Thursday, July 31, 2008

Since Shearon Harris is in Wake County, Orange County Commissioners can go pound sand

When Berkley East, otherwise known as Orange County, NC annexes Wake County, then they can have a say in what goes on in Wake County. Until then, the Orange County Board of Commissioners needs to STFU.

From WRAL:
Progress Energy might build two more nuclear reactors at its Shearon Harris facility in Wake County. However, the company first has to get approval to do it.

Before company officials make up their minds, some local elected officials are moving forward with plans to oppose it.

The company is in the midst of public hearings with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a requirement to build new reactors.

Progress Energy officials said a growing customer base and a higher demand for power justify the expansion. The company expects to add 500,000 customers in the next 20 years.

The approval process could take years, but Orange County isn't wasting any time. The Board of Commissioners called a special meeting for Thursday night to consider a resolution to oppose Progress Energy's permit to expand Shearon Harris.

The resolution says Orange County is concerned about the potential for spontaneous combustion of spent nuclear fuel rods during low water conditions. It also says expansion of the plant would enhance the attraction of the facility for terrorist attacks.

Wake County leaders are on record in support of the plan. The school district approves.
Oddly enough, the liberals in Orange County must be in support of burning more fossil fuels to run power plants and therefore, in their eyes, pollute the environment and contribute to (non-existent) global warming. The need for more electricity production is there, but leave it to whining liberals to try to stop progress. (Ha, ha, Progress Energy...get it?)

...and Obama wants to raise their taxes?

the income share earned by the top 1 percent of tax returns and the tax share paid by that top 1 percent have once again reached all-time highs. In 2006, the top 1 percent of tax returns paid 39.9 percent of all federal individual income taxes and earned 22.1 percent of adjusted gross income, both of which are significantly higher than 2004 when the top 1 percent earned 19 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI) and paid 36.9 percent of federal individual income taxes.
These are the people who hire workers. More taxation = less money to use to hire workers = layoffs or lower wages for lower income workers. Stupid. Economics 101. Source: The Tax Foundation

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

So much for the First Amendment

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution states that we have freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion.
Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.


A town official praying a specific way does NOT violate the establishment clause. It is common sense that CONGRESS has not set forth an official religion when a town councilman prays to open a meeting in his municipality. There is no wall of separation between church and state found anywhere in the Constitution. That comes from a letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists in Connecticut who were concerned that there may be an official denomination (not necessarily religion in general) chosen as the official national religion.

As a matter of fact, it was in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 (sometimes called the Philadelphia Convention) where Benjamin Franklin, arguably the least spiritual of the delegates, brought it to the attention of the assembly that they had failed to begin each day's activities with prayer and beseeched that they start doing so.

Being totally ignorant, secularly minded, and having the "spirit of anti-Christ", all three judges of the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that praying in the name of Jesus is unconstitutional. Here is the article on the topic. Here is an excerpt from the article.
Using Jesus' name during public prayers is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court has ruled.

The 2006 case involved a city councilman in Fredericksburg, Va., who had frequently used the name of Jesus during prayer to open meetings.

The three-judge panel for the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously Wednesday that "the practice of members of Town Council invoking name(s) specifically associated with the Christian faith violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment."


Here in Selma, we had the ACLU threaten a lawsuit for the same thing and the town council backed down. Finally, the mayor decided to continue prayer in Jesus' name. I personally offered to help pay for a legal defense should the town get sued. Some things are worth fighting for. This is a matter of principle, not just of Christian principle, but of proper application of the law and the Constitution.

Do you want to know what the Founding Fathers thought on this issue? Here is an excellent list of their own words on that subject. Also, a friend of mine with whom I co-host The Patriots Pub has an article on the separation of church and state...and he is an agnostic. Yet, he feels the exact same way I do in regards to original intent and the founding of the nation and the prevailing religious views of the day. If you want an emailed copy, just email me.

Some things are worth fighting over. This is one. It is a matter of freedom, truth, and the foundation of American society.

More asinine apologies for slavery

I dealt with this subject once already for a complete hour. It is just plain asinine to offer apologies for something that happened hundreds of years ago and ended over 140 years ago. The United States Congress acquiesced and offered a formal apology for slavery as the State of North Carolina did over a year ago. Give me a break. NOBODY who was a slave owner is alive today. The lawmakers who passed Jim Crowe laws are long dead.

The concept of slavery was dealt with in the 1860's at the cost of hundreds of thousands of American lives. What is not often mentioned is that there were a lot of Negro slave owners here in America. In addition to that, it was Negroes who sold other Negroes into slavery. That is a side issue, but still relevant.

Here is the article on the apology. Here are a couple of paragraphs from the article.
US lawmakers Tuesday offered the federal government's first formal apology for the "fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity" of slavery and the legal segregation of African-Americans.

The resolution, passed in the House of Representatives by voice vote, "apologizes to African-Americans on behalf of the people of the United States, for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery" formal segregation laws known as "Jim Crow."

Lawmakers also said they were committed to rectifying "the lingering consequences" of slavery and segregation.

Here is how to listen to my talk show episode on the subject when it came up here in North Carolina last year.

Bush signed the bill in secret because it was WRONG to do

I wrote about this earlier. This is just wrong. It is wrong to give open authority to bureaucrats on lending allegedly private mortgage companies money. It is wrong to bail out private citizens because they used bad judgment in getting mortgage loans. We are getting hosed.

Here is the story.
With none of the fanfare that usually attends a landmark bill becoming law, President Bush signed the huge housing rescue bill just after 7 a.m. Wednesday, shortly after he arrived in the Oval Office.

Only a few aides and administration officials were present, including Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Steve Preston and James B. Lockhart III, the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

The White House announced the signing by e-mail moments later.

The bill, the biggest overhaul of housing law in decades, provides a lifeline for an estimated 400,000 homeowners facing foreclosure, and provides assurances to the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, whose books are loaded with bad mortgages.

This is just wrong. Charged for protecting your property?

When your dog is being attacked by another dog, one should have the right to exercise lethal force to protect one's own property and friend. If I am walking my dog or I have my dog in my back yard and a vicious dog attacks either myself or my dog, I am going to use whatever force is necessary to protect my dog. If that means shooting the attacking dog, so be it. In protecting my own dog by shooting the attacker, there is no way under all fairness and common sense that I should be charged with animal cruelty. Allowing the attack on my dog would be animal cruelty, not defending my canine companion and property. This would be a JUSTIFIED use of a firearm in the judgment of any rational, fair minded individual.

The following news story was on WTSB's news page today. It is just wrong to charge this man with discharging a firearm in the city limits (which is a BS ordinance to begin with) and animal cruelty. This is NOT justice. It is just plain wrong.
Owner, Neighbor Charged Following Dog's Death
Two Selma neighbors are in trouble with authorities following the shooting death of a canine. It happened Monday night on Godwin Street. Selma Police reported William Lynn Godwin, 32, shot and killed his neighbor’s dog, reportedly while trying to defend his own animal. Godwin was charged with cruelty to animals and discharging a firearm within town limits. The dog’s owner, Kevin Campbell, was cited for violating a town ordinance of allowing his dog to run at large.

I agree with Obama on this one, too.

According to Yahoo news:
Barack Obama told House Democrats on Tuesday that as president he would order his attorney general to scour White House executive orders and expunge any that "trample on liberty," several lawmakers said.

Presidents, as head of the executive branch of government, issue such orders to direct operations of executive branch agencies, like the Justice Department and the CIA.
I have said for years that I was wanting a President to go through all the executive orders issued by previous administrations and get rid of the ones that I disagreed with or wanted to change. Actually, to be more accurate, I feel that every last executive order should be nullified upon the leaving of the previous administration. There is no way feasible that the executive branch should be held to the standards laid down by a President from 30 years ago. Why should choices made by Jimmy Carter dictate how George W. Bush runs his administration? If an executive officer made the order, and executive officer can rescind the order.

I have no problem with the chief executive officer making administration policy. I do have a problem with using executive orders in place of law. For instance, Bush's order on bass fishing regulation (cited in the article) is not something a POTUS should be deciding. Whether the CIA is allowed to perform certain sorts of operations, however, is within the jurisdiction of the head of the executive branch.

