Monday, December 31, 2007

This is why The Patriots Pub exists

This cartoon is so appropriate and accurate. This is the very reason why I do The Patriots Pub with two other patriots each week.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Infidel alert

For those who do not know what the Koran teaches about us infidels, take note. Never forget that the reason we have terrorism is that the perpetrators are radical Muslims, not because we have troops in the Middle East. That is one area where I differ from Ron Paul (there are a few). I still would rather have Paul as president than the rest of the lame field of candidates, though.

A toboggan is NOT a hat!

PLEASE, all Southerners, STOP calling knit hats toboggans. They are hats, tooks, or some other name, but NOT a toboggan. A toboggan is a wooden sled. I have no idea what bonehead decided to give a hat a sled's name, but one of my pet peeves here in the South is the calling of hats toboggans.

When I first moved to North Carolina, I worked for NCSU Public Safety, a full police department. I remember listening to the police frequency (I did fire and rescue for the same department) and hearing about a suspect in a larceny that was wearing a toboggan on his head. I thought that it should be easy to find someone carrying around a big wooden sled on his head in an area that has no snow.

Just yesterday at Christmas, the little boy that I am spending time with was given a hat and scarf set with his name on them. He was told that he was given a toboggan. I quipped that it was a funny looking sled and to not even try to convince me that it was the name of a hat.

Canadians and northern Yankees know that the term "took" (long oo rather than the past tense of take) is acceptable, eh? A knit hat. Anything but a sled.

So what about private property rights?

You know that you have no private property rights when a court rules that someone can be on your property in order to exercise their free speech rights. One mall in California (no surprise there) found out that very thing.
The California Supreme Court has ruled that shopping malls can't stop protesters from urging the boycott of stores while on mall property.

In a 4-3 decision Monday, the justices ruled that the Fashion Valley mall in San Diego violated California's free speech laws when it kicked out demonstrators in 1998.

Members of a workers' union at the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper were forced out of the mall for distributing leaflets urging the boycott of the Robinsons-May store.

The union was involved in a dispute with company management and wanted to hurt Robinsons-May's business because it advertised in the newspaper.

The high court ruled that California's free speech laws protect such demonstrations.
This is just plain wrong. A company should be able to determine who gets to be on their property and who does not. It is not a matter of free speech. It is a matter of private property rights and this court is just wrong in their decision. Free speech does not mean total access to any private property upon which people wish to trod and exercise said speech. There is no guarantee of freedom of speech on private property, only that the government shall not infringe upon that right. The 1st Amendment certainly does not guarantee a right to be heard or that your speech rights trump the rights of private land owners. I do not know California laws, as stated in the article. However, if their laws can be interpreted so as to squash the rights of property owners, the laws are wrong and need to be either repealed or declared unconstitutional.

Wonder why our tax rate is the way it is?

If we did not have to send to much money to Washington DC or Raleigh, we would have more local dollars available to spend on local issues. I am all for paving roads and such, but there are some things on which I do not think we should spend taxpayer dollars. It is not a hard concept, folks. Small spending amounts, when added together, make many billions of dollars. In Florida, just as in Alaska, there are representatives who are adept at bringing federal dollars to their area for funding pet projects.

Want to see where your tax dollars are being spent in Florida? Remember, it is YOUR money taken from YOU. You might as well find out why you are heavily taxed under threat of loss of freedom or property and income if you don't pay the burden.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A great day to be around children

As I blogged earlier, I have been hanging out with a four year old boy lately named John. I met with his mom and him this afternoon. I took the boy to see "Alvin and the Chipmunks" at the theater. He is ALL boy, plays rough, and loves to be physical. He can also be very sweet. On the way to the theater, "Mr. Troy, I love you." He and I have gotten to be good buddies already and we are able to play just as rough as he wants, laugh at farts, make all the funny noises together that boys make for fun, give wedgies, have tickle fights, and laugh a lot.

Earlier in the day, I got to spend some time with my friend, Dave and his wife, who are foster parenting three lovely young girls, ages 2, 4, and 6. I am friends with their mother. We had lunch together at Ryan's Steakhouse. I was loving every minute of it. They seemed to honestly enjoy me, and I did them. I have always wanted a girl and I kept thinking that "I have got to get me one of these!" Each of the girls gave me hugs before we left the restaurant, and I was in kiddie Heaven. My heart has yearned for this all my adult life.

Today was a great day for me, full of joy, laughter, love, and desire to have my own. I am thankful for the opportunities today. Some things have gone so well for me lately, I find myself crying tears of joy, like right now.

Friday, December 21, 2007

I know it has been a while since I did topics of politics and the like

Quite honestly, I have been preoccupied with other things in life the past few months. I know that sounds lame, maybe even trite, but it is true none the less. I have been spending more time upon relationships and people than I have upon writing. Even my columns in the newspaper have been a bit more removed from my regular topics concerning local happenings, but I have an idea that this is going to change with my next column. I have also not been doing so much of my internet talk show lately because I have dedicated my time to other things and people recently. I recently blogged about one reason why.

Last night I went with a close friend to see The Trans-Siberian Orchestra in concert in Raleigh at The RBC Center. The show was great. The light show and effects alone were worth the price of admission. I am not a huge fan of much of their original music, since they often are concept albums and "rock opera" like. I do, however, thoroughly enjoy their Christmas songs, modern interpretations of classical music, and the like. I really enjoy Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Bach arrangements done with electric guitars and modern drums. I always have.

One development is the anticipated release of their latest CD project, Night Castle. I was doing research online and found that they have been promoting this CD project for a while, but it is way behind schedule because of the group's perfectionism. Follow that link for more. I am looking forward to that CD. Just today, I ordered the CDs I do not have in my collection that they do already have out.

The Christmas story that they narrate is a bit lame in the show and on their CD. Also, as long as you do not get your theology from a concert or a CD, it is tolerable, sort of like the "Left Behind" series or anything from Frank Peretti.

Anyway, I loved the performance. Great music, great pyrotechnics, great laser and light show. The group did preview one song from their upcoming "Night Castle" project. They featured the band's rendition of "O Fortuna" from Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. They had an awesome version of the song. I loved it. I have heard an "O Fortuna" snippet in Sean Hannity's opening theme music on his talk show for years, but TSO's version was great. I downloaded a copy of the song and have been playing it over and over again all day, but obviously not the TSO version, to which I look forward with eager anticipation.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I don't think he stands a chance against David Price, but I sure wish he would beat Price

I am no fan of the liberal David Price. Fortunately, I am no longer in his district, but then again, I have to tolerate Bob Etheridge.
From my friend Katy's blog:

Someone new in my life as of today

For years I have wanted children. It has been at least two decades since I was around children for any appreciable amount of time because of distance from family and having been married to a social retard for 13 years. Whenever I have been around children, especially younger ones, I have a blast. Provided that they are not total sissies, I tend to get along splendid with little boys. Little girls often cling to me like Velcro, such as my cousin's daughter, McKensie.

This evening (I am still counting this as the previous day since I have not been to bed yet), I was introduced to a youngster with whom I am going to be developing a relationship in a "big brother" or "father figure" type roll. For years, I have considered joining the Big Brother/Big Sister program or something like it. I had even contacted a similar type agency that was looking for volunteers.

Through a dear friend of mine, I know a single mother who has a four year old named John. We met this evening and got along great. He is smart, loving, affectionate, and just a wonderful child. He is missing a few things in life, such as a bit more stability that can be offered through a strong relationship with a man. Our first meeting had the two of us playing with toy guns, watching The Flintstones and Scooby Doo, having dinner, and spending time under the supervision of his mother. By the time I was going to leave, he was climbing in my lap and giving me big hugs. His mother said that he has never done that with anyone else before.

