Tuesday, October 31, 2006
What October 31st means to me more than anything else, however, is the anniversary of the day we closed on our first house. I wanted a house for years and couldn't afford one. The timing was right for us on our present home, so we went for it. We closed on the house on October 31st, four years ago. We moved in that afternoon and spent our first night there that evening. We had some people knock on our door in Halloween costumes that night, but we had to explain that we just moved in the same day and were not exactly prepared for them.
Anyway, the house thing is a bit more meaningful to me than anything else. That is how I remember what day it was when we closed on the house, it was Halloween Day.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
I stepped outside, looked around, and saw my cat, Fluffernutter, laying dead in the street. I immediately came inside and heard my cell phone ringing. It was my neighbor telling me about the cat. I told her I just saw it and would be out in a minute. I woke up Teresa and we all went outside. I picked her up out of the road. She was flat and limp. She had been run over lengthwise and she was crushed down but not stiff. It had obviously happened recently. I just finished burying her. Teresa is sitting in the back yard swing where Fluff would sit with us regularly and is mourning her death.
Fluff was a great cat. I really liked her a lot. For three years or more, she came to us, crossed that same street safely, and would visit inside from time to time. She would never stand for being left inside, though. She was probably abandoned and we were available to feed and love her. She sure knew love and had a lot of friends in the neighborhood. I will miss her.
I assume that she was run over accidentally. If I ever find out otherwise, someone is going to taste a bit of wrath.
For Board of Education: This debate took the longest and not because the race has six candidates for three seats. Incumbent Larry Strickland and newcomer Butler Hall enjoyed the unanimous support of the Herald’s editorial board. Mr. Strickland because he’s willing to work with County Commissioners to put finite county resources into classrooms. And Mr. Hall because we believe his would be a moderate, consensus-building voice on a board that has become increasingly partisan. But how to choose among the other four candidates? Carol Brannock would bring a teacher’s voice to a school board that has none. Sylvia Herring would offer pragmatism and a southern Johnston County perspective. Incumbent Dorothy Johnson has a passion for helping schoolchildren, and she is the board’s lone minority and therefore a role model. But our nod goes to Brian Hale because he is the parent of young children, and young children are what the school board is all about.
My thoughts about what was written are this. I couldn't care less if Dorothy Johnson is a minority. She is only a role model if she has the character to be so. I don't care if Carol Brannock was a teacher or not. I only care if she has the right perspective to be able to guide the education policies of the county. I don't care what part of the county Sylvia Herring is from. We should be electing school board members by district, anyway.
I thought that the last endorsement was written by a third grader or a mentally retarded adult, so I read it again. Yup, it said what I thought it said. I decided to email the endorsed candidate. He doesn't write the endorsements. I did want to share with him some perspective and let him know why I would vote for him, or not. Here is what I wrote:
I was reading the online version of the Herald last night and saw their endorsements for the upcoming election. I see that "our nod goes to Brian Hale because he is the parent of young children, and young children are what the school board is all about." I wanted to let you know that I will not vote for you because you have young children. I will most likely vote for you because actually looked to see who the candidates were and read their candidate profiles. You seem conservative in your approach as well as practical.
You mentioned one thing in your N&O profile (something I am familiar with, having run for office myself) that is what I was looking for. "...allow us to continue to grow without having a higher tax burden on the Johnston County families." That is something that I always look for. The views about the burden on the people who pay the bills are important, since that tells me whether a candidate will think creatively or not, and give consideration to efficiency with the millions of dollars we already send to the county schools.
The Herald said one thing that I find absurd in the earlier quote. "young children are what the school board is all about." No, young children are NOT what the school board is all about. EDUCATION is what the school board is all about. They are not there to be elected babysitter supervisors or Big Brother. They are there to direct the way in which the county handles its education system. If people would get that concept down rather than all things being "for the children" as an emotional pull for power, then perhaps we could gain back ground in the quality of our education system that we have lost over the years.
If parochial and charter schools can educate children for far less money that we are spending per student and give a higher standard of education at the same time, perhaps it is time to reevaluate our system. Just within the past week, I was listening to charter school administrators who were discussing how their several schools receive the same amount of public money per student as other public schools. However, they do NOT receive any money for facilities. Within the amount of money they receive, they must pay for building construction or rental. They are doing so with great success, even building $12 million dollar facilities. That tells me that our existing public system is extremely inefficient and needs to change. The figure thrown around was that only about 50% of tax dollars for education make it to the classroom. The other half is eaten up in administration. If this is true, I want someone who is elected to work to change that. When our Superintendent of Schools makes more money than the Governor of North Carolina, something needs to change.
If you are in that paradigm, then you will certainly have my vote, not because you have young children.
The day we had the interview, it was explained to me by the young campaign manager how their campaign was going to "redifine a shoestring budget" and spoke about their $40K budget compared to Etheridge's $700K of money just from PACs. I offered some professional services to their campaign. I offered to make CD copies of the interview FREE, make the interview available online FREE, and make any radio ads for them FREE. I have done radio ads for over 15 years. I know what I am doing. I have a professional recording set up for broadcast quality recording for radio and TV. I still do narration and ads from time to time.
Today I was on the way home during the 6PM hour and heard a familiar voice on the radio start to talk about the failings of Bob Etheridge as a Congressman. I knew instantly that the ad was for Mansell. I also have communicated with the voice over guy in the past. He does a lot of work for my employer. Actually, I even have the same mixing board, sound card, and software that he uses as a full time voice over announcer. This man's voice saturates the Triangle market. I have nothing against him as a professional and individual, but he is over used in this market. Also, each person has a voice suited for certain types of ads, not every type of ad. He is often contracted for voice over work unfitting to his voice.
This ad was simply and non-descript. Plain. Boring. I offered to make ads FREE for the campaign. I have an hour of audio clips of the candidate I can use. I have years of announcing experience. Most of all, I am a conservative that volunteered to work for the campaign FREE.
I have a hard time with the concept of having a man sit across a table from you, telling you that their campaign is low on funds and they can't afford to do much yet refusing help that has been offered to them. I offered on several occasions to assist in a few different aspects of sound and web media. I NEVER heard anything in reply.
