Thursday, August 31, 2006

Feedback on today's column

As included in each column and on this page, I offer an email address as well as a telephone voice mail line for reader feedback. Here is one message I got today about today's column.

Audio file of message

I tried embedding the audio file in the web page. It worked great on Internet Explorer. Firefox wouldn't do the embed without a plug in that I already have but it won't properly recognize. Opera would play the file without requiring you to first click on a file control tab. So when the page was loaded, it automatically played. This was not good on the column blog, since I have two audio files there. I made sure that the embed was set to "false" for autoplay, but it still played in Opera anyway. As a result, I am just leaving it as a simple link to an audio file you can either open or download.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Recovery time

It is hard to believe that it is Tuesday evening already. I spent almost an entire week in Elizabeth City working on a new automation system installation and got back into town yesterday morning about 8 AM. I put in a lot of long hours, spent a lot of money on hotels and meals, and was glad to get home yesterday and drop into bed. I was up for about 24 hours, but only got a 4 hour nap yesterday. I was then up until late last night. All of my days sort of blur together.

On Saturday night, however, my wife was able to drive down to be with me for a night and then spend most of the next day with me. We were able to get away for a day trip to The Outer Banks, see the ocean, the aquarium, and have dinner together. I went back to the cable system I had been working on and continued work that evening, straight through the night.

With all the manual dexterity work I had to do, my carpal tunnel syndrome sure has flared up. I felt it at night at the hotel and was woken up several times in pain. I am really feeling it now, as I did yesterday. My hand is getting numb as I am typing right now. I lost my wrist brace a few weeks ago. It is bizarre how things just disappear. I went to the doctor's office today and bought another one.

I hadn't been able to read the local paper, in which my weekly column appears, until I got home yesterday. I decided upon reading the opinion column to change my column for this week. I had started writing on a topic but put it on hold. One local shop owner wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper taking exception to my column. I can only suspect that she is the same person who left the voicemail in the previous post on this blog. What amazes me is that the lady obviously did not read for comprehension or context. I was called ignorant and someone who only talks and does not "do". Her comments refer to things that I never wrote about and in some places distort what I wrote. Oh well. At least someone is reading. I appreciate the feedback, either way. My response will be in Thursday's paper and online on my LaPlante's Rants blog.

I saw that there has been a lot of crime in Selma lately. WMPM has reported today that a woman pulled up to an automatic teller machine in Selma Tuesday morning and was shot three times. The victim was obviously a nice Irish girl with a name like Dashantia Tanika Atkinson. Also a man was found Severely injured and unconscious in Selma home. One other story was that patrols have been beefed up at a local car dealership after thieves targeted the business three nights in a row. Someone broke into a customer’s car parked at Fairway Auto on US301 in Selma on Sunday. These things make Selma "Not a Charming Place to Be". The world will be the world, and is a wicked thing.

A hurricane is coming. I wonder how many people will fail to take warnings seriously, abrogate their personal responsibility for their own safety and material well being, and rely on the government nipple for support.

There is not much else to write about. I have seen some topics that may be worth commenting on, but I just don't feel like it so much.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Reader feedback

I am glad that people are taking the time to read my column. I occasionally get personal phone calls at home or emails from people who wish to comment on the column. I got this feedback today on last week's column. It is an audio file that you can either listen to by clicking on the link or downloading it and playing it on your computer.

Here is my response and SPOILER NOTICE if you have not already listened to the clip!

I do not agree with the caller's assertion that without the antique shops, downtown Selma would be "dead". That would only be true if there were no other businesses in the world. "Uptown" Selma can be a triving business district if there are continued business friendly policies that encourage business growth and development. Punitive or discouraging policies do not help businesses grow.

For decades, there were and continue to be businesses that grow in Selma. Restaurants like Sweetwater's, The Anderson Street Soap Company, Selma Jewelry, Creech's Pharmacy, Seller's Auto Parts, and Short's Grill continue to operate successfully in Selma. Parrish Oil was around for a long time before Mr. Parrish passed away. The fact is that other businesses can be successful in Selma, not just antique shops.

Making Selma into a downtown centered around antique shops does a disservice to the local citizens who would normally patronize a wide range of businesses. As it is, I only go to a restaurant, to the soap company every few months, town hall, the jewelry shop a few times a year, the pharmacy once in a while, and the post office. Other than that, there is little in "uptown" that attracts me.