Quite honestly, I was almost scared to death about this meeting, but figured it would go well. I had no idea it would go this well. I am looking forward to a long and prosperous relationship with little John.

Monday, December 17, 2007

To all anonymous comment posters

If you do not have the common courtesy and courage to own your comments, I will delete them. I really do not care if you disagree with me or are critical. I welcome dissent, but do not welcome cowardice. I take credit for my comments without fear. And, go get yourself a sense of humor, loser.

Here is why I have a Ron Paul sign on my house

Friday, December 07, 2007

The dumbest rationalization for illegal immigrants attending our college system I have heard thus far

I am amazed how people can explain things away or make excuses for an agenda. How can anyone say that they believe that we have a problem, need to do something about it, but then turn around and say that we might as well reward problematic behavior since we may have some esoteric benefit therein?

From The Smithfield Herald, regarding allowing illegal aliens to attend our publicly funded colleges here in North Carolina:
Common sense would go a long way

We have seen no evidence that immigration issues matter to people who actually vote. If they did, presidential hopeful Tom Tancredo would be polling at better than 2 percent among GOP voters.

Still, this country has some immigration problems, and it seems to us that a little common sense would go a long way toward solving them.

Common sense, for example, says that America needs to seal its borders against people who would enter here illegally. We don’t know that this country has the inclination or the ability to round up all illegal aliens and send them home. But if it did so tomorrow, the exercise would be futile because an equal number of illegals would cross our now-porous borders to replace those sent home.

Common sense says also that America needs to increase the number of work visas it grants every year. Whether the jobs are high skill or low skill, America isn’t producing enough workers to fill them, businesspeople say. Put another way, does it make common sense for people to have to enter this country illegally to get legal jobs that industries need to fill?

As for whether North Carolina community colleges should admit illegal immigrants, common sense says they should — that an educated workforce is better than an ignorant one. In any event, it will take time to adequately secure this country’s borders and then to deport illegals or put them on some path to citizenship. In the meantime, does it make sense to deny an education to people who want one and are willing to pay for it?

Finally, this country’s immigration debate could use some compassion too. Which is to say that we couldn’t put an illegal mom on a bus and watch her wave goodbye to her legal children and husband. And we’re not sure we want to meet anyone who could.

Sorry, Scott, this is NOT common sense.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Will it be better than "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe"?

If someone told me 20 years ago I was going to do this, I would have said they were nuts.

Today I bought concert tickets for two different concerts at the RBC Center. As I grow older, I become more eclectic in my music taste. In my CD collection and on my iPod, I have praise and worship music, Johnny Cash, classical, show tunes, heavy metal, 80's pop, Sinatra, Manilow, new stuff like Daughtry, Maroon 5, and others. Today I forked out for tickets to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra on Dec. 20th and Barry Manilow on Jan. 20th.

I have a friend I am going to take to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra and probably the same friend will accompany me to see Manilow, even though my friend is not that familiar with either.

Quite honestly, I have a hard time relating to not being familiar with Barry Manilow, considering that the was probably the most prolific song writer of the 70's and 80's. He was the one who made us "stuck on Band-Aids 'cause Band-Aids stuck on me" and "would like to teach the world to sing". Within the last year, I bought The Essential Manilow CD collection and have been listening to a lot of stuff I heard 30 years ago.

Manilow bothered me recently in his dissing of Elisabeth Hasselbeck, but not enough to pass up the opportunity to see a music legend in concert. Tickets ranged from $10 to $200. I could not get my choice seats, but still got decent ones for $100 each. Trans-Siberian Orchestra tickets, by comparison, were half that. Manilow, being who he is, can command that much for tickets, though.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

True cartoon

My laugh for the day

Just replace the freaking bridges

Johnston County has the oldest stretch of I-95, since the interstate was begun here. We also have the lowest bridges as a result. Overpasses are often being hit by trucks and closed. The bridges get repaired and then get hit again. Instead of replacing the bridges, the Department of Transportation, in their infinite wisdom, is going to pay to raise the bridges so that they do not get hit any more. We are going to pay almost $4 million to raise a few bridges one foot. Why not just replace the doggone bridges now? It will cost more, but we are also talking about the oldest bridges on the interstate! After the bridge collapse in Minnesota a while back, bridge maintenance and repair has been getting a lot of attention. We have old, banged up bridges, and instead of replacing them with wider, newer, better engineered bridges at the same time, we are going to just raise the old ones. This is abject stupidity to me and a waste of tax payer money. This is one instance where I firmly believe that we should spend more money now to save some later. Either way, it is our tax dollars, whether they are coming from the feds or the state.

From The Smithfield Herald:
The state plans to raise four bridges over Interstate 95 in Johnston County and install an over-height-protection system at another to prevent trucks from hitting them.

The $3.8 million in projects will likely begin next summer and wrap up by next fall, said Ricky Greene, a division engineer with the N.C. Department of Transportation.

The bridges scheduled to be jacked up are on U.S. 701 at Four Oaks, Hockaday Road near Four Oaks, Pittman Road at Micro and Bagley Road near Kenly, Greene said. Each bridge will be raised two feet, he said.

The U.S. 701 bridge is the lowest at 14 feet 2 inches, Greene said. The others are up to 14 feet 11 inches. "There are low-clearance issues over 95 on these bridges," Greene said.

The DOT will remove the over-height protection system at the bridge on U.S. 701. When oncoming trucks are too tall, a beam triggers flashers to alert drivers, Greene said. "Even with the over-height protection, we have had some hits on that bridge," he said.

Greene said the system will be moved to the Truck Stop Road bridge near Kenly. It's cheaper than raising the bridge, he said.

Johnston bridges have been struck about three times so far this year, said Bobby Lewis of the DOT. Compared to surrounding counties, the numbers are usually high, Greene said. "Yes, Johnston County definitely has more of a problem because we have more bridges that are lower," he said.

The most recent hit was at Brogden Road, where a piece of equipment on a flatbed trailer struck the bridge, forcing the DOT to close it for about four days.

The state raised that bridge to 15 feet 6 inches a few years ago, Greene said. Now the bridge needs repairs, he said.

The number of bridge hits in Johnston might be related to age, Greene said. Usually, the lowest bridges are the oldest ones, because construction standards 40 or 50 years ago were different than they are today, he said.

The bridge projects won't occur at the same time, and interstate traffic will have to be re-routed, Greene said. Each project may take a few days, he said.

In 2006, it took a couple months for the DOT to jack up the U.S. 70 Business bridge in Smithfield, Lewis said. Drivers struck that bridge five times in 2005, Greene said.

Money for the projects is coming from $24 million in federal funds, Greene said.

Friday, November 30, 2007

This is SOOO applicable for today

On the side of my blog, you will find a widget that will play for you the latest episode of The Patriots Pub. I am one of the three co-hosts who does that particular podcast. I really enjoy reading the notes by James Madison that were taken during The Constitutional Convention in 1787. One of things we covered this week was a letter submitted by Benjamin Franklin. Franklin was rather aged (about 81) during this convention. He said, "He said that being very sensible of the effect of age on his memory, he had been unwilling to trust to that for the observations which seemed to support his motion, and had reduced them to writing..."


It is with reluctance that I rise to express a disapprobation of any one article of the plan for which we are so much obliged to the honorable gentleman who laid it before us. From its first reading I have borne a good will to it, and in general wished it success. In this particular of salaries to the Executive branch I happen to differ; and as my opinion may appear new and chimerical, it is only from a persuasion that it is right, and from a sense of duty that I hazard it. The Committee will judge of my reasons when they have heard them, and their judgment may possibly change mine. -I think I see inconveniences in the appointment of salaries; I see none in refusing them, but on the contrary, great advantages.

