist and/or physician for check ups. My wife recently had her yearly physical. Our health insurance is set up so that we have a $15 co-pay at the time of the visit. All other expenses are supposed to be covered 100%.

Last week or so, I got a benefits explanation. It showed that the insurance company paid for all but $10.02 of the routine lab work. My coverage says 100% beyond the co-pay. This is not the first time I have had this problem.

Previously, I had a dental appointment. My dentist is supposed to have a "negotiated rate" for services rendered. They billed my insurance company a particular amount, and the insurance company that was supposed to pay 100% did not pay the full amount. Their explanation was that they pay 100% of what they feel is a "usual and customary" fee. If my doctor bills a penny over what they feel is the appropriate amount, they refuse to pay any extra and stick me with the remainder.

That seems to be the problem with this small bill. Ten bucks won't hurt us at all. That is less than a trip for the both of us to Subway. But still, it is the principle that I am paying for coverage that states a $15 co-pay, not a $25.02 copay.

The lab company is billing us directly. We did not contract for their services. We contracted the physician's services. The physician in turn decides what lab company to use. The insurance company has negotiated rates with the physician. The insurance company has an understanding with the doctor, we have an understanding with the insurance company. Any differences in price should be disclosed up front and the party responsible revealed ahead of time. Our costs were given to us ahead of time as $15. Period.

Either the negotiated rates are too low or the lab company or doctor (whichever is the case) is charging too much. In this case, the lab company charges a ten spot too much or the insurance company is ten bucks too cheap.

Either way, it is just plain immoral and inappropriate to spring a bill on a customer for services not directly contracted. If I can't trust a company to handle the small things like this properly, what will they do for huge bills should we have a real issue?

Press release online

Here is the press release.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Something that is needed in Selma

For some time, I have felt that Selma needs to elect council members by district rather than at large. Unfortunately, the town charter reads:

Sec. 2.2. Council Members; Terms of Office.
Four (4) Council Members shall be elected at large by all the qualified voters of the Town for staggered terms of four (4) years or until their successors are elected and qualified.

It would literally take changing the town charter in order to change this. As it is, we have two voting districts. There is no representation on the council by residents of the west side of town.

Clayton is looking at this same issue. At least someone else sees the merit in this concept.

Clayton Residents Will Vote On District Council Elections In Non-Binding Poll - Clayton voters will cast ballots in November on a non-binding public opinion poll on whether the Clayton town council should elect members by district in the future. The issue was initially scheduled to go before Clayton residents last November, but the town failed to meet state guidelines to hold the referendum. The council was trying to avoid paying a $25,000 fee to design the districts before the vote last fall. Town officials regrouped and won approval from the state legislature to hold the non-binding vote at the polls this November. Many believe that if a majority of Clayton voters favor district elections, the council will eventually switch to district elections. Some feel district elections would give minorities more representation but other feels the current ‘at-large’ seats work better.

Want to know why I don't participate in the institutional, organized church?

Here is one reason. I simply choose to stay away from people like this.

I just found a quote of mine that the N&O sampled

Check out this display of ignorance by people who obviously can not read with any discernable comprehension. In the quote of mine lifted a while ago by the News and Observer, I am obviously in favor of the completion of a huge road project but am accused of not supporting road building. Some people should just step away from the keyboard before making themselves look stupid. I notice that they didn't leave any method of contacting them in their commentary.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Soon to be released on

New opinion columnist announced for "The Selma News", in Selma North Carolina.

"The Selma News", a weekly newspaper in Selma, North Carolina, has added a new local opinion columnist. Troy LaPlante, a local resident and activist will be providing weekly commentaries.

Selma, NC (PRWEB) July 17, 2006 --

"The Selma News", on the web at, a weekly newspaper in Selma, North Carolina, has added a new local opinion columnist. Troy LaPlante, a local resident and activist will be providing weekly commentaries.

Troy LaPlante is no stranger to writing commentaries, being a long time blogger and internet forum regular. He writes regularly in his blog, and owns the regional web site,

Last fall, LaPlante ran an unsuccesful campaign for a local town council seat. During that time, he stepped up his blogging and internet presence efforts. This led to more interest in local affairs and getting to know many local government officials.

"I have always had a heart for public service," LaPlante says, "and have beed involved with my community and the public since I was a young teenager. Within the last year, I have really had it on my heart to get involved in my hometown and community. If not through serving on the town council, I can still have an effect on my community through just plain getting involved."

LaPlante's blogging efforts have gotten the notice of many local officials in the Town of Selma and the surrounding area. Thousands of local visitors as well as national and international visitors have also been regular readers. Regular involvement at town meetings, a county committee, letters to the editor, and consistent commentaries have all contributed to Troy's success so far.