Antique shops do not attract locals. They attract visitors from out of town or out of state. In case you have not seen, Selma's downtown is almost dead, anyway, in regards to regular traffic of customers. There is little repeat business for buyers of old furniture compared to other businesses. There is certainly little reason for me to visit antique shops unless I am looking for antiques.

By the way, this is not meant to be a slam to owners of antique shops. I commend them for being entrepreneurs. For that, they deserve my kudos. It is a slam to the policy of alienating the very people who pay the taxes in Selma and are potential customers by the maintaining a downtown motif that does not serve the greater good.

It is not true that without the old furniture stores that Selma would be dead. It would just be filled with other types of stores to fill the void.

Busy and out of town

I have been working in Elizabeth City, North Carolina for the past several days. My company took over the cable system here and I have been installing an automation system. It is a fairly involved task. It is about 80% done now, so I have at least one more day here before it goes live Sunday night. I am sitting in a hotel room, checking email, watching a news channel, and trying to relax a bit.

I endeavor to put quality into my work, and I have been taking the extra time to do a few things with more quality than others do or I have done in times past. I learned a few things as time went by and found a few things that I like better about the way I am performing the work. There was nothing wrong with the way I did things in the past, really, but I am just found that these few touches make things easier to service, diagnose, and follow behind me if someone else goes to the site.

I also relearned something about quality while here, and think that I will make changes in life in terms of demanding quality. I got a room at an EconoLodge here in Elizabeth City. It was a real dive but was cheap and had internet, which I need for work. The drunken customers stumbling around the parking lot should have been a clue to just leave when I first pulled in.

The neighbors were loud, the internet access was nothing like was advertised, and I did not feel good about the accommodations after the first night there. I tried the Microtel in town, but they only had suites available. I then tried the Holiday Inn Express, which is where I am sitting. Much nicer. More expensive, but more comfortable, nicer place, better breakfast, better internet, better service.

I am the sort who is happy with a Motel 6 when travelling. I will no longer try just any "flea bag" motel, however, just because it is cheaper.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

DNC stupidity.

The arrogance of some politicians simply amazes me. The collective arrogance of a political party is even worse, at times. The Democratic National Committee is by far the worst, but the Republican Party is still in its rear view mirror.

The DNC has decided on its own to schedule primary elections on their own time frame, abandoning the traditional schedules of Iowa and New Hampshire being the first caucus and primary election in the nation. To quote the article I am going to cite, "The decision by the Democratic National Committee leaves Iowa as the nation's first presidential caucus and New Hampshire as the first primary, but wedges Nevada's caucuses before New Hampshire and South Carolina's primary soon afterward."

It is not because I grew up in New Hampshire that this bothers me. Personally, every four years was a nightmare as far as candidates campaigning, the media, and the focus on that one little state. It was a sense of pride many had, being the first to hold the presidential primary election, but to me it was no big deal.

What bothers me is that the DNC is attempting to dictate to individual states the dates of elections. It is not their decision. They are not the state governments. They do not have that right, but are trying to bully individual states into rescheduling their elections and cauci to their liking. Forget the fact that the GOP also has its regular schedule. One political party should not even remotely be able to dictate to its own members (many of whom disagree with this move), to their political opponents, and to individual states the dates and formats of elections and campaigning.

From the article:
"New Hampshire objected loudly to the lineup and has threatened to leapfrog over the other contests to retain its pre-eminent role.

"The DNC did not give New Hampshire its primary, and it is not taking it away," New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch said.

Secretary of State William Gardner, also a Democrat, emphasized again Saturday that it will be his office, not Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, who picks the state's primary date.

"That's going to be based on state law, and it will be a date that honors the tradition," Gardner said after the DNC action. "It appears that he's in the driver's seat taking the Democratic National Committee on a collision course with the New Hampshire tradition."

Gardner, who has said he will decide next year when to schedule his state's primary, also said the plan to punish candidates who campaign in New Hampshire was an affront to a state with a long history of promoting greater participation in the political process."

Yup, in the name of diversity, the DNC has a plan to punish those who campaign in New Hampshire. It is all in the name of racial diversity. "Democrats adopted sanctions to penalize presidential candidates who campaign in states that cut in line by denying them delegates from those contests." "Driving the decision to alter the schedule was a long-held worry within the party that Iowa and New Hampshire, which are predominantly white, were not representative of the country's population and key Democratic constituencies. Blacks and Hispanics have complained they haven't had an adequate voice in the early contests."