Sir, there are two passions which have a powerful influence on the affairs of men. These are ambition and avarice; the love of power, and the love of money. Separately each of these has great force in prompting men to action; but when united in view of the same object, they have in many minds the most violent effects. Place before the eyes of such men, a post of honour that shall be at the same time a place of profit, and they will move heaven and earth to obtain it. The vast number of such places it is that renders the British Government so tempestuous. The struggles for them are the true sources of all those factions which are perpetually dividing the Nation, distracting its Councils, hurrying sometimes into fruitless & mischievous wars, and often compelling a submission to dishonorable terms of peace. And of what kind are the men that will strive for this profitable pre- eminence, through all the bustle of cabal, the heat of contention, the infinite mutual abuse of parties, tearing to pieces the best of characters? It will not be the wise and moderate; the lovers of peace and good order, the men fittest for the trust. It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish pursuits. These will thrust themselves into your Government and be your rulers. -And these too will be mistaken in the expected happiness of their situation: For their vanquished competitors of the same spirit, and from the same motives will perpetually be endeavouring to distress their administration, thwart their measures, and render them odious to the people.

Besides these evils, Sir, tho' we may set out in the beginning with moderate salaries, we shall find that such will not be of long continuance. Reasons will never be wanting for proposed augmentations. And there will always be a party for giving more to the rulers, that the rulers may be able in return to give more to them. -Hence as all history informs us, there has been in every State & Kingdom a constant kind of warfare between the governing & governed: the one striving to obtain more for its support, and the other to pay less. And this has alone occasioned great convulsions, actual civil wars, ending either in dethroning of the Princes, or enslaving of the people. Generally indeed the ruling power carries its point, the revenues of princes constantly increasing, and we see that they are never satisfied, but always in want of more. The more the people are discontented with the oppression of taxes; the greater need the prince has of money to distribute among his partizans and pay the troops that are to suppress all resistance, and enable him to plunder at pleasure. There is scarce a king in a hundred who would not, if he could, follow the example of Pharoah, get first all the peoples money, then all their lands, and then make them and their children servants for ever. It will be said, that we don't propose to establish Kings. I know it. But there is a natural inclination in mankind to Kingly Government. It sometimes relieves them from Aristocratic domination. They had rather have one tyrant than five hundred. It gives more of the appearance of equality among Citizens, and that they like. I am apprehensive therefore, perhaps too apprehensive, that the Government of these States, may in future times, end in a Monarchy. But this Catastrophe I think may be long delayed, if in our proposed System we do not sow the seeds of contention, faction & tumult, by making our posts of honor, places of profit. If we do, I fear that tho' we do employ at first a number, and not a single person, the number will in time be set aside, it will only nourish the foetus of a King, as the honorable gentleman from Virginia very aptly expressed it, and a King will the sooner be set over us.

It may be imagined by some that this is an Utopian Idea, and that we can never find men to serve us in the Executive department, without paying them well for their services. I conceive this to be a mistake. Some existing facts present themselves to me, which incline me to a contrary opinion. The high Sheriff of a County in England is an honorable office, but it is not a profitable one. It is rather expensive and therefore not sought for. But yet, it is executed and well executed, and usually by some of the principal Gentlemen of the County. In France, the office of Counsellor or Member of their Judiciary Parliaments is more honorable. It is therefore purchased at a high price: There are indeed fees on the law proceedings, which are divided among them, but these fees do not amount to more than three per Cent on the sum paid for the place. Therefore as legal interest is there at five per Ct. they in fact pay two per Ct. for being allowed to do the Judiciary business of the Nation, which is at the same time entirely exempt from the burden of paying them any salaries for their services. I do not however mean to recommend this as an eligible mode for our Judiciary department. I only bring the instance to shew that the pleasure of doing good & serving their Country and the respect such conduct entitles them to, are sufficient motives with some minds to give up a great portion of their time to the public, without the mean inducement of pecuniary satisfaction.

Another instance is that of a respectable Society who have made the experiment, and practised it with success more than an hundred years. I mean the Quakers. It is an established rule with them, that they are not to go to law; but in their controversies they must apply to their monthly, quarterly and yearly meetings. Committees of these sit with patience to hear the parties, and spend much time in composing their differences. In doing this, they are supported by a sense of duty, and the respect paid to usefulness. It is honorable to be so employed, but it was never made profitable by salaries, fees, or perquisites. And indeed in all cases of public service the less the profit the greater the honor.

To bring the matter nearer home, have we not seen, the great and most important of our offices, that of General of our armies executed for eight years together without the smallest salary, by a Patriot whom I will not now offend by any other praise; and this through fatigues and distresses in common with the other brave men his military friends & Companions, and the constant anxieties peculiar to his station? And shall we doubt finding three or four men in all the U. States, with public spirit enough to bear sitting in peaceful Council for perhaps an equal term, merely to preside over our civil concerns, and see that our laws are duly executed. Sir, I have a better opinion of our Country. I think we shall never be without a sufficient number of wise and good men to undertake and execute well and faithfully the office in question.

Sir, The saving of the salaries that may at first be proposed is not an object with me. The subsequent mischiefs of proposing them are what I apprehend. And therefore it is, that I move the amendment. If it is not seconded or accepted I must be contented with the satisfaction of having delivered my opinion frankly and done my duty.

The writing is a direct copy and paste of Madison's notes, as published online. The published notes are a direct transcription of the original notes, as taken by Madison, so any spelling or grammar errors are Madison's alone.

Franklin had great insight upon the effects of money, power, government, and human nature. This written monologue is fantastic. I wish that people would think this way today.

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra is going to be in Raleigh Dec. 20. I would love to go see them.

NC community colleges required to take illegal aliens. Fred Smith has common sense. Your tax dollars hard at work.

The N.C. Community College System decided this month to require all system schools to admit illegal immigrants, altering a 2004 decision to leave that admissions decision up to the individual colleges.

The rights of illegal immigrants have become a hot topic in North Carolina, which has one of the highest illegal immigrant populations in the country.

Chancy Kapp, assistant to the president for external affairs for the NCCCS, said system attorney David Sullivan conducted a study that prompted the decision.

"In his opinion the system had been misinterpreting the open-door policy - we were not allowed to put nonacademic barriers to applicants," Kapp said.

About 300 illegal immigrants are currently enrolled in the state's 58 comprehensive community colleges and pay out-of-state tuition, Kapp said. Total system enrollment in full-time programs is nearly 200,000.

Most of the schools already admit illegal immigrants, but the recent decision has forced some, like Wake County Technical Community College, to revise their admissions policy.

"We don't have a choice, so now we're going to abide by what the state board is requiring us to do, and that's fine," said Laurie Clowers, the college's public relations director.
This is the formal press release from State Senator and gubernatorial candidate Fred Smith about this issue.
Statement by State Senator Fred Smith - Republican Candidate for Governor on Community Colleges Decision

November 29, 2007 —


We are a nation that is sustained under the rule of law. Without these laws, our freedom and order is compromised. Our citizens can't just pick and choose which laws they will obey. The directive issued by the North Carolina Community College System to mandate all community colleges across our state admit illegal immigrants as students simply ignores our immigration laws. If we ignore these laws, what other laws should we consider as unnecessary to obey?