Of course I expect someone like Obama to only keep liberally bending orders in place, but he does have the concept of eliminating those orders that do not coincide with his goals and purposes.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Louisiana had it right, SCOTUS had it wrong, NC getting there

I served on a jury for a trial of a prisoner accused of beating a chomo. Chomos are scum. He got what he deserved, in my opinion, but the assault was also illegal and we had to judge the case as such.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States recently struck down a Louisiana law that allows capital punishment for people convicted of raping children. First of all, capital punishment is neither cruel nor unusual, but that was the court's ruling as it is applied to rape cases. They said that the punishment was unfit for the crime. Personally, I find it entirely appropriate.

Here in North Carolina, the governor just signed a bill into law making child rape and molestation offenses carry stiffer punishment. Personally, I think like Louisiana did and believe in the swift, efficient use of the death penalty for chomos. I wish we could do so.

From the WTSB news page:
Governor Signs Jessica Lunsford Act Into Law
On Monday, Gov. Mike Easley signed into law The Jessica Lunsford Act. The law means sexual predators convicted in North Carolina will face stiffer punishment for rape or sexual offenses against children. In certain criminal offenses the minimum sentence will be 25 years in prison followed by lifetime satellite-based monitoring, or the possibility of life imprisonment without parole. The law also increases the criminal penalties for sexual exploitation of a minor and promoting prostitution of a minor, and makes the sex offender registration requirements more stringent. The Act creates a new criminal offense making it unlawful for a sex offender to be on certain premises such as schools, playgrounds and child care centers. Sex offender registries must now be checked, by local school districts, of all school contractual personnel before allowing them to have direct interaction with students. "Today we send a message that North Carolina will protect our children from vicious predators," Easley said. "We will make sure they spend more time in prison and we will track them 24-7 to make sure they never abuse children again." Easley signed the bill in Gaston County, where Jessica Lunsford, the 9-year-old for whom the bill is named, was born and lived until she moved to Florida in 2004. In February 2005 she was raped and murdered by a sex offender. The offender, John Couey, was convicted of her murder and has been sentenced to death. Police had lost track of Couey, who was staying with his sister in the same neighborhood as Jessica. Appearing with the governor at the bill signing was Mark Lunsford, father of Jessica, who has lobbied legislatures around the nation, including North Carolina, for tougher child predator laws. The bill passed the House by a vote of 109-1, and the Senate by a vote of 46-0. The new law goes into effect December 1.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mortgage bail out bothers me as a matter of fairness as well as legality

I have written about this before and I probably will again. I am tremendously bothered by the idea that the federal government is about to bail out mortgage lenders and mortgage payers. I busted my tail to get good enough credit and income to be able to have a house. I did not buy more house than I could afford. I settled for a house that was within my desired price range and within the quality, size, and comfort levels I desired. Overall, I have been happy with that decision and I have never failed to be able to pay my mortgage as a result. As with any older home, there are things I have needed to dump money into for repairs and improvements. I would obviously prefer not to have to pay the money for such, but that is part of home ownership.

Neal Boortz wrote about this very concept this morning on his news page. It echoes my sentiments.
ANOTHER GUMMIT BAILOUT

This one could cost $25 billion, but what the hell. Actually ... that's a minimum estimate. Some analysts think the mortgage bail-out that Bush is oh-so-eagerly going to sign this week could cost $300 billion. The politicians who curry favor and buy votes with this money don't have to worry about where the money comes from. They're going to be long-gone when the bill comes due. They only have to worry about doing what they need to do to buy votes so they can enjoy the prestige and privileges of power until that time.

Who are these people who are going to be bailed out?

* People who knew they were buying more house than they could afford, and who thought that they would be bailed out by rising equity.
* People who got home loans in spite of bad credit ratings ... loans spurred by media and government anguish over the unavailability of home loans to bad credit risks.
* People who bought the house, took out the loan, and moved on in knowing full well that they wouldn't be able to make the payments when the interest rates went up. But what the hell .. they would just ride the cheap rates until then, and throw in the keys.

Yes...I know that there were some bad actors in the mortgage business. There are bad actors in every business. Me, for instance. But I can remember a dozen or so years ago when almost every major newspaper in the country was running investigative reports on the evils of the mortgage business. These reports told us that these evil mortgage companies were not doing enough to bring the American dream of home ownership to poorer people. The nasty mortgage lenders were actually using criteria such as income, job stability, credit ratings, loan-to-value ratio and other anti-inclusive measurements to intentionally keep minorities, single women and other poor, poor pitiful victims out of the home market. So --- before the feds stepped in and made them do it – the evil mortgage lenders started lending to people that should be renting. And here we are.

Remember...over 95% of the people in this country with home loans are making those payments each and every month. So what kind of crisis is this really? Can't it be said we're weeding out the chaff here?
It is NOT the job of the taxpayers of this nation to bail out those who have taken bad financial decisions in life. It is not my fault that others have taken loans they can not repay. It is not my fault that some people were stupid enough to take variable interest rate loans and are now paying the price for that stupidity. It is not my fault that people got mortgages that they had no intention of being able to repay over the long haul. It is not my fault or the fault of the rest of the tax payers who are or have been faithful in paying for our homes. Not only that, I do not recall any provision in the Constitution that would allow Congress or the President to spend taxpayer money on any such thing.

This is just another boondoggle in which we are getting screwed by our elected officials so that they can look like the knight in shining armor that came to the defense of the average citizen. No, they are the thieves who took from the average citizen and gave the collective wealth to corporations that should never have undertaken such bad business decisions and to other citizens who should never have been allowed to get such risky loans to begin with. Were it not for threats of government action to begin with, the mortgage companies probably would never have underwritten such loans.

We have the largest budget in world history. We have an unfathomable amount of national debt. We have spending on special interest projects that do not benefit the public good. We waste more money than some nations have as a GDP. We have confiscatory taxation levels that would cause a tea party and disgust the Founding Fathers. Quite frankly, I am sick of it all. Unfortunately, I see no end in sight. The world's system is corrupting our government and bankrupting our nation.

Here is a news article on the pending bail out. Bend over, grab ankles.
The measure, regarded as the most significant housing legislation in decades, lets homeowners who cannot afford their payments refinance into more affordable government-backed loans rather than losing their homes.

It offers a temporary financial lifeline to troubled mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- pillars of the home loan market whose losses have sparked investor fears -- and tightens controls over the two government-sponsored businesses.
Furthermore, the article states:
The legislation overhauls the Depression-era FHA. It requires lenders to show how high a borrower's payment could get under the terms of his mortgage. It provides $180 million in pre-foreclosure counseling for struggling homeowners.

The Treasury Department gains unlimited power, until the end of 2009, to lend money to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or buy their stock should they need it. The Federal Reserve takes on a new "consultative" role overseeing the companies.

The measure includes $15 billion in tax cuts, including a significant expansion of the low-income housing tax credit and a credit of up to $7,500 for first-time home buyers for houses purchased between April 9, 2008, and July 1, 2009.
This is just unfair to others who have been faithful in their mortgage payments and the tax payers who have to foot the bill. This sucks royally.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Women DESERVE pro-choice.

No, I have not lost my marbles. I refer to this.

Friday, July 18, 2008

I am not fond of a church 501(c)(3) status. The money changers love it.

I realize that the government is supposed to be a servant of the Lord. The Church is supposed to be the of the Lord, as well. There are issues I see with churches having a tax exempt status. There has been a lot of abuse with that status in the name of freedom of religion. There are tax breaks for ministers that most people do not get. I had some web sites bookmarked for years. One of them dealt with churches and 501(c)(3) status. Unfortunately, that URL no longer is valid, or I would link you there.

There are a lot of churches who do finances correctly. They are prudent with their money and respect how it is spent. Other ministries become the personal wealth machine of hucksters. That is one major reason why I left the Word of Faith Movement (WOF) in the mid 1990's. I have no problem with apostolic authority, but I do have a problem with stacking the deck of a ministry's board of directors with family and/or "yes men". It is the unfortunate consequence of tax exempt status that a not for profit corporation has to have a board. I have seen some churches with only family on the board.

It is sad to see that people make money off the fears of others. WOF preachers scare parishioners into tithing and giving to "the man of God" so that they will themselves be blessed. Of course those tithes and offerings can go to no other ministers much less fellow believers or God will be angry at them and curse them. I sat through a lot of sermons to that end, as well as read plenty of books teaching those heresies. Yes, I believe that God honors your giving and blesses you for it. I do not, however, believe that people are going to be cursed by God if they do not give 10% of their income to their local congregation. I live under a new covenant, established upon better promises. Nonetheless, these WOF preachers will pull all sorts of cursings out of the Old Testament to back their claims. The most popular is the old Malachi 3:10. However, you never hear those preachers share the intended recipients of the message. I am not a Jew, I never was a Jew, and never was under the Law.

