Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Some Headlines

Fed raises rates by 1/4 point

Alito Sworn In

Computer Worm Threatens Major Destruction Friday

6 Dead in Post Office Shooting

Several Injured in N.C. Chemical Plant Explosion

Wal-Mart exec admits five-finger discount

Report Urges Better Use Of Board Certified Teachers In N.C.

Early College Program in Columbus Co.

The Piano Man Sets New World Record

Wrong Man Released from Brunswick Co. Jail

Inmate dies on death row

Iran issues inspections warning

Newspapers take aim at Google in copyright dispute

Wayland man charged with rape

Hamas leader: Won't be 'blackmailed' into submission

Man accused of stealing bulldozer

Iran: U.N. Referral Means the End of Diplomacy

Police officer shoots man dead - A POLICE officer has shot dead a man accused of driving off without paying for fuel in northern Western Australia.

Pregnant Steelers Fan Makes Plans To Be Induced

Read more!

posted by David at 4:45 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (6) ::


Here's a site to see, Jim Black Must Go.

“That this requirement happens to involve Black's business - eye care - only makes it more sordid, and makes the embattled speaker look even sleazier than the lottery scandal has made him appear.”

Winston-Salem Journal 1/27/06 editorial on Black’s eye exam proposal

Read more!

posted by David at 4:15 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (2) ::

Jedi Squirrels

Found this on A North American Patriot and thought my kids would enjoy it.

Read more!

posted by David at 4:05 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (3) ::

'Corruption in NC Legislature'

The North Carolina General Assembly is corrupt. I know many don't want to admit it, but it truly is. Democrats have run this state using the "good old boy network" for the better part of a century. Republicans have NEVER controlled the state. Keep that in mind.

This year a new law went into effect the REQUIRED all government school students to have a complete eye exam. No, there's no reason for it -- no one benefits because the students could attend no matter how they scored on the test, and the school would do nothing different for students who did poorly. And don't worry, if you couldn't afford it, the legislature would pay for it ($2 million new spending).

Oh wait, someone would benefit -- the doctors who performed the exam! Suddenly large numbers of preschool children would be getting eye exams. And do you know the profession of the Democrat Party leader of the NC House who personally added that requirement last year (to a spending bill)? He's an optometrist.

Go ahead, try and convince me that's not corruption.

But that's not even all. Now that the state is in the gambling business, the local "Native American Tribe" wants in -- the Cherokee tribe wants to put in Vegas-style games on their "reservation." Will they? Well, it depends on how much money they donate to the politicians -- just you watch.

Take it these eye exams fall under the so called public good clause. Just another justification for our high tax rate here in NC. And don't worry if the money isn't in the general fund to cover it, we can always rob the highway trust fund again.

Read more!

posted by David at 3:49 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (2) ::

Carter Wants Us To Support Hamas!

From Rick at PowerPundit

James Earl Carter, Jr., the former President of The United States, never ceases to remind America that he presided over one of the most incompetent and ineffective administrations in America's history, and that it is most fortunate that his presidential tenure was limited to a single term.

Now, the former president implores the international community to keep funding the Palestinian government, despite the fact that Hamas, a terrorist organization that is committed to the destruction of Israel - and has failed to renounce that aim - will be governing Palestinians. Hamas has killed hundreds of Israeli citizens, yet Mr. Carter wants to be sure that Hamas continues to be funded. Hamas has given no indication, or any hint of an indication, since the elections that it is prepared to cease or advocate the cessation of violence against innocent Israeli citizens. Yet, Mr. Carter is resolute that Hamas must not be financially stressed.

The Jimmy Carter who impotently sat by and watched the Iranians hold Americans civilians hostage, who declared the America of the late 1970's to be in a "malaise," who allowed OPEC to manipulate him and his administration, with spiraling gas prices the result and economic distress to follow, now assures the world that it must support a terrorist organization.

Unbelievable. Amazing. Bizarre.

Those three words were often uttered to describe the actions of Mr. Carter during his presidency, and they are appropriate to describe his advocacy of financial support for Hamas now.

It's been past time for Carter to get out of the world spotlight. He is out of touch with reality and just doesn't see the big picture.

Read more!

posted by David at 3:44 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (1) ::

The State Constitution Needs to be Changed to Protect North Carolinians from Eminent Domain Abuse

The John Locke Foundation

Under eminent domain and court rulings favoring government over individuals, the Fifth Amendment allowance for government to take property for "public use" has been expanded to include takings for “public benefit,” “public purpose,” and most recently, “economic development.” North Carolina's Constitution doesn’t explicitly prohibit government from seizing property without just compensation, and worse, its laws allow government to take property if government officials can forecast that a property may become "blighted" at some future date. Research by the John Locke Foundation, North Carolina's leading think tank, proves that North Carolinians sorely need an amendment to the state Constitution to protect property rights — and shows how to write it.

My suggestion to you is to go to The John Locke Foundation website and learn more on the subject then contact your state Reps.

Read more!

posted by David at 3:39 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (0) ::

Alito Confirmed

With a vote of 58 to 42, Alito becomes the 110th Supreme Court Justice. Here is what Nathan at Church and State had to say:

The light is fading on liberals as the coffin lid is being nailed shut. They are watching as their chances of forcing socialism on America is flying out the window, and all they can do is watch…or scream and beat the coffin as Teddy tried.

Obvious signs your team is losing a battle they thought they could easily win are frustration, blaming others, outbursts of anger, and eventually denial. We have watched as Democrats have progressed through these stages, some backtracking and inflicting the same damage upon themselves and their party over and over again (i.e., Gore, Kerry).

Read more!

posted by David at 3:30 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (2) ::

Four Iraqis Caught In Mexico Heading North

News 5 Phoenix, AZ

Mexico arrests four undocumented, U.S.-bound Iraqis

MEXICO CITY Mexico says its arrested four Iraqis who were trying to sneak into the United States without the proper documents.
Mexico's Attorney General's office says police -- acting on an anonymous tip -- found the four aboard a bus in the northern city of Navajoa (nav-ah-HO-. That's about 375 miles south of the Arizona border.

The statement says the Iraqis were in Mexico illegally.

Officials are investigating the background of the four and trying to determine how they got into Mexico.

Many undocumented Iraqi nationals have been captured in Mexican territory en route to the U-S border. None have been found to have had any links to terrorism.

THIS IS WHY WE NEED A TOUGH BORDER POLICY! Just because no links to terrorism have been found that doesn't mean they aren't there and that doesn't mean that the next group won't be terrorist.

Read more!

posted by David at 10:04 AM :: Permalink :: Comments (1) ::

What the!?!

United Press International

British school bans raising hands

LONDON, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- A school in London has banned children from raising their hands in class and teachers from calling on students with their hands raised.

"It is every child's instinct and every teacher's instinct as well because it is ingrained in us," said Andrew Buck, the school's principal.

"Some pupils are jiggling so much to attract the teacher's attention that it sometimes looks as if they need the lavatory, then when it is their turn they often don't know the answer. Boys -- and it is usually boys -- are seeking attention, so they put their hands up before they have had time to think about the question."

Buck said the same children often wave their arms in the air, but when teachers try to involve less adventurous pupils by choosing them instead, it leads to feelings of victimization, the Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.

To spare embarrassment of the students who do not know the answer, the school has incorporated a "phone a friend" system, allowing one child to nominate another to take the question instead.

This is too funny.
"Little Johnny what's 2+2?"
"I'ld like to phone a friend mam."

Read more!

posted by David at 10:00 AM :: Permalink :: Comments (3) ::

Mexicans Protest US Immigration Policy and the Wall

The Herald

Marchers decry U.S. immigration policy, wall plan
A protest in the capital Sunday denounced the United States´ treatment of Mexican migrants as racist and decried the high number of migrant deaths

About 250 migrant activists and their supporters marched through the center of Mexico City on Sunday to protest U.S. immigration policy, which they say is racist and deadly.