How can a state government organization take the position that some laws just don't count? If we disagree with the laws, then we work to get them changed. We don't simply ignore them. The legislature should act quickly, setting politics aside, and address this important issue. I believe in sharing our freedom and opportunities with those who desire to come to the United States, but I believe those who come should respect our laws and make the effort to come to our country legally. We can't continue to ignore our laws by providing new incentives to come to North Carolina illegally.

I call upon Governor Easley, Lt. Governor Purdue, and Attorney General Roy Cooper to recognize the importance of this action by the Community College System and the message that is being sent by simply ignoring the federal laws and fact these individuals are in our state illegally. They should take appropriate action including the call of a special session of the General Assembly if necessary to rectify this improper decision.
A comment via email from the founder of The Coalition Against Illegal Immigration:
Fred has "Uncommon Sense"

From a great book by Barry Goldwater

"The turn will come when we entrust the conduct of our affairs to the men who understand that their first duty as public officials is to divest themselves of the power that they have been given. It will come when Americans, in hundreds of communities throughout the nation, decide to put the man in office who is pledged to enforce the Constitution and restore the Republic. Who will proclaim in a campaign speech: 'I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel the old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is "needed" before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents' "interests," I shall reply that I was informed their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.'"

Barry Goldwater, The Conscience of a Conservative, 1960: Victor Publishing Company, Shepherdsville, Ky., p. 17.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Waiting for the arrival of my new toy

TT33. It has been a little while since I bought a new toy.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My amusement for the day

Late night

Here it is almost one in the morning. I am sitting in a cable system in Jacksonville working on getting a video server back up and running and trying to stay awake. I am waiting for a software process to run its course and it takes a while for it to happen. I want to try to stay awake for a little while longer, but I may end up logging out of the time clock system and napping for a while before hitting the road when this problem is solved. I dragged along my laptop and found the cable modem, so I have been able to keep connected to work and the internet.

These past four months have been so surreal. I know that I have said that several times, but things keep changing. My life is rather fluid lately. I have had people come and go from my life quite a bit. Out: the wife. Out: 2 cats In: a new friend I made a few weeks ago Out: the same friend after three weeks. There are a few others that I am not at liberty to divulge just yet, but today I did meet someone that wants to change my life radically.

I do miss my friend whom I met just a few weeks ago. That person is an awesome individual and I find him/her amazing. You know who you are. Keep in touch, please.

I am supposed to meet two people tomorrow morning. One to work on his computer for just a few minutes. Memory upgrades are quick and easy. Ten minutes and he will be gone. Another is a friend of mine who wants to get together for lunch. I just realized it is tomorrow morning already. OK, later today, in less than seven hours for the first visit. I don't know how awake I will be, since I won't get home before 4 AM, most likely.

There is a lot of stuff I want to say, but I can't for various reasons. When I am at liberty to share more, I will. Anyway, I have to go shut up the alarm on this one server before it drives me nuts and I will never be able to nap once this problem is solved on another server.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Huckabee wants to give scholarships to illegal aliens?

What is he thinking? They already drain our economy, now he wants to give them our tax dollars to get an education when our own citizens don't get the opportunities he is espousing. What is he thinking? He lost any support I would have given him.

I needed the laugh this morning

The first dance as a married couple. Funny.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thankfully, Microsoft was not around in 1863

If Abraham Lincoln used PowerPoint.

Yet more boneheads too afraid and stupid to stand up for The Constitution

Yet another instance of people in public schools swallowing the lies of the godless heathens at the ACLU.
FAYETTEVILLE - Schools officials in Cumberland County are no longer allowing outside groups to leave Bibles in elementary schools.

That ruling from the school system's attorney comes after the mother of a fifth grader complained about a stack of Bibles left in her son's classroom. Geri Weaver filed a complaint with the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina.

The ACLU argues that a past federal court case prohibits outside groups of providing Bibles to elementary school students. The ACLU says impressionable young students would think that the school was promoting the bible.

School system attorney David Phillips says he believes the issue could be argued, but he decided to suspend the practice in elementary schools.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Try your hand at this history test


Please pause a moment, reflect back, and take the following multiple choice test. The events are actual cuts from past history. They actually happened!!!

Do you remember?

1968 Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed by
a. Superman
b. Jay Lenno
c. Harry Potter
d. Muslim male extremist between the ages of 17 and 40

1. In 1972 at the Munich Olympics, athletes were kidnapped and massacred by
a. Olga Corbett
b. Sitting Bull
c. Arnold Schwarzenegger
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

2. In 1979, the US embassy in Iran was taken over by:
a. Lost Norwegians
b. Elvis
c. A tour bus full of 80-year-old women
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

3.During the 1980's a number of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon by:
a. John Dillinger
b. The King of Sweden
c. The Boy Scouts
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

4. In 1983, the US Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by:
a. A pizza delivery boy
b. Pee Wee Herman
c. Geraldo Rivera
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

5. In 1985 the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked and a 70 year old American passenger was murdered and thrown overboard in his wheelchair by:
a. The Smurfs
b. Davy Jones
c. The Little Mermaid
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

6.In 1985 TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens, and a US Navy diver trying to rescue passengers was murdered by:
a. Captain Kidd
b. Charles Lindberg
c. Mother Teresa
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

7.In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by:
a. Scooby Doo
b. The Tooth Fairy
c. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

8. In 1993 the World Trade Center was bombed the first time by:
a. Richard Simmons
b. Grandma Moses
c. Michael Jordan
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

9.In 1998, the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by:
a. Mr. Rogers
b. Hillary Clinton, to distract attention from Wild Bill' s women problems
c. The World Wrestling Federation
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

10.On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked; two were used as missiles to take out the World Trade Centers and of the remaining two, one crashed into the US Pentagon and the other was diverted and crashed by the passengers. Thousands of people were killed by:
a. Bugs Bunny, Wiley E. Coyote, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd
b. The Supreme Court of Florida
c. Mr. Bean
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

11.In 2002 the United States fought a war in Afghanistan against:
a. Enron
b. The Lutheran Church
c. The N FL
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

12. In 2002 reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered by:
a. Bonnie and Clyde
b. Captain Kangaroo
c. Billy Graham
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

A story of zoning tyranny

I was surfing some web sites this morning and found this site. For years I have known that planning and zoning is something that can be abused and a means of control over lives, regardless of the public good or lack thereof in the requirements of ordinances. John Thorburn is one man who was actually jailed for complying with zoning ordinances with constant inspections, then later told that he is out of compliance and jailed. This happened earlier this decade and is just insane. Check out Thorburn's story and prepare to be amazed. In the movie "The Patriot", Mel Gibson's character, Benjamin Martin, had a pertinent line, "Why should I agree to trade one tyrant three thousand miles away for three thousand tyrants one mile away?" I wonder the same thing sometimes.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

Good quote. Why I hate democracy.

Democracy is simply mob rule. A republic is not a democracy. The U.S. is not and never has been a democracy.
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch."
Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I grew up with scenery like this

Two invitations for Thanksgiving

I am writing this out of gratitude. Thanksgiving and Christmas have often been lonely times for me, but not necessarily sad ones. I know that single people can get lonely at the holidays and often depressed. I hear that suicide rates are higher around the holidays.

When I was a bachelor, I used to be the one who always worked the holidays since I had no family to be with. Since being in North Carolina, I have been able to go back to New England to be with family for Christmas, but Thanksgiving is often the one holiday where I find myself alone. One year I was invited to the home of a friend of mine with his family, many of whom I had never met. A few years, I ended up having dinner with a ministry group that would put on a dinner at their thrift store facility. A few times I have been invited to spend the day with friends. A few years I have gone to Ryan's Steakhouse, since they are open and serve a Thanksgiving feast for a price.

