Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wow, does time take its toll

This picture was taken in 1985 when I was 17 years old. I just ran across it again this evening while cleaning. I really need to get back into that shape. I had a lot more hair back then, too.

Coming soon to a neighborhood near you

If you live in Selma, contact me for your own yard sign and help support the campaign. The signs will be available in about a week. I appreciate your support. The signs will look very much like this, just with a slightly different typeset that the printer said would work better for his equipment.

I love Muffin smoochies

One of the most precious things in the world is getting what I call "Muffin smoochies". She can be stingy with them at times, liberal at others. This is especially dependent upon to whom she is currently bonded. I have been getting a lot of Muffin smoochies lately. She is a sweet Maine Coon kitty who loves to come see me when I am on the computer. I just snapped a few pics with the web cam while she was snuggling with me a few minutes ago. Muffin is gorgeous and she knows it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

And they think that more money from bonds and taxes will solve THIS? Nope.

From WMPM's new site:
County SAT Scores Decline To Lowest Level Since 2002 - North Johnston High School, South Johnston High School, and West Johnston High School all posted significant gains on the SAT for the Class of 2007, despite drops in the scores for the county, state, and nation. Johnston County's district average declined this year to the lowest SAT average since 2002. North Johnston posted the greatest gain, a gain of 53 points. North Johnston's score for 2007 seniors was 1040, up from 987 for 2006. South Johnston and West Johnston posted scores of 1026 and 1035 respectively. The district average for the Class of 2007 was 1012, eight points above the state average of 1004, but at the same time 11 points lower than last year and 21 point below test scores in 2005. "We are pleased with the significant growth in the SAT scores at three of our high schools," said Dr. Anthony Parker, Superintendent of Johnston County Schools. "We must continue to improve the efforts of our high schools to meet the needs of all of our students." Keith Beamon, Associate Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction said since an SAT improvement plan was adopted in 2003, and a new SAT was introduced two years ago "...student performance has not been as expected."
Sorry people, but we don't need new schools or smaller classrooms to improve education quality. We need discipline and a return to the basics of instruction.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Yeah, that will keep us all safe...

Gun crimes in England have almost doubled since 1997, when a ban on firearms began.

According to the Sunday Times of London, crimes in which guns were used numbered 4,671 in 2005-06.

Also, government officials report that most gun crime is committed by children and teenagers under 18 years old.

David Davis, the shadow home secretary, told the Telegraph: "What this shows is that the majority of these crimes are committed by youngsters under 18.

"The government's policy has failed with the group most responsible for this increase in crime. It is long past time the Government stopped believing its own propaganda, and took measures to get a grip."

Here is the article, though its entire contents were just posted here. Silly Brits. Some stupid Americans want that same result here, though.

Good article on the fraud of "the poor"

From National Review Online. Basically, people are manipulating the system and failing to try to succeed in the richest nation on the planet.

Concerning anonymous and vicious comments

This is a policy note for those boneheads who like to leave scathing anonymous comments. First, since you are cowardly enough to leave comments with no mention of your name or where you are from, I will delete them. I don't mind dissenting opinions. I have always welcomed them, even in my own home. The attitude presented, however, is what makes or breaks the comment effectiveness. If civil discourse is not what you are in to, I am not into you or your comments.

Second, try reading what is written rather than either extrapolating or pulling concepts out of your butt that are not written herein. I do not tolerate lying in my own home, why should I tolerate it on my blog?

Third, commenting or, in the case of the latest post in question, sharing a news story I found online, is not whining. There is a big difference. If you do not have the intellect to discern that, you don't deserve to have your comments taken seriously or anonymous ramblings saved here. There is no 1st Amendment in effect on something I own.

I know who the anonymous poster was not, since it was spelled correctly.

Daisy doing better

After the bath that was administered two days ago, Daisy is finally getting back to her old self. She greeted me this morning when I woke up, as she and the cats do every day. She was prancing at the prospect of being fed. Yesterday, by contrast, she checked in on the bedroom when I got up and then immediately went to hide. She hid from me all day yesterday out of fear I would snatch her up again for something. I spent some time talking sweet to her so she would hopefully be reassured that things were OK. She was not quite as bouncy as normal, but she is getting back to being regular.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Another bad Amtrak experience

Wow, and I thought my trip from New York on Amtrak sucked at the end of June. I would have thought that something like this would have happened when I was traveling. It would have been "par for the course". At least if this happened when I was traveling, I would have been pretty close to home (next town).