Shouting "justice for migrants," the demonstrators tore apart a giant paper wall, a symbol of a planned fence along large parts of the United States´ southern border, which the demonstrators say will violate human rights and cause more deaths.

"A migrant dies on the border everyday already," said Ada Omana, a migrant activist who lives in New York City. "With this wall, we are going to see more corpses in the desert."

The protesters chanted "No To The Wall" outside the U.S. Embassy, which was protected by temporary barricades and about 50 police officers in riot gear.

There were no reports of arrests or violence on the march.

Hugo Vadillo, a migrant activist based in Mexico City, said that the Mexican government also needed to revise its immigration policy.

"The Mexican government has to stop discriminating against Central American migrants," Vadillo said. "We need to have free movement of workers in the Americas like there is in Europe."

U.S. authorities estimate that there are about 10 million undocumented migrants working in the United States, about half of whom are Mexican.

The US has laws. Those laws need to be inforced or else America is nothing but a name. The whole basis of a republic is the rule of law. If they want to come here and work there is a legal way for it to be done and that is how it should be. How things are in Europe and what European law is has nothing to do with US immigration laws/policy. If Mexicans don't want to die in the desert then don't attempt an illegal border crossing. Don't blame the US for the death of an illegal, he made the decision to cross the border and the full responsibility of his actions rest on his shoulders.

Read more!

posted by David at 9:40 AM :: Permalink :: Comments (3) ::

San Francisco Wants To Ban Recuiters In The City


Not content with simply protesting the war, they've trained their sights on all things military. In an apparent effort to rid the city of any semblance of its military history, various leftist groups, and even some city officials, are trying to erase the military's presence altogether. In short, San Francisco has declared itself a military-free zone.

Following on the heels of their success in sometimes violently shutting down job fairs that include military recruiters on college campuses, the counterrecruitment movement is now looking to broaden its influence. Instead of merely protesting the existence of military recruiters on campuses, the movement wants to ban them altogether. Proposition I, a measure that will be on the ballot this November, seeks to do just that.

I have a t-shirt that says "Don't underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups", I do believe that it should be the offical t-shirt of SF in pink of course. McQ had this to say:

Cool. And if it passes I'd suggest another proposal. When the big earthquake comes, and it will, and San Francisco is a smoking heap of rubble, they shouldn't bother calling the National Guard or the US military. Both will be too busy helping people who appreciate having them around.

I can't agree more.

Read more!

posted by David at 9:31 AM :: Permalink :: Comments (2) ::

Boortz On Exxon's Profits

Neal's Nuze


Yesterday the world's largest oil company, Exxon Mobil, announced their quarterly profits. They raked in $10.7 billion last quarter. That should make their shareholders happy. That brings their total yearly profit to $36.13 billion. That's a nice chunk of change.

But you know what such news means. It's time to drag the oil executives back in front of Congress...to complain about the mythical, non-existent "price-gouging." Politicians will wring their hands about how Exxon Mobil is stealing money from people...and not "giving back" to the community. All of this, of course, is thanks to the government schools that churn out people who have absolutely no understanding of basic economics.

For the less-educated, here are a few pointers:

* Exxon Mobil doesn't set the price of oil, the world market does. They're just cashing in. That price is determined by supply and demand, and nothing else. Sorry. If you want oil to be cheaper, you have to drill for more of it, bring to market and drive down the price.

* The oil companies are doing what they're supposed to. It is the function of a public corporation to make as much money as possible for its shareholders.

* If we expect to drill for more oil...and refine more gasoline...where do people think the money to do that will come from? Reinvested oil company profits, that's where. Somebody has to pay for exploration.

At the end of the day, it is the radical environmentalists that are making oil companies rich. The tighter the supply, the bigger their profits. So now you know who to blame!

One of my first post was about Exxon's profits and how people and Congress saw this as bad. I then went off on a little economics lesson. It's good to see others do the same.

Read more!

posted by David at 9:24 AM :: Permalink :: Comments (3) ::

Boortz Compares Left With al-Zawahri

Zawahri released a video critizing the US attack in Pakistan and Bush not taking Bin Laden up on his "truce".

Neal's Nuze

Come to think of it, Zawahri has a lot in common with the American left. He hates George Bush, so do they. He thinks the Bush administration has been a failure, so do they. Zawahri criticizes the war in Iraq and talks about soldiers coming home in body bags...so does the left. Come to think of it, I think Cindy Sheehan has a future. She could be a speechwriter for Al-Qaeda.

Read more!

posted by David at 9:21 AM :: Permalink :: Comments (3) ::

Boortz Won't Be Watching Bush Tonight

Neal's Nuze

He'll have the platform [...] and he'll say very little. I'm not expecting to hear anything other than "the state of the union is strong" and a few ideas for expanded government programs, some additional spending on this, that or the other thing, how we're going to continue working to make America safe and secure. New ideas? Don't look for them. An earnest attempt to reduce the size and the influence of the Imperial Federal Government of the United States in our lives? Don't hold your breath.

It's no secret that I would like to hear something about tax reform. The current tax code in this country is killing us. No, those words aren't too strong. Our American economy is slowly collapsing under the burden of an onerous tax system that punishes the very activities our economy needs. In just the past few weeks we've heard several warnings and items of bad news. Warren Buffet, a man who some would say knows a thing or two about finance and our economy, is warning that the biggest danger facing our financial well-being isn't the huge federal deficit or the price of oil. The biggest danger is our trade deficit. Just yesterday the news arrived that our savings rate is at its lowest point since the great depression. You want a reason? As for the trade deficit, blame our tax code. The simple and brutal fact of the matter is that there is no major economic power in the world that places the tax burden on its business and industry that the United States does. You do realize, don't you, that these corporate taxes are a simple fraud. They're all a device to convince the American people that our wonderful elected officials have chosen to relieve us of a portion of our personal tax burden by transferring that burden to evil and greedy corporations. Our pathetic inept system of government non-education sets up Americans to believe such nonsense. As for personal savings, the tax code punishes us there also. You have to pay taxes on all the money you save, and then you have to pay taxes on all the interest you earn! Wow! What an incentive!

A long article from Neal that sums up very clearly some of Bush's weaknesses. Once again I agree with Neal. You can read the whole thing on his site.

Read more!

posted by David at 8:59 AM :: Permalink :: Comments (1) ::

Monday, January 30, 2006

No Alito Filibuster

Kerry's attempt at a filibuster of Alito failed today. Tomorrow the Senate will vote to accept Alito to the Supreme Court.

The filibuster was done in when moderate dems decided that there was no good reason to filibuster Alito. The vote was something like 72 to 25 to give Alito the up or down vote. The vote will must likely be closer tomorrow, but Alito is a sure in.

I hope Alito turns out a good justice. If he sticks to what he has said he should be ok, but people do change their beliefs.

Read more!

posted by David at 9:50 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (3) ::

Two More Seek County Office

The News Reporter

McPherson, Hinson to seek election


Over chicken bog Friday afternoon with a half-dozen political partners, Columbus County Citizens for Better Government (CCCBG) President Sammy Hinson announced that he would seek the District 7 county commission seat currently held by David Dutton.

Former commissioner and retired plant manager David Lee McPherson has also announced he'll seek the District 6 seat currently held by Kip Godwin.

Read it all in the extended section.

Hinson asserted that there is a new force in county politics -- the grassroots group Columbus County Citizens for Better Government (CCCBG) -- and it will have a big impact on the election.

"People are sick of Commissioner Dutton and the way this county is being run and I'm going to win," Hinson said. "I will step down as president of CCCBG before I file to run as a commissioner and I have the support of the organization. CCCBG is going to help everyone who wants to run that agrees with our philosophy of good government."

Filing begins Feb. 12.

Hinson said CCCBG supports Fair Bluff farmer Howell Strickland, who is running in District 6 against McPherson, former Democratic Party chairman and county commissioner in the late 1970s.