This year is my first Thanksgiving as a single man after 13 of them as a married man. As a matter of fact, this Sunday will be my 13th wedding anniversary, and my last anniversary. I am not celebrating it, since I have been separated from the psycho bitch from Hell for over three months now.

I was planning on going to Ryan's again this year and being available to work, since it was going to be just me. Two different friends have invited me for dinner on Thanksgiving, and for that I am grateful. One friend was the first to invite me over to her home, along with all of her family. She has siblings coming down from New England and up from Florida for a gathering, and since we are good friends, she invited me there, too. Another dear friend of mine whom I have known for a decade and a half (and had Thanksgiving at his home at least once, maybe twice so far) also invited me for dinner. Unfortunately, I am not able to clone myself and be at both locations.

I am grateful for the invitations. To both friends, you have my sincere gratitude. I give thanks for the invitations to feast at Thanksgiving with you. Both people are very kind to me and I do not want to overlook the opportunity to express publicly my thanks. I do so publicly in the hopes that others will do the same for people who may also be alone, have nowhere to go, and nobody to share the sacred time with. At Ryan's, I see all too many people who are there alone or just a couple together. I know what that is like. Been there, done that.

I have probably shared this video before, but well worth stating again...and from the mainstream press!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Great...and they handle some of my finances, including employee stock options

Shares in E*Trade Financial Corp sank 59 percent to a five-year low on Monday after an analyst said mounting credit losses may prompt customers to yank deposits and could put the online brokerage at risk of bankruptcy.
I guess I can understand the fear of bankruptcy and wanting to yank deposits. Transfer complete. From Yahoo news.

Several parts of this story concern me

I understand the "cruel and unusual punishment" aspect of administering the death penalty. The 8th Amendment to the Constitution guarantees that "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." However, the taking of life is neither cruel nor unusual. The argument of whether lethal injection is cruel is fallacious. If we can put thousands of cats and dogs to death in the same manner, we can execute a few murderers in the same way. The end result is death no matter the method. We do not torture to death, draw and quarter, burn at the stake, stone people, cut off heads with a Ginsu, etc. A simple needle in the arm with an overdose of barbiturates is hardly cruel. None the less, spineless liberals will find any way they can to protect murderers while at the same time slaughter innocent, unborn life. The issue of whether or not lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment is going to be decided by a court of nine justices rather than by the supreme judge. Go figure.

What really bothers me is the idea that the 10th Amendment is once again becoming null and void. "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." The rights of the states to try, convict, and execute properly tried criminals is a violation of their rights as states. No execution will go forth unless the 5th Amendment was followed, anyway. "...nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;" Here is the story upon which I comment.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Dane Cook on Atheists

A truism

A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained in arms, is the best most natural defense of a free country.
James Madison

Friday, November 09, 2007

Now that is opening up a can

Many people in this town know of me but do not know me. Over the past month or more, I have been hearing rumors circulate and come back to me. I have gotten emails full of hatred for allegations that I can only assume are part of the rumor mill.

There are several reasons why I did not win the election this week, and I take full ownership of the reasons that were within my control. I could have worked a whole lot harder than I did, I will admit. There were also a lot of other things going on in life with which I have had to contend. FEW people know what those truly are. I do have close friends who know. They have seen it and experienced it themselves in a small measure.

When I hear a rumor come back to me one time, I set it aside. When I hear it twice, I take notice. When I hear it from a half dozen sources, I know there is validity to the idea that someone is spreading malicious rumors. One friend of mine deals with the rumors surrounding me and the election. Despicable people spread despicable gossip. Someone who knows me and my life, and has since 1992 opens up a can on the topic.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

What part of NO FREAKIN' WAY don't these jackasses understand???

Of no surprise to me is that money hungry politicians want to find more ways to get into our wallets. The land transfer tax was soundly defeated across the state in a referendum on Tuesday, but governments are scheming to find a way to make it happen anyway. We have to keep saying NO time and time again. It only takes ONE yes and we are screwed.

From (click on the link for the full story)
A day after voters in 16 North Carolina counties soundly defeated a controversial tax on home sales, state and local officials said Wednesday they would continue pursuing the tax to help pay for growth-related needs.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

And this is the federal government's job how?

Yet another UNCONSTITUTIONAL spending initiative by the federal government brought to you by Bob Etheridge. From WMPM's news site.
Federal Funds Secured For Johnston County Hospice Center - U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge has secured $320,000 for Johnston Memorial Hospital's Johnston County Hospice Center Initiative. The funding is included in the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2008. "These funds are great news for Johnston Memorial Hospital and Johnston County," said Etheridge. "This funding will help Johnston Memorial to provide the services needed by the growing hospice patient community and their families in Johnston County and North Carolina." The funding will be used to construct a 12,458-square-foot combination inpatient and residential hospice facility on an eight-acre site on Hospital Road in Smithfield. Currently, there is not a freestanding inpatient or residential hospice facility in Johnston County. The proposed facility will be home-like in design and will provide large community and dedicated family areas. The center will include meditation gardens and an accent water feature surrounded by tree buffers to enhance its aesthetics and facilitate tranquility for patients and families. Patient rooms will include adequate space for personal items and family members, and a private bathroom. Living rooms, kitchen facilities, and activity areas will be provided for those patients who are ambulatory. A large family room and private family solace room, and kitchen will give family members space to privately spend time together. The bill passed the House Tuesday night. The Senate must now pass the bill and the President must sign it to become law.

Katy's Conservative Corner

I am being published by Katy's Conservative Corner. Now I know that I have arrived. Thanks, Katy, you are a real darlin'.

Monday, November 05, 2007

A little late, but it was published online

The Selma News FINALLY published the voters guide online for the election Tuesday. I have wanted to link to it ever since I wrote the answers to the questionnaire. Unfortunately, The Selma News is not as efficient as their sister paper, The Kenly News with their web presence.

Here is my write up.
Troy LaPlante

Address: 505 West Anderson St., Selma
Age: 39
Education: AAS Fire Protection from New Hampshire Technical College
Professional: Fire and rescue, all aspects of protection; private protective security; radio and television broadcast.
Committees, civic clubs, community involvement (past and present): Many years in fire service, Selma Planing Board, Selma Citizens Advisory Committee, Johnston County Local Emergency Management Planning Committee.
Honors and awards: Non listed
Family: Single

Three top issues/problems for Selma and your solutions:

1) Selma’s image and desirability as a place to live, work, own a business: Selma is strategically situated along the major crossroads of I-95 and Highway 70. With the new Clayton by-pass coming by the end of spring 2008 or so, we will be seen as more of a bedroom community for commuters to Raleigh and RTP. Selma has a reputation of being a drug haven, crime ridden, and a low class town. We need to improve the town’s image. There are some good steps that have been taken thus far in terms of cleaning up abandoned and neglected properties. The police department has worked on dealing with the drugs and crime. Those efforts need to continue and be expanded in conjunction with other efforts. The improvement of appearance can take the form of easy, low or no cost efforts that need to be performed first. Image is just one step, however, in attracting residents and business.

2) Infrastructure: One thing that we need to focus on is the improvement of our existing infrastructure. We have a superior electrical system, I am told, but we have 100-year-old sewer lines. We have award-winning designs on water towers, but we have some streets that are unpaved and others that require dodging potholes. Without improving infrastructure and maintaining what we have, how can we consider growth to accommodate more territory? Essential services come first. The electricity, water, and sewer must flow. Police and fire protection must be provided. The priority items are important to society at large. Proper infrastructure is imperative to attracting new industry and residents. We can not have growth without keeping up with demand.