Maybe this is for the best. Mansell is going to get his ass kicked in the election in November. I have known this since day one. Still, I offered to help the cause. I like what Mansell stands for, but I can only wonder WTF??? The campaign manager cries about the low amount of funds but pays for crappy, boring ads when they could have had better ads FREE? Not to mention that I would have professionally recorded the auto dialer message that they used to call every residence. It was done by the campaign manager (I have not mentioned his name for a reason), I recognized the voice. By the way, he actually did a better job than the guy who voiced their radio ad. Still, I would have done the freakin' job for them FREE.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
I wonder if she will do so at the next Council meeting. Doubtful.
I do agree with much of what you wrote in today's letter to the editor. I agree with trying to help support local businesses in so much as that they offer what I desire to purchase. I don't shop at the antique shops, since I am not looking for what they offer. I do visit local restaurants, the jewelry shop, the thrift store, and others that have what I need.
Unfortunately, in the case of The Royal Tea Room, she was not open on the occasions when we attempted to go there for dinner and the one time she was open when we stopped by, she really didn't have anything we were interested in at the time. I hate tea, by the way, so I don't typically go to a tea room. A coffee shop, on the other hand, now is something I would frequent if one was in town. When looking for a cappuccino and a sweet to share with the wife, the tea room did not have either. Not even a coffee with real creamer. That is just my personal experience. When we returned to try dinner one day, the hours were changed and the tea room was closed.
I don't cry over businesses going out of business if they can not compete. That is just a common marketplace occurrence. I patronize businesses that have what I want to purchase and at prices I am willing to pay. I don't patronize one gas station in town because they don't offer the convenience of location, of using a brand of gasoline that allows me to use my branded credit card should I choose to do so, and others do. That is no slight on that station, and I don't feel bad about not giving them my business. I don't go to the IGA any more for personal reasons, and Joe Moore is missing thousands of dollars of my business. I don't feel bad about going to Food Lion or Wal-Mart instead. He has made some business decisions with which I disagree and therefore don't give him my business. That is a part of the free market economy and has nothing to do with "being my brother's keeper".
I believe that you were dead on target concerning the security guard at The Waffle House and have written about it on troylaplante.com. The local police were way out of bounds in charging that woman with a crime. I even posted the text of the ordinance (which is publicly available on the town's web site). The ordinance does not even address her situation in a criminal or prohibitive manner. What that security guard did was specifically PROTECTED under that ordinance, yet some zealot decided to cite her anyway. That is sad.
I can see the town cutting business owners some slack on utility bills. Fortunately, the town did vote in the past council meetings to out the utility deposit to help businesses. The amount charged for utilities still seems high to me, and I have no problem giving new businesses a break. That is just plain good business, from a perspective that they are a customer of the town.
I can't see the town subsidizing rent, though. Private owners of property have the right to rent out their properties or sell them at fair market prices. Unfortunately, those prices have been a bit high here in town. We are still talking about Selma, not Raleigh. I looked at property and rental prices within the past year and was a bit disappointed in the high amount being demanded. That is just plain a market problem that needs to be rectified. I don't necessarily believe it to be a town government problem. I certainly don't want my tax dollars going towards subsidizing rent, regardless of the beneficiary.
You were right on about Railroad Days, as well. I have said the same thing for over a decade. It is no different than with the Ham and Yam festival in Smithfield. One year, when I was working at WBZB, the only things railroad related was the model train display, the spike driving contest, and the fact that we played a few Boxcar Willie songs on the radio. The same year at the Ham and Yam festival, the only thing remotely related to sweet potatoes or pigs were the hams and the cans of yams we gave away to listeners as we broadcasted live.
Selma has allowed gangs and thugs to thrive for years, as evidenced by the crowd at Railroad Days, as you noted in your letter. The police would serve the public better by dealing with them instead of with security guards doing their job.
Anyway, David, I don't have to agree with you on everything to still love and respect you, which I do. We do agree on a lot of things, and I probably need to expend more effort on keeping in fellowship with you. Come to think of it, your shop does have something we need, so I do believe we need to make a trip soon to resupply.
Book ties Johnston firm to CIA activity
A journalist claims the air charter company transported terrorism suspects to other countries for interrogation.
OK, first of all, there is a HUGE difference between interrogation and torture. Even if that interrogation is a bit heavy handed, it is still not torture. The torture is still alleged, not proven. In the N&O article, there is a quote "Aero President Norman Richardson said he has read a lot of insinuations in the book but few facts. Grey was "just grabbing at straws as far as guesswork and putting us in a business we're not in," Richardson said. Aero leases and maintains planes -- what others do with the planes is "their business," he said."
We have boneheads who protest the use of our little airport for alleged torture runs. First, so what? The planes need to fly to and from somewhere. Second, the torture is alleged, not proven. Third, the flights are contracted or chartered, not CIA owned and operated. For all we know, some of the protested or alleged CIA flights may be business flights, not prisoner transport flights. Either way, I really don't care. If some evil adherent of "the religion of peace" who has waged war on our troops gets harshly interrogated, I am not going to complain.
One that I do still get I actually enjoy reading. Today's newsletter deals with an often misunderstood topic on both sides of the discussion regarding the roles of men and women in the Church.
There is one quote by Martin Luther in the newsletter that is rather profound. Wow, is it the truth. "God has created men with broad chests and shoulders, not broad hips, so that men can understand wisdom. But the place where the filth flows out is small. With women it is the other way around. That's why they have lots of filth and little wisdom." I know that women will get mad about that, and the newsletter is disputing the alleged hatred of women by Luther, or at least his theological interpretation of why a man should be in charge of a woman. Any man who has been married knows how true that quote can be.
There was one woman who disputed something I wrote in my blog months ago about women being more emotional rather than logical in their thought processes. He was a liberal from the midwest. He has worked in and around his state legislature and for the media, as I recall. Need I say more as to why he believes as he does?