McPherson said his previous political experience might help.

"Hopefully, I can help with some leadership. Being a county commissioner is the toughest job in government. You have to make a lot of tough decisions and can't satisfy everybody. We need to set a roadmap, set a course and then follow that," he said.

"I make no individual or group promises other than that I am sincere and will be open for any suggestions from the citizens of Columbus County," McPherson said. "With the grace of the good Lord, I will make decisions based on facts rather than emotions."

Hinson, as his opponent Dutton, sells rebuilt and pre-owned cars from his car lot/political headquarters in Whiteville. McPherson has worked 42 years for OMI Honeywell, a chemical plant in Riegelwood, and has been appointed to a number of county boards. He has also farmed.

Hinson and Strickland said they believe voters are fed up with high taxes brought on by wasteful government spending and a poorly functioning economic development apparatus.

McPherson agreed. "We need to manage our current budget with the most sound business practices available," he said.

Hinson wants to see the county Board of Commissioners take control of economic development from the Economic Development Commission (EDC). He said the county must hire a full-time economic development director who will report to commissioners and be paid a salary, plus incentives for bringing in industries.

"I would like to appoint a blue ribbon panel -- composed of bankers, businesspersons, industry leaders -- to come up with an explanation for why we are not getting what we should be getting," Hinson said. "I just don't think the Committee of 100 has the expertise or the (motivation) to get out and get industry in here. The animal that's hungry hunts best.

"Sometimes, personal issues interfere with good judgment," added Hinson. "I've found that's happened in the past and has kept us from getting jobs."

"No issue is large enough that we can't sit down and work out a solution that is beneficial to everybody," McPherson said. "I'm a firm believer in sitting down, sifting out the chaff and finding the wheat."

McPherson said that economic development, education and government grants are his top priorities. He said that he is encouraged by some of the opportunities in farming, such as the soybean plant and Dole food plant.

"Those are the things we need to look to for the small farmer who is making the transition from tobacco," he said. "There's no magical wand that we can wave to get an industry but industry as a whole will change as we move forward," McPherson said. "Planning and partnership with industry will (attract jobs).

"We are beginning now to feel the effects of the growth of Brunswick County and Horry County, S.C.," he added. "(This type of spillover growth) forces us even more to make Columbus an attractive county that people want to live in. We have to increase our tax base. People cannot afford to pay the increasing tax burden."

Hinson and Strickland agree that the county should push the federal courts to permit countywide elections. They also insist, based on the opinion of respected academics and lawyers, that the county is out of compliance with the constitutional principle of one man, one vote and needs to be redistricted.

County commissioners discussed the issue in closed session last month and then issued a press release stating they would not redistrict at this time. Hinson, whose group threatened a lawsuit on the issue, said CCCBG decided to first try to put the right people in three open commission seats. That would save the taxpayers money and allow the new board to redistrict, he said.

McPherson sees countywide elections and redistricting as legal issues.

"First and foremost, we have to abide by what the law requires," he said. "If we're out of compliance, Columbus County has to meet the letter of the law. We need to do everything we can to meet the law without spending a lot of money on litigation and wasting people's money."

McPherson has been organizing a committee to raise $3 million to rebuild an auditorium at Williams Township School, which was destroyed by fire two years ago. He said the group is now in the process of gaining non-profit status to help raise funds.

"We are putting together the legal part that would allow us to get some grant money down the road," he said. "The community can help raise the funds to accomplish what it wants. Maybe in the future, we can get some money from whatever government we can. Right now, we need to focus on rebuilding the classrooms."

Hinson, who was Republican Party chairman for eight years, said people have to look beyond party affiliation. However, Hinson added that government needs a balance.

"You need a balance in government. That's the purpose of a two-party system," he said. "You need a little friction to achieve that balance. Right now, Columbus County is one-sided."

Read more!

posted by David at 5:19 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (2) ::

Lottery Vender Choosen


North Carolina's lottery commission has chosen GTECH Holdings as the winner of contracts to run the state's numbers games this spring.

Read more!

posted by David at 5:17 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (2) ::

Good News For The People of Alaska

The Anchorage Daily News

Alaska lawmakers are eyeing legislation to loosen the limits on when people can justifiably kill attackers and to shield them from lawsuits if they do.

Proponents say the state's standards for self-defense don't do enough to protect law-abiding citizens, leaving them vulnerable to attack and liable to prosecution if they fight back.

Some police agencies and prosecutors, however, worry that the proposed new law could make it easier for murderers, gang members and other criminals to elude prosecution by claiming self-defense.

Under the current law, unless you're in your home, you are legally obligated to try to flee from an attacker if you can do so "with complete personal safety and with complete safety as to others." Lawyers refer to this as the "duty to retreat."

Rep. John Coghill Jr., the House Majority leader, and Sen. Gene Therriault have each introduced bills that would do away with the duty to retreat.

"The burden of having to flee from bad actors has caused people to be fearful of protecting themselves," Coghill said.

"What I want to do is say, 'Look, you've got the right to stand your ground.' "

The legislation also says that those who kill or wound in self-defense would be immune from civil liability, and they'd be entitled to recover reasonable attorney's fees, court costs and lost income incurred in defending against any civil lawsuits filed against them.

Coghill, R-North Pole, said he drafted his bill, HB 314, after Florida passed comparable legislation last year. The National Rifle Association is pushing for similar laws in states across the country.

"We firmly believe that all citizens have a duty to protect the community from criminals and shouldn't have to run away or defend themselves in court simply because they refused to run from someone who was attempting to injure or kill them or some member of their family," said Wayne Ross, an Anchorage attorney and a long-time NRA board member.

Police in Anchorage and Fairbanks, and state prosecutors, fear the proposed legislation might have unintended consequences.

Anchorage police spokesman Lt. Paul Honeman said the proposed law might do more to protect criminals than law-abiding citizens.

"The advantage goes to the bad guys," he said. "A law-abiding citizen honestly trying to defend themselves 99.9 percent of the time won't be prosecuted."

Anchorage in recent years has faced a growing problem with gangs and youth violence, and the proposed change in the law could hinder prosecution because more people would be able to claim self-defense, Honeman said.

In Fairbanks, Police Chief Dan Hoffman said he had mixed feelings about the proposed changes.

"I certainly understand the need for people to protect themselves, and I don't think it's realistic for us to say, 'Oh, just leave that to us,' because obviously there aren't going to be enough police around to protect everybody in every instance," Hoffman said.

"At the same time, I'm concerned with some sections that upon first review look like they might create circumstances where it would be viewed to be OK to chase after somebody and shoot them down," Hoffman added.

"The whole business of having a duty to retreat, there's certainly a lot of common sense that comes into play there."

Dean Guaneli, a chief assistant attorney general, at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Coghill's bill on Friday, also pointed to its potential to protect criminals as well as law-abiding citizens. He said the Law Department planned to work with Coghill and Therriault to make sure any bill that passed does not do so.

"We ... want a workable law of self-defense so that the wrong people -- gang members, criminals, drug dealers -- don't rely on self-defense as an excuse to shoot up neighborhoods in Alaska," Guaneli said.

Anchorage Rep. Ethan Berkowitz, the House minority leader who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, said he hadn't studied the proposed legislation, but he was concerned about removing the duty to retreat from the law.

"It seems to me that every gangster involved in a shooting would have this as a defense, and I would imagine that every defense attorney is applauding the bill," said Berkowitz, a former state prosecutor.

"This seems to promote vigilantism, gun slinging and gangland activity without consequence," Berkowitz said.

Cindy Strout, a longtime Anchorage criminal defense attorney, said she wouldn't expect the proposed change to have much affect because the current law sets a high bar for determining when someone would be required to flee an attacker.

"Under the current law, the duty to retreat is if you can do so 'with complete safety to yourself,' " she said. "In most self-defense circumstances, it's a pretty rare situation where someone can retreat with complete safety to themselves."