LaPlante's first published regular column entitled "LaPlante's Rants" will appear in the Thursday, July 20th print edition of "The Selma News". Internet publication of the column will appear after print publication on A reader feedback voice mail number and email response address will be available to column readers. Feedback may be published online, as well.

Troy LaPlante is a long time North Carolina resident. He is a member of The Constitution Party of North Carolina. He makes his home in Selma, North Carolina along with his wife, Teresa.

Money is NOT the answer

For some time, we have been barraged with the need for building more schools, "No Child Left Behind", More at 4, the need for smaller class size, an "education" lottery, and the mantra of "it's for the children".

What we are really doing is saddling those very children that we are supposed to be caring about with record debt that they will have to work to pay off in the next thirty years every time we pass another bond referendum.

The Johnston County school system has a seven year plan in which they desire to float a bond of up to $234 million to build nine new schools and renovate dozens of others. The School Board desires to have another bond referendum on the ballot by 2007 for funding.

If there is one thing that we should have learned by now is that the cost of building schools and renovating existing ones NEVER works out to be the amount contracted. Just a few weeks ago, it was reported that construction and renovation projects at six Johnston County schools came in $7.27 million over estimates. Do you REALLY believe that any bond we pass will actually cover the projected costs seven years from now? I don't.

I don't have a problem in maintaining existing facilities. I don't have a problem with new school construction if we as a county are growing as fast as we are told we are. I do have a problem with the idea that we are supposed to just accept the same answers and paradigms concerning school district administration.

It has been shown that in California, the concept of class size reduction is a failed one. Results have been dismal. I read that California is abandoning the idea of class size reduction because the results have been so insignificant. Why then are we continuing to duplicate their failed system? The idea as policy originated in California, and the innovators have decided that it is not worth the cost.

One reason is that teachers today in general, are softer than the ones I had while growing up. They have been through an inferior school system themselves, have been raised with a soft upbringing by contrast, have been shown far less discipline and therefore model poor discipline themselves. I don't blame the instructors themselves, since there are many great teachers and the rest are basically a product of a failed liberal experiment that has crippled the education system in this country.

Another major reason is that the largest labor unions in the country are those for educators. Smaller class size, higher salaries, more and newer buildings all mean more educators, more union dues, and therefore more money and power.

If private schools can educate children better for less money, as we have seen repeatedly over the past half century, then why do we persist in patterning an education system after the same failures of the past? Do people really believe that we just haven't perfected the government school system and we need to throw more money at it in order to fix it?

Where I was educated, we crammed students into full classrooms that were not air conditioned, had a smaller cost per student per capita than most states, and consistently got better results on standardized tests than the majority of the country. Parochial schools achieved equal or better results for far less money and far fewer staff. That proves in my mind that money is not always the answer to poor education.

Keeping quality educators, eliminating those educators who should find other career paths, using existing facilities to their fullest, being thrifty with the money we send to the schools, and eliminating non-essential administrative staff will go a long way in improving education and keeping costs down.

Recently, the school system was threatening to sue the county in order to get 1/150th of their requested budget back, claiming that they could not function without that last million dollars. I don't buy that stance and neither should taxpayers.

If textbooks have to last one more year, they have to last. The information about how to add, subtract, form sentences, and write letters has not changed and will not change in the next year. History will only have changed by having one year added to it. I used some ratty, old textbooks while in school and facts do not or should not change from one year to the next.

Take an interest in your county school system. Contact your elected school board and county commission members. Demand accountability from them. You are a part owner of the schools. Demand quality education at the lowest possible cost, abandonment of failed experimental methods, and the restoration of our schools to the methods of administration and education that made this country great.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

New blog

I think that I have decided on a name for my new column for The Selma News. For now, I will call it "LaPlante's Rants". I may come up with a better name sometime, but for now, it works. I started a new blog already to accommodate the column posting. I will try to make that blog SPECIFICALLY for posting columns that I write. I will continue to keep this blog as my personal blog, but may cross post columns here.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


I was a huge fan of Star Wars when I was a kid. I collected the trading cards, I saw the movie, had Star Wars sheets and bed spread. One summer, I watched Star Wars 14 times when it hit HBO. I also love James Earl Jones. He has one of the greatest "set of pipes" I have ever heard (a little broadcaster lingo, there). Jones provided the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars movie series, for those who didn't know.

Someone has doctored Star Wars footage with different audio cuts of James Earl Jones in his various movie roles. This is just plain ingenious. The video below plays for about 9.5 minutes. Enjoy.

Friday, July 14, 2006

A bit of clarification

It has come to my attention that perhaps I was not clear in my intentions in dealing with the quiet zone issue as proposed by Mr. Tony Tetterton. In no way am I angry with Mr. Tetterton personally, nor am I intending to be overly poignant in a personal manner. I do disagree with him vehemently on the subject for the reasons so stated here, and I totally disagree with the town council giving him time or consideration on this matter for aforementioned reasons.