Don't get me wrong, I disagree with many of Luther's masculine domination theology. He was quoted as saying things about women such as "If they become tired or even die, that does not matter. Let them die in childbirth -- that is why they are there... So that you could by God's will of suffering and perhaps dying (go) through these delicious pains." Luther was the originator of the saying "A woman's place is in the home." Another fun one is "There is no dress that suits a woman as badly as trying to become wise." I don't necessarily agree with Luther in these thoughts. Being married, I understand them of course, but don't necessarily agree.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Feel free to make use of these features. They are all free and are there for your use. Pass the word along to others, as well. I spend a lot of time creating, installing, and refining the site as a community service and would love to see it utilized to its fullest potential.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
One of America's great action stars of film and television is not ashamed that he's returned to the faith of this youth. Early in his life, action star Chuck Norris was reared by a strong Christian woman -- but things changed quickly. "When I got into the film world, I got sucked into the secular aspect of the entertainment field and I really drifted away from my faith," says Norris. "It's amazing -- as successful as I was as an actor, and the money and the fame, there was still something missing." Norris married a Christian woman named Gena and, through her witness, rededicated his life to Jesus Christ eight years ago. The actor says the Holy Spirit has filled the emptiness he had and has given his life new meaning. He is now an advocate for getting the Bible back into the public school curriculum.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
After an exam and a blood sample, Daisy seemed OK and we were instructed to keep an eye on her for any more problems. She went to the groomer's yesterday and was tired after her trip. We expected that, but she was almost "dead to the world" and was panting more than usual at times. She panted quite a bit today, too. A while after coming home, she seemed to be feeling better but not 100%. Overall, however, she still seems better.
As we were leaving, a lady came into the vet hospital in tears saying that she wanted her dog to be put down. She had an old, large female who could no longer walk. She had total paralysis in her hind legs. She was apparently under her house for several days and wouldn't/couldn't come out. She and her husband got her into the back of their mini van on a blanket. She said that the dog was too heavy to just pick up and carry into the hospital. I offered to help. Her husband and I went out to the van, which was backed up to a door at the side of the building. We tried to take each corner of the blanket and carry her. She fought a bit and lost balance a few times, making our efforts futile. When she fell over on her side, I wrapped the blanket around her, scooped her up, and carried her inside to the exam room.
That poor old dog reaked of death. She smelled bad from having soiled herself and had the smell of death about her that I have smelled before. When I got home, I had to take off my clothes and shower to get rid of the odor. At least that old dog was loved and was going in a peaceful manner with the people who loved her right there.
Later on, I went with a buddy of mine to see "The Flags of Our Fathers", the new Clint Eastwood movie about the Battle of Iwo Jima, the famous photo of six men raising the flag on Mount Suribachi, and the story of the three men who became unwitting heroes. It was actually a very good movie. One reviewer on IMDB said, "What it lacks in popcorn-munching entertainment value, it replaces with gravitas." I found that to be accurate, and quite honestly, that is exactly what I wanted in this movie, or from any historical portrayal, for that matter.
I don't expect Hollywood to get any movie totally accurate from a historical perspective. However, since I never knew the details about Iwo Jima and the time period, I really enjoyed the portrayal. There were certainly enough photos, news stories, and news reels to document the actual events, so the movie should be pretty accurate (I hope). I did some research on Iwo Jima after getting home from the theater. One read that is worth the time is the Wikipedia entry for The Battle of Iwo Jima. Follow the external links, too. They are worth your time.
I did learn several things about the time period, the war bond effort, the politics, and the truth behind the famous photo from both the movie and from doing some reading.
I wish that Wikipedia would condense their listings from multiple into ONE common listing. That is the pitfall of having an open format, though.
Friday, October 20, 2006
I also have a cat that lives outdoors. She was an abandoned kitty in the neighborhood. Since she was a youngster, she has come by here and adopted us. We took her in, fed her, loved on her, got her spayed after she had a kitten (that died within 48 hours), sprung her from cat jail after getting trapped by animal control, got her shots, and flea treatments. I guess we could consider her our cat, since she spends most of her time here. She goes across the street and loves our neighbors, too.
Since at first, we didn't know what to call her, as we thought that she may belong to someone in the neighborhood, we called her a generic name like "Fluffy", even though she isn't really fluffy. She is a short hair mixed breed. She is gray with a white saddle and is rather amorous.
Fluffy loves to hunt. Over the past couple of years, she has come home with dead birds and squirrels. She loves to eat squirrel. We give her fresh food and water, but her carnivore predator instincts are strong and active.
This morning, I opened the door and found her laying under the car with another dead squirrel. This is her third or so within the past several months. She found the stupid or slow ones. Natural selection at work.
I can't imagine that raw squirrel tastes very good, but to Fluff (Fluffernutter, officially), it must be a delicasy. She always starts eating at the head and usually has it down to the waist by the time we see the prey. Only once I can remember that she had it down to just the shoulders by the time we saw her latest kill. Nutty cat.
Follow the link if you want to read about a Baptist seminary forbidding people to speak in tongues. Sure, play God. Quench His Spirit. Ignore scripture. Paul said 1Corinthians 14:38-39 "But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues." And they will continue to be ignorant. Certainly at that seminary.
China must be leaning heavily on the little gargoyle for him to apologize for the nuke tests. Either that, or it is a ploy.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Carol: "OK, we all have these terrible stories to get over, and you---"
Melvin: "It's not true. Some have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. Just no one in this car. But, a lot of people, that's their story. Good times, noodle salad. What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad, but that you're that pissed that so many others had it good."
The movie has been on cable several times recently and we finally put it on tape today. I have got to get some audio of that scene. I wanted to get the URL www.goodtimesnoodlesalad.com, but some squatter has had it for over a year and a half and has done nothing with it. The URL expires in two years. We will see if the female registrant ever lets it go.
The good news is that regardless of how bad you had it in life, Jesus will bring the picnic lunch complete with noodle salad.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
"MCCAIN JOKES ABOUT SUICIDE IF DEMS WIN SENATE" -- If only he was serious.
"Bush warns against selling nuclear arms..." -- The warning was to North Korea. What about those who sell to them?
"FBI WANTS INTERNET PROVIDERS TO KEEP RECORD OF USER'S ACTIVITIES..."
"Iran cuts Internet speeds to homes, cafes..." -- Any real surprise? Politically, they can't just cut it off net access all at once, but they can frustrate people by cutting speeds. And who is the oppressor? I would almost classify slow internet as torture.
"For First Time, Airport Workers Nationwide To Face Intense Security Screening..." -- For FIRST TIME? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot??? Five years after 9/11 and this is the first time? Assinine.