Passenger: Amtrak Train Evacuation 'Ridiculous'
Train Catches Fire, Hundreds of Passengers Evacuated

Posted: Aug. 25, 2007
Updated: Aug. 26 6:38 p.m.

Micro — An Amtrak train headed from New York to Miami caught fire Saturday afternoon, forcing the evacuation of more than 150 passengers in Johnston County.

No one was injured, but some of the passengers said they were not pleased with the experience. Many boarded charter buses to get to their final destinations.

"This is my first time to get on the Amtrak, and this is what happens. I'm never getting on it again," said passenger Nilda Santos.

The train's engine room caught fire at about 4:15 p.m., Amtrak officials said. Passengers were evacuated in Micro and sent to North Johnston Middle School, according to school officials.

"The train was moving kind of slow, but when it got here, the train just started smoking," said passenger Rick Ramsey.

"I thought it was fog in the middle of the day, but then I smelled the smoke, like rubber burning," said passenger Sunhey Martin.

Carole Harvey said she noticed that the air-conditioning went off, and she smelled something burning.

"We stopped the train, and they made us sit here for awhile. Then they said, 'You can get off. You're getting right back on,'" Harvey said.

But they never got back on. William McDougle was one of the passengers who waited in the heat for more than an hour.

"All I want to do now is make it on into Fayetteville and hope my sister doesn't want to kill me when I get there. They've been waiting since 3:30," he said.

Though Johnston County Emergency crews worked to keep people hydrated, some had a hard time keeping their cool.

"Second time I've done this route," Harvey said. "Amtrak should be ashamed of themselves. This is ridiculous."

McDougle took a different approach.

"They're doing the best they can, really," he said. "The train was on fire, so what you had to do, you had to get off."

As for the damaged locomotive, it was towed to a station in Wilson for repair. Passengers will have the option of having their tickets refunded, officials said.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Scared the crap out of someone...again

Since I am the primary caregiver of my dog, Daisy, I have been working on bonding with her more. Sometimes, however, I have to do things for her own good that she does not especially like. Today and last night are good examples.

Daisy has a problem with men. She has since we got her. All the rescued Pekes in her group have had similar issues with the man of the house. Daisy used to bark at me constantly. Now she sleeps at my feet or beside the bed. She licks my bare feet and begs for treats. She still will not let me take her for a walk, but I have been forcing the issue a bit on putting in her eye ointment medication and on taking a bath.

Daisy has been needing a bath for about two months now. I planned on it last night, but held off until today. I did some errands earlier, but finally decided to break down and make my doggy soggy. The picture in this post is from her last bath, which was much too long ago.

Each time I have tried to pick up my dog, she has literally squeezed a turd on my floor. Last night, she dropped a chalupa when I was going to put in her eye medication. This evening, she kept running away from me until I got her cornered. She knew something was up when she saw me drawing bath water in the tub. When I tried to grab her, you would think that I was committing bloody murder. She tried biting, but never got her teeth in to my flesh, just a mouth on my hand. She squirmed like a worm going into a bottle of alcohol. She let go of her bowels and bladder all over my floor in two rooms.

As soon as I carried her into the bathroom and put her down into the bath water, she was instantly calm. That was bizarre. She had a lot of fecal matter in her fur, which made the water pretty brown, but I managed to soap her up and rinse her off. It was not the most thorough bath in the world, but she did not struggle real bad at all. The last time she had a bath, she struggled more.

The wet pet is hiding from me right now, and I have tried to reassure her gently with praise and treats. She will be fine.

There is a huge parallel in this to another creature to whom I have been the primary provider for 13 years. She, too, was abused in her earlier years. There came a time when actions had to be taken for her own good, too. I got crapped on and pissed all over, but it was the right thing to do. The struggle against the care was made to be much worse and messier than the actual gentle care, which if allowed to be administered, would have resulted in a tender, loving experience. Daisy enjoyed the attention in the tub, her fur being stroked, her ears being scratched, and the cleaning up. She hated being corralled and fought it the whole way. She felt better after being put in the clean up mode.

Sometimes dogs will only attack and bite when this care is being administered. Some can be rehabilitated with care and patience. In my case, 13 years of patience. Dogs that continue to bite are eventually put down or discarded, since they will not change their nature.