The sad truth is that people who often can not pay their own bills ignorantly pour money into the pockets of such charlatans, believing that God will honor their faithfulness and owes them more money in return, as if there is a formula or equation in Heaven to follow. I have seen poor people give money when they could not afford groceries of to pay the electricity bill with the expectation that God will bless them mightily. Years later, they are still poor. Do not get me wrong. I do believe that God does honor giving. He is not obligated, however, to honor a covenant that is not yours to begin with or giving in fear of his wrath.

Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Jesse Duplantis, Jerry Savelle, Benny Hinn, Robert Tilton, Marilyn Hickey, Oral Roberts, Frederick Price, John Avanzini, Morris Cerullo, E.W. Kenyon, and a host of others preach the "name it and claim it" gospel; the "blab it and grab it" theology, or the health and wealth gospel. Pick your term, I don't care. You see many of these same people and their ilk on television regularly. I have personally met some of them, been in their services, read their books, etc. Had I compromised, I would probably be a millionaire raking in millions of dollars every year and have a world wide TV ministry. God would not let me do so, and for that I am grateful. Thank you, Lord, for your grace and your mercy.

Side note: I am reminded of a joke.
A Christian Scientist and a WOF preacher both died and ended up in Hell. They both looked around at their surroundings and figured out their location. The Christian Scientist started confessing, "There is no such thing as Hell. There is no such thing as Hell. There is no such thing as Hell." The WOF preacher started confessing, "I'm in Heaven. I'm in Heaven. I'm in Heaven."
Those who understand the theologies involved will enjoy that one.

For some time now, the US Congress, having solved all other major issues in the country, have decided to start auditing and questioning televangelists and their ministry finances. I realize as well as anyone that there is a serious First Amendment consideration here. However, keep in mind that we are talking about a 501(c)(3) corporation here, not just a ministry. There is supposed to be some degree of accountability. Rest assured that if there is no accountability now, there will be in the future, and that will be to the supreme judge.

I believe it to be wrong that the IRS can threaten to take away the tax exempt status for a preacher that makes political statements in the pulpit. There is a righteous standard that a minister is supposed to uphold. Those standards transcends into politics. If the government is ordained of God, then we have a responsibility to ensure that the proper ethics are employed in selecting leaders who will exemplify God's character and nature. Not only that, but there is an abridgment of First Amendment freedom of speech when preachers are disallowed to preach righteousness to their congregations and encourage them to vote according to their ethics that are based upon their faith.

When people abuse their authority, then they must face the minister of God, as enumerated in Romans 13. When a church or para-church organization abrogates their responsibilities and fails to pay their employees, they have legal issues, not just church issues. When a charter is handed out by the state, the state can regulate and hold you accountable. For instance, a pastor I know was purchasing a radio station and failed to live up to his end of the purchase agreement. He owed several employees, myself included, thousands of dollars in back wages. One man was owed ten fold of what I was owed. That pastor insisted that nobody could sue him. Well, it is not exactly easy to go before a church when he runs that church body. I sued a corporation. Had that same pastor not committed perjury by lying his butt off in court about his involvement and stake in the operations of that radio station, he would have lost that lawsuit. He had to resort to dishonesty to win. That is sad. Here some of us employees had to move out of our housing because we were not getting paid, some had not even enough gas money to show up for work or get home, and others ran up debt to help keep the radio station going. Promises were made but not kept, and we all suffered. Sin affects other people.

I weep for my brethren who are still mired in WOF theology. There were people that I loved dearly that were and may still be stuck in the preaching of manna and false hope for healing. I believe in healing. I have personally laid hands on the sick and injured and watched them be healed before my very eyes. The problem with WOF teaching is that they proclaim that if you are not healed, it is their own fault for not having sufficient faith to be healed. What a crock of BS. If someone calls for an elder of the church and asks for prayer and laying on of hands to be healed, then according to James chapter 5, the prayer of faith is the burden of the elder, not the one who is sick. That is the great heresy. Blaming someone else for your inaccurate theology to the detriment and possible destruction of the afflicted just pisses me off royally.

I have seen this many times. One such instance stands out in my mind in that a church held a healing service. There were ads on the radio asking for anyone who is sick to attend this special anointed healing service. I should know, I made the ads. After a message delivered about having faith to be healed, one person came up in a wheelchair asking for God's healing touch. After struggling to her feet and the pastor laying hands on the woman, she was none the better. The pastor actually chided the woman for not having sufficient faith to be healed. As I recall, he told her to go study about having faith sufficient for her healing. I was disgusted, but I could not vent my frustrations at the time.

That same pastor taught more than once that if you did not tithe, that you were a "God robber" according to Malachi 3:10 and that as a thief, you would go to Hell. Funny, that same verse talks about extortioners. Obtaining money from people under a false or even real threat of punishment or retribution is extorting from people.
Main Entry: ex·tort
: to obtain from a person by force, intimidation, or undue or illegal power : wring; also
: to gain especially by ingenuity or compelling argument
It is not hard for me to equate WOF teachers with the money changers in the temple during Jesus' time. They twisted the law, extorted money, and made profit from the people of God. It is ironic that Jesus said, "make not my Father's house an house of merchandise" and yet when you go to many churches, there are book stores, tapes, CDs, videos, and books for sale of the preacher, singing group, or guest evangelist for sale. I have seen one particular preacher hock his books for some fifteen or twenty minutes. I have been in services where a so called prophet claimed to have a word from God as to how much money people should give that night. Another night, the special word from God was to take out your largest denomination bill and give it in the offering and you would get a 1000 fold increase by the end of the week. Another night he said that the Lord showed him that someone in the audience was keeping a $100 bill tucked away in his wallet in case a special need or occasion came up and that God instructed for him to give it in the offering. I saw this guy several times and it was amazing that in two totally different services in two different locations, God amazingly gave the exact same words of knowledge about money squirreled away in wallets and giving the largest size bill. Because I did not tolerate that crap or want any part of it, I was removed as a deacon in one church.

Not surprisingly, those who deal loosely with the truth or are downright deceived about the truth about money have a real motivation to keep these things private. Jim Bakker can attest to that. Somewhere here at the house, I have a recording of his first message after he got out of prison. I have his book, I Was Wrong on my book shelf. One by one, dirty ministers are being exposed. I wrote about one earlier this week.

Kenneth Copeland is refusing to let Congress see his ministry finances, hiding behind the First Amendment. He has some validity to his claim there, however I firmly believe that if the government is the one chartering a non-profit organization then they have the right to inspect to ensure that it is indeed non-profit. There is more than accountability to God, there is accountability in this world. Since Copeland elected to use the world's system to obtain tax exemption, he is bound to be accountable to that same system. Hiding behind the pretense of ministry and freedom of religion is might shady and casts a dubious light upon him, not that there was not one already.

The Bible has a stern warning about people who teach about greed and wealth. They usually covet it themselves. Convincing others that they will be wealthy by giving to your own ministry is self serving and as I pointed out earlier, extortion.

Here is one parting thought about those who extort money from the flock. I call it fleecing the sheep.
1Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into [this] world, [and it is] certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and [into] many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Water conservation and reclamation hurts American families?

Water reclamation is not a bad idea. I am all for recycling used water, often called "gray water" for purposes of irrigation, construction, and other non-potable purposes. If the water is just going to waste anyway, then I say it is a great move to do so. However, I have a slight problem with the US government paying for a small town like Benson to build a pipeline to reclaim said water. Why should people in Arkansas be contributing to the project here in North Carolina?

Projects like this are what I consider to be pork barrel spending. Sure, some people may benefit. However, it is not the job of the federal government to act like an unending pool of money to be siphoned off for special or experimental projects.

When building or expanding the town's water supply is the time to innovate and include the gray water reclamation lines. I remember that the proposed ethanol plant in Selma was planning on using gray water for its plant. However, there was no such line existing anywhere. One would have to be built from way out in Smithfield all the way in to Selma's fringes. That of course would have been funded by tax dollars in one form or another.

Government grants are TAX DOLLARS. Never forget that fact. Whenever some town applies for a grant to revitalize its downtown, for people to renovate their homes, or whatever, we are talking about tax dollars. Multiply those local expenditures times the tens of thousands of other communities in this nation and you can see why we have such a huge budget in our federal government.

