Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Column for Jan. 25, 2007

Completing the trifecta of Troy's rule

Today, I complete the trilogy of the series, "If Troy ruled the world". There are so many things I could include, and continue each week with the changes that I will make as soon as I rule the world. However, I think that I will merely conclude my list this week and write each week with expounded opinion.

27. All gun control measures shall be repealed. The 2nd Amendment will actually be honored. All gun ranges and hunting grounds owned by the government shall be made open and accessible to all gun owners wishing to use them.

28. I-540 shall actually be finished. There is no excuse for making no progress in completing the project.

29. Pork spending and ear-mark measures shall immediately be banned. Only amendments actually pertaining to the topic of proposed legislation shall be allowed to become part of the bill. This will happen at all levels of government, not just the wasteful and shameful spending habits of the federal government.

30. Now that the timely execution of Saddam Hussein has proven that it is possible to have a full trial and sentencing followed by a speedy execution, we shall immediately implement a similar time frame in this nation. It is ridiculous and ineffective to have executions 25 years after the trial and sentencing. Tax payers should not bear the burden for this waste. Furthermore, executions shall become a public spectacle. Public executions were effective as a dissuasive measure for centuries. It shall be allowed that executions may be put on pay-per-view television with a fair share of proceeds going to benefit the victims' families and reimburse the state for the cost of housing and executing murderers.

31. No international treaty shall be allowed to supercede United States law or sovereignty.

32. Property taxation is an unfair and immoral form of taxation and shall be phased out of use beginning immediately. People work hard to earn money. Currently, people are taxed on their earnings. When they spend the money left over from their earnings, they are taxed on purchases. Each year, people are taxed on the possession of that same property. If the taxes are not paid to the feudal overlords (government), the property is forcibly taken from them. This is just plain immoral and shall cease.

33. From my observations, the majority of the litter on our highways is from trucks that have an uncovered payload. Enforcement of littering laws shall be strictly adhered to. If caught, the trucking company and driver shall be held liable for clean up costs. I have seen a share of littering being performed by regular motorists, but the majority has been from commercial vehicles. Furthermore, simply posting a sign that reads "Not responsible for windshields" shall not absolve such responsibility for damage caused by these same trucks.

34. Roe vs. Wade is a horrible decision according to all legal opinions I have read. Furthermore, it is a horrendously immoral decision. Roe vs. Wade shall immediately be vacated and declared as null and void. "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" shall immediately apply to any human fetus, especially the "life" part. Irresponsibility and convenience shall not be sufficient reason to take the life of an innocent individual. There are thousands of couples lined up to adopt babies. A selfish decision to terminate a pregnancy because of poor decisions and behavior deprives potentially loving parents of having a baby. There are consequences to actions and those consequences shall be realized.

35. The name of the music genre "rap" shall henceforth be preceded by the letter "c".

I hope that you find some value in some of these snippets of opinion. Not every opinion will fit into three weeks of columns, but I hope that my writings prompt you to think, emote, and most of all take action. In this new year, I look forward to writing more and thank all of you for taking the time to read the ramblings of some ordinary shmoe with a point of view. I look forward to serving my hometown and my readers in 2007. I am humbled by your support and feedback. Thank you.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Column for Jan. 18, 2007

Dealing with public nuisances

I am writing this column the day after the most recent Selma Town Council meeting. I was there to witness the spectacle, as I usually do each month. I encourage people to attend these meetings. Last night, a lot of people showed up for one particular reason.

As many of you know from reading the paper, the Town of Selma is pursuing a public nuisance court action against two convenience stores on Pollock Street. During the public forum portion of the meeting, one of the business owners as well as many local citizens came to speak or listen to the topic. Most of these people would not have come to a council meeting otherwise.

I listened to people plea for the town to drop the nuisance charge. Some were passionate, most were merely emotional. From each, I heard opinion. That is the nature of the public forum, being a time to voice opinion. There were opinions that the action to close the businesses is unfair, a disservice to the community, racially motivated, and even a conspiracy theory that the action is motivated by property developers to be able to take over the property for their own purposes. Some citizens recounted the town's history and childhood memories of a community store. Some related their desire to have a store within walking distance.