Coghill said the worry about his bill helping criminals get away with their crimes is unfounded.

"It's kind of like saying you've got speed limit laws out there, and people still speed and get away with it," he said.

"Can you have a safety net of laws that works perfectly in every circumstance? I dare say after arguing laws down here for the last eight years, you're not going to. Does that mean you shouldn't give people the right to protect themselves? No."

Coghill and Therriault, R-North Pole, each introduced word-for-word bills at the beginning of the session, and both have been changed slightly.

The House and Senate would need to pass matching bills before a new law could take effect.

I thought it was so good I posted the whole thing. I hope this carries. Our police and government need to be more concerned with victem rights and criminal rights.

Read more!

posted by David at 5:11 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (3) ::

An Interesting If Not Tangled Web Of Blog Mayhem

Quick run down: woman hot links to blog, blog owner changes image to porn.
woman blows top and demands image be changed back.
blog owner says no.
woman complains to blog host.
host cloese the blog.
blog re-opens on a different host.
old host sends a cease-and-desist to blogger when she posts why she had to get a new host.
old host also tries to get new host to close down blog owner.

Here are the links to the blog in question and the reason in her words of what happened.
The Ankle Biter @ Quibbling.net
The Revolution Will Not Be Silenced

Read more!

posted by David at 4:56 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (4) ::

'U.S. Nabs Mexican Official Accused of Helping Immigrants Cross Border'


MEXICO CITY — The U.S. Border Patrol arrested a Mexican immigration official who was allegedly trying to help a group of undocumented migrants sneak into the United States, the Mexican government said Sunday.

Immigration agent Francisco Javier Gutierrez was arrested at a checkpoint near Alamogordo, N.M., about 100 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, the Mexican Interior Department said in a news release.

Gutierrez had been fired on corruption allegations last year but returned to his job after winning a court case in which he claimed he had been unfairly dismissed, according to the National Immigration Institute.

The Mexican government promised to cooperate with U.S. authorities in the case. A spokesman for the Border Patrol in El Paso, Texas, declined to comment Sunday.

Gutierrez's arrest comes just days after the Mexican and U.S. governments exchanged terse diplomatic notes about security on the border.

Last Monday, men dressed in Mexican military-style uniforms unloaded what appeared to be bundles of marijuana before setting fire to an SUV in the Rio Grande as Texas law enforcement officers watched from the other side of the river.

Mexican officials have said the men were not Mexican soldiers. Texas authorities have said they want to investigate the incident further.

U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza sent a note to the Mexican government two days later urging it to clamp down on drug-related violence and corruption on the border region. Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez responded by calling Garza's comments out of line and sending his own diplomatic note asking the ambassador to stop making public comments about security and immigration issues.

Garza then sent a second note Friday, reiterating a request "that the Government of Mexico undertake additional measures to prevent cross-border violence and to provide our government with any investigative results they may have related to the violence."

Also last week, a tunnel was discovered running about 2,400 feet from a warehouse near the airport in Tijuana to a warehouse in San Diego. More than 2 tons of marijuana had been found inside. It was unclear how long the tunnel had been in operation.

Hopefully someone in Washington will get tough on our border issues with Mexico. The border has been in the news a lot lately and maybe people will start taking it serious.

Read more!

posted by David at 4:51 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (2) ::

Arrest Made In Relation To US/Mexican Tunnel


SAN DIEGO, California (AP) -- A Mexican citizen was arrested on drug charges in the investigation into the longest cross-border tunnel ever found along the U.S.-Mexico border, U.S. officials said Monday.

The suspect, whose identity was not immediately released, was taken into custody during the weekend by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

He was expected to be arraigned Monday on charges of conspiracy to import a controlled substance.

The 2,400-foot-long tunnel runs from a warehouse near the airport in Tijuana to a warehouse in San Diego. It was unclear how long it had been in operation, but more than 2 tons of marijuana were found inside.

Authorities said the tunnel was 5 feet high and as deep as 90 feet below the surface. It had a cement-lined floor, lights that ran down one of the hard soil walls, a groundwater pump and pipes that circulated fresh air.

The allegations against the Mexican man stemmed from his connection to the U.S. warehouse, which was operated by V&F Distributors LLC, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a news release Monday announcing the arrest.

The company, which incorporated last year in California, paid $2 million to lease the 49,377-square-foot commercial warehouse for five years with the stated purpose of distributing produce, according to real estate records.

On Friday, immigration authorities warned it had received intelligence that the Mexican drug cartel behind the tunnel had threatened the lives of people who had used it as well as the lives of those involved in the passageway's design or construction.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement appealed to those people to seek out U.S. immigration agents at Mexican border crossings and pledged to do everything possible to protect them.

The Drug Enforcement Administration has said it suspects Tijuana's ruthless Arellano-Felix drug syndicate or another well-known cartel was involved.

Read more!

posted by David at 4:46 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (0) ::



CAMBRIDGE, England (AP) -- A museum visitor shattered three Qing dynasty Chinese vases when he tripped on his shoelace, stumbled down a stairway and brought the vases crashing to the floor, officials said Monday.

Read more!

posted by David at 4:43 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (0) ::

Right On Rob


Over lunch I was listening to Rush Limbaugh, who has been playing an audio clip today Teddy Kennedy in the midst of a towering snit of rage over increased rates of asthma among American children. According to Senator Kennedy, more kids have asthma in this country thanks to air and water pollution. Which is something that may or may not be true, but what I found interesting was the way Kennedy wound down his tantrum, asking in a sincere and breathless tone just what Alito would do, as a Supreme Court Justice, to stem this asthma scourge.

Can it really be possible that someone who has been a U.S. Senator for decades is this patently obtuse when it comes to the role of the Supreme Court in American government? Because the last time I checked Supreme Court Justices didn’t write environmental policy. Instead, they rule as to whether or not laws written by state and federal legislators are, in fact, in keeping with our Constitution.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but this is something I learned in the sixth grade. If Ted Kennedy wants to do something about reducing pollution he should use his political influence as a U.S. Senator to enact change. Heck, he could even make a difference as a mere U.S. citizen and stop opposing the development of wind energy off the coast of his sea-side estate. Either way, Teddy certainly has more influence over the issue than a Supreme Court Justice.

I agree with Rob 100% on this. It seems like almost no one in Washington these days understands the role of government as set forth in our Constitution. Maybe Mr. Kennedy would learn something if he would ever shut his mouth and listen.

Read more!

posted by David at 4:32 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (1) ::

Mark Steyn Talks About How the World Is Starting to Lend to the Right


The Democrats' position was that Mr. Bush's rinky-dink nickel-and-dime allies didn't count: The president has "alienated almost everyone," said Jimmy Carter, "and now we have just a handful of little tiny countries supposedly helping us in Iraq." (That would be Britain, Australia, Poland, Japan . . .) Instead of those nobodies, John Kerry pledged that, under his leadership, "America will rejoin the community of nations"--by which he meant Jacques Chirac, Gerhard Schroeder, the Belgian guy . . .

Two years on, Messrs. Bush, Blair, Howard and Koizumi are all re-elected, while Mr. Chirac is the lamest of lame ducks, and his ingrate citizenry has tossed out his big legacy, the European Constitution; Mr. Schroeder's government was defeated and he's now shilling for Russia's state-owned Gazprom ("It's all about Gaz!"); and the latest member of the coalition of the unwilling to hit the skids is Canada's Liberal Party, which fell from office on Monday. John Kerry may have wanted to "rejoin the community of nations." Instead, "the community of nations" has joined John Kerry, windsurfing off Nantucket in electric-yellow buttock-hugging Lycra, or whatever he's doing these days.

A fun and entertaining piece on the shifting politics of the world. It's well worth your time to read.