If I was not clear in that I have nothing personal against Mr. Tetterton, nor do I believe his intentions to be dishonorable. I believe that he sincerely believes that his idea is in the best interest of the Town of Selma. I just disagree strongly. It is "not personal, just business", as was said in one of my favorite movies, The Godfather.

Selma will never be the same

Look out, fellow Selmites...just when you thought it was safe to open your mailbox on Thursdays, The Selma News is going to strike fear in your heart. OK, not really. But you are in for a treat...or not, depending upon your opinion. I just worked out a deal with the publisher to write a weekly column starting this next issue of The Selma News.

Yes, I am opinionated. I am verbose from time to time. And I write a lot in this blog. I send my opinions to my town council representatives and the town manager. I get fan mail and hate mail on occasion. Such is the way of someone who is willing to stick his head above the crowd.

You may not always agree with me, you may love everything I write. Who knows. This should be an interesting venture. Obviously, writing a newspaper column is different from writing a personal blog.

I would love it if subscriptions increased for "The Selma News" as a result. I am thankful for the opportunity and I hope that I will not disappoint. So, be watching the print edition, since the paper does not publish editorial columns on their web site.

I do plan on offering two things, though. I might as well write them out here. First, I plan on offering my email address for readers to communicate with me that way. will always be available to readers. I may come up with another URL if things really go well and things develop, but that will do for now. Also, I have a feedback phone line that I put in place specifically for this sort of thing. 919-975-2210 is a local Selma number I had picked up a month or so ago and was thinking about its usefulness for online stuff like this blog. It will also work fine for the newspaper feedback, I think.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Town council meeting...issues and suggestions

I just got back from possibly the shortest Selma Town Council meeting in a long time. From the time I left home to the time I walked back through the door was almost exactly one hour.

The business was pretty straight forward. There are two issues that I would like to address. First, the town is going to lease property to Alltel for a cell tower. I have no problem with doing that. I do have a better alternative, though. It goes back to the original intent of leasing water tower space. There is a bogus agreement that the town entered into with a company that was supposed to act as an exclusive agent for the town and broker these sort of agreements for us. No revenue ever came from that agreement. The town was going to look into being able to break that agreement because of inactivity.

Just this past week, we have had an issue in the paper about an old water tower that the town officials are thinking about tearing down because they believe it to be an eyesore.

Try this one on for size, so to speak. The location of the property to be leased may not work out. Then again, it may suit the purpose just fine. For this or future cell tower leases, let's think outside the box some. The town wants to tear down the tower. The cell company wants a tower. Water towers work for cell towers. The cell company wants to pay the town $1000 per month for a lease agreement. A year's lease is $12,000. The high end of the estimates to tear down the tower is about $12,000.

Do you follow me on this one? The cell company can lease the water tower in an existing location already known to the FAA, have an established structure upon which to attach their equipment, and won't have to erect a new tower at their expense. The town won't have an additional tower erected on its property and can use that same property for other purposes, including sale (if it is unused, as we were told this evening). The town can get save the cost of tearing down a structure and get a decent looking, free standing advertisement and curiosity.

Have this for a lease agreement...the cell company can have that tower rent free for a year (or less, depending upon what is negotiated) in exchange for improving the water tower with a decent paint job, any structural improvements, and maybe even a town logo. It sure seems like a win/win situation to me.

During the open forum portion, a lot of time was wasted by Mr. Tony Tetterton again. Instead of waiting until he got all the information he needed to inform the council, he wasted all of our time by giving an update on his progress. He balked at a public hearing on the matter with the excuse of possibly not having all of his information in place.

One thing that just flat out pisses me off is the concept he put forward this evening that federal money coming through the state for this project would be funds allocated just like highway funds and are not actually "tax dollars". What freakin' planet or parallel universe does this man live on/in? Where do you think that the federal government gets this money? From our taxes. Just because the feds have trillions of dollars to play with does not mean that they are a giant pot of limitless supply that we can suckle from. Every dime is still tax money regardless of how you look at it. Furthermore, the town would have to permanently close roads and pay 10% of the bill.

I don't like paying for bridges to nowhere in Alaska. Alaskans should not like paying for a tiny town in North Carolina to not have train air horns at night. It is that very mentality that has gotten our government into trillions of dollars of debt and deficit spending. Do not stand for this, I implore you citizens and council members.

Nextly why is this man even allowed to speak at town council meetings? He does not live within the town limits. Do a search on the Johnston County tax web site. I don't see any real property listed in his name, except for two vehicles. His campground is outside the town limits. If he is not a citizen of the town, then why is he allowed to repeatedly create an agenda item for the town? WHY? Why not invite people from Wilson's Mills to set our town's agenda, propose spending of Selma tax money, and attempt to dictate how trains operate in Selma? Why? Because someone from Wilson's Mills is not part of Selma. Even if the campground is inside the ETJ limits of Selma, then that does not create the situation for allowing the corporate limits residents being subject to outside agenda items.

