Thursday, May 31, 2007

Column for May 31, 2007

On my personal soapbox for a personal rant

There are certain topics about which I have not written in this column for various reasons. Some were because they were not timely, some were because they would not have been in good taste, some because I had little interest, and yet others because I had great interest in them but it would have been self serving to so indulge in a column. Today, I am writing about a topic that I told myself, "Self, leave that one alone, because it would be rather self serving to write about that."

On great thing about writing for Rick Stewart is that he lays no real ground rules other than 1. keep the column somewhere around 700 words 2. don't libel anybody. Fair enough, I say. Only one time did he ever ask me to change anything that I had written, and that was just one sentence that could have been better written to convey the same thought. Even though I still liked my sentence better, he was probably correct. That comes under the heading I listed earlier about good taste. I still love my first photograph that was published. Because some didn't, so you get this boring, ugly one each week, instead.

Another great thing about writing for Rick is that he has a sense of fairness. He has recently stepped up his own writing in the form of editorials. He has tackled some topics that he hears about before I do, since I often wait to read this newspaper to know what is newsworthy, just like you do. I even pay the same subscription price all of you do. Secondly, when Rick sees something that he feels is inappropriate, he does his First Amendment thing and "lays the smack down". That is exactly what he did last week. I was not going to touch the appointment of Eric Sellers to the Selma Town Council except to say that I believe that he may very well do an excellent job and I hope it goes well for him and for the town. I truly mean that with all sincerity.

It was painfully obvious, however, that the deliberations over whom to select to fill the open council seat had already been done secretly, out of the public eye. If there were any others that were mentioned, then I doubt that they were given serious consideration. Let me expound upon Rick's expose a bit. I personally am on the Citizen's Advisory Committee for the town. Not once have I ever been asked to attend a single meeting for anything dealing with citizens' advising of anything, including filling a vacant seat on the council.

Next, the long standing tradition, as Rick and others who are prominent in this town have pointed out, was that the first consideration was given to the candidates in the last election. There were two men who would most likely have been a "thorn in the side" to the way of our current administration, both of whom were third and fourth out of four candidates. Those two men got within 13 votes of each other. The top two vote getters are currently on the council and were incumbent candidates. The third place candidate, Tommy Holmes, has been in Selma all of his life, I understand. Unfortunately, I also understand that he has not been doing well lately health wise. Tommy, I wish for you nothing but the best and for a full recovery. Hypothetically, had the town leaders not broken from tradition and Mr. Holmes would not have been able to serve, that would have left one person that was on the ballot last election.

God forbid that someone with that much opinion and guts to say what he means in public, much less in print in a weekly newspaper column so that everyone knows what they would get ahead of time rather than being secretive about it, be installed as a town council member. The apocalypse draweth nigh if that should happen, huh?

Never for a minute think that the politics that were played out on the state level with men like Jim Black can not infect a small town like Selma. Like I said, I was not going to tackle this topic originally because it would have seemed self serving. But, since Rick brought it up, it should be held up as an example. I am now getting off my personal soap box...for a few minutes, anyway.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Column for May 24, 2007

Are people waking up to reality?

I have watched two Presidential debates in the past couple of weeks. I personally pay no attention to the Democrat debate(s) since I pretty much already know what to expect. I have little or no interest in socialists and only wish to see their defeat. Unfortunately, there may not be that much of an alternative.

For starters, I will state that I am not a registered Republican. As it has been said so adequately by others, I did not leave the Republican Party; the Republican Party left me. They also left millions of others for the sake of power and political expediency. From what I can tell, the Democrat Party has slid left to be completely socialist and the Republican Party has slid left to fill the vacuum. At one time, I thought that the GOP was where the Democrats were in the 1960's. Now, I believe that they are where the Democrats were in the 1970s, which is even worse.