Read more!

posted by David at 4:28 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (3) ::

McCain and Coburn Battle Pork


WASHINGTON -- Sens. John McCain and Tom Coburn may force their colleagues to make an up-or-down public decision on proposals such as tucking $2 million for a public park in San Francisco into the nation's massive military spending bill. Last Dec. 20, this bit of pork was passed by Congress without debate and without a vote in the final version of the Defense Appropriations Act.

McCain and Coburn last Wednesday proposed a revolutionary change in the way Congress has done more and more of its business over the past two decades. They announced their intention to "challenge" future earmarks as a violation of Senate rules. That would have meant a roll call vote on each of the 15,268 special spending items in 2005 (nearly a four-fold increase over the previous decade) that individual members quietly slipped into massive bills in the dead of night.

I like the sound of that. Too much crap gets added in good bills. If I was in the Senate I'ld vote down a pork loaded bill in a heartbeat. This type of vote buying scams (that what pork is) is wrong and to hide it in a good bill that is needed is in my opinion unethical.

The whole article is worth reading. And don't forget to pressure your Senator and Congressman to support anti-pork bills and rules of conduct.

Read more!

posted by David at 3:01 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (2) ::

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sheehan Threatens Feinstein

I heard that anti-war nut Cindy Sheehan threaten Dianne Feinstein if she didn't support Kerry's filibuster of Alito. The threat was that she would run against Feinstein for her Senate seat.

Rather or not Feinstein took Sheehan serious or not she has since made it known that she supports the filibuster. Her pr person or manager or someone told the press that it had nothing to do with Sheehan.

Read more!

posted by David at 9:40 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (1) ::

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Cashman Changes 60 Day Sentence


Judge Edward Cashman today agreed to increase a child molester's minimum prison sentence from 60 days to three years.

The judge's ruling comes three weeks after he first handed down the sentence that triggered state and national demands for his removal from the bench.

I heard that he gave Hulett 3 to 10, but most 'experts' say he will only get 3 years in prison. Cashman gave a brief statement after making the change but will not answer questions about his thinking in this case. It's worth noting that this change is after Cashman stated he would not change his mind in this case nor the sentence given. Something changed and I'm glad for it. Three years is better then 60 days but I would have like to have seen the full extent of the the law used here and have Hulett in jail for 10 years.

Related 1492 articles:

OUTRAGE! In Vermont

My Thought On This Judge Cashman Fiasco

The whole story is reprinted in the extended section.

Judge Changes Child Molester's Sentence

Burlington Vermont -- January 26, 2006

Judge Edward Cashman today agreed to increase a child molester's minimum prison sentence from 60 days to three years.

The judge's ruling comes three weeks after he first handed down the sentence that triggered state and national demands for his removal from the bench.

Confessed child molester Mark Hulett was brought into court under heavy security: more than three dozen police officers and deputies positioned in and around the courtroom.

In part to protect Hulett but much of it also to protect Judge Edward Cashman.

The judge has reportedly been the target of thousands of complaints and threats since he handed the admitted child molester a 60-day minimum jail sentence three weeks ago. The judge said it was the only way to get Hulett into sex offender therapy quickly because of prison policy. The state has since changed the policy.

Today prosecutor Bob Simpson repeated his request for a minimum eight year sentence, telling Judge Cashman that he had had illegally failed to include punishment in the sentence.

"That day (the Jan 4 sentencing hearing) you said that, based on your experience, you believe that "just desserts" sentences accomplish nothing of value," Simpson, Chittenden County State's Attorney, told Judge Cashman. "The Supreme Court has said for many years that punishment is an essential component of sentencing," added Simpson.

Hulett's lawyer Mark Kaplan argued that the judge could not legally change the sentence and should not cave in to public pressure.

"I think you need to do more than say to the judge the public deserves its "just desserts," because God forbid that we have a sentencing system where the sentences are handed down based solely on what the public wants," said Kaplan.

When the lawyers finished, Judge Cashman produced a prepared statement explaining why he decided to lengthen Hulett's sentence from a minimum of 60 days to 3 years.

"The department of corrections has now offered a sentencing option in this case that includes sex offender treatment during imprisonment. The court agrees a punitive response is a valuable and necessary component of society's response to criminal conduct. It is a tool that this court has routinely used for the past 24 years on the trial bench. As stated during the sentencing hearing, however, punishment is not enough of a response in some cases. For the reason stated in the first reconsideration order this is one of those cases," said the Judge. "Mark Hulett shall serve a term of imprisonment in the custody of the Commissioner of Corrections of not less than three years nor more than ten years," he added.

Prosecutor Bob Simpson said he was disappointed in the sentence and stands by his belief that Mark Hulett should have been sentenced to at least eight years in prison.

Despite his claim that extending the sentence would be illegal, Hulett's lawyer Mark Kaplan said Hulett will accept the longer jail term and does not plan to appeal.

Read more!

posted by David at 5:16 AM :: Permalink :: Comments (1) ::

Driving Was A Little Safer In '05


Highway Patrol: Accidents down in 2005
Jan 26, 2006, 02:07 PM

RALEIGH (AP) -- State troopers investigated fewer accidents and counted fewer highway deaths last year on North Carolina's roads.

The State Highway Patrol says traffic fatalities dropped 6.6 percent from 2004 to 2005. The overall number of accidents -- those with and without fatalities -- dropped by 3.4 percent.

By type, the biggest decrease was in accidents related to speeding, which dropped by 17 percent. High speed is still the leading cause of traffic accidents in North Carolina.

The patrol says the number of deaths dropped by 9.7 percent in accidents involving drugs or alcohol.

That's good news right there. Hopefully this will continue and 2005 won't be just a fluke.

Read more!

posted by David at 5:09 AM :: Permalink :: Comments (1) ::

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Kip Godwin Won't Run Again

Commissioner Kipling Godwin stated yesterday that he won't be running again for the District 6 seat.

Read more!

posted by David at 9:30 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (2) ::

'Saddam to sue Bush and Blair'

The Washington Time

Defence lawyers for Saddam Hussein Wednesday distributed copies of a lawsuit against President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair for destroying Iraq.
The suit accuses Bush and Blair of committing war crimes by using weapons of mass destruction and internationally-banned weapons including enriched uranium and phosphoric and cluster bombs against unarmed Iraqi civilians, notably in Baghdad, Fallujah, Ramadi, al-Kaem and Anbar.
The Amman-based legal team had said Sunday that the ousted president intended to start legal action against the two leaders of the Iraq war in the International Criminal Court in the Hague, but the text of the suit was made available Wednesday.
The suit also accuses the U.S. president and British prime minister of torturing Iraqi prisoners, destroying Iraq's cultural heritage with the aim of eliminating an ancient civilization, and inciting internal strife.
Bush and Blair were also accused of polluting Iraq's air, waters and environment.
The lawsuit demanded that Bush and Blair appear before court to answer the charges filed against them and requested the harshest punishment in line with Dutch legislation and the rules of international and humanitarian laws.
It also requested compensation for all material and moral damage inflicted on the Iraqi people.

I wonder what 2-bit yellow pages ambulance chasing lawyer he's going to use for this one. I bet some Senate Democrats would love to be defense witnesses.

Read more!

posted by David at 9:26 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (0) ::

Boortz on Richt's $2 mil Contract

Neal's Nuze


The University of Georgia has signed a contract with head football coach Mark Richt that will pay him a guaranteed salary of $2 million a year. There's reportedly another $400,000 in incentives buried in there. Now you probably think that I'm going to go off on some sort of tear about how horrible it is that a university .. an institution dedicated to learning ... would pay a football coach so much more than it would pay a Nobel Prize winning professor --- if, that is, UGA even had a Nobel Prize winning professor. Well ... I thought about it, and figured out that I would be off base. Don't blame the university, and don't blame Richt. He's done one helluva job, and some other college would love to have him. Blame the alumni. Blame those Georgia graduates who, not unlike graduates of other colleges and universities, judge the worth of their alma mater based on the record of the football team. The more the football team wins, the more the money starts flowing in from the alumni. In the final analysis, Mark Richt and the Georgia Bulldogs serve as a glorified squad of fundraisers. It's sad that alumni gauge the worth of their school on the record of it's football team ... but that's the way it is, and UGA has to play that game.