Which are you?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

RESCHEDULED: Let's attack the ACLU instead of the other way around

Because my guest was not able to make it this evening, we have rescheduled for next Saturday night, instead.

stop the acluComing up on my talk show this Saturday night will be Mr. John Stephenson, who runs the web site If you want to know what the ACLU is about, how they affect your life and government, and find plenty of resources, then you will want to check out the show. Check out their web site, as well. There are a bunch of excellent files and information available on their site.
Listen Live

Scum bags, not necessarily named Bill

Some people have no class.
Someone set a flag on fire and bent a flagpole at a local Iraq war memorial.

That along with other vandalism.

Police do not call it a hate crime, but say it's a crime that symbolizes hatred towards the war.

The Iraq Memorial is at Island Park in Mt. Pleasant in Isabella county.

Police think the vandalism may have happened in two separate incidents, one earlier this month and another over the weekend.

The memorial was erected in 2005 for the Late LCPL Justin Ellsworth and all the men and women who have served and are serving in Iraq.

Some commentary on it here.

Friday, August 24, 2007

A truism

"They do not love that do not show their love."
William Shakespeare

A note of sadness

When you have a friend whom you love, it is always sad when you don't get to talk or enjoy each other's company. One man with whom I had a friendship, Tony Conti, passed away about four months ago. Tony and I have kept in touch over the years and occasionally had the opportunity to see each other. Every time I saw him, he insisted on giving me a big hug and sometimes calling me his "big brother", even though he was the same age as my mom.

Tony and I had some things in common. One of which is that we both grew up in New England with very European families, though his was Italian and my family was French Canadian. We also had some similar situations in our personal lives and were able to relate to and sympathize with one another.

I talked to Tony sometime in April or so. I had tried calling him several times since, but his phone was disconnected. I sent him an email and it did not bounce back. I searched for him online, hoping not to see an obituary. I never did. Yesterday, Tony's business associate and girlfriend, Beth, called me to say that she got the email I sent to Tony and that he had died in April.

Tony was very non-judgmental and supportive, but also didn't put up with garbage from others. I liked that about him. He will be missed. I am jealous of him in that he got to have a few non-material things in life that I covet and is now with the Lord whereas I am stuck here on this sin cursed earth.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Finally, some people know how to say no...they just aren't from around here

Here in North Carolina, the general population (at least the voting ones) don't seem to know how to say no on referendums. (As much as I don't think the plural of referendum is referendums, spell check keeps telling me that it is correct and other variations are incorrect.) I vote no most every time out of principle. I don't believe that in this area, the government is being responsible with the money we already give. At least people in the town next to where I grew up said no.
Winnisquam Regional School District voters last night defeated a $703,000 bump to teacher pay at a special district meeting. The vote count was 156 for the measure and 228 against.
I wish people around here had the same courage.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Let's attack the ACLU instead of the other way around

stop the acluComing up on my talk show this Saturday night will be Mr. John Stephenson, who runs the web site If you want to know what the ACLU is about, how they affect your life and government, and find plenty of resources, then you will want to check out the show. Check out their web site, as well. There are a bunch of excellent files and information available on their site.
Listen Live

I support their position, but they are getting stupid now

I have written several times about how I support the position held by Ed and Elaine Brown of Plainfield, New Hampshire, in regards to the tax code. I also wrote about how I disagree with some of Ed Brown's positions and how they are handling the situation. I have followed the story fairly regularly and have seen some of the problems that the Browns have had with their own supporters. It seems that there are more ongoing issues in his camp.

I interviewed a man, Tom Cryer who had the same position as the Browns in regards to the tax code. He is a lawyer in Louisiana. He and I had a conversation just this week and he told me that he won his tax court case. Others before him have fallen prey to the IRS, had their fortunes stolen, and even served prison time. He has agreed to do a follow up show and I will schedule him sometime soon.

If only the Browns had vigorously follows his path.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Rest in Pieces

He only had a short life, but he was cute. He met an unfortunate end recently. I know that a few people cared about him, anyway.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Will voters hose themselves on referendum?

From today's N&O, by sweet little Peggy Lim:
Johnston to have two tax votes

Sales tax, transfer issues are ahead

SMITHFIELD - Johnston County voters will have their say in November on both a possible new land transfer tax and a quarter-cent sales tax increase.

County commissioners voted 5-2 Tuesday to put referendums for both items on the November ballot. The state recently approved the options as possible revenue sources for local governments, but the options must first be approved by the residents governed by those boards.

It will cost about $40,000 to hold the referendums in about 16 precincts that are not having town elections this year, said Leigh Anne Price, elections director. But the county won't have to pay to add the question to the ballot in about 28 precincts already holding municipal elections this November.