As a columnist, blogger, someone active in the community, and talk show host, I get to talk to people who are authors, politicians, theologians, and just plain citizens with an opinion. What I am finding is that those who are liberal (don't confuse liberal with someone who supports liberty) are increasingly for socialism and those who are so called conservative are becoming increasingly hard core right wing. I am finding people of increasing numbers who are outside the mainstream two party political system. Many of those who have a Christian world view find themselves at odds with the party who courts their favor then goes on to do as they see fit. This cycle repeats itself every four years.

The people I have been reading behind and conversing with, to a person, have absolutely had enough of politics as usual. The polls taken after the last two GOP debates have shown strong support for the one real "black sheep" of the party, Ron Paul. Ron Paul, a Representative from Texas, is without a doubt, the most conservative man running for President. He also seems to be drawing the most controversy. His campaign exemplifies the term "grass roots". Unlike the so called major candidates, he has relatively little money and broad support. Most of his support is found on the internet. His campaign is on the net unlike any other campaign I have ever seen previously.

Though I personally am a supporter of Ron Paul, I am not going to be a "Paul Pimp" in this column today. My point is that conservatives that I have been speaking with have really been taking a hard line stance in their positions and choices about for whom to vote. They have also been extremely active in showing their support. I don't know if it is the exposure to some alternative media sources, the fact that they are watching their civil liberties and money taken from them regularly, or just being tired of the liberal onslaught day in and day out that has been the catalyst. The liberal media that I continuously run across is certainly more rabid in their approach than I have ever seen, and is much more blatant about their socialist policies. The nation has incrementally slid towards Gomorrah over the years and some seem to believe that the country is ripe for plucking from its roots.

With that liberal onslaught, many conservatives have risen up in the public square and from obscurity. People who were previously unknown have been making ripples on the pond surface. The backlash against the socialist policies of the left is growing larger and larger. The leftist media outlets are losing market share like never before. Left wing web sites have been increasingly bitter, vile, and crude.

Political pundits and conservative talk radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh are saying that there is an 80% chance that Hillary Clinton will be elected to the Presidency. Is this the reason for liberty loving Americans actually having spine enough to act like Americans? I certainly think the threat posed by socialists in this nation is giving a wake up call to many to at least stand erect and work to hold off the total collapse of America as we know it. Then again, the America we know is certainly not the America envisioned by those who founded her. I just hope that the lucidity is not too little, too late.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A street was named after my column

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Column for May 17, 2007

The ACLU is more active than you think

As readers know, the ACLU has gotten some high profile coverage in this newspaper as it relates to interactions with the Town of Selma. Even though I attend most all town council meetings and write for the paper, I still have to wait to read the latest news in this paper.

For this reason, I have performed a few covert operations of my own. I did some research as well as surveillance. When nobody was around, I was able to perform my own "Super Secret, Secret Squirrel" type intelligence gathering. It turns out that the ACLU has a long history in this town as well as surrounding towns.

The first thing I learned was that former town manager Jeff White was fired because of his name. The ACLU threatened to sue if the town retained Mr. White, since they thought it was offensive to all minorities to have our top town employee not only being Caucasian, but his name exemplified the idea of White dominance. When the town was looking for a replacement manager, the ACLU assented to hiring Stan Farmer. It seems that the name Farmer can apply to any race and not make others feel left out. Obviously, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Caucasians can all labor as farmers. Thus, it was deemed acceptable to replace Mr. White with Mr. Farmer. All this time, I thought it was just that the town council members hated the movie, "Reservoir Dogs".

Another ACLU intrusion was into the Selma town motto of being "The Antique Mecca of the South". It seems that the ACLU took the side of many Muslims in the South who protested the use of that phrase. If we did not become "A Charming Place to Be", we would not only be the object of jihad, but some legal activity.

Apparently, it was confusing as to which way to face while performing ritualistic prayers. Some people in Virginia pointed their prayer rugs along I-95 South, people in Raleigh towards I-70 East, and people in South Carolina towards I-95 North. Still others retained the true direction of the true Mecca. All this time, I thought that the motto was dropped because it was a bit of a cliché, not to mention that it really could be viewed as offensive to Islam. It is amazing the things you can learn from investigative reporting.