"Calif. city may bar illegal immigrants from renting..." -- Yay! Another one!! Three cheers for Escondido, California! I wish Selma would do the same. With a three of our town council members being rental property owners, I doubt it would ever happen here. Remember that in a year when the municipal election comes around again. I don't own any rental houses or apartments, by the way. Just my own. If I did, my policy would be simply "no Green Card, no rental. No English, no rental."
"N Korea informs China of plan to conduct 3 more nuke tests..." -- China has it right about wanting separation from North Korea and has built a wall on their common border. I hope that China comes down on Korea harshly over all of this. I wish we had the guts that China does and would build a wall on our border with Mexico...and fast.
Other comments: If you look at the N&O web site, you will see nothing about the scandals in the NC Legislature with Jim Black, nothing for follow up on stories about mismanagement of taxpayer money and state employee time by the D.O.T., and nothing about the projected $1 billion dollar budget shortfall after a budget surplus of over $2 billion last year that was frivilously spent. I wish they would KEEP this stuff on the front page of their web site. In all fairness, there is a full section of stories about Jim Black and Kevin Geddings. You just have to hunt for it.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
I am a Mansell supporter. We see quite a few things alike. I had the opportunity to interview him a while back and posted the interview online. Unfortunately, I have known for quite some time that Mansell was going to be defeated pretty badly by Etheridge. It is an unfortunate future event. Now it seems more inevitable. Just three weeks before the election, the Associated Press released the news that Mansell owes a lot of money in back taxes.
My views of the tax system, its unethical application, and my disdain for big government aside, I find it amazing that someone would even consider running for Congress knowing that you own a few hudred thousand dollars in income taxes. Sorry, but this is just plain stupid and gives ammunition to your opponent. When you are a strong conservative, you will have opponents that are more than just the other candidate. You also battle the liberal media.
I find it of little coincidence that the story comes out just three weeks before the election. News like this will help ensure an Etheridge victory. I have my suspicions about the timing of the lien, or at least the news thereof.
Mansell says that the tax lien is a "non issue". To voters it is, Dan. I like you, and I feel it is an issue.
Below is the story from the WPTF web site.
GOP Congressional Candidate Owes More Than $220K In Unpaid Taxes
SMITHFIELD, N.C. (AP) - Liens filed in Johnston County show a
Republican congressional candidate who wanst the federal income tax
eliminated owes more than 220-thousand dollars in unpaid taxes.
Danny Mansell is trying to unseat Representative Bob Etheridge,
and he blames the years-old tax problems on a time when he
neglected to manage his business while his mother was dying and his
wife battled cancer.
Mansell says the tax liens are a "non-issue."
Department of Revenue records show Mansell's business has also
owed the state nearly 50-thousand dollars in taxes since 1999. But
Mansell says that lien record was already paid in full.
While he has pushed to replace the federal income tax with a
nationwide sales tax, Mansell said his liens are not connected with
his policy proposals.
Etheridge's campaign had no comment on Mansell's tax history.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Grand Jury Refuses To Indict Homeowner Who Shot Burglar - A grand jury on Monday determined there was not sufficient evidence to indict a Selma homeowner who shot a burglar fleeing from his home. District Attorney Tom Lock said the grand jury did not desire to consider a bill of indictment against the homeowner, Randall Holmes, who shot an alleged burglar. Therefore, Lock said, he would not pursue criminal charges of any kind against Holmes. The accused burglar, Derrick Barnes (pictured right), was shot while in the passenger seat of a car driven by his girlfriend, Crystal Morrison. Both were arrested after Barnes went to seek medical treatment hours after the predawn burglary on September 13. No person may be tried without his consent for any felony in North Carolina unless a grand jury has indicted him for that felony, District Attorney Lock said.
The right outcome on that story. I realize what the law states regarding shooting at someone who is leaving the property. However, you don't know if a burglar is armed or not, whether they will stop and shoot, or what danger there may be otherwise. If someone is bold and stupid enough to break in to someone's home, they are stupid enough to die. Period. Jury nullification can be a good thing.
Now the wrong...
Security Guard In Trouble After Firing Gun - A security guard who fired a gun while trying to disperse an unruly crowd is now in trouble with the law. Selma Police said the security officer, Mary Jean Pounds, broke the law by discharging a firearm in the city limits. Pounds was working at the Waffle House when an altercation broke out inside the business around 3:00am. Before police arrived, as many as 15 people gathered in the parking lot. Pounds allegedly fired her handgun three times in the air to disperse the crowd. Police seized her firearm and three spent shell casings they recovered in the parking lot.
So the property owners (in this case, Waffle House) hire a private protection firm to provide security. The security officer, if an armed guard, is qualified to possess the firearm and use it. If the guard is unarmed, then it was inappropriate to have the gun to begin with. I used to work as a supervisor and write some standards at a guard company, by the way.
The woman was doing her job, in my opinion. If she was hired as an armed guard and an altercation was about to or has broken out, then I say she did the right thing. She should be congratulated for stopping a possibly dangerous incident before it got out of control rather than charged with a crime. The firearm should be returned to the owner immediately. To deprive someone of personal property and self defense over this incident is inappropriate. The term "shall not be infringed" comes to mind. Yes, I am a big time 2nd Amendment supporter. Firearms were created for just such an occasion. There are reasons for the town ordinance, and this is one within its scope of protection.
For clarification, here is the town ordinance regarding to discharge of firearms within the town limits:
Sec. 13-3. Discharge of firearms, fireworks.
(a) Any person who shoots any firearm for sport or pastime or uses any fireworks or explosive within the corporate limits of the town shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) Subsection (a) shall not apply to firearms used in defense of person or property or pursuant to lawful directions of law-enforcement officers.
Unless there are circumstances not mentioned in the news article, the discharge of the firearm was lawful. The article does not specifically say that the guard was charged with a misdemeanor. If I was in the same situation, I would be tempted to do the same thing. If my firearm got taken, I would just go home and get another one. My lawyer would get involved, and I would be incessantly on someone's case until my property was returned.
NOW, if the guard is in trouble with her employer, THAT is another issue entirely.