By the way ... Richt is great guy. More power to him.

Don't you know the english, economics and history professors are hating him today.

Read more!

posted by David at 9:22 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (1) ::

Biggest Drug Bust In NC History


... Authorities say it's the biggest drug bust in the history of southeastern North Carolina, getting $20,000,000 worth of cocaine off the streets.

It happened Monday in the Ingold community of Sampson County. Two men are in jail and law enforcement seized hundreds of pounds of coke...

Isase Mareno Ochea, 41, of Rose Hill was charged with trafficking by transportation of cocaine and maintaining a vehicle for the sale of a controlled substance. His bond is $1,000,000.

Also behind bars is 27-year-old Aljendro Moreno-Salgado of Harrels. He faces a charge of trafficking by possession of cocaine. His bond is set at $450,000.

That's a lot of dope! Did you notice the names? They sound a bit Mexican to me. I wonder how they got it here across the border.

You can read the whole story below in the extended section.

Biggest drug bust in southeastern North Carolina history
Jan 26, 2006, 09:16 AM

SAMPSON COUNTY -- Authorities say it's the biggest drug bust in the history of southeastern North Carolina, getting $20,000,000 worth of cocaine off the streets.

It happened Monday in the Ingold community of Sampson County. Two men are in jail and law enforcement seized hundreds of pounds of coke.

A major investigation resulted in this huge coke bust. An investigation involving detectives and undercover agents from four county sheriff's offices working with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.

According to Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thorton this bust went down about 5:00 p.m. Monday. More than 200 kilos of cocaine was seized.

Isase Mareno Ochea, 41, of Rose Hill was charged with trafficking by transportation of cocaine and maintaining a vehicle for the sale of a controlled substance. His bond is $1,000,000.

Also behind bars is 27-year-old Aljendro Moreno-Salgado of Harrels. He faces a charge of trafficking by possession of cocaine. His bond is set at $450,000.

Authorities say they took an estimated $20,000,000 of coke off the street. A big haul and a big investigation headed by the Sampson County Sheriff's Office and the US Drug Enforcement Administration, with the help from New Hanover County, Duplin County and Wake County Sheriff's Offices

Authorities believe this may very well be the biggest cocaine seizure in not only our area's history but in the state's history.

Sheriff Thorton has issued a warning to those who put drugs in the street: that law enforcement will continue to turn up the heat on drug dealers in southeastern North Carolina.

Read more!

posted by David at 9:16 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (27) ::

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Bush Defends Eavesdropping At NSA Speech


"We must learn the intentions of the enemies before they strike," Bush said. "That's what they do here. They work to protect us."

Bush's stop here at the heavily secured site of the super-secret spy agency in suburban Maryland had two purposes. He was aiming to boost the morale of the people carrying out the work of a 4-year-old domestic spying program in which the government monitors the international communications of people inside the United States whom it believes to have connections to the terrorist network al-Qaida. The president is also leading a wide-ranging campaign by his administration to defend the program, under fire from Democrats and Republicans alike who argue that it may be illegal.

It is illegal under the 1978 FISA law.

"We've seen that part of the terrorist strategy is to place operatives inside of our country. They blend in with the civilian population. They get their orders from overseas and then they emerge to strike from within," he told reporters, after speaking behind closed doors to NSA employees and going on a tour of the agency.

"We must be able to quickly detect when someone linked to al-Qaida is communicating with someone inside of America," he said.

The FISA law provides for this. It gives the administration the right to start the surveillance as long as the courts are notified within 3 days.

In Manhattan, Kan., on Monday, Bush brushed aside arguments by critics that he broke the law by authorizing domestic eavesdropping without a warrant, saying he was doing what Congress authorized him to do to protect Americans from terrorist attacks. His attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, repeated that argument in a speech Tuesday.

What Congress did was coward down in the face a threat. If Congress had declared war, as is their Constitutional mandated job, with Afganistan and then Iraq, instead of this broad wide open do what you feel is needed crap a lot of this could be avoided. Don't get me wrong, I'm against terrorist and tyrants throughout the world but I also support and believe in the Constitution as set forth by the Framers and to the ideals that brought the Constitution into being. Remember the US is a Republic and for us to be the shining example of lawfullness and democracy in the world today we have to follow the law and make sure our government follows the law.

The whole article can be read in the extended section.

FORT MEADE, Md. -- President Bush paid an in-person visit to the ultra-secret National Security Agency on Wednesday to underscore the importance of his controversial order authorizing domestic surveillance without warrants in the terrorism era.

"We must learn the intentions of the enemies before they strike," Bush said. "That's what they do here. They work to protect us."

Bush's stop here at the heavily secured site of the super-secret spy agency in suburban Maryland had two purposes. He was aiming to boost the morale of the people carrying out the work of a 4-year-old domestic spying program in which the government monitors the international communications of people inside the United States whom it believes to have connections to the terrorist network al-Qaida. The president is also leading a wide-ranging campaign by his administration to defend the program, under fire from Democrats and Republicans alike who argue that it may be illegal.

Senate hearings on whether Bush has, as he claims, the authority to allow the program begin in less than two weeks.

"We've seen that part of the terrorist strategy is to place operatives inside of our country. They blend in with the civilian population. They get their orders from overseas and then they emerge to strike from within," he told reporters, after speaking behind closed doors to NSA employees and going on a tour of the agency.

"We must be able to quickly detect when someone linked to al-Qaida is communicating with someone inside of America," he said.

Democratic and other critics maintain that Bush already had that authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, passed by Congress in 1978, and that he could have proceeded with intelligence eavesdropping deemed emergency as long as he notified a FISA court within 72 hours to seek approval after the fact.

Bush has argued that process isn't sufficiently flexible.

At the NSA, he also repeated his argument that he has the authority "both from the Constitution and the Congress" to go around FISA to allow the surveillance. He contends Congress gave him the authority when it passed a resolution allowing him to use force in the war on terror and that the Constitution gives him the power as commander-in-chief.

"The American people expect me to protect their lives and their civil liberties," he said.

But Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., issued a blistering attack on Bush's explanations.

"Obviously, I support tracking down terrorists. I think that's our obligation. But I think it can be done in a lawful way," she said. "Their argument that it's rooted in the authority to go after al-Qaida is far-fetched. Their argument that it's rooted in the Constitution inherently is kind of strange because we have FISA and FISA operated very effectively and it wasn't that hard to get their permission."

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said he's eager to learn more. Asked on NBC's "Today" show, if Bush broke the law, McCain replied: "I don't know. I want to be perfectly clear. I don't know the answer. That's why I welcome the hearings."

Bush pledged to continue to reauthorize the program as long as a threat exists, and urged Americans not to be lulled into thinking that the threat from terrorism is over because there has not been an attack on U.S. soil since 2001.

"I understand there are some in America who say well this can't be true _ there are still people willing to attack," he said. "All I would ask them to do is listen to the words of Osama bin Laden and take them seriously. When he says he's going to hurt the American people again, or try to, he means it."

The administration has aggressively stepped up its defense of the program in recent days.

In Manhattan, Kan., on Monday, Bush brushed aside arguments by critics that he broke the law by authorizing domestic eavesdropping without a warrant, saying he was doing what Congress authorized him to do to protect Americans from terrorist attacks. His attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, repeated that argument in a speech Tuesday.

Bush's political team also has signaled that the eavesdropping program will be a campaign issue in November, part of a broader strategy to cast Democrats as weak on terrorism.