I refuse to shed any tears over that stupidity of argument. All states get to vote in their prescribed methods. To whine over two small states with a fraction of the votes is stupidity.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Storefront churches

About a decade ago, the Town of Selma started working on its change to an "Antique Mecca", as it was put then. During that time, The Latter Rain Bookstore moved out of downtown and became Good Books near the new Wal-Mart. The store was much smaller, though it was a busier and more expensive location. It was sad to see the store leave, since it was the only Christian bookstore in the area at the time and was well known. I guess that Billy Wall wanted to try a change in his business strategy, and I can not fault him for that. The unfortunate part is that it really didn't work out for him.

That is not the point of my story, however. While that was going on, his empty store was rented to a church. Not just any church, a Black congregation. At the time, I am told, there were Klan members still around and involved in town government. I was told this by a local business man whom I got to know who was communicating with some of these town officials and reportedly revealed their agenda.

I agree that the storefront would be better served as just that, a storefront rather than a place of assembly. There was already one more church meeting in downtown at the time, and perhaps one other, if I recall, but am not sure. Those pieces of real estate would serve the public better as retail establishments. Not necessarily as antique shops, however. Antique shops are fine for out of town visitors, but they do relatively little for residents.

At this same time, the then town manager worked with a building owner to have one of the tenants removed from her shop. Again, she was Black and had a small gift shop with a Christian theme. Only when she threatened to coordinate a march on Selma reminiscent of the civil rights marches of the sixties did the town work to find her another downtown location and give her a break on her utility bills.

That sort of underhanded politics is inappropriate for a town. It is also racist behavior considering the undercurrents that were prevalent at the time. Two men, myself included, were very unpopular for speaking out against this sort of thing when we were working at WBZB here in Selma.

I have no problem with restricting places of assembly if it is being done in accordance with a set plan and agenda. The way it was being handled made me want to vandalize the billboard that used to be on Hwy. 70 near the Bayer plant. It used to say: "Selma: A friendly town just ahead, filled with antiques". I wanted to make a few word changes to read "Selma: A corrupt town just ahead, filled with bigots". I joked to my wife often that I was going to redo that billboard.

I am also not a fan of organized religion. That may surprise many people to hear me say that. I was a part of organized religion for years. I let it go, seeing the corruption and impurity therein. I have spent more time in small group fellowship and often alone in the wilderness. I still maintain fellowship with several brethren of my choosing. I personally prefer to "be" rather than "go to" church.

As I have issues with how many church congregations handle their affairs, I also find it amusing how many are bad citizens, if a congregation can be considered a citizen. A minister I am familiar with also comments on this same thing. I have not yet met the man in person, but we do have mutual friends and we have communicated a time or two.

The bottom line is that I am not all that supportive of storefront churches, since the real estate would be better used for other purposes and would benefit the town much more if there were viable, active businesses in those spaces. I have no huge problem with not allowing places of assembly in a business district, since that is the purpose of a business district. That is part of systematic citywide planning. I get it. I do, however, have a problem with disallowing a church group to legally rent a building for their purposes when there are no existing prohibitions. I am all for a property owner being able to rent to whom he or she chooses. I am vehemently opposed to governmental interference with a legal transaction or influencing tenant requirements just because the tenants happen to be Black. There is no excuse for that.

I am not saying that this is the case with the Town of Kenly's recent decision to put a moratorium on storefront churches. Those storefronts will be empty for some time. Churches will only draw people on Sunday mornings and maybe Wednesday nights when most businesses are closed, so there is no real benefit to the downtown area.

Anyway, here is the story from WMPM's web site.

Kenly Adopts Moratorium On Store Front Churches - A number of downtown Kenly storefronts have become vacant in the past few months. Kenly town leaders don’t want the vacant buildings filled with storefront churches. This week the town council adopted a 60-day moratorium on store front churches in the Kenly central business district. Officials said they wanted to see businesses in the downtown area.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Hurray for Hazleton

If the federal government is not going to do their job in securing the borders of this nation, then it is a defacto local operation. It is not appropriate, but it is the case just because the feds have abrogated their responsibility. Immigration control and national defense are indeed federal responsibility. At least one town has taken it upon themselves to deal with the issues of illegal immigration and the detriment to society. I applaud the efforts of Hazleton and fully support doing the same here in Selma.

Here is the article.