"I'm all for listening to what the people say," said Commissioner Allen Mims.

Approval from the voters does not mean either of the taxing options must be implemented. If voters approve both, state law would require commissioners to pick one. If a majority of the county's voters oppose the options, commissioners would be barred from adopting them.

The county would earn more from the .4 percent land transfer tax option, about $4.5 million per year. A quarter-cent sales taxes would bring in about $3.4 million a year.

Board Chairwoman Cookie Pope and Vice Chairman Wade Stewart voted against holding a referendum on either tax option.

"Why go through the exercise and spend money if you're not going to follow through?" Stewart said.

Stewart said that he does not think the county needs another revenue source and that a land transfer tax would be a greater burden on lifelong residents of Johnston County.

The county recorded about 8,000 land transfers last year, Stewart said. But it only adds about 1,500 new homes a year, he said.

Mims argued that a land transfer tax does reflect growth. And if a land transfer tax were backed by voters, he would favor using the funds for school construction. The county could also use more money for debt service, road improvements or a break on property taxes, Mims said.

On a $150,000 home, a land transfer tax would add about $600 to the final price.

Other counties in the Triangle also have been weighing whether to move forward with referendums on the tax options. Durham commissioners held a public hearing on the issue Monday but made no decision. Wake County has decided not to add the referendums on the November ballot.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Christian Government

This Saturday on Straight Shooting, I will have as a guest author Tim Bluedow. Mr. Bloedow has worked as a researcher, speech writer and media coordinator for two Members of Parliament in Canada’s federal government. He is a writer and a real estate investor. He worked as a researcher and lobbyist for Campaign Life Coalition. Mr. Bloedow has run for office as a member of the Christian Heritage Party of Canada. He co-founded and published The Ottawa Times, a monthly newspaper, in the early 1990s.

Mr. Bloedow has a Bachelor of Theology from Tyndale Bible College (then Ontario Bible College). He is married to Lynette and has two children, Ulyn and Daniel. He is motivated by a desire to explain and advance the comprehensive claims of Christ over every area of life. His latest book is "State vs. Church: What Christians Can Do to Save Canada from Liberal Tyranny". His web site has more details.

Gotta Get Something Off Your Chest?

Monday, August 13, 2007

How true

I have not blogged in a few days. There is a reason for that.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Speaking of The Kenly News

I can't believe the results of the quickie poll on their site. The question:
Should couples be allowed to have children if they cannot afford health care insurance for them?

The results (as of this post):
36% 12 Votes Yes
64% 21 Votes No

Since when is health insurance a prerequisite for birthing children? From the beginning of recorded history, men and women have been having children and had no insurance. Health insurance is a great thing to have, but it is a fairly recent invention, in the big scheme of things. It is abject stupidity to think that anyone should be precluded by governmental decree from having children because they have no insurance.

That being said, it is irresponsible of adults to not plan on providing for their family. I understand that people can be poor and not exactly plan things in life. When I got married, I was making about 1/5 the income I make now. I also went for years without insurance, since I could not afford it. Heck, I could barely afford to pay rent and groceries. I understand it. We also scrimped to pay for birth control so that we would not have children at that time, since we could not afford them, among other things. Still, I do believe that if we did get pregnant, then our God would have met our needs. We did not feel like proving that at the time, though.

I don't relish the idea that everybody else should pay for the health care of those who do not plan their lives properly. Also, if someone does not have health insurance and want coverage, they need to work harder to improve their circumstances in life. We certainly should not be forced to pay for their health care bills. On the flip side, the government should certainly not regulate the inherent freedom of the natural order of reproduction.

Whatever happened to the idea of self-reliance and reliance on God? AND, whatever happened to the concept of freedom? What are 64% of the poll respondents thinking???

At least we are being asked to give our opinion on whether we want to get hosed or not

From The Kenly News
County Commissioners call public meeting on taxes

The Johnston County Board of Commissioners has scheduled a special meeting to consider a possible county advisory referendum for the purpose of determining citizen input on either a land transfer tax on all real property sales in Johnston County or a a one-quarter cent county sales and use tax in Johnston County.

The meeting will take place in the Commissioners' Meeting Room, Johnston County Courthouse Annex, Smithfield, North Carolina on Tuesday, August 14, 2007 at 6:00 p.m.

The public is invited to attend.