Government loans are probably even worse than grants. Why do I say that? Because the federal government taxes us citizens to get the capital. Then they turn around and lend it to municipalities like Selma or Benson, as is the case in this instance. Then the town has to pay back borrowed tax dollars with funds it derives from...yup, you guessed it, tax dollars. In essence, we are being taxed twice for the same funding.

The federal government has no business being in the lending industry. It has no business redistributing the wealth of its citizens. People wonder why I am passionate about such waste, why I decry it so. It is because it truly impacts each and every tax payer in this nation. There are some who pay no taxes. Even people who pay very little taxes often get back more money than they paid the government by nature of the earned income tax credit and the recent tax rebate incentive package.

In the 1950's, women were primarily stay at home mothers and wives. The man of the house went to work in the morning and came home in the evening. They usually lived comfortably on one salary. Nowadays, that is virtually impossible for many Americans. It means that more and more families can not survive on a single income so now both parents have to work. It means that children are placed in day care so that a stranger can raise the children instead of their own parents. It means that there is a lot more economic pressure that stresses out couples and fractures their marriages. It means that women have lost the sense of femininity and compete with men in the work place instead of glorying in the role of a mother that they were created to perform. It means that the high taxation rates have short changed our youth instead of helping them. It means that welfare queens can have more babies and get more money instead of marrying a man and settling down. It undermines the family. Yes, building a gray water reclamation pipeline in Benson helps undermine its own citizenry.

Here is the news item from the WTSB news page.
Benson Receives Federal Loan To Fund $3M Reclaimed Wastewater Project
Benson is one step closer to start construction of a nearly eight-mile pipeline to take treated wastewater and deliver it to CPC Wholesale Nursery on Benson Hardee Road where it will be used for irrigation. The town has accepted a low-interest loan for $886,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help fund the $3 million project. Reclaimed wastewater can be used to irrigate decorative plants and other crops not intended for human consumption. Commercial-scale grass growing operations, including pasture land, golf courses and turf farms, are common beneficiaries of reclaimed wastewater. While no other area businesses or farmers have expressed an interest in tying their irrigation systems into the pipeline, officials maintain it’s an excellent incentive to prospective agribusiness owners. Benson Town Manager Keith Langdon said the nursery was chosen as the initial recipient of the water because of the amount of water they use for irrigation: between 300,000 to 350,000 gallons per day. The pipeline is part of a water reclamation project that would capture an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 gallons per day of water that would otherwise be dumped back into Hannah Creek. The town is currently restricted to treating and discharging no more than 1.97 million gallons per day. While the reclaimed water project will reduce the amount of treated wastewater being released, it will not increase the capacity of the water treatment plant, according to Martin Morris, the plant supervisor. Water reclamation is not entirely new to Benson. For the past two years, effluent from the wastewater treatment plant has been routed to South Johnston High School - about a mile from the plant - to be used for irrigation. Mr. Morris said the school uses about 24,000 gallons per day.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dealing with violence

In our church men's group last night, we were discussing the topic of violence. The men's group has been reading the book, The Measure of a Man. This week, we discussed chapter 12, which dealt with violent behavior and attitudes. We had a great discussion, and many of the guys were transparent with one another. We talked a lot about sin and righteousness, anger and violence. I have been pondering such topics as the WWJD (what would Jesus do) philosophy, since a dear friend of mine and I have been talking about it this morning. I have been measuring my thoughts and attitudes, my answers, my actions, and such the past several days. I admit I am not perfect; I never claimed to be.

One can be violent in speech and not violent in deeds. Make no mistake, sometimes people deserve violent words. They may not respond well and the one dishing out the words may have the wrong motive and want retribution. Words are one way some people find that retribution. I admit that I am guilty of that. Also in those violent words can be the expression of righteous indignation, albeit encapsulated in carnal ways. Just recently, meaning in the past couple of days, I have been dealing with a great deal of hypocrisy from someone with whom I used to be very close. I admit that I let some sarcasm enter in.

In some cultures, the base of humor is sarcasm and there is generally no harmful intent. It is understood by both parties to be jesting lightheartedly. Other times, it can be mean or violent, especially when the recipient is not of that bent of a sense of humor. Intellectual victories feel real good, but are they worth it? I struggle with that, I admit. Such is how I may display indignation, irritation, and the declaration that regardless of what you have done to me I am moving on.

As I said, the book deals with those subjects, and I admit that I fall short. I am no stranger to lively discussion or argumentation. For the most part, I do not seek strife. It seems to find me. Quite often, I merely comment upon something in society, as I am a blogger and newspaper columnist. I have opinions. Yes, I judge (and Christians ARE supposed to judge, contrary to common misconception and excuses). There is a fine line, I guess, between having an opinion and being a shmuck.

When talking about being violent in the study, I thought of this:

Congratulations on the story, Lewis. You deserve it. Finally, someone recognizes your efforts.

From The Selma News:
Local man uses hobbies to promote Selma
By Kelly Lake, News Editor 17.JUL.08

While his career brought Lewis Mullen to Selma, it was a love of the place that kept him here. Since his retirement, he’s made hobbies of photography and web design and uses them daily to promote the town he calls home.

Mullen relocated to Selma 41 years ago when Sylvania opened in Smithfield. He had previously worked with GE Communications in Lynchburg, VA, where he lived with his wife Marian. He spent many years with Sylvania as an engineer, designing test equipment to be used to test television sets before they were sold.

During that time Mullen and his wife had two children, Teresa and Robert. When the company looked at moving to Tennessee, Mullen took his family for a visit. He was told that in order to keep his job he would have to relocate along with the company.

“He took a vote and decided to stay in Selma and take our chance,” said Mullen. “When we moved here, I figured it was just another move, but once we got here, it was hard to leave. It’s home to me. I love my hometown.”

Mullen has made it his business, his passion even, to promote Selma in any way he can. At age 74, Mullen maintains countless web sites promoting the Selma community, business district, antique dealers, and civic groups, along with his own photography. Many of his photos are taken in a around Selma.

He got his first camera in Korea in 1953, where he was stationed in an aviation engineering group as a member of the United States Army and attached to the Air Force. The group helped to build an air strip there. Mullen used his “pull” with the group of pilots to fly over Korea and snap numerous photos. Many were lost when a bag containing most of pictures and negatives was stolen as he returned home.

Today, he promotes Selma everyday through his photographs. He bought a book of web design and designed a site so he could showcase his photography. He has more than 60,000 photographs archived on CD, about 10,000 of those from Selma. The photos were given to The Heritage Center in Smithfield for public use, said Mullen. Now he posts photos of the area on Selma Daily Photo. There are about 300 towns showcased on the site worldwide. “It’s a good way of promoting Selma, one of the smallest towns on the site,” said Mullen. “I get comment from around the world on my photographs.” Once he set up his own site, Mullen decided to offer his services to others, nearly free of charge. Most of the people he has designed sites for pay a small monthly hosting fee. Mullen’s time and efforts are free. He maintains a site to promote Selma Railroad Days, the Selma Car Classic, and Selma’s East Coast Antique Show.

As a member of the Selma Development Partnership (SDP), he created the web site selmanc.info. The SDP sponsors the site and Mullen maintains it. Through this site, which provides an abundance of information about Selma, Mullen offers links to business people who are also members of the SDP. “If they don’t have a web page to link, I’ll create one for them,” said Mullen. “Over the past five years, I’ve built web sites for our antique dealers. I still maintain two for Railroad Street Antiques and TWM’s Antique Mall.” He created the web site antiquesselma.com for the Selma Antique Dealers Association and continues to maintain it. “It is a way to promote antiques in Selma and the site gets a lot of hits,” said Mullen. He said his hobbies give him something to do – he “hates” retirement. “To be honest, I don’t know if I do it for Selma or for myself,” said Mullen.

Just before the All-American Festival in Selma to celebrate July Fourth, Mullen posted a fireworks photo from last year on selmanc.info. For several weeks it was the top fireworks photo displayed when people search Google for fireworks. The site received about 7,000 hits a day. “Those people now know something about Selma for having visited the web site,” said Mullen. Mullen also designed and maintains a web site for the Keep Johnston County Beautiful Festival of Trees. He donated numerous prints to the SDP this year to be sold to raise funds for the non-profit organization.

As a member of Selma’s Appearance Commission, Mullen helped choose recipients of the residential and commercial appearance awards. He took photos of each winner and provided them to the local newspaper for publication. He still can be found at nearly all events in town, snapping photos to preserve the moment. While on the Appearance Commission, Mullen came up with the idea to provide planter, complete with flowers, for each storefront in the uptown area. He personally planted flowers in each. Although some no longer contain flowers, the planter can still be seen on Selma streets.