Town sued over strict immigration law

By Jon Hurdle

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Civil rights campaigners sued the Pennsylvania town of Hazleton on Tuesday, seeking to block one of America's toughest local laws against illegal immigrants.

The suit says Hazelton's City Council violated the U.S. constitution when it passed a law denying business permits to companies that hire illegal aliens and fining landlords who rent homes to them.

The measure, which also establishes English as the town's official language, has made Hazleton a focus of the national debate on immigration. The plaintiffs say their suit is the first in the country to challenge a local immigration ordinance.

(More at the actual article. Click on the link to read entire story.)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Busy, busy, busy

For a while now, I have known that I would be working a lot more than I had all summer long. This past week it has been hectic. Occasionally, I have had 12 to 20 hour work days. Today was a long one, but not as long as others. I worked all weekend, as well. I am trying to rest a bit right now while listening to my new iPod.

I really had planned on maybe mowing the lawn today. I guess that will have to wait until tomorrow night at the earliest.

After finally finishing up at work this evening, we went out and bought our new vehicle. Well, at least new to us. We made an "executive decision". I elected to not incur another car payment and just buy what was in our budget from the insurance settlement. We found several vehicles that appealed to us. We looked as SUVs, pick ups, and mini-vans. I am going to miss not having a pick up truck. We bought a Ford Explorer XLT 4X4. It was immaculately kept. It is obvious that the previous owner took good care of his vehicle. The interior is spotless. He had floor mats everywhere. The fluids were all clean, the underbody clean, the engine clean, and the body in excellent condition. It has a lot of creature comforts that we like, so we decided to get it.

I am a bit wiped out from late nights and long work days. I am going to try to get to bed a bit earlier than usual tonight.

Work is about to get busier and will take a lot of long days soon. I need all the rest I can get.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The text of Arcata, California's Ordinance No. 1339

Troy's foreword: I am putting the text of the referenced ordinance here for your reading pleasure. I highlighted the most important parts in red. Note that the ordinance takes the stand that the Constitution should actually be enforced.



The City Council of the City of Arcata does ordain as follows:

Section 1: Title II: Administration, Chapter 2: Officers and Employees, Article 5: Defending Civil Rights and Liberties, Sections 2190 – 2194 are hereby added to the Municipal Code as follows:


SEC. 2190: Purposes.
The purposes of this ordinance are as follows:
A. To protect the civil rights and civil liberties for all and to affirm the City’s commitment to embody democracy, and to embrace, defend and uphold the inalienable rights and fundamental liberties granted under the United States and the California Constitutions, as set forth in Resolution 023-32, A Resolution of the City Council of the City of Arcata to Defend the Bill of Rights and Civil Liberties, adopted by the Council on January 15, 2003; and
B. To ensure that local law enforcement continues to preserve and uphold residents’ freedom of speech, assembly, association, and privacy, the right to counsel and due process in judicial proceedings, and protection from unreasonable searches and seizures, even if requested or authorized to infringe upon such rights by federal or state law enforcement agencies acting under new powers created by the USA PATRIOT Act (Public Law 107-56), Homeland Security Act (Public Law 107-296), related executive orders, regulations or future enacted laws, executive orders or regulations.

SEC. 2191: No Unconstitutional Detentions or Profiling.
No management employee of the City shall officially engage in or permit unlawful detentions or profiling based on race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, political or religious association that are in violation of individuals’ civil rights or civil liberties as specified in the Bill of Rights and Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

SEC. 2192: No Unconstitutional Voluntary Cooperation.
No management employee of the City shall officially assist or voluntarily cooperate with investigations, interrogations, or arrest procedures, public or clandestine, that are in violation of individuals’ civil rights or civil liberties as specified in the Bill of Rights and Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

SEC. 2193: Notification.
Management employees of the City shall promptly notify the City Manager when, in the course of City employment, the following occurs:
A management employee is contacted by another law enforcement agency and asked to cooperate or assist with an investigation, interrogation, or arrest procedure under provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act (Public Law 107-56), Homeland Security Act (Public Law 107-296), related executive orders, regulation or future enacted laws, executive orders or regulations, where such procedure is in violation of an individual’s civil rights or civil liberties as specified in the Bill of Rights and Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Upon such notification from a management employee, or upon such contact directly, the City Manager shall promptly report to the City Council specifying the law enforcement agency seeking cooperation or assistance and the actions requested of the management employee.