I will take this one step further. If you are not eligible to vote in Selma municipal elections, you should not be allowed to take any items before the town council. I would love to take it even further than that. If you are not a registered voter in Selma, you should not be allowed to petition the town council. I wish it was even to the point that if you do not own property in Selma that you can not even vote in municipal elections. Conversely, if you own property in more than one town, you should be allowed to vote in each town in which you own property in municipal elections and on bond initiative/issues. I realize that this will never happen, but in my opinion, it is the way it should be.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Personally, I don't think that this should be a crime

I would do the same.

Police: Mom, Friend Attack Man Who Propositioned Daughter For Sex - A Selma woman and a friend are charged with beating a man who reportedly approached her daughter and propositioned her for sex. The incident happened outside a Selma motel. Police alleged Gwendolyn White-Smith and Patrick Foye Jr. punched and kicked the man after he reportedly made the proposition. During the investigation, officers recovered marijuana at the crime scene, but another individual was charged with that offense. The man who allegedly propositioned the young girl was not charged.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

World Cup fever (glad I didn't have it)

I am not a soccer fan. I know it is huge in Europe and South America. I am not surprised to have seen soccer leagues fold here in the States. There is a new professional soccer league forming right now. Big flippin' deal.

One cool thing that came out of the World Cup is some of the fun sites. For instance, if you played for the Brazilian soccer team, what would your name be? I found mine. You can, too.

Here is what my Brazilian soccer team shirt would be.

Do you find some things about Selma puzzling? Try this one.


New look

I spent the majority of the day sitting in front of the computer. I meant to do some work outside today, but I started playing with web sites, web design, different software tools, playing with Blogger templates, customizing the template, etc. I also played with some photo presentations that I tried to put on this blog as part of the template, but it didn't work out so good. Instead, I ended up creating a static strip in PrintShop, changing the content, adjusting the size to fit the template, etc. Of course there were a few unintended consequences along the way that required figuring out why things were as they were and fixing them.

Then, I had a bit more inspiration and worked on other seemingly meanless projects on the computer. At least I have learned some things along the way. I know that my fence doesn't get any more clean when I am in front of the computer, but I do have a few more tools at my disposal now.

Friday, July 07, 2006

An old approach to an old problem...that worked then, why not now?

Regarding illegal immigration, in 1951, President Eisenhower "quoted a report in The New York Times, highlighting one paragraph that said: "The rise in illegal border-crossing by Mexican 'wetbacks' to a current rate of more than 1,000,000 cases a year has been accompanied by a curious relaxation in ethical standards extending all the way from the farmer-exploiters of this contraband labor to the highest levels of the Federal Government."" 55 years later and we have the same condition, just bigger numbers.

Also from the Yahoo news article:

Then on June 17, 1954, what was called "Operation Wetback" began. Because political resistance was lower in California and Arizona, the roundup of aliens began there. Some 750 agents swept northward through agricultural areas with a goal of 1,000 apprehensions a day. By the end of July, over 50,000 aliens were caught in the two states. Another 488,000, fearing arrest, had fled the country.

By mid-July, the crackdown extended northward into Utah, Nevada, and Idaho, and eastward to Texas.

By September, 80,000 had been taken into custody in Texas, and an estimated 500,000 to 700,000 illegals had left the Lone Star State voluntarily.

Unlike today, Mexicans caught in the roundup were not simply released at the border, where they could easily reenter the US. To discourage their return, Swing arranged for buses and trains to take many aliens deep within Mexico before being set free.

Tens of thousands more were put aboard two hired ships, the Emancipation and the Mercurio. The ships ferried the aliens from Port Isabel, Texas, to Vera Cruz, Mexico, more than 500 miles south.


I am so tired of our country being invaded and drained of its resources and whimpy politicians allowing it to happen.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Something new I read in today's Selma News

I was reading in The Selma News today about the town wanting to tear down the water tower by The Selma Cotton Mill. That tower is right down the street from where I live. The tower is actually on town property rather than on Cotton Mill property, apparently.

The theory is that the tower is an eyesore. I will admit that it isn't all that pretty. However, it may not be a bad idea to leave it alone for the time being. There are several reasons for this.

First, the sheer cost. It makes no sense to me that the town is cutting jobs and budgets in a funding shortage to spend the money to tear down the tower unless it is a safety hazard. I went to the tower just this evening and do not see that it is a hazard. The low end of the estimate is $6500 and the high end is $12,000 to tear down and remove the structure.