3) Public fairness, legality, and honesty: I realize that there are always going to be issues that are not immediately for public consumption. However, I do believe that being forthcoming with information, public records, and public business is imperative to the success of a representative republic. Ordinances need to be passed legally, and must be ethical. The town can not follow one single individual’s agenda, but must reflect the needs of an entire community. The town has made great strides in the area of financial accountability, but that needs to continue. Accountability, however, does not stop at fiduciary responsibility.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

More wusses bow down to the ACLU

I am sick and tired of people being such pussies about the ACLU and their Godless agenda. A school system has knuckled under to the pressure of the ACLU and decided to stop letting the Gideons hand out Bibles. There is NOTHING against that activity in the Constitution. People are so doggone uneducated about the Constitution and what it really says that they just accept what some bully organization that is Communistic says. This has got to stop. Cowards.

From the WMPM news site:
School System Bows To Pressure From ACLU - Under pressure from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Harnett County School system has stopped a long-standing tradition of allowing the Gideons to distribute Bibles to elementary students. Superintendent Dan Honeycutt said they had little choice but to end the distribution. "The American Civil Liberties Union contacted us and said it was a violation of Constitutional rights," Honeycutt said. "They asked us to stop handing out the Bibles." School board attorney Duncan McCormick said he did not recommend trying to fight the case. The national civil rights organization said it was a violation of federal law to hand out religious materials in elementary schools. If the school system tried to fight the ACLU, the school district would have needed to be prepared to take the case all the way to the US Supreme Court. The Gideons International is a worldwide organization that serves as an extended missionary arm of the church, according to their website Its purpose is to minister to people of all ages through testimony, and by distributing the Bible in everyday life. Local Gideons members contacted did not wish to comment on the school ban of Bible distribution. ACLU of North Carolina Legal Director Katy Parker said her organization was contacted by someone in the school system with a concern about children receiving Bibles from the Gideons. She said the practice is clearly illegal under federal law and she sent a letter to the local school system complaining about the Bible distribution, which Mr. Honeycutt said has gone on for many years. Parker said the Gideons can be on campuses of high schools under the law but can only distribute religious materials under strict restrictions, in certain circumstances. McCormick said there will still be Bibles in the schools. "This doesn't mean individual students cannot have Bibles," he said. "It means there cannot be distribution of any religious materials in the elementary schools."

Friday, November 02, 2007

Is is snowing in Hell?

Of course not. It is just that there does exist some common sense once in a while. The editors at The Smithfield Herald have given ME their endorsement as a candidate for Town Council here in Selma. The other endorsements in Selma are no surprise to me, and quite honestly, I am hard pressed to disagree with their logic, though I do have my own opinion.

Here is their piece in today's Smithfield Herald. Thanks, guys.
For Town Council: As a group, Herald staffers gave a quick thumbs up to Eric Sellers, appointed to the council after Jeff Weaver moved out of town. Mr. Sellers approaches problems from the prospective of a businessman. He weighs the benefits against the costs and votes accordingly. We think town councils could use more of that. That leaves candidates Troy LaPlante, Cheryl Oliver and Tommy Holmes. It’s clear that all care about Selma and its future, but of the three, Mr. LaPlante has the clearest grasp of the issues, and for that reason, he earns our endorsement.

I am all for women's rights!

Celebrate National Ammo Day

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Alan Colmes is such a pompous butthead

I think Anne Coulter is often bombastic, but I like Colmes even less. He is being difficult and accusatory. He roundaboutly calls her an anti-Semite without having the balls to actually come out and say the words.

Mayor draws heat in Selma

This is on today's N&O web site:

Mayor draws heat in Selma
Race focuses on the leadership

Peggy Lim, Staff Writer

SELMA - William Overby, who is running for mayor, was surprised when large plywood signs asking voters to elect him started popping up all over this Johnston County town.

He had not asked anyone to put up the signs. But those responsible were clearly not fans of incumbent Charles Hester.

A few even read: "Anyone but Hester."

The mayoral election Tuesday amounts to a referendum on Hester and his strong, often controversial leadership style. Although some see the developer and former Marine lieutenant colonel as dictatorial, others say he provides a willingness to make tough calls that Selma has long needed.

"He's cleaned up a lot of problems that were created many years ago," said Pat Weaver, owner of Antique Wish downtown, who said she will vote for Hester.

When Hester took office in 2005, the town was about $1.6 million in debt. The mayor led the charge to fire about half a dozen town employees and cut expenses to balance the budget.

Weaver said Overby is nice but Selma needs Hester to stay in office.

"He has a lot of irons in the fire," Weaver said. "To change horses in the middle of the stream is not wise."

But even Ron Hester acknowledges that his father has enemies.

"I've got a bull's-eye on my truck -- it says 'Vote for Charles Hester,' " said Ron Hester, 48, who works for his father's real-estate company.

Earlier this year, 10 members of Selma's fire department threw their gear onto the mayor's driveway to protest the replacement of their popular volunteer chief by a paid, full-time one. One of the firefighters was dismissed. The others stayed with the department. Hester has said the fire department needed to become more professional.

"If he wins, it's not for lack of me campaigning against him," said firefighter Mike Kendall, who has put out about six signs reading: "No Hester."

Hester also has managed to alienate traffic violators, convenience store customers and outlying neighborhoods.

The mayor had the town's District Court moved to Smithfield as a way of burnishing Selma's antique mecca image. He has been a driving force behind Selma's lawsuits against two convenience stores that he considers public nuisances. And he is pushing to force some neighborhoods to be annexed by Selma.

Hester said the lawsuits were a response to the police calls at both stores. "You wouldn't let crime run rampant," he said. "You try to do something to stop it."

And he said that involuntary annexation could add $75 million to Selma's tax base.

Hester thinks his actions will be good for the long-term health of the community even if his decisive style makes him an easy target.

"When you're very authoritative," he said, "people try to bring you down."

One of them is Tony Tetterton, who put up about 30 plywood signs against Hester. The mayor "has good intentions," Tetterton said, but is "willing to use Machiavellian methods to achieve it. That's my rub."

Tetterton first became interested in standing up to Hester last year. The owner of a park for recreational vehicles, he had pushed for a "quiet zone" so trains couldn't blow their horns in town. He said Hester prevented him from talking at a public meeting.

"He shut me down," Tetterton said. "He gaveled me down."

Ever since then, Tetterton has been a vocal watchdog at town meetings on other issues such as involuntary annexation. He has posted videos on, including one titled "King Hester holds court" that shows Hester trying to cut off Tetterton during a meeting.

Hester has said that town meetings should not be "like a big ballgame where you jump and shout and cheer" and has facilitated debate at public meetings.

Overby, chairman of Selma's recreation committee for the past four years, said Hester's decision to hand over an old school gym to a charter school instead of improving it for the town's parks and recreation department inspired him to run.

"When he arbitrarily came in and said they could get that property for $1 a year, that didn't sit well with me," Overby said. "The town's not a military base."

Commentary from Chad Adams

A commentary from Chad Adams from The Center for Local Innovation.
There are a plethora of eerie things amiss in the far reaches of North Carolina. We are quickly approaching a rather unique electoral cycle across the state, where there is a spate of bond referendums. But more haunting is the specter of new land transfer or sales taxes slouching towards counties to be born.

It's sinister the creepiness with which some counties are approaching such options. In Union County, for instance, students have been given "educational materials" about the tax. Pardon me, but we can barely educated our kids to read and write but find it acceptable to use them as mules to bring home new tax increase information?