Mullen more recently has posted several videos on YouTube and other various sites that promote Selma in a positive way. He frowns on those who would post video showing Selma in a negative light. “There is a lot on YouTube that people, especially children, shouldn’t see, but the site has a lot of potential,” said Mullen. “I believe technology should be used in a positive way, not in a negative one.” Mullen also has videos on Time Warner Cable’s public access channel 1233, which promote Selma.

“Selma has gotten a lot of positive worldwide exposure with its fireworks this year,” said Mullen. “I sent three to CNN ad three made it on television. The fireworks photos made it into our local paper and were featured on several web sites.” Mullen said he enjoys doing what he does and hopes that the town benefits from it. “I love taking pictures and showing them off,” said Mullen. “And, I love Selma and enjoy doing whatever I can to show it in a positive light.”

Fed Chairman admits that inflation is a tax. Inflation is caused by government.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke admits it. "I couldn’t agree with you more, inflation is a TAX, and inflation is too high." Here is a good discussion on economics, inflation, and the Federal Reserve. It figures that the only Congressman that has the knowledge or 'nads to deal with the topic is Ron Paul.



A good lesson on how our economic system works.

Campaigning for Liberty

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The only choice left



The NC Constitution Party may be a bunch of whining babies, but I do side quite heavily with the national platform. Chuck Baldwin is a familiar name to people in radio and in evangelical Christendom. He is the only sane choice left in the upcoming election. In 1860, Abraham Lincoln was a third party candidate in a fledgling Republican Party. It can happen again. It is not likely, but it can happen.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Being wary of false prophets

Perhaps I am too sensitive to the topic of the false amongst the flock of God. I have met some of the people who are big named ministers today. I have had the opportunity to have meals with, be involved with, listen to, and correspond with several such ministers over the years. I lost a position as a deacon because I refused to sit under a false prophet's teachings during a revival. I left a couple of churches because of their false teachings. I have even been thrown out by those with false teachings. One was a congregation I helped found.

A friend of mine who has seen many of the same things I have seen with false prophets called me over a month ago about some revival going on in Florida. The revival is on television on some obscure satellite network that I do not get on cable. It is also web cast on the internet. My friend named a few ministers who are involved in this "revival". I personally have been around one of the names he mentioned and knew from whence this man came. I sat for several days right behind him in a prayer gathering in Jacksonville, Florida that lasted several days. I saw this man "in action" so to speak, as he was one of the "one and twenty elders" as I termed them. 21 people that the lady who organized the meeting felt were at the "forefront of the prophetic ministry" were guests and acted as elders to judge every prophetic word or deed in that meeting.

What the leader missed was that there were people who walked much deeper in that office or anointing that were sitting in the pews than the ones she hand picked. Of course she did not know those people, but it was not hard to pick them out by the Spirit of God.

I watched as this particular man, who is on the internet a lot and if I mentioned his name, many Charismatic believers would know exactly who I was writing about and the company he keeps. I will say that I witnessed some way off judgment, a lack of maturity in the very subject they were supposed to be elders and the forefront of, and some serious control/posturing by the one and twenty.

Another man who is at this revival is Todd Bentley. I have seen his name on the internet quite a bit. I have checked out his web site and heard a bit of his teachings. Today, the Religion News Blog had an article on Mr. Bentley which I find curious.

I have seen and heard many ministers that had great claims in the faith. They had alleged healings, allegedly raised the dead, and performed miracles. Hey, I have not raised the dead, but I have seen healings and what some would consider to be miracles at my own hand. I have heard claims of men talking with angels. One such man in particular was Mack Timberlake. The same claims are being made by Bentley.

The Religion News Blog asks a simple question. Where is the evidence supporting his claims? That is a reasonable question. I have no problem with the idea of making claims that are true. I just made a few in my post about my own self. Nonetheless, Bentley is preaching to thousands, maybe millions. He is making some grandiose claims of things way out of the ordinary. Apparently, he has had to distance himself from the revival after an expose on network television.

From the RNB piece:
Bentley told stories of remarkable healings. In fact, he claims that in his ministry 30 people have now been raised from the dead. Are these stories credible? A common pattern in his accounts of healing was an absence of specificity. Bentley claims that one man, unembalmed, had been dead for 48 hours and was in a coffin. When the family gathered around at a funeral home, the man knocked from inside the coffin to be let out.

But what are the specifics? Who was this man? What’s his name? Where’s the death certificate? And why not parade the man at Bentley’s meetings? If I am ever raised from the dead through anyone’s ministry, you can be sure I’ll put in a guest appearance. Bentley claims that he is having a team investigate healings performed under his ministry and will soon go public with the evidence.

It is people like this that give the rest of Christendom a bad name. I believe in tongues, prophecy, healing, and miracles. I have often said that the prophetic ministers in the church have shot themselves in the foot and ruined things for those who came after with a legitimate and mature gifting. The same goes for healing evangelists and others. It is sad that in order to find sound teaching, I have to fellowship with cessationalists, meaning those who believe that such spiritual gifts are no longer for today.

Here is a video on Youtube that is on one of the web pages I linked you to.


I weep for the Church because of things like this. I stayed away from Christianity for years because of such people. After getting saved, I hung out with such people. After learning to discern the true from the false, I again separated myself from the Church for years, but not before I attempted to have regular, sustained fellowship with different groups and after seeking something different. I ran across hyper critical pastors, hypo critical ones, ignorant people, some apathetic ones, and some just plain heretics. After beating your head against the wall for years, it makes you want to withdraw.

For the past 8 or 9 months, I have been fellowshipping in two different churches. One of which I decided that I would no longer attend regularly because of its leadership, control, and lack of fellowship. The other I have attended more regularly since and have become fairly involved. As much as I love miracles, healings, signs, and wonders, I have a great appreciation for doctrine. I find it ironic that those who major on the gifts of the Spirit often lack the fruit of the Spirit. Those who major on developing the fruit often never experience the gifts. What irony. I have been attending a solid, evangelical congregation for a while, and have enjoyed the participation and fellowship that has been growing amongst the brethren. I need to step up my fellowship with other believers, and so I should probably do so soon. I will still feel like Jeremiah and weep over those who are duped by the false, though. It not only makes me sad, but indignant with a righteous anger within.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Apparently I am "snarky"

The N&O actually made a news story out of the reaction to a state employee taking early retirement rather than lower the flag to half staff in honor of Jesse Helms. I have been quoted thusly:
Former N&O columnist Dan Gearino pondered whether liberals would be celebrating if a conservative made a similarly defiant gesture toward, say, Barack Obama. And in a snarky vein, Selma conservative Troy LaPlante wrote: "Good riddance. One less state employee on the payroll."
So I was snarky. Cool.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

It's about friggin' time!! WHOOO HOOOO!!!!!

I have been waiting for one of these nearby for YEARS!!! Hallelujah!!!! Now I finally have a place nearby to get a good, consistent cup of coffee

From the WTSB news page:
Dunkin' Donuts Headed To Smithfield

Volga Corporation plans to build a 6,000 square foot retail building on this North Brightleaf Boulevard lot. One of the tenants will be Dunkin' Donuts.

The Smithfield Town Council has approved a special use permit paving the way for a 6,000 square foot retail building on North Brightleaf Boulevard at Dail Street. Volga Corporation of Cary plans to have four tenants occupy the building, including Dunkin' Donuts. The council also approved a drive thru window for Dunkin' Donuts. The site is located adjacent to the Wilco Hess convenience store. Charles Parrish of Four Oaks owns the property. The Smithfield Planning Board and Appearance Commission signed off on the project in June. Pending no delays, the building could be finished by this fall.
Oh, by the way, Krispy Kreme SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I finally gave in to Facebook

I have been getting a lot of requests to join Facebook by friends and relatives. I resisted for a long time, since I already had a bunch of sites for my web presence. I already had a myspace page and did not really want another social site. I finally broke down and got one.

Don't screw over the millions of responsible people because of the irresponsibility of others

I fully realize that there are people in this world to whom stuff happens. I know that a downturn in the economy can hurt people. Also there are people who just plain make bad decisions in their finances such as taking out a mortgage that they can not really afford. There are others who are just plain irresponsible. Just because there are some people like that plus the unfortunate cases, does not mean that the rest of the citizenry need to pay for relief of their mortgages. There is no "mortgage crisis". There is only the end result of companies that wrote loans they should not have written and customers failing to meet the obligations they could not afford to meet to begin with.