Cookie Pope, Chairman
Johnston County Board of Commissioners
I wish it was on "The Selma News" web site, since I look there much more often than the Kenly site. I do, after all, live in Selma. Unfortunately, the public hearing is on the same night as a Selma Town Council meeting.

I don't have a problem with protests, as long as they are valid

But to protest against a suspicion is ridiculous. Sure, there are those who oppose the war in Iraq. I was among them, since we had no formal declaration of war. However, I also realize the position in which now find in Iraq. I do believe that once we took the action to conquer Iraq, we then took on the responsibility to see things through. I wish we could bring our soldiers home as much as anyone else. I also believe that the only reason why people focus on Iraq is that it is a George W. Bush action. We are still in 130 countries around the world and need to bring our soldiers home from other countries before coming home from Iraq.

I said all this to get to the point that there are those who protest at Johnston County Airport, supposing that they are making a difference or that anyone really cares. Quite honestly, they seem to be protesting what they only imagine. They allege that the CIA is using Aero Contractors, a private company that provides air transportation, to shuttle prisoners around the world to be tortured. Of course these claims are based upon hearsay and the word of dubious individuals. Furthermore, to protest a transportation provider is assinine. That is like protesting Greyhound because The Unibomber took the bus. They simply have the wrong target.

Now there are those who want to stage a protest march in Smithfield. Hey, good luck with that. Note my sarcasm. I am all for the right to peacefully assemble.

Also from WMPM's news page.
Council Delays Action On Anti-War Peace March - Dr. Walt Caison appeared before the Smithfield Town Council Tuesday night hoping to win immediate approval for a peace march and rally. Board members told Caison he needed to apply for the proper permits and return before the council in September, something he didn’t want to hear. Caison said he expects 300 people to attend a rally he wants to hold October 27 at the Smithfield Town Commons. Caison said he wants to draw attention to the Iraq War and to the role he believes Aero Contractors, based at the Johnston County Airport, has played in the war. The company has been accused of transporting terrorist suspects for the CIA to countries that allow torture during interrogations. Caison said organizations such as Johnston County Christians Against Torture, Code Pink Women For Peace, and Amnesty International have agreed to support the rally, which will include vendors and several speakers. Caison has already received a permit to hold the rally at the Town Commons, but not a permit to have amplified music at the event or a parade permit for the peace march. Caison said his rally would be a "festival type atmosphere" similar to the Christian Music Festival sponsored annually by the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation. Police Chief Gillikin expressed concerns about the number of potential protestors who may show up at the march, and the requested closing of several streets, including Fourth Street , where the march would start, along with Market and Front Streets. "We’re not in opposition but a lot of things need to be answered," Chief Gillikin said. Caison said, "As an American citizen, as a taxpayer, I have rights of free speech, assembly, and the right to be protected." He felt the delay in the council’s decision was unwarranted. "Waiting to September wouldn’t work for us," he told the board. Councilman Daniel Evans later responded, "Maybe you should have been here last month." Councilman Clayton Narron and Town Attorney Robert Spence told Caison he would have to return in September with details about the march before the board would take any action.

If you have plenty of time to waste, check out the throngs of people protesting at the Johnston County Airport. It is overwhelming.

I have no problem providing transportation to the government. If I owned a private charter jet company, I would stand in line to get some of that business. It is no different that providing a taxi service.

Keep in mind that these are still allegations and not proof of the CIA activities. Quite honestly, if our nation can extract information from an enemy, throw them on the waterboard. It's a dirty job, but a necessary one.

What I find extremely hypocritical is that the same people (and this is a generality, but it holds true with most everyone I have ever talked to that hold that view) who would oppose the quartering of POWs at Gitmo or the business of Aero Contractors and are vocal opponents of alleged (not confirmed) torture trips are the same ones who support the worst human rights abuses. By and large, these people support abortion on demand and oppose the death penalty. They claim to defend humanity but support the slaughter of innocent children. The groups mentioned in the article are generally far left organizations with a political agenda rather than a humanitarian one.

How anyone can claim to support human rights on the one hand yet support the wanton slaughter of innocent life is astounding. This same mindset is what will get many more people killed by radical Islamists, get millions of more babies killed before they were born, and defend oppressors across the globe as long as they are socialists.

Some of these positions are where I differ with Ron Paul in his opinions. I have no problem taking it to Islamists if they are coming after us. He claims that they are coming after us because we are present in the Middle East. They have been doing so long before we were ever there. It is their creed to do so, and it is simply the result of an evil belief system.