SEC. 2194: Defense.
The City shall provide legal defense to any management employee who is criminally charged by another entity for his or her actions in compliance with this Ordinance.

SEC. 2195: Severability.
If any section or sections of the ordinance is or are held to be invalid or unenforceable, all other sections shall nevertheless continue in full force and remain in effect.
Section 2: This ordinance will take effect thirty (30) days after the date of its adoption.

DATED: April 2, 2003.
s/ Dan Hauser
City Clerk, City of Arcata

s/ Robert J. Ornelas
Mayor, City of Arcata

Clerk’s Certification
I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and correct copy of Ordinance No. 1339, passed and adopted at a regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Arcata, Humboldt County, California, on the 2nd day of April, 2003, by the following vote:
AYES: Conner, Meserve, Stewart, Ornelas.
NOES: Machi

s/ Dan Hauser
City Clerk, City of Arcata

The right thing to do

I haven't been able to sit and write much the past few days. I have been heap big busy (hey, I have used that expression since before I ever heard of Rush Limbaugh). I did manage to make it to the town council meeting last night.

I offer you my thanks, Mayor Hester, Coucilman Jeff Weaver, and Councilman Gary Jackson for doing the right thing and putting this issue of a railroad quiet zone in Selma to rest for a while, at least. For Debbie Johnson and Jackie Lacy I can only offer bewilderment. Men tend to be more analytical, logical, and deliberate in their thought process. Women often are more emotion oriented. This should have been a unanimous vote, since it is pretty much a no-brainer.

The council should not consider prolonging this issue nor should they hear the case of someone who lives and operates a business outside the town's corporate limits and jurisdiction. It is also a common sense issue in that we should not consider closing streets to accommodate train horn noise, nor spending town money for such an issue during a time of financial hardship for the town.

The council's time has been wasted on several occasions. The argument from the dissenting voting women was that it does not cost anything to hear about the issue and everyone who has an opinion should be heard on the matter. The man who pushed the issue (and the ONLY one I have heard of who to wom this is an issue) did not even show up for his own public hearing. It does cost the town on several fronts. First is the time of the council, the Town Clerk, Town Attorney, the concerned citizens who actually took the time to go to a town meeting, as well as the resources for the extra paper and electricity to record this issue's proponents. Ending the issue last night was only fair and proper business. Common sense prevailed by a 3 to 2 margin.

Here is a blurb from "The Selma News":

Council rejects train quiet zones

Proponent of zones absent from town's public hearing

Selma Town Council, in a 3-2 split vote, decided not to pursue creating “quiet zones” for trains in town even though the person pushing for creation of those zones was not present for the public hearing.

Several months ago Tony Tetterton, owner of RV campground outside of Selma, asked Council to look into creating zones where trains would not sound their horns or whistles during certain times of the night. Some of his campers had complained about the noise at night.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Get your Chad fix, and I ain't talkin' about a Florida election.

Check out the preview. Then check out episodes 1 and 2. Episode 3 coming soon!

Monday, August 07, 2006

I'm telling you, they weren't kooks after all

For a long time, people thought that the John Birch Society was full of conspiracy theorists. Now, many things that they have been preaching for years are coming to fruition or to public spectacle. One long time mantra of the JBS is "Get US out of the UN". I have echoed that sentiment for years.

Here is the text of a bill that I fully support in the U.S. House of Representatives. It has little chance of passing, since the liberal and moderate weenies in Congress seem to like the United Nations. If it wasn't for our support and finances, there would be no United Nations. Unfortunately, the very organization that we shoulder the burden for bites the hand that feeds it all too often. Enough cliche for you, there? Here is the text of the bill to which I refer. It can also be found here.

Second Amendment Protection Act of 2005 (Introduced in House)

HR 3436 IH


1st Session

H. R. 3436

To withhold funding from the United Nations if the United Nations abridges the rights provided by the Second Amendment to the Constitution, and for other purposes.


July 26, 2005

Mr. BOUSTANY (for himself and Mr. WILSON of South Carolina) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on International Relations


To withhold funding from the United Nations if the United Nations abridges the rights provided by the Second Amendment to the Constitution, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the `Second Amendment Protection Act of 2005'.