If it is fine for China to protect their own border, why is it not perfectly fine for us to do the same? If we don't build a fence, I at least want to see the Rio Grande full of sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads!
OK, so that went way over the heads of those people who I know read this and have never seen the Austin Powers movies.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Another bit of news is that the woman (Belinda Haddock of Tarboro) who abandoned the dogs to die (seven did) only got probation. I have looked for news articles to substantiate this, but have not seen any thus far.
Daisy is doing better about being touched. Teresa has been able to pet, groom, walk, and hold her from the day we brought her home. She finally has stopped barking at me as much, but still does from time to time. She still puts herself between Teresa and me, so when I walk into a room where Teresa is sitting, Daisy plays guard dog. She may still bark at me, but nowhere near as much. She now lets me pet her, scratch her ears and head, and she loves to sit at my feet. She still won't let me pick her up or take her for a walk yet, though. She sees me as a doggie treat dispenser since I have been giving her some Snausages and other dog treats for months to court her favor. I am her source of food each morning, as well, and she knows it. If I have a weekend off and try to sleep in, she will bark at me to wake me up if she thinks that I am sleeping too long.
Daisy gets along well with the cats and seems happy and healthy so far. She bounces when she runs and is funny to watch. Hopefully she will be around for a long and happy life.
Here is the Daisy the Dog page.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Another story below is about the water tower at the Cotton Mill. The council voted for it to come down on Tuesday night. It takes WMPM two days to report it, however. The article and the claims of the town manager are inaccurate, however. NO, a fence does NOT have to be built around it and $400 in liability insurance paid per year as the cost of inactivity on the issue. That is propaganda as a means to an end. No action means JUST THAT...NO action. It is a bit of dishonesty to claim that the fence and insurance are a cost of inactivity. That just is not so. The cost of inactivity is $0. Don't believe everything you hear on the radio, at a meeting, or read online or in a paper. Also, if we are going to be charged $400 a month for liability insurance on an old tower like that, it is time to shop for a new insurance carrier or method.
Several Selma Buildings Renamed At Mayors Request - At the request of Selma Mayor Charles Hester, several town structures have been named in honor or memory of
Old Water Tower Coming Down - In a split vote, the Selma Town Council has decided to tear down the old Cotton Mill water tower on
I find it very amusing that any individual would be offended over the idea that another individual can express themselves well with the written page. Perhaps Dave Holmes feels inadequate or threatened by my punctilious writing style. For the record, I do not use a dictionary or thesaurus when writing to find words for my column or blogs. I do use a dictionary when I need to check on spelling of a word and I don't have spell check or even if my spell checker flags a word I think is spelled correctly. Sometimes that happens, too, since not all words found in the dictionary are in spell check. That is the God's honest truth.
Is there something wrong with being relatively articulate? This, by the way, is not the first time that I have been bashed by those who want a "dumbed down" method of communication. Personally, I prefer to write as if I actually received a modest education, as if I am actually attempting to communicate effectively, and at a level worthy of my efforts. I do not write to impress. It is the message that I prefer to convey, not the style. I do believe in conveying those ideas in a style befitting them rather than articulating them towards the least common denominator, which is apparently Dave Holmes. I don't know about y'all (a little "least common denominator lingo" there), but I was taught to write, speak, and even non-verbally communicate in an effective and precise manner; or at least attempt to do so.
Are my opinions conservative? Abso-freakin'-lutely! I make NO apologies for that whatsoever. People generally love or hate commentators such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, and the like. Though I personally look up to Rush as a sort of hero in the broadcast industry, I do not seek to emulate any of them. Others that were loved or hated that I have read behind are Barry Goldwater and William Loeb. I grew up reading The Union Leader, Loeb's daily paper. I still read the online edition and scan for storied of interest to me on a daily basis. I love the conservative politics of Goldwater, having read "Conscience of a Conservative" many years ago, and even the new documentary "Goldwater on Goldwater", which I recorded. I found Goldwater too liberal for me on social issues such as abortion, however. Goldwater was also a heathen, to my knowledge, regardless of his Jewish or Episcopal roots.
Anyway, back to the letter to the editor. My views were not the reason I was not elected to town council last year. I can easily list several right here, as I did almost a year ago. First, I have only lived in Selma for four years now. Three as of the last election. I was not well known in town then. That has apparently changed (snicker, snicker). All other three candidates were known by the public, having been in Selma all their lives. Two of the other candidates were also incumbents. Incumbents always have the advantage of experience and name recognition, not to mention voter apathy. One candidate is Negro, which attracted the minority vote. Combine that with her past work with the NAALCP, and that a strong voting block.
I spent relatively little money ($700 is not little to my budget, but I did learn a lot from that experience), had relatively little time to be able to campaign, etc. I make no excuses for that. It is just the reality. Another reality is that even if I did do a lot of campaigning and spend a lot of money, in all likelihood, nobody else would have beat the two incumbents.
I DID do fairly well by comparison in my own precinct. I got a real good percentage of the vote on the west side (my own side) compared to the eastern side. I came within just 13 votes of the next highest vote getter, who had been on the ballot before, knew far more people, and has been a Selmite all of his life. I was told by several people that I did a lot better than they expected. In retrospect, I guess I didn't do too bad in the election. Many of these factors will be different next time around. Come to think about it, maybe it is better that we have at least one less voter like Mr. Holmes in town. The less liberals the better, and we all benefit.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
I wrote about how I have been called a Zionist by one man in Raleigh. He wrote about how he has seen my hatred for Roman Catholicism first hand and how I have attacked and villified RC online and in person. The truth of the matter is simply that I mentioned RC doctrine as it relates to replacement theology (which he peddles with his commentary and choice of articles, etc.) and alleged Zionism. All I said is that it is common Catholic doctrine that the Jews no longer have a covenant with God and that the Catholic Church is now the true Jerusalem, or "spiritual Israel". Actually, I didn't even get into that concept as deeply as I just wrote, as it pertains to RC doctrine.
Thus, that part is a total fabrication. The second part of the fabrication is that I have done so in person. For the record, I met this man ONE TIME in my entire life, we had a pleasant meeting at one of the world's smallest political conventions and then went to dinner at Golden Corral together with his wife and another man who was also at the convention (only 15 attendees and two or three of them were not even party members). It is hard to show hatred for Catholic doctrine on a personal basis when you never are in the presence of the person to whom the alleged hatred was shown.