I am not for wholesale torture at all. I don't believe that the CIA is doing that, either. The amusing thing is what some people consider to be torture. Sleep deprivation, being humiliated, and even using the waterboard technique are hardly torturous. Men being stripped naked and posed in front of a camera, wearing women's underwear, and wearing a dog leash like our soldiers did at Abu Ghraib are not torturous acts. Medieval techniques were torturous.

I see the group "Johnston County Christians Against Torture" referenced in the article. I doubt that it is anything more than a person or two who took on a name to give themselves more credibility and operate from a dining room table. I found absolutely NO references to them on the internet.

To that group and their associates I offer the opportunity to have an entire hour on a podcast to get their message out on my talk show. I will allow y'all to have a civil discourse to prove your point and attempt to convince me as well as my listeners of your cause.

What I found amusing in the youtube video that I posted here is that people were condemning the pilots who were flying the charter jets for Aero Contractors to Hell. They declared that they will be refused entry into Heaven. Funny how the same people probably have as a favorite Bible verse something about judging others. We are supposed to judge, as we are told in 1 Cor. 6. We can judge actions as holy acts or not. We are supposed to do so, otherwise there would be no differentiation between sin and righteousness. However, these people went further and judged their hearts, their motives, and their eternal souls. This is the very essence of the admonitions against such judging. I have been judged the same way by these people. I am not the judge of their hearts, but I will judge their actions and their cause.

What a bunch of overhyped hysteria

I am so tired of people over-reacting to every last little incident. People need to just use common sense rather than overblowing common every day things into a major crisis. That happened today here in Selma. You have to read it to get the detail.
7 Children, 3 Adults Sent To Hospital Following Mercury Scare At Daycare Center - A local daycare center was evacuated Wednesday after a mercury scare. A glass thermometer shattered on the floor of the Powerhouse Prayer Christian Childcare Center on South Massey Street in Selma . Workers cleaned up the spilled liquid before emergency workers arrived, but since the substance in the thermometer might have been mercury, seven children and three adults were transported to Johnston Memorial Hospital to be checked out. Johnston County Fire Marshal Matt Chestnut said an environmental crew was called to the scene to assess the cleanup, and an air monitoring crew was dispatched to the scene to check on air quality levels inside the daycare. Several other children who were not in the immediate area of the spill were moved to another area of the church until their parents could be contacted to pick them up early. Chestnut said the daycare center would remain closed for the remainder of the day. Exposure to significant amounts of mercury can affect the central nervous system in children. Results can range from learning disabilities to neurological problems, including mental retardation, blindness, and spasticity.

It was a FRICKIN' THERMOMETER! NO BIG DEAL! CLEAN UP THE DOGGONE SPILL AND GO ON WITH LIFE! Nobody is going to get retarded or have neurological damage from being in the same building when a thermometer breaks. People go ape when there is asbestos in a building. If left undisturbed, there is nothing wrong with asbestos. But, people panic. In this instance, people were not using common sense. It is overkill and a waste to send ten people to the hospital over a broken thermometer. What a waste of time, money, and emotions.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Taxpayers...want some KY?

Here is a news story from WMPM.
Commissioners To Discuss Local Tax Options - Johnston County Commissioners will hold a special meeting next week to discuss legislation, approved by state lawmakers, allowing counties to raise their sales tax rate or impose a land transfer tax. State lawmakers agreed to pick up all 100 counties' five percent share of Medicaid bills they were forced to pay. In return the state will keep an additional half cent of their sales tax revenue. But in return, counties like Johnston were given the option to increase their sales tax rate by 1/4 cent or to enact a 0.4 percent transfer tax on all real estate sales. Commissioners will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, August 14 at 6pm to discuss the implications of the legislation. Before either additional tax revenue could be enacted in Johnston County , local voters would have to vote for their approval in a referendum.

Watch for my column this week where I deal some with this concept. After my column is published, I will also share here what I wrote that became a column...or rather a column that became a letter.

We tax paying citizens are about to take it without so much as a kiss from our government officials. To top it off, we have school administrators cheering on these tax increases.

Rebooked: Americans for Legal Immigration on "Straight Shooting"

Last Saturday, my guest, William Gheen of Americans for Legal Immigration had an unexpected emergency, so he will be joining me this coming week instead. The show will be live this Saturday night at 6 PM eastern. Mr. Gheen has an impressive list of media experience, so I am expecting a decent show on the topic of immigration.

You can hear my insane babblings right here.

Listen Live

I just got my N&O questionnaire in the mail

Here are the questions and answers I have provided.