Second, why spend the money to remove it when we could probably spend less to paint it and make it a landmark? If the town is positioning itself as a railroad town, a place for nostalgia and antiques, why tear down a structure that exemplifies that very thing?

Third, we should investigate every option for removal other than paying tax money for it to be done. Is there a theme park that is looking for Americana items that could use the tower? Is there some bizarre collector needing one? How about a scrap metal dealer that would be willing to take the tower down for the price of obtaining the metal for recycling or whatever use he wants it for? Before we invest tax dollars in its removal, we should exhaust ALL options first. Think "outside the box".

It would by hypocritical if not just plain insulting to lay off town employees and cut budgets only to spend money on this sort of thing right now. I realize that the town officials here in Selma may believe that if we are enforcing eyesore ordinances then the town should also do our best to comply. Not a bad idea. However, we have made efforts already, we have spent some money, we need to conserve money, the tower has been there for decades as is, and it is not (or should not be) a high priority item.

When you give me a tax CUT, then I will be a bit more in favor of tower demolition.

Hey, the Herald gets it

The Smithfield Herald publisher seems to get it when it comes to the budget in Selma. I just read the opinion columns written in the Herald the past few weeks on the topic. You'd think that the editors read my blog...hey, maybe... And if you are reading and you need a columnist, my contact link is to the right of the page in front of you.

Anyway, the opinion column below is right on. I have asked the same question as in the end of the first paragraph. Keep in mind the names you read in the column when you vote again in three years and they are up for re-election.

Taxpayers ought to come first

Over the past few weeks, we've had e-mails and phone calls from Selma residents who have said our criticisms of the town's spending choices have been right on. That suggests to us that Selma's elected leaders would suffer no political harm from slashing a town payroll that is clearly bigger than taxpayers can afford. So the question becomes: Why are Selma leaders reluctant to do so?

Obviously, no one enjoys the task of handing an employee a pink slip. In Selma, town employees no doubt need their jobs, and no one on the Town Council wants to send them to the unemployment line.

But employees are just one Town Council constituency -- and a relatively small one at that. Selma citizens and business owners are the biggest constituencies, and more important, they are the ones who pay the town's bills. We suspect Selma council members, in their reluctance to fire hardworking public employees, have lost sight of the fact that their ultimate responsibility is to the people whose tax and fee dollars pay the bills.

In particular, Councilwomen Debbie Johnson and Jackie Lacy have been loath to cut the town's payroll. Last week, they were the lone holdouts when a council majority voted to turn police dispatching over to the county.

We appreciate the fact that Selma leaders care about the town's employees. We'd appreciate it even more if they showed the same concern for the town's taxpayers.

Ann Coulter and a local liberal theologian

In today's print version of The Selma News, there is the usual weekly column by Robert Price. Mr. Price is a liberal theologian who resides here in Selma. He owns the web site Mr. Price is certainly an intelligent individual who seems very articulate, at least in his writing. Unfortunately, I also theologically disagree with him often and find his writing to be condescending towards his intended audience.

In late March or so, Mr. Price was taken to task by a local pastor for his liberal beliefs on subjects such as evolution and homosexuality. There was a back and forth letter to the editor/column debate for several weeks. I found this squabbling to be unproductive for either side. I had my beliefs and still do in that debate. I don't have sufficient faith to be an evolutionist. I also find evolutionist thinking incompatible with the very foundation of Judaism or Christianity, not to mention good science.

In today's column, Mr. Price complained about Ann Coulter's latest writings. Apparently, he disagrees with her poignant writing about evolutionists. Considering that she is secular in her approach to life rather than theological, it is interesting to see. A secularist is writing a damning piece on evolutionists' creed and a theologian is bashing her for it, defending the human secularist views of evolution.

Here is my reply, for those who have read the column. If not, pick up your own copy of "The Selma News" in print form.


For quite some time, I have read your columns in The Selma News. I have remained silent regarding your evolutionist views. You have accused Ann Coulter of being on an "ignorant tirade" in her anti-Darwinian view. I found your comment "There is no one, not one single person, who has ever come to be a anti-Darwinist Creationist by inductively evaluating the scientific evidence." Basically, you are saying that a fundamentalist paradigm interferes with scientific objectivity and that anyone who believes in opposition to Darwinianism is intellectually dishonest.

That, sir, is an ignorant tirade just as much as you accuse Miss Coulter of performing. It is nowhere near a truthful statement that there is no one, not a single person who has evaluated the evidence and become an anti-Darwinist Creationist. That is patently false. To (in my own words of evaluation) call others stupid for disagreeing with your pet doctrine is indeed the very thing you railed against others about.

The one thing that I have found difficult with evolutionists over the years (and I used to be one) is that they tend to believe that they have "cornered the market" on intellectual honesty and prowess; all others points of view are held by idiots. That is the very attitude conveyed by your column this week. Oddly enough, I find the same prevalent attitude amongst those who criticize "fundamentalists" for their theological perspectives.