In Brunswick County, staff has prepared very impressive PowerPoint and brochure overviews of the land transfer tax. It isn't exactly promotion, but it isn't hard to see which way the county leans.

In Macon County, the school system essentially admitted in the local paper that they had paid for signs promoting a bond referendum "for the kids". And in adjacent Swain County, billboards have allegedly been paid for with school funds.

The entire issue here is that YOUR money is being used to promote new tax increases. It's technically illegal, but the NC Association of Commissioners has spent a great deal of effort educating local staff in how to "educate" without promoting a given referendum.

The Macon County School Board was caught red-handed. Now they are attempting to rectify the process by getting donations to cover the cost. I wish I could use the same "I'm sorry" attitude when a trooper catches me speeding. They broke the law and have not been held accountable. Even Harnett County (which has both the sales tax and land transfer tax on the ballot) appears to have been using public education to disseminate information about the referendums. Activists caught them, and a clarification letter was issued after the Dunn Daily Record brought the situation to light.

In almost every instance, it is the grass roots folks that are discovering the abuse. Both FreedomWorks (in the west) and American's For Prosperity (in central NC) were the organizations exposing much of this activity.

There is a much larger issue bubbling over, here – taxpayer funded lobbying. The simply explanation is this. You pay taxes. Those taxes go to city, county, state and federal government. In NC, groups like the League of Municipalities (which derives income from cities paying dues) hires lobbyists with your money to push for more city power and more taxing authority.

Issues like forced annexation, which are anathema to the overwhelming majority of North Carolinians (our state is one of one four to allow it), are allowed to proliferate because the taxpayer-funded lobbyists are fighting to keep them in place. And while funding continues to roll in to support government growth, there is no taxpayer-funded group fighting to lower taxes.

From the local to the state level and beyond, it is high time that such issues be addressed. Using tax money to lobby decision makers to spend more tax money or take away freedoms is simply unethical and reprehensible. Taxpayers are progressively being removed from the decision-making process. When schools protest that they don't have enough money, they should be reticent to spend those precious resources "educating" the public. Instead they should focus on educating the public's children.

It's All Hallows' Eve, and there are indeed goblins looking to take their treats from the public trough. The real TRICK will be to stop this inane and disdainful behavior before it becomes a real-live nightmare.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Amusing quote of the day

It is hardly surprising that women concentrate on the way they look instead of what is in their minds since not much has been put in their minds to begin with.
Mary Shelley

The Deporter

This Saturday night at 6 PM I will be interviewing author Ames Holbrook on my show Straight Shooting. Mr. Holbrook is the author of the new book, The Deporter. Ames Holbrook was a federal deportation officer from 1998 to 2002, based in New Orleans. Previously, he served in the U.S. Army with a special weapons team in Italy and then with the 3rd Infantry Division in Germany. He now writes full time. Here is a quote from Holbrook:
"We have an immigration crisis in our country, all right, and it is a good deal more demonstrably wrong than the millions of illegal immigrants in the shadows. It is costlier to the fabric of American life than the September 11 attacks were. Illogical, deadly, ruinous. Yet none of our leaders is raising a finger to stop it. On the contrary, it is our leaders who drive the destruction."
Presidential Candidate Tom Tancredo had this to say about "The Deporter":
"As a congressman who is constantly exposed to tales of government incompetence regarding border control, I am rarely shocked. However, after reading The Deporter, I am once again reminded of the state of disarray our borders are in. This is a fascinating read."
–Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.)
And from Publisher's Weekly:
From Publishers Weekly
Former U.S. deportation agent Holbrook describes his job (a combination of policeman, lawyer and diplomat) in this unsettling memoir. Among its revelations is that America routinely releases illegal aliens who have committed crimes in the U.S. when the criminal fails to confirm his nationality with an official document and foreign consuls won't cooperate. (Cuba, Vietnam and Laos refuse to accept criminal deportees, while China, India, Egypt, all former U.S.S.R. nations and many others simply stall or insist there's no evidence for that person's citizenship.) Holbrook also reveals tricks he invented to deport the worst offenders that would have gotten him fired if discovered. For example, countries show less reluctance with lesser criminals, so in the case of a convicted murderer who also trespassed, he might only mention the trespass. Holbrook stresses that Bush administration officials could force nations to take back their murderers, rapists, thieves or child abusers, but choose not to; nor does the government prevent them from being released back into American communities after they have served their prison time or a portion of it, but deportation has been thwarted. This engrossing but disturbing book may impel some readers to action.

Straight Shooting

I can save the $400K right now...ain't gonna help

I have known about this study and idea for a while now. This is just a waste of time, in my opinion. A commuter rail system is not going to be used or be profitable in North Carolina. We are not New York City and don't need rail lines in the suburbs for people to get into the big city. I can save the cost of the study and say that common sense dictates that we should stop wasting the time and money. Here is the story from
Railroad Studying Commuter Line From Goldsboro to Greensboro

RALEIGH, N.C. — A study will be conducted to determine the cost and demand for rush hour commuter rail service between Goldsboro and Greensboro, the president of the North Carolina Railroad said.

"Morning and afternoon, commuter trains have potential for significant energy, safety and environmental benefits," railroad President Scott M. Saylor said. "But there are major questions that should be answered."

The railroad awarded a $400,000 contract to engineering firm HNTB to determine costs for the additional infrastructure needed to expand rail service, such as track and bridges. Officials said the study will look at adding four morning and evening trains and one in the afternoon; specific stops haven't been determined.

The railroad is a private company owned by the state of North Carolina that manages a 317-mile rail corridor between Charlotte and Morehead City.

A break from the serious

I actually do like the Gretchen Wilson song. It seems appropriate.

Happy 5th anniversary, house

Today is the 5th anniversary of the day I closed on my house in Selma. She has seen a lot of changes since I have been here. Some were improvements, some were problems. Some have been inhabitants. Either way, it is my humble abode. This is a picture I took a few days before closing, if I recall, and after I put in an offer on the property.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Election story in which the Herald gets it wrong

The Smithfield Herald FINALLY published the Selma candidate's forum in an article today. I was VERY disappointed in what I read. We sat there for a solid hour and this was the scant article that was published. There was no individual coverage, no separate profiles, no attention to equal time, and a lack of detail. As a matter of fact, I was misquoted. I have an almost photographic memory when it comes to conversations. Fortunately, the quote did not totally detract from what I said and conveys the thought, but the quotation marks should be omitted from the article. Next time I go to a forum like this, I am bringing my audio recording device.

Another thing that GREATLY disappoints me is the fact that The Herald gave equal time to Tommy Holmes yet again. Tommy did not have the decency to show up at the forum two years ago and again this year, and yet he is afforded the same opportunity as every one of us who took the time and courtesy to attend. His answers are included along with everyone else's as if he was in the room along with us.

If this is going to be how things are done, why not just call me at home, instead and save us both the time and effort. Sorry, but this irritates the heck out of me. It is patently unfair to every other candidate who made the effort to be there and participate. Five other people were just insulted in that column. Furthermore, it is dishonest to not make that distinction within the article. I am not slamming Tommy. It was his own personal CHOICE to not come, and I am told that he does not like such events. SORRY, but that being the case, he should not reap the benefit of it.

There were five topics of discussion and only three made it into the article. I just retrieved my notepad from my vehicle...yup, five. We also discussed the current perception of Selma and ways to improve it as well as the topic of forced annexation. By the way, what did we supposedly "breathe a sigh of relief" over? Was this the same forum meeting I attended?

Candidates breathe sigh of relief
By Jordan Cooke, Staff Reporter

After bleeding red ink for a couple of years, the town has its financial house in order, say the six candidates seeking office in his year.