A majority of people _ 56 percent _ said the Bush administration should be required to get a warrant before monitoring phone conversations and Internet communications between American citizens and suspected terrorists, according to an AP-Ipsos poll earlier this month.

But when people have been asked in other polls to balance their worries about terrorist threats against their worries about intrusions on privacy, fighting terror has been shown to be the higher priority.

Read more!

posted by David at 5:23 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (2) ::

BB&T Won't Loan On Eminent Domain Land


N.C. Bank To Refuse Development Loans Involving Eminent Domain

POSTED: 5:06 pm EST January 25, 2006

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- One of the nation's top banks plans to reject loans to developers who are involved in deals where land is seized through eminent domain.

Officials from Winston-Salem-based BB&T made the announcement on Wednesday. The chief credit officer said the bank was obligated to take a stance on the issue.

Eminent domain allows governments to take citizen's property for private use. The bank said it only expects to lose a fraction of a percent of business with the new policy.

Way to go BB&T. I support you completly in this and I'm glad that you support the people of NC.

Read more!

posted by David at 5:19 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (1) ::

Most of NC Will Use the Same Voting Equipment This Year


Most Counties Choose Voting Machines Of Only Qualified Vendor

RALEIGH, N.C. -- It might not have been what officials were looking for, but the next time voters go to the polls in North Carolina, most of them will be using the same voting machine system.

At least 90 of the 100 counties already have chosen to purchase electronic or optical-scan machines from the lone vendor remaining. State elections director Gary Bartlett says at least three counties plan to use paper ballots during the election and count them by hand.

While the state's smallest counties already were using paper, others such as Buncombe County wanted more time to consider their options for purchasing (m) millions of dollars in equipment. Election director Trena Parker says it means a longer day for workers.

The equipment purchases are in response to a law passed by the General Assembly following an electronic voting machine error that caused more than 44-hundred votes to be lost in Carteret County during the November 2004 election.

Read more!

posted by David at 5:15 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (2) ::

Disney Buys Pixar

For just over $7 million, Disney has bought Pixar.

Kinda mixed feelings on this. Pixar does a lot of work for Disney, turning out some of the Disney's best animated movies of the last decade. I just hope that Disney doesn't screw up a good company.

Read more!

posted by David at 5:08 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (2) ::

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Alito Gets Nod From Committee

The vote was 10 to 8 right down party lines -didn't see that coming did you?-.

Next up is the vote by the full Senate. Anyone want guess the outcome?

Read more!

posted by David at 10:25 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (1) ::

' Gonzales defends wiretaps amid protest'


I have to agree with them. I believe the NSA wiretapping oversteps the boundaries of President's office.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales encountered angry protesters at Georgetown Law School in Washington on Tuesday as he attempted to to diffuse criticism of the National Security Agency's domestic spying program.
The university was one of the stops on Gonzales' circuit as he attempts to diffuse criticism of the National Security Agency's domestic spying program.

But as the attorney general tried to convey that the extraordinary circumstances of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks justified the program, the protesters turned to one of America's Founding Fathers for their rebuttal.

"Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither" -- a paraphrase of a quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin -- had been scrawled in capital letters on a sign that required four protesters to hold it up.

The thing is that once it's been done once, it's easier for the next President to do the same or even something more extreme. Once a freedom is taken from us by the Federal government it's hard as hell to get it back. This was not what the Framers intended. And before someone uses the "living breathing constitution" bull, remember that's what England had and our Forefathers wanted nothing to do with it.

The whole article is reprinted in the extended section.

CNN) -- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had trouble tapping into a group of hooded protesters at Georgetown Law School in Washington on Tuesday.

The university was one of the stops on Gonzales' circuit as he attempts to diffuse criticism of the National Security Agency's domestic spying program.

But as the attorney general tried to convey that the extraordinary circumstances of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks justified the program, the protesters turned to one of America's Founding Fathers for their rebuttal.

"Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither" -- a paraphrase of a quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin -- had been scrawled in capital letters on a sign that required four protesters to hold it up.

Gonzales didn't acknowledge the sign nor did he stop his speech as 22 protesters, including the four with the sign, stood with their backs to him during the address. Five protesters left the room during the speech. (Watch Gonzales defend the program -- 4:17)

Gonzales said that Congress was aware of the program's scope and that it had been approved "under the authorization to use military force" against terrorism.

His remarks echoed the comments of President Bush, who said Monday that he had briefed key members of Congress on the program.

Many Democrats and some Republicans have disagreed with the president's authorization of the National Security Agency to spy on U.S. citizens without a warrant.

Some lawmakers have said they weren't informed of the program's scope during briefings -- nor were they allowed to go public with concerns because of the program's sensitive nature.

The attorney general disagreed with the claim that legislators weren't told enough about the program.

"As far as I'm concerned, we have briefed the Congress," he said. "They're aware of the scope of the program."

In a speech Tuesday morning, Gonzales said the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act, which bars wiretaps on Americans at home without a court warrant, did not prevent the NSA program.

"It is simply not the case that Congress in 1978 anticipated all the ways that the president might need to act in times of armed conflict to protect the United States," he said during his speech at Georgetown. "FISA, by its own terms, was not intended to be the last word on these critical issues."

Critics have questioned the administration's legal rationale, pointing to the 1978 FISA law, which requires executive branch agencies to get approval for domestic surveillance requests from a special court, whose proceedings are secret to protect national security.

They say the administration could accomplish the same goals legally by taking requests for warrants before the court under FISA. Even if the case is time sensitive, the act allows authorities to administer wiretaps immediately, as long as they go before the court within three days of the start of surveillance, they say.

Gonzales said warrantless wiretaps had been authorized by presidents in wartime since the Civil War.

"We have to remember that we're talking about a wartime foreign intelligence program," he said. "It is an early warning system with only one purpose: to detect and prevent the next attack on the United States from foreign agents hiding in our midst."

Earlier Tuesday on CNN, Gonzales sought to ease concerns that the program was tantamount to spying on Americans.

The program is aimed at "gathering up intelligence regarding al Qaeda," he said. "We're talking about communications where one end of the call is outside the United States and where there's a reasonable basis to believe that a person on the call is either a member of al Qaeda or affiliated with al Qaeda."

Gonzales said any member of Congress who thought the program was illegal "had an obligation" to say something publicly at the time they learned about it.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Center for Constitutional Rights filed lawsuits last week against the government to stop the program. ( Full story)

But Gonzales said he saw no reason to believe the program would raise legal issues in the administration's war on terrorism.

"I can't speak to specific cases," he said. "What I can say is we believe the program is lawful, the information was gathered in a lawful manner and will not jeopardize any ongoing cases.

On Monday, Bush told an audience at Kansas State University in Manhattan that the congressional resolution passed in the wake of the September 11 attacks that authorized the invasion of Afghanistan and other counterterrorism measures gave him the legal authority to initiate the program.

Some critics -- including former Vice President Al Gore -- call the program illegal, contending it threatens civil liberties and privacy rights.

"You know, it's amazing that people say to me, 'Well, he was just breaking the law.' If I wanted to break the law, why was I briefing Congress?" Bush said. (Full story)

"I'm mindful of your civil liberties, and so I had all kinds of lawyers review the process," he said. "We briefed members of the United States Congress."
Former NSA chief defends wiretaps

Bush reportedly authorized the NSA to intercept communications between people inside the United States, including American citizens, and terrorist suspects overseas without obtaining a court warrant.

Bush and Gonzales weren't the only officials to stand by the program Monday. In Washington, Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, the former NSA chief when Bush first authorized the surveillance program after 9/11, staunchly came to its defense.

"Had this program been in effect prior to 9/11, it is my professional judgment that we would have detected some of the 9/11 al Qaeda operatives in the United States, and we would have identified them as such," said Hayden, who now is principal deputy director of national intelligence.

High-level administration officials are set to make public appearances about the program this week, culminating with the president's visit Wednesday to NSA headquarters outside Washington.