Of course the nanny state believes it has to come to the aid of people who are going through tough economic times. Let us forget the fact that there is no such provision in the US Constitution that allows government backed loans for personal mortgages. How about common sense? How about the belief that if someone made a mistake, they it is their consequence to deal with, not that of everybody else?

I have written of this previously, but it still frosts my flakes that this garbage is still going on in the Congress.

From the Yahoo news page:
WASHINGTON - Hundreds of thousands of homeowners could get safe, cheaper loans rather than losing their homes under a massive election-year mortgage rescue that's drawing bipartisan support.

The housing aid package — on track for Senate passage as early as Thursday — is far from completed, however, with House leaders planning to rewrite key portions and the White House still threatening a veto.

The centerpiece of the plan would let the Federal Housing Administration back up to $300 billion in new loans to provide struggling homeowners with more affordable, fixed-rate mortgages. It allows lenders who agree to take a substantial loss on the mortgages to reclaim at least some money and avoid a costly foreclosure.
It is NOT the responsibility of the government to bail everybody out of their mortgages. It is not MY responsibility to help pay for someone else's housing. It is not the problem of the entire nation to foot the bill for a small portion of the populace. We are no longer a republic. We are a socialist state.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Good riddance. One less state employee on the payroll.

I can understand not wanting to pour accolades on an individual with whom you have great disagreement. However, in the military, you are told to salute the rank, not the man. That is how I feel about flying flags at half staff. Like him or not, Jesse Helms did have a long history of loyal public service. One state employee retired rather than lower the flag at his facility to half staff. Good riddance. He is ticked over Helms' opposition to the MLK holiday. I detest that holiday for several reasons, not the least of which is that it replaces other official holidays such as Veterans' Day or Presidents' Day in government as well as private company calendars. I believe it to be an appeasement of a minority at the expense of the majority.


Here is the story from WRAL news:
State worker retires after refusing to honor Jesse Helms

Raleigh, N.C. — A state worker who worked 29 years for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture decided this week to retire instead of lowering a flag to honor the late former Sen. Jesse Helms.

L.F. Eason III, 51, told his laboratory staff not to fly the U.S. flag or North Carolina flag at half-staff, despite a call from Gov. Mike Easley to do so.

When Eason's supervisor confronted him about the decision, he said he would rather retire, Brian Long, a spokesman with the Department of Agriculture, said.

Eason could still face some type of disciplinary action, Long said, but the nature of the action was never determined because he voluntarily said he was going to retire.

Eason told The News & Observer of Raleigh that he did not think it was appropriate to remember Helms because of his opposition to civil rights legislation and the national Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
I am glad you are no longer working off my tax dollars, Mr. Eason. You have zero class and no concept of honor.

ADDED:
The N&O has several stories on the subject. I will add a couple of quotes and links.
From this page:
In an interview, Eason said he was given the ultimatum over the phone.

"I was not given a choice," he said. "I was told if I lowered the flags completely or raised them up, I would be fired."

Here is another piece and a couple of quotes:
"Regardless of any executive proclamation, I do not want the flags at the North Carolina Standards Laboratory flown at half staff to honor Jesse Helms any time this week," Eason wrote just after midnight, according to e-mail messages released in response to a public records request.

He told his staff that he did not think it was appropriate to honor Helms because of his "doctrine of negativity, hate, and prejudice" and his opposition to civil rights bills and the federal Martin Luther King Jr. holiday...

In a string of e-mail messages with his superiors, Eason was told he could either lower the flags or retire effective immediately.

Though he's only 51, Eason chose to retire, although he pleaded several times to be allowed to stay at the lab. Eason, who had worked for the Agriculture Department since graduating from college, was paid $65,235 a year as the laboratory manager.

Several people, including his wife, argued to Eason that the flags belonged to the state, as did the lab. But Eason said he felt a strong sense of ownership.

The N&O got the actual emails containing Eason's stupidity. Here is what he wrote the Secretary of Agriculture and the Governor. He paints with a broad brush and exaggerates. Good riddance.
"Regardless of any executive proclamation, I do not want the flags at the North Carolina Standards Laboratory flown at half staff to honor Jesse Helms any time this week.

"This is in no way a political decision. I simply do not feel it is appropriate to honor a person whose epitaph of government service was to have voted against or blocked every civil rights issue that came before the US Congress. His doctrine of negativity, hate, and prejudice cost North Carolina and our Nation much that we may never regain."

Excerpts from an e-mail message that Eason sent later that same day to Gov. Mike Easley and state Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler:

"I made a decision to refuse to lower our flags at the NC Standards Laboratory to half mast in honor of Jesse Helms as soon as I heard of his death. I cannot in good conscience honor such a man who fought so hard against Civil and Human Rights throughout his life. Even to his death bed, he refused to apologize for the damage he caused. Now, I stand by this decision. It is a personal decision, but obviously affects my job at the lab. It has been over ruled by Division and Departmental Management and as I look out my window, I'm ashamed to see the flags lowered ...

"I also understand that my decision is not acceptable. You cannot ignore that fact. There is the law, but there is also a higher law I must follow as a matter of conscience."

Possible the best animated movie ever

I have already been part of an online message board argument over the premise of the animated movie, "WALL-E", by Pixar/Disney. The premise is that humans made Earth uninhabitable by polluting the world. All people left on a space ship, allegedly for five years, for a clean up operation by automated robots. The robots were to clean up the trash by compacting it into cubes and building piles as high as sky scrapers. Only one such robot remained operational, 700 years later. I simply disagree that we are making the Earth uninhabitable, whereas some others think we have been doing so.

That premise aside, I took my soon to be step-son, John, to see "WALL-E". It was just him and me time and we had a blast. The animated short called "Presto" that opened the movie was just hilarious. It was about a stage magician who failed to feed the rabbit he was supposed to pull out of his hat and the rabbit ruining his act as a result. It was reminiscent of the old Warner Brothers cartoons and I loved it. John and I laughed the whole way through the short.

"WALL-E" itself was perhaps simply the best animated movie I have ever seen. It was witty, cute, charming, and just a lot of fun. The movie had the most imagination used in animation since "Fantasia", I think. I loved "WALL-E" as a family friendly movie that all ages can enjoy. The animation and action was wonderful. I was very impressed.

I am also happy to see that Hollywood has started to get the message that family friendly, clean movies are where the money is. Family type movies almost always make more money than rated R movies do, with few exceptions. There have been several good ones to come along in the past few years, even the past seven months, since I have been in John's life. I have been able to go see "Alvin and the Chipmunks", "Horton Hears a Who", and "Kung Fu Panda" with him and Sharon. "Kung Fu Panda" was great, but Horton sucked. There are several others coming out this fall. We saw previews for others animated movies and saw posters on the theater walls.

Money talks. Parents spend money to take children to the theater. They buy the incredibly expensive snack foods. Parents nowadays seem more willing to lavish such extras on their children than in times past. Me? I just love seeing a good movie with my boy. Movies like "WALL-E" can be enjoyed just as much by adults as by children. I am loving becoming a dad.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

It took a while for the local radio station to report it, but here it is

I have written a few times about Selma's tax rate going up. Here is what WTSB reported today.
Selma Tax Rate Jumps 4 Cents
Selma residents will be paying higher property taxes under a budget approved by the town council last week. The $15.4 million spending plan includes a 4 cents property tax increase from 49 to 53 cents per $100 valuation. This means, for a resident with a $100,000 house, they will be paying about $40 more a year in property taxes. Residents will likely be faced with an increase in electrical rates during the next year. Town employees will see a five percent pay increase.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Affirmation that I need to start CCW more often

I took the family out to supper this evening at CiCi's Pizza in Smithfield, as we are want to do every so often. It was me, Sharon, John, and Edna (Sharon's mother). We four often dine out together. While there, a tribe of rednecks came in for supper, as well. They were big folks, too. One man had pizza stacked high on his plate, a half dozen slices at least. They had probably a half dozen adults at the tables that were pushed together as well as three elementary school aged children. The three children were at their own table across the aisle.