NAME: Troy LaPlante

AGE: 39

OCCUPATION: Technical Services Coordinator for Time Warner Cable Media Sales

EDUCATION: AAS in Fire Protection, New Hampshire Technical College, Laconia, NH

POLITICAL PARTY AND EXPERIENCE: Currently unaffiliated. Ran unsuccessfully for town council last municipal election.

CIVIC ACTIVITIES AND OTHER AFFILIATIONS: I have co-founded several ministry groups and congregations in the past, I serve on the Johnston County Local Emergency Planning Committee, the Selma Planning Board and Board of Adjustment, the Selma Citizen's Advisory Board, and with the Selma Development Partnership.

WHY SHOULD YOU BE ELECTED: For the past several years, I have been the only candidate to make all of my views known to the public. Anyone can read my views in the newspaper and online, so there are no surprises. I have experience working in and around municipal and state government, and thus have perspectives that nobody else running for council has. I am very conservative and believe in personal freedom, personal responsibility, and limited government. I am also the only candidate and would be the only council member from the entire western precinct, which currently has no representation.

CONTACT INFORMATION: email web site telephone 919-975-2210

Forced annexation news story

From The Smithfield Herald:
Selma in legal spat
Property owners say annexation was illegal
By Jordan Cooke, Staff Reporter

SELMA -- Fifteen people irked by the annexation of their homes are asking a judge to overturn the move.

In a civil complaint filed June 7, the property owners say the Town of Selma broke state law when it annexed their lands. Specifically, the complaint says the town ignored population-density requirements in the state’s annexation law. Also, the property owners claim the town annexed their lands solely for financial gain.

Town Attorney Chip Hewitt said the charges were untrue. "We recognize that there is potentially a lot at play here," he said. "But it's our position that we complied with all statutes, that the annexation report detailing the town’s plans is valid and that the court should affirm the annexation."

Hewitt declined to comment further because of the pending litigation.

Chapel Hill attorney Bob Hornik, representing the citizens who filed the complaint, said his review of the annexation revealed some flaws. Specifically, Hornik said, most of the annexed areas failed to pass the population-density test.

Under state law, an area must have "two and three-tenths persons for each acre of land" before a town can annex it. But in one Selma example, 131 people live on 111 acres at U.S. 301 and Webb Street. That's 1.18 people per acre, well below the density requirement.

Also, in its annexation report, Selma essentially admitted to seeking a new revenue source, Hornik said. The report states "that in the first year after annexation, the net financial benefit to the town resulting from the annexation is expected to be in excess of $90,000."

"Generally, one of the things I've seen and others have seen is that too often the annexation power is being used as a revenue-generating device," said Hornik, who also serves as legal counsel to the Town of Hillsborough. "Towns sometimes look for areas where they can extend their municipal boundaries without having to spend a lot of money on additional services. So basically, they get more revenue from property taxes and other taxes that find their way back into the town’s coffers without the town having to spend money."

"I think that's the case if you look at the report in Selma," Hornik said. "When you look at the financial data, it looks like the areas might have been chosen for several reasons, but mostly because the town would get a revenue boost. That’s not uncommon, but it’s also not what the annexation statutes were adopted for in the late 1950s."

Annexation, Hornik said, was designed to extend town services in hopes that residential and commercial growth would follow. His clients wonder what they will be getting for their tax dollars, he said.

"They really believe they're going to wind up getting a bigger tax bill without any significant corresponding perks," Hornik said. "So basically, they would get the burden but not the benefit."

This is one of the issues I have opposed here in Selma. I am not for involuntary annexation except in rare cases. I opposed the annexation then and will do so if I am elected to the town council.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Selma fire chief applicants

From The Selma News:
14 apply for Selma Fire Chief's job
By Kelly Lake, News Editor 03.AUG.07

Selma Town Manager Stan Farmer said today (Friday) that the town has received 14 applications for the fire chief's position advertised last month.

The successful applicant will replace current fire chief Joe Price.

He said two or three applicants were from out-of-state, four or five live in Johnston County and the rest are from elsewhere in North Carolina.

Farmer will now decide how to proceed with interviews. He is currently gathering information about using an assessment center to choose the right applicant for the job.

"Right now, I'm talking with people who can educate me on that process," said Farmer. "It is more in depth than an interview."