I am just amazed at how brazen people will be online and not in person. I am also amazed at how those who are supposed to be in positions of leadership and "moral superiority" based upon belief system and affiliation show such lapses in honesty. It is also amazing to me how people who profess a better political party will do the very things that they claim are what is wrong with opposition parties. I have about had enough. Scottie, beam me out of here.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
During the course of the meeting, there was an appeal on the docket about a demolition order for some substandard housing. Two women who are sisters own four small, cinder block houses on South Raiford Street. It is important to the context to note here that the women are Negro. They appeared before the Council along with their contractor to appeal the decision to tear down their properties (all on the same plot of land) because none of them were up to the minimum standard housing code. This code is not a town deal, to my understanding. The town ordinances reflect and enforce that code, however.
The women received a notice to correct the condemned properties or have them torn down. They decided that they wanted more time to be able to hire their contractor to fix them to code standard. Extensive work is necessary on each unit. They asked for three months each house to fix the issues. This means that they actually have an entire year to fix the properties. During the course of discussion, it was offered by one council member for six months per house. That would drag out the process for two full years.
Mayor Charles Hester said that from his experience, even after fixing up a rental property to be acceptable for tenants, after the tenants move out, basically he still ends up with a shack because the properties are never maintained and the renters don't do anything to enhance the property. He added that one reason for getting the ball rolling on cleaning up the properties in town is to get rid of worthless properties, properties that do not enhance the town's image, appearance, quality of residents, and tax base. This is a condensation of what he has said, but you get the idea. Basically to get rid of undesirable properties and residents.
When Mayor Hester referred to a similar sentiment expressed previously by Mrs. Lacy, she indignantly denied having said so and declared to Mayor Hester, "You would get rid of the whole Negro race!" I even got a copy of the meeting recording to play it back again. That audio clip is now on the internet in Real Audio streaming format for you to hear for yourself.
People, I am telling you that this is a despicable declaration by Mrs. Lacy. She said it in public and on the record. At that point the entire meeting was out of control, which is lamentable. However, that does not excuse the blatantly RACIST statement by an elected official. Jackie Lacy basically accused Charles Hester of being a biggoted racist that wants to exterminate all Negroes. That sort of behavior is unacceptable when people like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Louis Farrakhan say such outrageous things, and it is just as unacceptable when a local council member makes such a statement.
Jackie Lacy, you are a blatant racist. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. You have shown to all in attendance that you are the real racist, not Charles Hester. It was bad enough when you declared that we should hire a minority to replace one town employee who just left for a new job. That was tolerable. Your comment to Charles Hester was intolerable and you owe Mr. Hester, the entire Council, and everyone in attendance an apology for your remark.
I don't want to hear any of the (oh, I really want to type it!) [insert less offensive word instead] crap about how Blacks can't be racist because they are a minority and can't exert the institutional oppression that Whites have done. That is such crap it isn't funny. Racism is a condition of the heart, not of societal power or position. It is not an issue of skin, it is an issue of sin.
A lot of the Martin Luther King "I Have A Dream Speech" is a bunch of crap. There are a few tidbits that are accurate and worthy of repeating. Considering how Negroes in this country worship MLK as if he were The Messiah instead of the "man whore" who liked to commit adultery with white women and affiliated with Communists that he was, I find some of his statements ironic.
"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal." Yeah, Jackie, so much for that one. Just because Charles Hester is a rich White man in a position of power, he is inherently racist and does not believe that you or your race are equal? It that it? Just maybe he believes as I do, that Negroes (I refuse to use the term "Afro-American". I am not considered a "Franco-American", nor do I make Spaghettios.) are free to excel as much as they want, can own property as they will, and are expected to meet the same societal standards that everyone else does. Just because one is Negro does not mean that laws and codes do not apply to you. Ergo, the thought is that they are also created equal.
Here is the best one. "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." The despicable character that was displayed this evening is hardly a shining example for others to follow. Should we judge you as Martin Luther King asked?
I am getting real tired of Jackie's flippant comments and accusations of racism. Not everything in this world revolves around race issues and the alleged oppression of the Negro by Caucasians. Get over it, that well of excuses for bad behavior has run dry.
Now that I am going to get hate mail, I will move on to another topic. The water tower debate is over, though it probably should not be. Stan Farmer openly said that we could pay for the tower demolition and removal out of the town's water and sewer budget with no problem. I find this less despicable, but despicable none the less. For months we have heard about budget woes, staff reductions, employee wage and benefit cuts and freezes, budget cuts, and a tax hike. To have all of that and then pull an extra chunk of money unnecessarily out of a budget to pay for the tower's demise is just plain insulting to tax payers, to utility customers, and to town employees. If we can take over $5000 out of that budget and not think much about it, then our water and sewer rates are obviously more than $5000 to much. There was obviously more money to help fund the budget shortfalls instead of taking away 401(k) benefits and asking emergency employees to pay a paltry $50 per month to take home a town vehicle for call back purposes. My column this week covers this topic more in depth.
Monday, October 09, 2006
Sunday, October 08, 2006
We went to the Railroad Days festival in "uptown" Selma yesterday morning. We watched the parade, watched the opening ceremony, looked at all the vendors, and got some breakfast at one of the vendors. A gyro and Pepsi was $9. A bit high, but I enjoyed it anyway.
There was a decent crowd there, despite the looming threat of rain. There were a decent amount of parade entries this year. It seems that every local pageant winner was in this parade. There were even a few made up pageants, like one for a local real estate company. There are Tiny Miss this and Junior Miss that. What about extending the whole pageant thing to a Miss Toddler or even a Miss Fetus winner? It is indeed getting a bit ridiculous.
Two things that got me rather emotional during the parade would probably not do so to most. I was thinking about the Shriners that were in the parade. They do a great work in helping crippled and burned victim children. I would love to participate in that work. However, I can not in all good conscience participate in an occultic secret society such as the Freemasons, of which the Shriners are a part. If people knew the history behind the meaning of the Red Fez and the sword and crescent logo, they would think twice before being a part of the group. It breaks my heart to see the great work they do, have the desire to be a part of a work of such benevolence, but also not want to risk my own soul.