These three children were little hellions. At least two of them acted as such in the restaurant. They were cutting people in line, running up and down the aisles, and bumping into people. More than once, Edna exclaimed that she wanted to get a hold of a yung'un. We observed this sort of behavior for some time. Finally, two of the hellions were running up and down the aisle near our table and were bumping into Edna some. I finally said something to this child and asked him to please go sit down and not be so rowdy. He immediately went over an whined to his mother. His mother stood up and hollered over to me across a few tables, asking me if I told him to sit down. I said that I did. She chewed me out, saying that I should not be telling her child what to do and to keep out of it. I replied simply, "Uh, no." I felt that someone needed to do something about the unruly children before someone got hurt.

When I said, "Uh, no", a stocky, haggardly looking guy with a Harley Davidson t-shirt immediately stood up and attempted to confront me, asking me to step outside. I just sat there and looked at him acting foolishly. Three of his companions all got in front of him, telling him not to start anything inside the restaurant. He kept hollering at me to step outside. I just sat there quietly, calmly, sipping my lemonade, observing the fray.

The mother came over and attempted to chew me out. Sharon explained to her that her son was being rowdy, was running into people, and that I was not obnoxious or rude to her son. She backed down after Sharon's explanation. The boy apologized and she went back to the crowd, who were all on their feet grumbling and fussing. They eventually filed out into the parking lot. The rednecks all stood around two or three cars for a while and we just sat at our own table talking about what just happened. Discretion being the better part of valor, I allowed the hot headed rednecks simmer down a while and leave.

I have no problem speaking up when it is needed. I have no problem with the idea that once in a while, violence is necessary. I do have a problem with the idea that violence and threats should be a first resort. Small minded people are that way. Sure, the stocky redneck would have done some damage to me, but I would have done a helluva lot to him, as well. The problem was that there were two other adult males and three females in their group. Ergo, I stayed calm and observed for a while.

As she was leaving, one angry woman (certainly not a lady) exclaimed that I was "one lucky man" and then she called me a "son of a bitch". Whatever. If the man, or any of the men at that table were really men, they would have thanked us for bringing the problem to their attention and say that they would handle it. That is what a real man would do. Manhood is not a product of one's physical prowess or one's extremely short fused temper. To be accurate, they were males. One is a man by choice. The lack of maturity was astounding. The example shown to the children explains why they were the way they were.

One thing for certain is that I am going to step up how often I carry my concealed handgun(s) in case some hot head tries anything really stupid.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Thoughts on the passing of Jesse Helms

I took the weekend off from blogging and a few other things over the weekend to spend time with my new family. It was the second weekend I had off in a while. Two weeks ago, I managed to get away to the beach and this weekend I took a day trip to New Bern. I originally wanted to go to a museum in Kinston, but ended up going to a similar one in New Bern, instead. For true fire buffs, it was great, but for children and non buffs, it was boring. It was also over priced, charing $5 admission for a museum about the size of my house.

Anyway, I read with sadness about the passing of Jesse Helms, longtime NC Senator. Helms, like him or hate him, was a staunch conservative, often being called "Mr. No". Helms was a straight shooter, which I admired greatly. You always knew where Jesse stood on issues. Politically, I had a hard time faulting him on many things. This quote from his Wikipedia entry says volumes to me.
He was an outspoken conservative who opposed communism, tax increases, abortion, gay rights, affirmative action, food stamps, secularism, and government-funded healthcare.
I wish we had 100 men just like Jesse in the Senate.

I do not support some of Helms' apparently racist views. I do, however, support his conservative view points. He was never politically correct in his approach to politics. At least he was consistent. I still have a taped interview that an old friend of mine did with Senator Helms in the early 90's. Perhaps sometime soon, I will digitize it and put it online. I did support his stance in opposition to the MLK holiday, his stance against homosexuality, and a host of other conservative principles that most so called conservatives today dare not touch because a lack of spine.

One evening, I had the distinct pleasure of having dinner with a lady and her husband who live here in Johnston County. This young lady (now married with children) served as a clerk or legislative assistant of some sort in Senator Helms' office in Washington, DC. She apparently kept up with Jesse over the years. She said that he still met with friends and associates, though his dementia had taken its toll on him. It was obvious that this lady had a lot of fondness for the late senator. She recounted several stories of her time spent working for Senator Helms.

Oddly enough, that dinner was one of the things that helped to seal my departure from the Republican Party. I was a charter member of their local county men's club. That night, we had invited Ms. Littler and her husband to speak on her time with the senator. As it turned out, I was the only one to show up from the Johnston County GOP. The ONLY one. Had I not taken my (then) wife with me, the invited guests would have outnumbered the hosting party. I found such a lack of commitment and attendance not only rude but despicable. It was that sort of poor leadership that made me realize how ineffective the GOP really is. That was a portion of my reasons for leaving, but a strong portion.

I pray to God that we had more elected officials with the guts that were displayed by Jesse Helms.

Gun grabber alert

I often run across articles and information from a few vigilant groups about gun control advocates in government trying to keep guns out of the hands of ordinary citizens. They mistakenly believe that the elimination of the guns and not the behavior will yield the results of lower gun violence. It is criminal behavior that is the problem, not the availability of guns. Cars and knives are readily available and are used in crimes, too. Yet we have no real laws to ban automobiles or Ginsu knives. It is all about control.

From GRNC.org. I recommend them to anyone looking for a local organization to join that will protect your gun rights.
SB 2081 - Roy Cooper Wants Your Guns

Attorney General ROY COOPER (919-716-6400, fax: 919-716-6750) continues his attempts to manipulate BATFE rules to deny more North Carolinians of their Constitutionally recognized right to keep and bear arms. With the recent Supreme Court ruling recognizing that your right to keep and bear arms is indeed an INDIVIDUAL right like all others in the Bill of Rights, expect to see anti-gun politicians like Cooper try this kind of procedural end run around the laws.

There is good news, though. There is a sense that your feedback is having an effect. While there seems to be some developing hesitancy amongst those pushing SB 2081, they have not given up by any means. Now is not the time to let up on them. As an ambitious politician, Cooper knows he must carefully manage this maneuver. It is in his best interest for you to not be paying attention to this affront to your freedom. Now is the time to apply the pressure and let him know that this will impact his future political career. A Cooper assistant, Greg McLeod seems to have been tasked with being the point of contact on this matter. Please tell him to pass along your sentiments to the Attorney General: info@roycooper.com.

A brief recap of SB 2081 follows:

Attorney General Touts 80,000 Barred From Buying Guns

Despite assertions from GRNC and others that serious flaws reside in the bill, SB 2081 passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee in a 5-4 vote. The bill now resides in the Senate Committee on Appropriations/Base Budget.

Standing before the committee to defend his bill was none other than NC Attorney General ROY COOPER (D, GRNC 0-star). If you wonder what he is after, consider his statement that in 2006, Virginia began reporting not only people committed to mental health facilities, but also those remanded by courts to OUTPATIENT care. Said Cooper, in 2006 North Carolina reported (and therefore barred from owning guns) "only" 440 names to the National Instant Check System. Meanwhile, by adding outpatients, Virginia reported...**80,000.**

80,000 BARRED FROM BUYING GUNS

That's right: 80,000 PEOPLE BARRED FROM BUYING GUNS, and that is FROM JUST ONE STATE. And given that Virginia's population is smaller than North Carolina's, under Cooper's scheme an even greater number could find themselves saddled with a "firearms disability" under federal law.

IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED

* CONTACT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL AT 919-716-6725 info@roycooper.com and tell Attorney General Roy Cooper to stop attacking the rights of people who neither have a federal firearms disability, nor are a threat to anyone. Let him know that you will remember this should he pursue future political office.

Stay out of marriages, saith Troy

There is always some self righteous jackass in government somewhere that wants to press his own version of Christianity on others. Remarkably, I have been attending a church for several months now and we just finished a study on the book of Galatians. The topic of self righteousness or false holiness came up a lot in the teaching.

There is one zealot in Texas who wants to make couples wanting to divorce in his state wait two whole years in order to get divorced. That is just plain wrong. Not every marriage is reconcilable. Nor is every marriage ending contrary to Biblical justification for divorce (ask me how I know). When God has a plan for and reasons for divorce that are acceptable to him, why should they not be acceptable to Warren Chisum? I can understand and applaud his standing by his convictions. I agree that more people should take marriage seriously. I did and I still do. That is why I stood by my wife for 13 straight years and why I am glad that said marriage is over. That is why I am going to marry a woman I adore in a few months. I highly value marriage as something sacred.