Let me deal with a few different topics here. First is the notion that the action has anything to do with race. It is a fact that one of the business owners is Black (I refuse to use the PC term “African-American” or any other hyphenated term). It is a fact that the majority of the residents near the stores are also Black. Ergo, most of the clientèle of these stores are Black. That, however, is not the motivation for the town's concern. The motivation is simply that the customers of these stores are rowdy, drug users, drug dealers, and violent. It is a matter of bad behavior and criminal activity, not skin color.

What I did not hear from the majority of the speakers at the citizen's forum was well reasoned, logical argument. I find two points that were lacking. 1. Are the businesses indeed a nuisance to the general public? 2. Is it the role and responsibility of government to interfere with private, legal businesses? Those are the emotion free, logical topics that need to be addressed. Once those are addressed, then we can answer 3. Should the business owners be responsible for nuisance abatement? 4. If the business owners do not eliminate the continuing nuisance status, should they be shut down in order to eliminate said nuisances?

There were several citizens who voiced the opinion that the entire town is to blame for the criminal activity that happens around the stores. Sorry, but those arguments just do not have validity. To blame the entire population of a town or community for the actions of a few is absurd. The general population of the town did not corrupt or convince a few to exhibit bad behavior. The whole “it takes a village to raise a child” mentality is nothing more than an excuse for bad parenting and personal responsibility lapses.

Where do I personally come down on the topic? I believe that the business owners should be held to the expectation that they will take responsibility for what happens on their property. However, I am also of the opinion that personal property and freedom to operate a business should not be flippantly abridged. We as a town need to re-evaluate whether the ability to easily collar some criminals on a semi-regular basis at a known public location actually constitutes a nuisance. I would rather that the criminals pay for their behavior, not the business owner upon whose property the criminals act. I also understand that as a business owner, one can not abrogate the responsibility of ensuring that such activities do not occur, especially on a regular, continued basis on their property. There has to be a balance.

When it comes to public condemnation of private property, I understand the idea behind eradicating the problematic property. I also highly respect private property rights and tend to lean towards protection of said rights.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Column for Jan. 11, 2007

Today, the newspaper published the wrong column. They published the column I had written for next week in this week's paper. Ergo, part 3 of "If Troy ruled the world" may not appear at all or will be published out of order. Sorry, but it is a bit beyond my control.


Not much changed with the recent change

There have been a lot of promises about bi-partisanship on the part of Democrats that have taken over Congress. That sure has gone the way of the dodo in a hurry. It is not as if I expected the short lived rhetoric after it was spewed, anyway. I don't really think that anyone with at least half of a brain did.

Already, we have seen letters to the President of the United States from Democrat leaders condemning his leadership and the plan for putting more troops into Iraq. Just recently, Nancy Pelosi, the new Speaker of the House, has been talking about cutting funding to the military and the war effort. Personally, I believe that Nancy Pelosi becoming the Speaker of the House is proof positive that Frodo failed in his quest to destroy the ring in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

Let me state up front that I am not a huge supporter of the war in Iraq. My primary opposition is that there was no Declaration of War, as required in our Constitution. However, I saw the end of Saddam Hussein's reign over Iraq as a good thing.

The truth of the matter is that we lost more soldiers in a week in World War II than we have lost in four years in Iraq. Though I hate that we have lost any soldiers at all, I hardly believe that now is the time to debate the merits of our having invaded and occupying Iraq.

I find it ironic that many of the men and women in Congress who at one time declared that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq now complain about their own votes to support military action there. John Edwards is chief among them. The pretty boy who made his millions as a blood sucking trial lawyer, had one of the worst attendance records in the Senate, and spent more time in Iowa and New Hampshire than he did in either D.C. or North Carolina, has expressed his lament about his previous war support.

Many of the same Democrats who have nothing but venom for the present executive administration actually had nice words for a dead Republican. They spoke nice things about a "Heinz 57", i.e., a rather bland President who only lasted two and a half years in office.

Gerald Ford lived to the ripe, old age of 93. Though not considered a particularly effective President according to all I have read, and his term of office ended thirty years ago, his life was still greatly honored. Compare that to the death of Iraq's former leader, Saddam Hussein, who was hanged by his own countrymen. He was a hated despot who was insolent to the end. He was overthrown rather than voted out of office. People rejoiced at his death and he is only honored by his deluded followers.