Despite the description on Wikipedia that "It [Shriners]is a men's fraternity rather than a religion or religious group," former high level Masons and cult experts highly disagree. Because of the religious symbology, the use of "temples", "mosques", and the relationship to Freemasonry, the Shriners have an occultic origin and undertone.
It is for the same reason that I do not join any group like the Elks Club. I have seen what good an active Elks chapter can do in the community. However, they too, are a secret society with religious overtones to their membership. I can not participate in that. I love the civic duties they perform, but can't partake.
Another thing that made me tear up was watching the fire trucks go by. I know that there should be nothing really emotional about watching a string of fire trucks, but quite honestly, I miss the fire service and have for years. At one time, I was the youngest certified firefighter in the state of New Hampshire. The certifications at that time were for life, without renewal. I still have the certificate. My degree is in fire protection. I have not really used my education and experience in this field since 1990. I have often thought about becoming active in the fire service once again. There are a few reasons as to why I am not able to do so at the moment, however.
While at Railroad Days, I had a few comments by people who recognized me from the newspaper. One lady stopped me and said that the only reason she even buys "The Selma News" now is to read my column. I would hope that she finds more things of substance to read than just my little opinion column, but I am humbled by the comment. Another man commented favorably, as he often does when I see him.
I had one detractor that I met. It had nothing to do with the column, though. She basically ambushed my wife and me. She walked up to me and said, "Excuse me, but are you aware of what is going on at Johnston County Airport?" I resisted the smart-ass route of saying that planes take off and land there, and I knew exactly to what she was referring. She is one of the liberal whackos who has bought into the concept that the CIA is consistently torturing prisoners of war and shuttling them in and out of the Johnston County International Airport. I have seen her group out protesting in the past.
I was quick enough to think about what how I should answer her and said, "Yes, I am, and I support them 100%!" I knew that it would tweek her. She went on to accuse me of supporting torture and murder, even criticizing my belief in Christ. She all but called me the Anti-Christ for not denouncing the flights for the CIA in our local airport.
Wikipedia has this entry about the company that contracts with the CIA: "Aero Contractors Ltd., a private charter company based in North Carolina, is said to provide discreet air transport services for the CIA.
The company was founded in 1979 by the late Jim Rhyne, a former pilot with Air America. The company has 26 planes and 79 employees and operates from the tiny Johnston County Airport.
On May 31, 2005, the New York Times reported that the company was heavily involved in extraordinary rendition, the transport of terrorism suspects to countries where they can be tortured to extract information. An Aero Contractors plane was used in the transport of Khalid El-Masri, a German citizen who was pulled from a bus on the Serbia-Macedonia border and held for three weeks. He was drugged and beaten before being flown to Afghanistan on a Boeing Business Jet operated by Aero Contractors. El-Masri was released after five months.
A book published in September 2006, Torture Taxi: On the Trail of the CIA Rendition Flights includes many details about Aero Contractors' involvement in extraordinary rendition."
A New York Times article on the airport activity can be found HERE.
First, any prisoners who are flown in and out of JNX are not being tortured there. It is an airport. What do I care what airport is used for prisoner transport? Furthermore, though we have secret prisons across the globe, that does not mean that people are being tortured in them. When you have an enemy whose influence and adherents are spread across the planet, then you must keep your prison locations secret. I have no problem with that concept.
I doubt seriously that my idea of what constitutes torture is the same as what this group believes to be torture. I have listened a lot to the various voices on the radio, TV, and online about the whole debate about torturing prisoners. Quite honestly, if we are at war, I have no problem with leaning hard on a prisoner that may have information we need.
The men who are supposedly being tortured have vowed to kill us and our troops. Make no mistake, they are not just combatants, they are radical Muslims who are sworn enemies, have been taken on the battlefield, and would kill any of us in a minute. Their fellow combatants (I refuse to call them soldiers) have tortured and beheaded innocent men and women. Look here for some footage of how they treat their prisoners.
One B.S. statement that was on the flyer this woman was distributing is "Torture is a method of punishment, and of generating fear. Subjecting a population to the real threat of torture, especially with no possibility of legal recourse, amounts to terrorism." This is, of course, liberal double speak. It attempts to equate our treatment of captured enemies (who are engaged in combat illegally under international law) with the actions of their ilk who seek to kill INNOCENT civilians.
This woman, who invokes the name of Jesus to denounce unproven torture (it is left wing propaganda that has little proof thus far) saying that Jesus would never approve of torture or killing people fails to account for several things. First, Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and it is Christian doctrine that Jesus is and was the second person of the Godhead, and that He created the earth. (I am not going to go and copy and past the citations here. It is up to you to disprove me if I am wrong, which I am not.) If capital punishment was instituted in Genesis 9, guess who was in favor of it then? If there were capital crimes under the Mosaic Law, who instituted them and was in favor of them? If the nation of Israel was instructed to wage war in a brutal fashion, who instructed them to do so?
I have a newsflash for everyone. Jesus is coming back again. And when he comes, he is not coming as a baby in a manger. He is coming as a warrior with tens of thousands of troops...and he is coming in vengeance. You don't want to be on the receiving end of the wrath to come. I have heard it put this way many times, "Jesus is coming back...and this time he's pissed."
One other point is that hypocritical or unlearned people throw out that a government should not perform things that Jesus would not do. Sorry, but that doesn't cut it. A civil government that is part of the world's system is not and can not of itself be "Christian". PEOPLE can be, but a civil government is not. It is a creation of the world. I can not and do not expect them to adhere to anything inherently Christian. I do, however, expect Christian people to be salt and light within that structure. There is a huge difference.
This woman accosted me, got personal and insulting with me, and started with falacious theological points that go nowhere. I made sure that she had my business card and knew who I am.
For the record, her group's web site is here, according to the flyer she gave me. Trust me when I tell you that you will find absolutely nothing worth your time there, but just to prove me correct, please click on that link anyway. Especially click if you want to a laugh.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
To take advantage of an elderly woman with questionable mental capacity is just unconscienable to me. This man has flushed his career down the toilet, so to speak, and for what? He would have made more money than he tried to swindle had he just been allowed to continue practicing law. On top of that, he ended up having to give back the house and money he stole. His reputation is trashed and he has to either be retired of have another source of income.