I have already read your "debate" with a local pastor in past issues of The Selma News, and was already a bit disgusted by both sides. I do not intend to debate the issue with you. I have already been down that road with others who claim the "intellectual high ground" in this long standing debated topic. I shall not do so again. This is not because of a lack of evidentiary support or because of being on the losing end of any argument. I just find that the very impaired judgment you claim is possessed by I.D., creationists, whatever you want to call them, is likewise incorrigibly embedded in Darwinists.

Either way, your aforementioned quote is just plain erroneous and rather hypocritical.

I am not wanting to be contrarian or adversarial, but I do want to give my opinion and response. I choose not to waste the print space in Rick's paper or subject the rest of the readers to the same old debate. Personally, though you have an opinion column, I do wish that you would not bore most readers with your continued liberal theology, views on issues that really have no direct impact on Selmites but are usually on a national level, or the condescension towards differing opinions.

I am critical of opinions in my own public forum or two, but I certainly don't claim that all others are dishonestly manipulating data for the benefit of their own argument or perspective.

If you wish to continue to engage in the debate of creation versus evolution, you are welcome to invite people to discuss issues in the forum I have created specifically for this purpose. After your last debate on this topic in the newspaper, I created a forum for discussion on just for the topic. I did drop an email both to Rick Stewart and to you about this. Personally, I find the use of an internet forum much better than the slow method of unitlaterally wasting newsprint space in my local paper.

I said I would post a pic of the power washing results

This one photo shows where I left off with the powerwashing of my fence. You can see the "before and after". I still have a lot of gray, slimy fence to cover.

The only two words we need to hear from her now are "good" and "bye"

Does anyone really pay any attention to the attention slut, Cindy Sheehan? Are y'all as tired of her whining as I am? All I want to hear from her now are the two words "good bye" as she gets on a plane to immigrate to Venezuela.

Of course the spiteful, hypocritical, lying, liberal left won't allow their slave to do such a thing. It didn't happen with Alec Baldwin or Babs Streisand. I would pay for the plane fare to send Cindy Sheehan on a one way trip to Venezuela if it meant that she would be out of this country and polluting it with her leftist hatred.

Chris Matthews, don't give this attention whore any more air time...unless you are one yourself.

‘Wrong and immoral’
July 5: Activist Cindy Sheehan, who is leading a hunger strike against the war in Iraq, tells Norah O’Donnell she would rather live under Hugo Chavez than George W. Bush.

Election fairness

North Carolina has one of the most restrictive laws in the country for ballot access for political parties. The law is designed to effectively keep out any third party movement in this state. Did you know that there were more candidates in the last Presidential Election than just John Kerry or George W. Bush? What, they weren't on your ballot? That is because of the very restrictive laws in this state regarding access to the ballot. Here is a web site to learn more.

Regardless of your party affiliation, if you are a responsible citizen, it should bother you that the political establishment has kept the two party system so tightly guarded to ensure their own power.

I sent an email to the judiciary commitee in the NC House of Representatives regarding the ballot access bill. If you want fairness and choice, you can do the same.

----- Original Message -----
From: Troy LaPlante
To: ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Sent: Thursday, July 06, 2006 9:16 AM
Subject: House Bill 88

Freedom. Choices. How much more simple can that be? Please restore House Bill 88 and remove the obstacles that North Carolina has in place that keeps good candidates off the ballot. I know of many good candidates who can not run for office affiliated with the party of their choice simply because of the excessively restrictive ballot access laws here in North Carolina. This is just patently unfair. A candidate should not have to join a party he/she philosophically disagrees with to run for office in this state. Remember, Abraham Lincoln was once a third party candidate!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A conflicting report from WMPM on the Selma budget

Either WMPM has not updated their news page, or they haven't gotten the latest news story about Selma's budget adoption on Friday. This news story is new since Friday, however. It conflicts with The Selma News report that came out Friday afternoon.

New Fiscal Year Starts Without Budget In Selma - It’s back to square one for the Selma Town Council. The board failed to approve a new fiscal year budget by July 1. Last week, in a 3-to-2 vote, the council rejected a budget they had been working on for two months. Council members made several cuts, but were still faced with a 9.5 cents tax increase this year. A temporary budget is now in place to keep the city government going.

Monday, July 03, 2006

I just took a cat nap, woke up, and flipped on the TV. I got a lot of sun and exercise a bit ago by starting the powerwashing of my fence. Since I moved in to this house, I have wanted that dirty, slimy, algae filled fence to be better looking. I spent several hours washing away and got about 25% or more of my side of the fence done. One thing about power washing is that it goes slowly but sure makes a difference.