Smithfield had a similar issue with names some time ago. The Ham and Yam Festival was not originally going to be so named. At first, it was going to be named for products actually grown here in North Carolina. The festival was going to be called "The North Carolina Barbecue and Sweet Potato(with an "e" if you are Dan Quayle) Festival". Besides the obvious problem of not being able to fit all of that title onto a banner, much less a good looking t-shirt, the ACLU got involved in that one, too.

It seems that the term "barbecue" was offensive to several people. The list of plaintiffs include women named "Susie Q" who thought it wrong for women named Barbie to be taking their place of prominence. Others who grill and char dead animals over coals or propane wanted to own the word "barbecue", even though they are actually "grilling".

Lastly, restaurant owners in the western part of North Carolina who serve far inferior roast pork with ketchup, teamed up with South Carolina eateries who inexplicably use some weird mustard, in a class action suit facilitated by the ACLU. They found the use of barbecue offensive to their inferior food products.

The organizers of the event did not want to cancel the festival and already had dedicated the event to dead pigs, so they started to rename it Ham and…something. In order to avoid some future lawsuit against the use of the term "sweet potato(with an "e" if you are Dan Quayle)" and to shorten the name, the festival organizers borrowed a Yankee term that just happened to rhyme with ham, and thus we have the "Ham and Yam Festival".

If you thought that the ACLU was only interested in squashing public prayer, you are mistaken. The proof is in the research. I have contacted the North Carolina chapter of the ACLU for an interview and they have not yet responded to accept or decline. I can only take that as a lack of interest on their part.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Column for May 10, 2007

Selma: A Curious Place to Be

Of all the towns I could have picked to live in, I sure did choose an interesting town. There never seems to be a shortage of things with which to keep my curiosity going. This year looks like it is shaping up to be one of interest to "A Charming Place to Be" unlike I have seen in years.

By the time that this column is published, we will most likely have found out that the bond issue that was on Tuesday's ballot passed. I have already voiced and written my opinion on that bond here and on the internet, and will have voted accordingly.

Another news item that you read about last week and will have happened already is the formal resignation of Selma Town Councilman, Jeff Weaver. I wish to publicly share a sentiment that I shared privately with Jeff. I do this because he deserves it, and I wish to give honor to whom honor is due.

There were some tough decisions that needed to be taken over the past year plus in this town. Jeff was one Councilman who took a hard stand on some unpopular positions. I was pleasantly surprised to see him express some contrarian opinions rather than be servile and mute. Regardless of whether I agreed with him or not on his decisions, he took them and stood by them. I am thankful for his service to the town as such.

This is something that I look for in an elected representative. I certainly hope that this is the same sort of mentality that the whole Council will use in deciding who, if anybody, will replace Mr. Weaver for the remainder of his term.

One thing I am going to be looking for in our Council is whether or not they find a spine and decide to fight the ACLU over the issue of public prayer rather than remain obsequious. I was dismayed at the policy adopted by the Council in closed session that "the town will remove prayer from its agenda and it will not be part of public business."

As of this writing, a poll on The Selma News' web site is 25 to 1 in favor of keeping prayer as part of the town meetings. Instead of adopting the policy of waiting to see what the outcome will be with other towns or counties as they fight the ACLU, the town leaders need to find a spine, exercise the faith that they proclaim in their own lives, and not allow a Communist (yes, they were literally founded for the expressed purpose of spreading Communist principles. Contact me for more information) organization to dictate how we conduct business in our town. The ACLU does not live in this town, has no vested interest in our town's affairs, and should not be allowed to decide our destiny as Selmites.

By the way, I have often wondered what the proper term is for residents of Selma. There are Smithfielders, Princetonians, Johnstonians, and Apeckers in the region. I guess Selmites works for me. If anyone has a better term, please let it be known.