Here is the Smithfield Herald story as well as the N&O version.
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap..
Thursday, October 05, 2006
I took Teresa to the Wayne County Agricultural Fair this evening. It was the first time we ever went. It was your average small county fair with a full midway, food vendors, rides, games, etc. There were more food vendors than I was used to seeing for a small fair. Though I wanted to support one of the church or fire department food booths, none of them had what I go to a fair to get. They all had hamburgers, hotdogs, and the like. I was more in the mood for a Polish or Italian sausage with onions and peppers. That is more like "fair food" to me.
Teresa rode a few rides, played a few games, and won a stuffed animal. I played one game repeatedly and won nothing. I didn't go on any rides but did walk around and talk to some Kiwanis Club members, look at 4-H displays, arts, crafts, and had dinner.
Last night we got a knock on the door and it turned out to be our next door neighbor. Yesterday morning, some punks spray painted their house and vehicle. They have a grudge against one of her daughters and vandalized the house and car. So far, they were able to clean the graffiti off the car and were powerwashing the house clean.
At first, I thought that I had started a trend. I power washed my house, concrete, and fence. I still have more to do. A neighbor across the street then did his walkway. Yesterday, I saw my neighbors having their house powerwashed. As it turned out, it was to remove graffiti.
I half expected that it would be my house that got vandalized, considering my writings online and in the paper about illegal immigration and a few other issues that may be touchy with some people. Thankfully, nothing like that has happened.
I will pay more attention to the neighbor's property so that I can help either stop or report problems quickly.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
It was lack of accountability with county (taxpayer) money that led to the embezzlement problem with Teresa Davis in the Elections Board. Yes, the money is taxpayer money, even if the funds did not accumulate as a result of taxation. Whether the money came from fees, fines, or foreclosures, the taxpayers foot the bill for the county government to operate. These funds should be drawing interest if at all possible and should be kept in a responsible manner. To not do so is negligence and should not be tolerated.
From today's News and Observer:
Audit finds flaws in clerk's coffers
SMITHFIELD - A recently released audit report on the Johnston County clerk of Superior Court found untimely investment of funds and weak controls over cash payments during the first half of this year.
Will Crocker, clerk of Superior Court, said he agreed with the findings and took immediate measures to comply with the recommendations of the audit.
Accounts of money held by the clerk longer than six months and totaling more than $200,000 had not been invested as required by state law in specific investment types, the audit found. The audit report also said that the clerk had not separated such duties as printing and reviewing daily cash reports, signing checks and mailing checks -- creating possible opportunities for fraud.
Crocker said the money his office held in bank accounts came from tax foreclosures and other court hearings. He said his office was following the advice of the state attorney general to not do anything with the funds.
Crocker said he now has invested the money and segregated the duties of those responsible for cash disbursement.
Monday, October 02, 2006
I wish I knew how to get a room at the Hilton Garden in Kitty Hawk that cheap.
Kenly Police Chief Fired For Misusing Town Credit Card - Kenly Police Chief David Mangum is off the job and now the focus of a criminal investigation by the SBI. Town Manager Scott Shelton and Mayor Tooie Hales met with Mangum on Saturday before he was fired. District Attorney Tom Lock confirmed the town manager met with him on Friday, one day before Mangum was terminated, to discuss the possible misappropriation of funds with a town credit card. The amount of money reportedly mishandled isn’t known, but an SBI investigation will get underway this week that should uncover those facts. WMPM News obtained a copy of the credit card statements under the NC Public Records Law. The credit card reportedly issued to the Kenly police chief includes expenses such as $648.14 for a Carnival Cruise ticket, $359.38 for a JCPenny catalog order, $37.25 for a room and movie at Hilton Garden Inn at Kitty Hawk, $96.27 for clothes at Tommy Hilfiger in Smithfield, $52.01 at Smoker’s Express in Raleigh, to $18.96 for fire ant killer at Lowe’s in Smithfield. David Mangum had been Kenly’s top cop for the past five years. He was making an annual salary of $38,375. Sgt. Josh Gibson has been named acting police chief. Town Manager Shelton said citizens of Kenly would have adequate police protection.
A small article arreared in the UPI today. It is short, so I will post it here.
Congress passes Mexico border fence bill
WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Congress has ordered construction of 700 miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexican border in a move Mexico says will hurt relations between the two countries.
The Senate voted 80-19, with 26 Democrats joining 54 Republicans in support, Friday night before recessing for the fall political campaigns.
President Bush has said he would sign it.
Critics claim the $1.2 billion fence would do little to address the underlying economic, social and law enforcement problems, or to prevent others from slipping across the border, The Washington Post reported.
A United Press International analysis said the fence's success would be determined by improved economic growth in Mexico and crackdowns on U.S. employment of illegal immigrants.
Mexico's Foreign Relations Department called the fence "a political answer rather than a viable solution."Mexican President Vicente Fox called it "shameful" and compared it to the Berlin Wall, which divided Germany.
He called a fence shameful and compared it to the Berlin Wall. Unbelievable. The Berlin Wall divided one nation into two parts, not two nations along their border. It divided a city. The Berlin Wall was put in place as a tool to enforce oppression and keep a once free people within its perimeter. The Berlin Wall was not built to secure a nation's porous border, it was built to extend communism's grip upon a free populace. A border fence with Mexico is only meant to keep law breaking immigrants out of our country and to assist in keeping enemies of this nation from infiltrating easily.
In my opinion, the fence approved is still far short, both literally and figuratively, of what we need. It is only about one third the length of our border with Mexico. What about the other two thirds? We still have left those borderlands wide open. $1.2 billion is all that was allocated by a bunch of spineless, politically correct (I almost want to say enemies of the state or traitors to our national sovereignty, but that may be a bit too extreme) politicians (ah, there is the problem, summed up in that one word). We can spend 20 times that in Iraq in just a few months securing their borders. We have troops from this nation securing the borders in Korea and Germany. But we can't take care of our own.
The Wake County school bond would almost be that much. One county in one state is wanting a bond for schools that would come close to the amount that is proposed to just one third of a border fence.
Build a damn wall! All the way across!