When asked if current Selma firemen are among the applicants, Farmer said he could not devulge the identities of the applicants.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Americans for Legal Immigration on Saturday night's show

My show, Straight Shooting, will feature William Gheen of Americans for Legal Immigration. The show will be live this Saturday night at 6 PM eastern. Mr. Gheen has an impressive list of media experience, so I am expecting a decent show on the topic of immigration. Every time I visit their web site, there are a lot of visitors on their site.

Listen Live

I just discovered this station

With the demise of rock radio in the Triangle market, I have not really listened to much music radio lately. I am on a NC radio-centric message board and saw a post by someone local who has a small AM frequency in Lucama and also streams the signal on the internet. I have been able to listen for a while and enjoyed what I heard. Everything from Jefferson Airplane and The Doors to Quiet Riot and Van Halen. Check it out.

Hey, NC...incrementally, Big Brother is coming. The slope is indeed slippery.

I can see the path upon which our nation is headed. There are two different things in the news that indicate our path. First is North Carolina House Bill 1287, which was being strongly backed by the North Carolina Sheriffs' Association. Allegedly, they are now taking a "neutral" position on the bill, since there have been changes to the bill that would weaken the discretionary powers of the local sheriff. Of course their association will not come out and endorse anything that will take away their own power.

On a side note, our own Johnston County Sheriff, Steve Bizzell is now the president of that association. From WMPM's news page from July 30th:
Sheriff Steve Bizzell Elected NCSA President - The North Carolina Sheriffs' Association held its 85th Annual Training Conference this week in Sunset Beach , with other Sheriffs and law enforcement personnel from across the State. Sheriff Steve Bizzell of Johnston County was elected President of the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association for the upcoming 2007-2008 year. Sheriff Bizzell said, "Our Annual Training Conference allows North Carolina 's Sheriffs to discuss their experiences and learn from each other, as well as bring ourselves up-to-date on important law enforcement developments. My staff and I will use this knowledge to further serve and protect Johnston County's citizens." Bizzell told the audience, "Sheriffs in every county of North Carolina are facing tremendous challenges in carrying out their responsibilities for law enforcement and the safety of our citizens; maintenance and operation of local jails; recruiting, training and maintaining talented personnel; working with domestic situations, child abuse cases, serving civil papers, tracking sex offenders in the state, issuing weapons permits, court security, and many other areas." Also in attendance were Lieutenant Governor Beverly Perdue; State Auditor Leslie Merritt; Secretary of the NC Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, Bryan Beatty; and Chairwoman of the Governor’s Crime Commission, Linda Hayes; as well as members of the North Carolina Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. The Association Headquarters is located in Raleigh.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. From Grass Roots North Carolina:
A little refresher on the basics of HB 1287:


* REGISTER anyone who is denied a pistol purchase permit by his sheriff into a DATABASE with the State Bureau of Investigation.

* Keep the denial in the SBI database for 8 YEARS.

* Require the denial to appear in all subsequent records checks.


Unlike concealed handgun permits, which are "sheriff shall issue," sheriffs have broad latitude in denying pistol purchase permits. Reasons for which sheriffs may deny permits under G.S. 14-404--beyond finding a criminal background-can include something as simple as having applied for more purchase permits than they decide you need, or even arbitrarily deciding you are not of "good moral character."


Although HB 1287 requires the SBI to expunge data after 8 years, the bill contains **NO PROTECTIONS ABOUT WHERE THE DATA MAY BE SENT.**
Translation: If you are denied a permit for not being of "good moral character," the denial could be sent to the FBI, BATFE, local law enforcement or others who have NO OBLIGATION TO EXPUNGE THE DATA...EVER!!!

Now, let's cross the pond, so to speak and see where ideas like this have led. From the article from the British site Times Online:
Police are seeking powers to take DNA samples from suspects on the streets and for non-imprisonable offences such as speeding and dropping litter.

The demand for a huge expansion of powers to take DNA comes as a government watchdog announced the first public inquiry into the national DNA database.
Is this where we want to head? Sure, registering those denied (at arbitrary discretion) does not equate to taking DNA samples from those who are merely stopped for speeding or littering, but it is the same direction. Those who are denied firearms purchase permits here in NC are not even law breakers. At least those in the UK that would be put into a database have committed some sort of infraction. Both are inappropriate. Both are freedom grabbing and an invasion of privacy. Taking DNA samples and building a database for speeding seems ridiculous. Then again, so does being put in a database that the FBI can access for being denied a pistol purchase permit by a county sheriff.

We are indeed on the proverbial slippery slope heading into the swift river that sweeps away liberty.