A few other items of interest to many in town are the annexation plans that have passed a Council vote, the soon to expire reprieve on condemnation plans for homes that are substandard, and the public nuisance law suits filed against two convenience stores in town. It looks like the town may be up against some legal action, whether it is action taken by the town or against it.

The amazing thing about the willingness to move forward with legal issues and the expense thereof is that the Council has voted to knuckle under to ACLU pressure when its legal expenses would most likely be underwritten by groups like The Alliance Defense Fund, just as in Forsyth County.

I find it hypocritical to not take a fight with no financial consequence but the potential to preserve autonomy, yet continue with efforts that will cost the town tax dollars. I am not debating the merits of those aforementioned actions, just comparing them to the ACLU situation.

One thing for certain, the Town of Selma, "A Charming Place to Be", is certainly becoming "A Curious Place to Be", and I get to live in the middle of it.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Column for May 3, 2007

The world has gone totally insane

Maybe it is just a sign of the times. Then again, many of these things have gone on for centuries. It still looks like our world has gone mad. I wonder, however, if anyone truly cares. The responses to travesties or tragedies show the madness of our world.

We have a woman running for President whose only claim to fame is that she was married to a morally corrupt President. We have a man running for President whose middle name is Hussein. We have an ambulance chasing lawyer from North Carolina running a second time for President. He was a Senator for less than one term before running the first time and had one of the worst attendance records in the Senate. The scary thing is that they are all Socialists and may actually win.

We have shooting rampages that are happening across our nation. Obviously, the one that got the most attention was the one in Blacksburg, Virginia. Just recently, there was one in Kansas City and earlier in the year, one in Utah. The reaction is understandably one of shock and outrage. The insane part is the cry for more gun control to "prevent" these issues from happening again. It was gun control that enabled these shootings and would not have prevented them. Just this week, teens in Onslow County stole an AR-15 rifle and brought it to school. By their very nature, criminals do not obey gun laws. Such laws only prevent law abiding citizens from protecting themselves and others. Gun control is the problem, not the cure. But let us not allow the facts to stand in the way of numerous bills being filed in Congress and the state legislature calling for more restrictions on firearms. What part of "shall not be infringed" do they not understand? One notorious gun control advocate in the U.S. House of Representatives does not even know what is in her own bill.

We have towns snatching up tracts of land, claiming them as part of their town for the sole purpose of revenue generation. Freedom and property rights don't apply, nor do laws appertaining to such acquisition, apparently. Selma and Smithfield both have been snatching up nearby properties into the incorporated city limits without necessarily paying heed to legal issues.

The American Civil Liberties Union has been attacking the civil liberties of thousands of citizens. They have been targeting the Carolinas in particular lately. Selma is feeling the bite right now. Prayer is being attacked while prayer is the very reason the ACLU even has the right to exist. Were it not for praying people, this nation would have gone the way of the dodo a long time ago. Yet, they feel that they are being American by attacking Americans. For some stupid reason, we are supposed to feel good about the majority being forced to bow down to the vast minority.

There are people picketing Aero Contractors at the Johnston County Airport. Allegedly, Aero Contractors is being used as a CIA air taxi to shuttle prisoners for torturing. At least that is the story by the protesters. Aero Contractors is a transportation service, nothing more. They are not the group allegedly torturing prisoners of war (yes, prisoners of war). To pick on that company is like picketing a local taxi cab company for providing a ride to a rapist or murderer. The prisoners being transported are people who were trying to kill American troops, were caught in battle, were never on American soil, and do not have the benefit of Constitutional protections as a result.

States like New Hampshire, formerly a beacon of conservative life in a liberal cesspool like New England, are passing "civil union" laws, basically allowing homosexual couples to have the same rights as married, heterosexual couples. Sin has become a civil right. Granting civil unions but not calling it marriage is like going to the supermarket and buying ketchup instead of catsup. It is the same thing, just by a different name.

Wow, I was just getting started and I am already out of space for this week's column. I am reminded of a movie title, "It's a MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD World" we live in.