Congress makes the following findings:

(1) The United States is steadfast in its commitment to the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which provides that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

(2) The United Nations Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects calls for actions that could abridge the Second Amendment rights of individuals in the United States, including through the establishment of--

(A) a comprehensive program for worldwide gun control;

(B) an international tracking certificate which would be used to ensure United Nations monitoring control over the export, import, transit, stocking, and storage of legal small arms and light weapons;

(C) worldwide record keeping, for an indefinite amount of time, on the manufacture, holding, and transfer of small arms and light weapons; and

(D) national registries and tracking lists of all legal firearms.

(3) The United Nations has encouraged member states of the United Nations to integrate measures to control ammunition with regard to small arms, contrary to the rights guaranteed to citizens of the United States under the Second Amendment, and some member states have expressed a desire to tax international arms sales and for a total ban on certain types of firearms.


It is the sense of Congress that the United States should not provide financial support to international entities that abridge the constitutionally protected rights of law-abiding citizens of the United States to keep and bear arms.


(a) In General- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the United States may not provide any funding to the United Nations for a fiscal year unless, prior to the last day of the preceding fiscal year, the President makes the certification described in this subsection (b).

(b) Certification- The certification referred to in subsection (a) is a certification submitted to Congress by the President that states that the United Nations has not taken action to restrict, attempt to restrict, or otherwise adversely infringe upon the rights of individuals in the United States to possess a firearm or ammunition, including the imposition of a tax that will interfere with the right to own a firearm or ammunition.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Leeches sometimes need to be burned off

I have seen significant press over the past few months about churches, charities, hotels, and other groups telling Hurricane Katrina evacuees to start taking care of themselves instead of living off public and private assistance. When the government finally stopped giving a free ride to evacuees, there was outcry that the government was being hard hearted and irresponsible. I guess the thought of self sufficiency never really crossed the minds of the recipients of FREE assistance.

I am all for helping those in need. Just look below a few entries and you will visually see it. I also believe that those who get assistance need to do for themselves the things that are necessary to support themselves and their families.

Many people have the entitlement mentality. I have been dealing with that a lot lately in the form of various individuals. It really burns me monetarily sometimes. I also burns me emotionally, as well. It tinders a spark of pontificating to those who believe that they deserve a hand out about taking care of themselves instead of wanting to suckle off a teat provided by a government, other people, or a church organization.

One case in particular has gotten bad press several times. A woman has been living in a house provided by a church congregation outside of Chicago for over a year. The church is finally asking her to leave. The press has tried to portray the church as evil in asking her to finally take care of herself and her children. Apparently, she is married and the father is working offshore. She has a source of income but has been living off the church for a year. She has three children but has not taken the necessary steps to ensure that their needs are met.

It is NOT "un-Christian" to expect that able bodied men and women fend for themselves. Many people need a "hand up", even a "hand out". There comes a time, however, when generosity's limit is reached and it becomes someone taking advantage of those who would be generous. I have experienced this personally and recently with more than one individual.

It would be "un-Christian" to continue to allow someone to remain a charity case and a parasite to society. I could copy and paste a bunch of Bible verses to back my point here, but don't want to lose the reader. I was accused by a former roommate of mine for being "un-Christian" for asking him to remove himself from my apartment. I had to do that three times when I had roommates, all total. Allowing someone to stay behind on rent to the detriment of the others is wrong, as is enabling someone to drink and do drugs, contrary to the agreement about living there.

Not everyone wants to be able to live life for themselves. Some want others to live for them and provide for them. We are not owed a living, nor are we required to provide it for others. Love has no limits, but it does know boundaries.

Humor break. I thought this was funny.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Vehicle fire damage

This is probably the single best picture I managed to get of the vehicle damage. I snapped others, but don't feel like putting them all on the blog. Here is one to give you an idea.

One dead, toasty, old truck

I don't have any real pictures of my truck except for the ones we took during the last campaign season. It's dead now. A friend of mine borrowed the truck for a bit since theirs died and needs a head gasket replacement. This morning, it caught fire and totaled the truck. I haven't seen it yet, but I am told that the entire engine compartment was fully involved and it even melted into the dashboard.

My friend was able to salvage all of my personal stuff from the truck. I have already been on the phone with the insurance company and the towing company. By Monday, I may have an insurance settlement and then perhaps look into a new vehicle.

This is just one more thing in a string of events this week. I am not upset about this. I am not happy, but not upset, either. Stuff happens. I just hate that it happened to a good friend of mine who has been in tears all morning about it. She was very apologetic to me, as if it was her fault. I tried to console her, letting her know it wasn't her doing, she just happened to be the unfortunate one driving the truck at the time. I actually hate it for her more so than for me.