Where I disagree is putting someone's life on hold for two solid years because one partner in a marriage decides to bail out, commit adultery, or just not put in the effort to get along. It is inappropriate to punish both parties for the misdeeds of one person (ask me how I know). My life has been on hold for eleven months now because the State of North Carolina requires that I wait twelve full months to even file for divorce. In Texas, this time frame would be twice that, under Chisum's plan. He apparently believes that a two year waiting period would cause some to reconsider getting a divorce.

The one way around the two year waiting period would be for the couples to take a class designed to show them how to save their marriage. Basically, Chisum is playing Holy Spirit for people. It would be a class with whose values? It would be a class that according to some man's subjective viewpoint would potentially save the marriage. I have news for Chisum and all like him. Even Christians have to put up with the ways of the world and its effects upon their marriages. However, having the state play God for people, even though Romans 13 says that the government is the servant of God, is still wrong. Here is my own situation. My ex wife cheated and ran off with another man. I was left to deal with the fact that my marriage was over and take care of financial details and the consequences thereof. Just four months after the ex wife left, I met woman that God Himself put into my life. It was divine providence that we met, period. According to Mr. Chisum, we should not be allowed to marry in a timely fashion, we should wait until either some class is taken or until the two year time constraint is over. If God brought us together, who is man to constrain us, or to go against His will?

I am amused by the idea of taking classes put on by some bureaucrats as to how to be faithful to a spouse and maintain a marriage. Not every marriage should be continued, and God even makes such provision in His own Bible. I find it extremely arrogant and legalistic to impose such sanctions on marriages.

I say all this as one who does not believe in divorce. As much as I wished that I was single during the course of my previous marriage, I never did waiver until the line was crossed. There was adultery and abandonment in my marriage. There was the same in my future wife's marriage, as well. Who is Warren Chisum or any other man to tell me how to conduct my marital affairs?

One of the most heinous parts of this whole "take a marriage class" mentality is that I am paying for Texans to take such classes. They are paying for it with federal money.

Every so often, even a Democrat gets it right...sometimes not

Those who follow this blog are aware that I am sometimes a bit hard on Congressman Bob Etheridge, as I should be. I am hard on him when he does things blatantly against the Constitution or against conservative principles. Every once in a while, some things are just plain common sense. Killing the AMT, or Alternative Minimum Tax is just plain common sense. It is enough so that even a Democrat can see that the tax should be eliminated. I am dubious as to the claims of "loopholes", but ending the AMT is a wise idea. I have no problem with ending subsidies to oil companies at all, since I am against corporate welfare programs. From WTSB's news page:
Etheridge Votes For Middle-Class Tax Relief Legislation
U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-Lillington), a member of the House Budget Committee, voted Thursday for legislation that provides $50 billion in middle-class tax relief for 25 million families. The AMT Relief Act of 2008 will save 33,083 families in the Second Congressional District from paying higher taxes under the Alternative Minimum Tax. “At a time of economic uncertainty and rising gas and food prices, this legislation will provide tax relief for thousands of North Carolina families who otherwise would see their tax rate rise dramatically due to the Alternative Minimum Tax,” said Etheridge. The Alternative Minimum Tax was originally designed to ensure very wealthy individuals do not avoid paying income tax. The tax now threatens to impact middle-class families and raise taxes on 25 million Americans if Congress fails to take action. The legislation is fiscally responsible and does not require borrowing money or adding to the deficit. To pay for middle-class tax relief the bill closes tax loopholes that allow multi-millionaires on Wall Street to pay a lower tax rate on their income than other working Americans, such as teachers and firefighters, cracks down on tax cheats and ends massive government subsidies for oil companies earning record profits.
Another bill that Etheridge is involved with is about ending "excess speculation" in the energy markets. Personally, this is one area in which the government needs to step out of, not into. It is a free market problem with a free market solution. Government interference kills freedom for those wishing to play in the market. Also from WTSB's news page:
U.S. Representative Bob Etheridge visited Stancil Oil Company in Selma Wednesday afternoon to discuss legislation he has authored that aims to prevent manipulation and excessive speculation in energy markets. Etheridge is Chair of the Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management of the House Agriculture Committee, which oversees the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The CFTC oversees futures trading on US exchanges. The Committee will hold hearings on the issues starting Monday, July 7. “North Carolina’s families are struggling to make ends meet while the cost of energy soars. Congress must ensure that investors are not artificially raising energy costs for their own gain while hard-working Americans are suffering,” Etheridge said on Wednesday. “No one factor is responsible for the current energy prices, but my legislation will attempt to keep our markets free of manipulation and excessive speculation.” Etheridge has thrown his support by the Gas Price Relief for Consumers Act, which has been approved by the US House. It is designed to combat record gas prices by authorizing lawsuits against oil cartel members for pricing fixing.
One thing I found out about Bob Etheridge is his occult activities in Freemasonry. Yes, I fully believe that the Masons are a cult, not just a fraternal organization. According to Wikipedia,
He is active in Freemasonry and is currently the Grand Orator for North Carolina Freemasonry.
I can not fault Bob on his dedicated service to his county, his state, and the nation. I can, however, fault him for his stances on issues. It is nothing personal. I give him credit where credit is due. He has supported several bills in the past that I thought were proper. When he does well, I give him praise and have done so on this very blog. When he does poorly, I remark as such.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

I was interviewed for a blog yesterday.

I have a link on my blog for the Anti-McCain blog. I was interviewed by the person who runs that site via email. Here are the Q&A.

1. How would you self-identify politically? What are your general opinions about the role of government?
I would identify myself as a classic liberal. The term libertarian could be used, just not referring to the political party so named. Some would use the term conservative. I am probably most closely aligned with the likes of Barry Goldwater in most of my political philosophies with a few exceptions. I am not affiliated with any party at present.

The purpose of government is fairly well enumerated in the preamble of the US Constitution at the federal level. "...establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity". Other than that, there is not much need for government. Highways ensure liberty and the general welfare. Welfare programs do not. Courts ensure justice. Hate crime legislation does not, nor do laws such as Sarbaines-Oxley or McCain-Feingold. Maybe I just made that clear as mud.

However, I also find a good definition in
Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Rom 13:2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
Rom 13:3 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:
Rom 13:4 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.
Government is there for the purpose of ensuring that the evil doers are punished, protecting those that do good. Government is something invented by God himself and therefore should be taken as something sacred rather than for personal gain.

2. What are your reasons for opposing the candidacy of John McCain?
John McCain is not a "conservative", if I am to pick a term. He may have filled Barry Goldwater's seat in the Senate, but he is no Goldwater. He tends to be weak on items such as border security, the farce of global warming, on free speech (see previous comment on McCain-Feingold) rights, and wants to grant amnesty to millions of law breakers who entered this nation illegally, thus opposing the justice and common defense issues of the purpose of government.

3. Do you advocate any of the other candidates as an alternative? If so, why? If not, why not?
My main support would be for either Ron Paul or Chuck Baldwin. Baldwin is on the Constitution Party ticket and will never win. Ron Paul will not win the GOP nomination and has little support from the mainstream of the party. Ron Paul, though I disagree with him on some policy issues such as our presence in Iraq, is the ONLY candidate who truly supported liberty and a return to the original values of the Constitution. Chuck Baldwin espouses the CP values, with which I find myself fairly closely aligned. However, most CP folks are disgruntled GOP who are arrogant and ineffective. At least this is the way at the state party level here in NC. Ergo, I have disassociated myself with them. I can elaborate more on my differences with Ron Paul later if you wish.

4. Is there any Vice Presidential pick for McCain that could get you to "hold your nose" and vote for him? (If so, why? If not, why not?)
Nope. First off, who ever remembers the VP? I personally remember all the VPs since I first started paying attention to the government in my elementary school days. Does the general populace pay attention? Probably not. I have a hard time finding people who know who Dick Cheney is. How many VPs have actually ascended to the Presidency in my lifetime? Only one, and he was not elected to that office. Gerald Ford was appointed VP after Spiro Agnew resigned under the provisions of the 25th Amendment. That was over 30 years ago and is not in the forefront of the knowledge or remembrance of millions of Americans. Since the VP does not make policy except to act as President of the Senate, I do not find that VP candidates are a means of sway for my vote. We would still get McCain as President, our chief executive.

5. At this point, who do you think will win the general election and why?
I believe that Barack Obama will win. Why? Voter apathy, ignorance, and seduction. There are so few people educated on Constitutional principles, know the history of this nation, that follow traditional Christian values, and believe that they should provide for themselves rather than be taken care of by the world's system, we are doomed to become a socialist nation. And yet we will have the same document called The United States Constitution to which we claim to adhere.