It is a 98 to 99 degree heat index outside. If the powerwashing wasn't misting me constantly, I would have been sweating a lot more. I was soaked, however. Combine that with the fact that my doctor has me on an antibiotic that has a warning against being in sunlight, and you have a pink Troy. Even the tops of my feet are burned. I wore sandals. My scalp hurts when I brush my hair. I cut my hair short and am a little thin in some areas. I am not quite a lobster, but I am pink.

What a difference in the clean versus dirty sections. I need to take a few pictures and post them on the blog.

I showered, sat down, talked to the wife a bit, put Patton on the TV, since it was on cable, and drifted off into nap time. When I groggily awoke a bit ago, I put on the TV again and found C-SPAN2 playing a repeat of "The YearlyKos" Blogger Convention from June 9th. Liberals from all over the country came together to discuss issues of political activism.

People from Democracy for America,, and others were all spouting liberal twaddle about issues that they say are important. Tom Matzzie from had some articulate but incredibly ignorant diatribe accusing the Republican Party and the President of vote fraud (as did others), railed about the need of a living wage (read "raise the minimum wage"), whined about tax cuts for the rich, yadda, yadda, yadda. It was said that the three biggest issues that people are concerned about in America are health care, renewable energy sources, and the war in Iraq. I don't know about those. That sounds a bit off to me. They must have only asked liberals.

These people obviously know little about economics, are socialist, are filled with anger towards conservative leadership, and hate the free enterprise system. I found myself responding to assertions and accusations these idiots were levying.

The only thing that some of the panelists were making sense about was the idea of grass roots activism.

Thankfully, that program ended about an hour ago. Wow, I started this blog entry when that program was still on. I took time out to have leftovers, feed the dog some treats, and teach an economics lesson to the wife purusant to the crap we saw on the Yearlykos Convention.

Right now, I am watching a a debate/conference with two speakers, Pat Buchanan and Tom Daschle. Pat Buchanan is very conservative and is an equal opportunity critic. He will call it as he sees it, whether it is a Republican or Democrat that deserves criticism. Daschle is typically a liberal Democrat and spits out the party line and slams George Bush. In the same monologue, he talks about standing for what is right regardless of the party; being loyal to the republic and not to a party or a president. What a hypocrite.

What I am tired of hearing in this symposium is the U.S. being referred to as a "democracy". WE ARE NOT A DEMOCRACY! We are a representative republic. I am so tired of people referring to us as a democracy, saying we spread democracy, and need to cherish democracy. I don't. Democracy means mob rule. The majority vote gets what it wants. A representative republic puts that into check. If we were a democracy, only what white Anglo-Saxon Protestants want would rule.

As the program keeps going on, Daschle keeps being more and more partisan in his points. What a liberal.

New Selma budget

I read that the new budget was adopted for the Town of Selma on Friday. I don't know what the whole story is yet, but it is odd that on Monday night it was voted to not submit a final budget until the end of July. On Friday, the order of business was announced to be a wrap up of old budget business from the expiring fiscal year. Now I read in The Selma News that an amended budget has been adopted.

One detail that I don't recall reading previously was a $1 proposed increase in garbage collection fees. I would never have noticed a $1 increase in garbage collection fees, which is added to the utility bill. That is probably why it was proposed and not widely known. Incrementalism works.

I see that there is still an increase in taxes. At least the increase was kept to just 5 cents per $100 value. For me personally, that makes an annual increase of $40.42 in property taxes to the town. That much could be added to my utility bill and I probably wouldn't have a hard time with it.

If you live in Johnston County and own property, you can check the tax value of your property and subsequent tax liability from the tax rate hike by using this site. Just be sure to change the drop down menu search parameters to the appropriate values in performing your search.

As much as I despise tax increases, that much is a reasonable increase compared to what was proposed earlier. None the less, I do believe that irresponsible leadership has gotten us to the point of needing the increase and I do fault those who have been in elected office for any length of time in this town for it.

I am not going to join the bandwagon of bashing former town manager Jeff White for the problems. Though Jeff was in charge of town administration during the budget over projection and subsequent spending, it is ultimately the town council (including mayor) that sets the budget. I don't know all the details as to the reasons for the erroneous budget projections and won't pretend to. I will, however, question any councilmember who would not question a sudden surge in revenue projections.

A part of the article:
The Selma News
The Selma Town Council adopted an amended budget today during a noon budget work session.

The budget includes a five cent property tax increase, instead of the earlier proposed 11 cent increase, and a $1 per month increase to the garbage collection fee, taking it from $15 to $16 per month.

Eliminated from the budget were four police dispatchers, as the Council voted at a meeting held on Monday to contract with Johnston County 911 Communications to dispatch police calls next year.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Fluff is the stuff!

I grew up with Marshmallow Fluff. I was having Fluff withdrawl for a long time after moving to North Carolina. That marshmallow cream stuff you find at some grocery stores sucks. Fluff is the stuff. I need to trademark that phrase.