I would love to be able to afford a new truck, but I don't know that I will be able to get another one. Time will tell.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


I found out that today's Selma News column got punted and will be published next week. I didn't know until today that this was the case. Look for the column next week, instead.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Enough already with the idea of tolls. Stop hosing the citizens!

It is bad enough that construction of I-540 has basically been halted headed eastward. That road would have benefitted us here. The state has raided the highway trust fund and claims poverty, wanting to put toll plazas on I-95. The state has had over $2 billion in surplus and is not replenishing the highway trust fund. The latest section of I-540 has ALREADY bee paid for. Now they want to put toll plazas on the I-540 outer beltline. ENOUGH! I am reminded of the song from the 80's by Twisted Sister, "We're Not Gonna Take It!" I have wanted to use that song on talk radio for years. Oh, to see Kevin Miller fired from WPTF; it is a pleasant dream.

Here is a smidge of an article on the N&O web page:

State legislators have agreed that motorists can be asked to pay tolls on a short stretch of Interstate 540 -- already paid for with tax dollars -- that is scheduled to open in western Wake County next year. But that's only if Wake mayors go along with the idea.

Scandals...local and state. Anyone surprised? We live in a corrupt world.

I find it amazing that for someone who was so destitute on a job paying over $50K a year that she had to embezzle money, former county Director of the Board of Elections, Teresa Davis has already repayed the money that she took over a period of a few years. I realize that she has a husband and another income besides her own. That is what makes it all the more amazing that they had the financial problems they did.

I know what it is to live off of her salary. I do it myself, with no second income from a spouse. She is only three years older than I am. I know what a hardship it would be to cough up $6300 real fast, though. I would have to raid my retirement fund to do that. It just makes me wonder. Two bankruptcies in two years, embezzlement, and repayment of embezzlement within two weeks of disclosure? Did some money from Jim Black find its way down to Smithfield?

Former Elections Director Repays Missing Money - Two weeks after Johnston County Board of Elections Director Teresa Davis resigned, county officials announced Tuesday that she has repaid $6,290 she allegedly embezzled over a five year period. Davis , 41, resigned on July 14. She had been the elections director since 1998. She accepted responsibility and agreed to repay the money reportedly taken from cash receipts paid by candidates filing for office. An internal audit revealed receipts for cash but no corresponding bank deposits. Davis has had personal troubles, having filed for bankruptcy in 2004 and 2005. At the request of District Attorney Tom Lock, the SBI is investigating the alleged embezzlement to determine if any criminal charges are warranted.

Does this really surprise anybody?

Just a quick blurb from the N&O (full story here): Former state Rep. Michael Decker admitted in federal court Tuesday that three years ago he abandoned the Republican Party and supported Jim Black for a third term as House speaker in exchange for a legislative job for Decker's son and $50,000.

I could write a full commentary on corruption in the state government, but the fact that we have so many corrupt men and women, even at the state level, is nothing new. I almost am bored by it, I am sad to say. The real story is that Decker admitted to it publicly.

Jim Black is surrounded by corrupt people who are willing to contribute to his own corruption. Yet Black is in denial, we all know it, and he is still in power. This is a sorry thing to witness. Jim Black needs to be removed from power. In the 1700's, he would have been adbucted by fellow citizens, tarred, and feathered. Instead, people like him are allowed to prosper. If Black does not resign over the Decker scandal, then he needs to basically have the crap kicked out of him by citizens who are fed up with this sort of thing. Want to read more about Jim Black's corruption? Here is a site for you.

Wow, it's Wednesday already

I haven't had much I wanted to write about the past several days. I am not sure why. I have seen a few topics that may have deserved commentary, but I have not felt like writing. That is the beauty of a blog. I write what I want and when I want.

One thing that is on my mind is zoning regulations and ordinances. Zoning can be a good thing when employed properly. Sometimes it is counter productive and inappropriately injures citizens. An example that I just read about is in northern Virginia. Houses there are required to be under a certain height.

The enforcement of seemingly arbitrary regulations are hurting new home owners and builders. The fact that the town issued permits for home construction that violate regulation apparently does not matter. People are having to redo construction that has either been finished or underway to comply with local regulations. That is just plain ridiculous, a travesty, and irresponsible on the part of the local governing body. It would be the same injustice here, should it ever happen that way, especially when we are trying to encourage more home ownership and an increased tax base.

Here is the article on what I am writing about.