Last week, the Herald sat down with mayor candidates Charles Hester and William Overby and council candidates Eric Sellers, Cheryl Oliver, Troy LaPlante, and Tommy Holmes. Here's what they had to say.

The state of spending
Unchecked spending had forced Selma to use $1.8 million in savings to balance its book, leaving the town with just $300,000 in reserves, said Hester, the incumbent mayor. But some tough spending decisions and the implementation of checks and balances put the town's finances back in the black, he said.

"When I came on board, we didn't really know how much money we had," Hester said. "We didn't reconcile bank statements. There was no management of money. But as time went on, we put the most qualified people in place to correct that. And we're getting much better performance out of everyone."

To rein in spending, the town trimmed its staff. That was unpopular but necessary, the candidates said.

"It's just a fact that like any major business, you've got to cut overhead," Overby said. "Sometimes to balance the books, you've got to cut waste."

"Sound fiscal management is not rocket science," added Sellers, a retired businessman. "If your expenses are running more than revenue, that's not good. At that point you have to think it doesn't matter what you like or want. Our fiduciary responsibility is to make sure taxpayer money is spent in such a way that gets the most bang for the buck."

Oliver said she was pleased to see that the town manager and finance officer had developed "granular budget reports" that help track exactly where each dollar is spent. "It enables us to look and see if things are out of control," she said. "It's a relentless battle, but we have to keep track."

For his part, Holmes said he didn't think the town had done enough to correct its financial affairs. But he said he also doubted the town was ever in as serious a financial crisis as town leaders indicated.

"If the town was in the state it said it was in, I think the Local Government Commission would have stepped in and taken over," he said. "They went and gave money to Sysco for coming. And the town leaders turned [former town manager] Jeff White loose and weren't keeping up with what he had going on. When Charles came in, he tightened the belt. But I still can't see where town has recovered that much in two years."

Oliver said she'd like to see the town explore the possibility of giving back to its employees some of the perks taken from them during the town's financial crisis. LaPlante said he would also like to see the town eventually rescind a five-cent tax increase passed last year.

"When we do have the money to do some of these things, I think we need to start giving back," Oliver said.

Attracting industry
Hester, a veteran of the real estate business, said increasing the town's tax base would be key to "doing something good for our area." Attracting new industry will play a huge role in increasing the tax base, he added.

But before the town can lure another Sysco, it must achieve a few goals, the candidates said.

First, the town must improve its infrastructure, LaPlante said. "It's great that we have beautifully painted water towers, but not when we have 100-year-old water lines," he said. "If we're going to offer more services to businesses like Sysco, were going to have to improve upon the infrastructure we have now."

Holmes said Selma also needed to lower its utility rates. "As high as light and water bills are for a business right now, I think the town needs to look at cutting the rates by about 10 percent," he said.

Second, the town needs to work to shed a negative image and encourage residents to take pride in their community, Oliver said. "We have so many things going for us, but we have to overcome stereotypes and perception," she said. "We also need the people of Selma to believe in Selma. Internally, people are not very optimistic. We need to make Selma a place that is positive about itself from the inside out."

To help shed that negative image, Selma needs to focus on rundown rental homes, Overby said. "The more we have, the less people will want to move here," he said. "And who knows, a big business might be looking, but might get concerned because of the condition of the town."

Sellers said the town also needed to continue promoting itself as a tourist destination and to engage industries to assess their interests and needs. "One thing you do when you sit down with them [companies] is you put yourself in their place," he said. "You assess their need, but you do it in an intelligent way."

The doctor is out
Selma has struggled in recent years to keep a doctor in town. The latest to leave were the doctors of Carolina Express Care, who in July vacated a building Hester built years ago to attract another healthcare practice.

The six candidates all agreed that having a local doctor was a convenience, but not a necessity. While they said they wouldn't turn a doctor away, the candidates said they wouldn't necessarily go looking for a new one.

"I suppose we could use a doctor just for identity's sake," Hester said. "But we're not that far from Smithfield. Last time I checked, we touched borders. But if we were to try to attract a doctor, I think we would be better served to work with the hospital on that rather than spending tax dollars."

Holmes agreed. "Not that many people are going to doctors here in Selma anyway," he said. "We can't afford to put the burden of luring a new one on the taxpayers."

Oliver said she would also favor a partnership with Johnston Memorial Hospital over spending tax money. But she said it could be important to the town's image to have a local physician. "I don't think we have to force it, but I do think a doctor's presence says something about the town and how it cares for its people," she said.

The Smithfield Herald misses it on two stories

The first is an opinion column by the editor. Basically, he railed against the counter protesters at the protest rally this past Saturday. He obviously missed the same sentiments that have come from the side of those protesting for a long time. Granted, and I have documented some of this in my talk show, some of the counter protesters were a bit obnoxious. However, he has a few details wrong. The airboat was not one of the counter protesters I was told by the organizer of said counter protest. Secondly, there is no guarantee that anyone has the right to be heard, just the right of freedom of speech. That cuts TWO ways. Why should the Gathering of Eagles folks bother to sit and listen to what they already know is the rhetoric and agenda of the Stop Torture Now folks? Or vice versa? They already know each other's positions. In the example of not shouting down the leader of Iran, remember that in the SAME FORUM, the president of Columbia University had 20 minutes or so to lay the smack down on Iran as it was (and it was a beautiful thing to hear). There was no such opportunity afforded the GOE.

Here is the opinion column:
Politically, we are more in step with those flag-waving folks who turned out Saturday to protest the protesters. Terrorists flew planes into our buildings, not the other way around. And while Iraq seems a poor target in hindsight, pulling out now would create a void that enemies of freedom would no doubt fill.

Still, the "support our troops" crowd didn't make us proud on Saturday. They seemed to care less about being heard than shouting down the opposition. A man standing at Front and Market streets held a sign encouraging motorists to honk their horns if they supported the troops. A nice sentiment, but all of those horns struck us as a ploy to drown out the speeches of the anti-torture, anti-war crowd. Even louder, closer and more effective was the Everglades-type point boat speeding up and down the Neuse River.

When we were growing up, our parents and teachers taught us not to talk when someone else was talking. Unfortunately, civility has since disappeared from civil discourse in this country.

But we wonder if incivility is meant to mask insecurity. Our suspicion is that people who shout down the opposition are really afraid to hear what the opposition has to say.

Personally, we think people opposed to how America fights the War on Terror are well intentioned but wrong. But if America can listen to the president of Iran without shouting him down, can't we extend the same courtesy to our own citizens?

A gross overestimation by

I was there. I did a rough count and it was about one third the number, maybe 125 or so, people that attended the protest in Smithfield on Saturday. According to the web site:
Nearly 350 peace, justice and human rights supporters gathered in the seat of Johnston County for a march and rally and at the headquarters of Aero Contractors in a memorial for victims and survivors of war and torture.
Nope...certainly NOT 350. There may have been 350 if you added all the counter protesters, bloggers, and police in attendance in the count.

Here is a video of the event as posted on their Google video account. You will not see 350 people in the march.

Enough whining about waterboarding

Hey Stop Torture Now folks, waterboarding actually ain't all that bad.


I redid the talk show from Sunday on Straight Shooting. I had technical difficulties after a while with the podcasting service. I was NOT happy about that. It got to where I could not take any more callers or play any more sound bites. I downloaded the show, edited out the ending from where I started having technical issues and one small bit in one interview after finding that my initial error in the clip during the show. I uploaded the show, played it, and picked up where I left off. So, I got in the rest of the audio I originally wanted to play.