I believe that Shakespeare wrote in his play "Julius Caesar", "The evil men do lives after them. The good is oft interred in their bones." Perhaps Gerald Ford will not be remembered for a tremendous amount of good. However, he is still honored. Hussein, however, will be remembered for his evil.

As many of you who read my column and internet writings know, I am not a fan of either George Bush. However, I have the ability to be fair and objective about things that are right and wrong. I call it both ways. I even salute Democrats when they do the right thing. As much as I hate to admit it, there have been a few topics about which they have been correct. I mostly disagree with our own Congressman, Bob Etheridge. At least when I saw that he had a proper vote on an important topic, I gave him kudos for it. That does not happen often, but it does happen.

Will we see any objectivity when it comes to real time politics from either party? Probably not, especially from the Democrats. As to the hatred for George W. Bush, the only time the Democrats may say anything positive about him is at his funeral. Time will tell, and hopefully I will be alive then to hear it.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Column for January 4, 2007

If Troy ruled the world, part 2

Last week, I shared a list of items that shall take immediate effect once I rule the world. More specifically, I target this country, state, and local level. I have a very long list, so I just kept writing. Here are more.

13. Now that Christmas is over, the Christmas lights in Uptown Selma shall be shut off until next Christmas season. That is why they are called "Christmas lights".

14. When asked an opinion on whether donuts and coffee are better at Dunkin' Donuts or Krispy Kreme, it shall be unlawful to answer anything other than, "Dunkin' Donuts, of course!"

15. DMV safety inspections shall consist only of items that are actually related to safety.

16. Efforts shall be made to pick up road kill in North Carolina. I have never seen a state in which road kill is left by the side of the road more than here in NC.

17. All international aid forked out gratis to other countries shall immediately cease. We have our own domestic spending issues and we could better spend our money on things other than ungrateful, despotic nations that need to learn how to develop their own economies.

18. Since I have already abolished the income tax by repealing a Constitutional amendment, the nation shall move to a "The Fair Tax" plan with minor changes. The Fair Tax is a consumption tax that allows us to stop paying FICA and federal withholding from our paychecks and taxes all people evenly. The rich buy more, so their spending habits would cause them to pay far more in taxes. The poor buy less, so they will pay less in taxes. Go look it up.

19. All Social Security funds shall immediately be available to individuals for their own management in a private system such as the nation of Chile is using. They copied our plan and found it to be lacking. They later privatized their national plan and now their citizens are retiring wealthy instead of eating cat food.

20. It shall be unlawful to purposely wear exposed underwear in public. It is disrespectful and almost obscene.

21. It shall henceforth be unlawful and unacceptable to invade any country without first having a Declaration of War from the US Congress.

22. The US shall immediately withdraw from the United Nations. The United Nations shall no longer be headquartered in the US. They seem to despise our country, work against us and our allies most of the time, are an ineffective and corrupt organization, they have mooched off our tax payers long enough, and they can start funding their own failed programs. We shall henceforth pay no more dues, building maintenance, or for any more operational funding. We have paid the lion's share for years and gotten little benefit. We have done the vast majority of their dirty work across the globe, including Iraq. We followed their resolutions for Iraq and now get their scorn. Goodbye, United Nations. We won't miss you.

23. Here in NC, the immoral and corrupt man that is Jim Black shall be immediately jailed and removed from office.

24. All Executive Orders passed by previous presidential administrations shall be repealed, save the ones so desired by the current President of the United States. Executive Orders shall not hold the fiat authority of law and shall not be effective past the term of the president issuing said orders. Orders issued by a dead president forty years ago should never be considered valid by any successive administration.

25. Now that we have taken care of a tax code that absolutely dwarfs the Bible in thickness and content, all other laws passed by Congress over the years shall be evaluated with a test for Constitutionality. All laws that are found to be contrary to the Constitution shall be immediately repealed. The same scrutiny shall be used for Supreme Court decisions and assumptions of jurisdiction.

I still have a list of other items, and that list continues to expand. I actually need a voice recorder to keep up with them all as I think of them. Perhaps next week, I will complete the trifecta. Hey, I only have about 700 words each week with which to craft my column.