When on vacation, I would bring back Fluff. I had people send me some in the mail. When people I knew were going up north, I would have them bring me Fluff. A northern grocery chain used to carry it, then went out of business. I had a hard time finding it. Finally, Lowe's Foods and Food Lion started carrying it in some but not all stores. I named my cat Fluffernutter.

Recently, a Massachusetts law maker tried to ban Fluffernutters from school lunches. The Fluffernutter was going to be named the official sandwich of Mass. Fluff sales on the internet went up 800% after the idiot representative dissed Fluff.

Here is the article on the subject:

Fluff's free publicity leads to sweet payoff

By Douglas Belkin, Globe Staff | July 2, 2006

Jonathan Durkee has two words for state Senator Jarrett Barrios : Thank you.

Durkee is treasurer of the Lynn company that produces Marshmallow Fluff, which Barrios targeted last month when he tried to ban the Fluffernutter sandwich from school lunches .

But Barrios did not realize how much of a New England icon sweet marshmallow spread slathered over white bread and twinned with peanut butter was. The bill to ban it drew legions of protective Fluffernutter patriots to arms. In a profile-in-courage counterattack, a state representative even proposed making the Fluffernutter the official sandwich of Massachusetts.

The Fluffernutter Wars were on.

``Nightline" chimed in, along with Regis and Kelly and The Los Angeles Times. Red-state Americans who never heard of Fluff began to wonder what it was, and displaced New Englanders around the country started licking their lips with a Pavlovian reflex forged in childhood. Fluffernutter: Home. Eat. Happy. Good.

Then the inevitable. Internet orders sent to the mother ship in Lynn skyrocketed 800 percent from 10 to 80 cases a day -- and not just from expatriate Bostonians. Curious Fluffernutter first-timers like James Harmon of Nashville dialed in.

``I read a couple articles and saw a story on CNN," he wrote in an e-mail. ``So I had to try [it]."

Durkee said it was too early to tell if the bump would carry through to the holiday season, when sales typically peak. In Lynn, fingers remained crossed. A thank-you letter to Barrios? Not yet in the mail.

Bunch of evil pussies

No, you aren't going to see a kitten with a gun or in a costume. You can, however, read the article about Hamas and find the true nature of Islam. Here is a quote from the article in the link:

"Hamas's armed wing, Izaddin al-Kassam, on Sunday threatened to attack infrastructure facilities inside Israel, including schools, hospitals and universities."

That is pure evil. Muslims threaten to attack innocent school children, college students, and the sick or infirm. What else do you really need to know? Yeah, that takes a lot of courage and pussies!

Sorry, but I have known for years that Islam is pure evil and full of hatred. Yet they wonder why we find them to be so. And they call us "the great Satan". These so called "men" have no honor, no courage, and no true God except in their own reprobate imaginations. Yeah, Islam...the religion of corpulent butt!

Israel, take 'em out.

I smell another tax increase coming

The story below is from WMPM's news page. How the heck do you go OVER budget by $7.2 million dollars? Cost overruns are not rare, but $7.2 million? Did not the contractors agree to build or renovate for $X dollars? Then why do we get stuck with the difference? $7.2 million????? That sounds a bit excessive to me. Either we have some mighty poor planning or we are getting screwed by contractors in some fashion.

An upcoming bond referrendum? Read into that another tax increase. Out of principle, I usually vote NO on referrenda such as that.

School Construction Projects $7.2M Over Cost - Construction and renovation projects at six Johnston County schools came in $7.27 million over estimates. To pay for the cost overruns, the Johnston County School Board voted this week to shift $4.2 million from future Clayton school construction, technology and paving projects to pay for the overruns. Another $3.1 million expected from the state will also be used. Construction at the new Dixon and West View Elementary and the new North West Middle School were among projects that came in over what had been budgeted during a 2005 bond. Part of the money being diverted was $1.5 million of $2.2 million set aside for a new classroom wing at East Clayton Elementary. The remaining $700,000 will be used for land acquisition for a new elementary school that will hopefully be funded in the next bond referendum that could go before voters as early as next year.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Ever run across people like this? I do, and often.

"He used statistics as a drunken man uses lampposts; for support rather than illumination." - Andrew Lang(1844-1912)

A few quotes that I like

"Government is an association of men who do violence to the rest of us." - Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)

How sad that this quote is often true. Compare that one to what the Apostle Paul wrote: "For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil." I wish that statement was more true than it is in today's world.

Here is a headline quote I saw this morning on that I found pretty funny. "America Jr. is 139 years old today. Happy Birthday Canada, you gay-loving, dope-smoking, gun-hating, no-Iraqing, funny talking, universal healthcaring, magnificent bastard."