The attorney general also is set to appear next month before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Read more!

posted by David at 10:12 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (3) ::

Shelby Steele On Hillary's Pandering

Opinion Journal

When political pandering goes awry, it calls you a name. On an emotional level, many blacks will hear Hillary's remark as follows: "I say Republicans run the House like a plantation because I am speaking to Negroes--the wretched of the earth, a slave people--who will surely know all about plantations." Is this a tin ear or a Freudian slip, blacks will wonder? Does she really see us as she projects us--as a people so backward that our support can be won with a simple plantation reference, and the implication that Republicans are racist? Quite possibly so, since no apology has been forthcoming.

The whole article can be read in the extended section.

Hillary's Plantation
Hillary Clinton reveals her fear of Condi Rice.

Monday, January 23, 2006 12:01 a.m.

Of course Hillary Clinton's recent claim that Republicans run the House of Representatives like a "plantation" was old-fashioned political and racial pandering. After all, she uttered this remark at what certainly would have been a prime venue for her husband: a largely black audience on Martin Luther King Day. So, clearly, she was looking to connect with this most loyal Democratic constituency. But Mrs. Clinton is possessed of a tin ear precisely where her husband is all deftness and charm. Black audiences are beyond her. The room of black faces that brings her husband alive, freezes her in overbearing rectitude.

And yet, pandering of the sort she exhibited on MLK Day requires a convincing human identification in order to work. The political panderer always identifies with the suffering of those pandered to--always "feels their pain." And this is where a tin ear can be disastrous: In giving witness to a group's suffering, one can seem to be shaming the group. Must blacks have their slave past rubbed in their face simply for Hillary Clinton to make a little hay against modern-day Republicans?

When political pandering goes awry, it calls you a name. On an emotional level, many blacks will hear Hillary's remark as follows: "I say Republicans run the House like a plantation because I am speaking to Negroes--the wretched of the earth, a slave people--who will surely know all about plantations." Is this a tin ear or a Freudian slip, blacks will wonder? Does she really see us as she projects us--as a people so backward that our support can be won with a simple plantation reference, and the implication that Republicans are racist? Quite possibly so, since no apology has been forthcoming.

If Newt Gingrich also once used the plantation metaphor in reference to Congress, his goal was only an innocuous one: to be descriptive, not to pander. He was speaking to a reporter, not to a black audience, and he had the good taste to cast himself as a slave who would "lead the slave rebellion." Thus, he identified with the black struggle for freedom, not with the helplessness and humiliation of the plantation slave. If the plantation metaphor will always be inaccurate and hyperbolic where Congress is concerned, at least Mr. Gingrich's use of it carried no offense.

And even Mrs. Clinton's "offense" would have amounted to very little had it come from nothing more than an awkward metaphor. But, in fact, it came from a corruption in post-'60s liberalism and Democratic politics that profoundly insults blacks. Mrs. Clinton came to Al Sharpton's MLK celebration looking for an easy harvest of black votes. And she knew the drill--white liberals and Dems whistle for the black vote by pandering to the black sense of grievance. Once positioned as the white champions of this grievance, they actually turn black resentment into white liberal power. Today, Democrats cannot be competitive without this alchemy. So Mrs. Clinton's real insult to blacks--one far uglier than her plantation metaphor--is to value them only for their sense of grievance.

Mrs. Clinton's husband was a master of this alchemy, and his presidency also illustrated its greatest advantage. Once black grievance is morphed into liberal power, it need never be honored. President Clinton notoriously felt black pain, won the black vote, and then rewarded blacks with the cold shower of welfare reform. And here, now, is Mrs. Clinton sidling up to the trough of black grievance, eyes wide in expectation, but also a tad contemptuous. It is hard to fully respect one's suckers.

A great achievement of modern liberalism--and a primary reason for its surviving decades past the credibility of its ideas--is that it captured black resentment as an exclusive source of power. It even gave this resentment a Democratic Party affiliation. (Antiwar sentiment is the other great source of liberal power, but it is not the steady provider that black and minority resentment has been.) Republicans have often envied this power, but have never competed well for it because it can be accessed only by pandering to the socialistic longings of minority leaders--vast government spending, social programs, higher taxes and so on. Republicans and conservatives have simply never had an easy or glib mechanism for addressing profound social grievances.

But this Republican "weakness" has now begun to emerge as a great--if still largely potential--Republican advantage. Precisely because Republicans cannot easily pander to black grievance, they have no need to value blacks only for their sense of grievance. Unlike Democrats, they can celebrate what is positive and constructive in minority life without losing power. The dilemma for Democrats, liberals and the civil rights establishment is that they become redundant and lose power the instant blacks move beyond grievance and begin to succeed by dint of their own hard work. So they persecute such blacks, attack their credibility as blacks, just as they pander to blacks who define their political relationship to America through grievance. Republicans are generally freer of the political bigotry by which the left either panders to or persecutes black Americans.

No one on the current political scene better embodies this Republican advantage than the current secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice. The archetype that Ms. Rice represents is "overcoming" rather than grievance. Despite a childhood in the segregated South that might entitle her to a grievance identity, she has clearly chosen that older black American tradition in which blacks neither deny injustice nor allow themselves to be defined by it. This tradition, as Ralph Ellison once put it, "springs not from a desire to deny the harshness of existence but from a will to deal with it as men at their best have always done." And, because Ms. Rice is grounded in this tradition, she is of absolutely no value to modern liberalism or the Democratic Party despite her many talents and achievements. Quite the reverse, she is their worst nightmare. If blacks were to take her example and embrace overcoming rather than grievance, the wound to liberalism would be mortal. It is impossible to imagine Hillary Clinton's "plantation" pandering in a room full of Condi Rices.

This is why so many Republicans (including Laura Bush) now salivate at the thought of a Rice presidential bid. No other potential Republican candidate could--to borrow an old Marxist phrase--better "heighten the contradictions" of modern liberalism and Democratic power than Ms. Rice. The more ugly her persecution by the civil rights establishment and the left, the more she would give liberalism the look of communism in its last days--an ideology long since hollowed of its idealism and left with nothing save its meanness and repressiveness. Who can say what Ms. Rice will do. But history is calling her, or someone like her. She is the object of a deep longing in America for race to be finally handled, not by political idealisms, but by the classic principles of freedom and fairness.

Idealisms quickly descend into evil because they are so easily seized as a means to ordinary power. The politics of black uplift was once an idealism, but today it has become the work of hacks, tired apparatchiks and petty demagogues looking for power. And there, on TV last week, as if to illustrate this truth, was the specter of Mrs. Clinton and Al Sharpton embracing at the podium, mere captives of power making the tired charge--via an encrusted plantation metaphor--that Republicans are racists. What exhaustion! And what evil, to labor so hard at keeping blacks mired in grievance. Kind of reminds one of a plantation, though here the harvest is surely grievance rather than cotton.

Mr. Steele, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, is the author of "White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era," forthcoming from HarperCollins.

Read more!

posted by David at 9:24 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (0) ::

Boortz On The Ford Cut Backs

Neal's Nuze

Now ... what could have saved these jobs and plants? Better management? Sure! It also would have helped if the UAW members had actually remembered that they worked for Ford and not for their union. It also would have helped a great deal if Ford had been more competitive in the global market .. a competitive edge that our tax system would not allow.

Neal dives into the annoucement by Ford of a major layoff and plant closing in the US. As you can read above he names 3 causes to the closure.

You can read the whole article in the extended section.


The news from Ford Motor Company's CEO hit hard across the country yesterday. Ford is going to cut from 25,000 to 30,000 jobs and will close 14 Ford plants over the next six years. The plant in Atlanta is one of those that will close. This is going to hurt a lot of people. That's sad. It's also sad that this could have been prevented.

Blame can be spread, though not equally shared, to Ford management, the workers and the federal government. No doubt management made mistakes in design, innovation and marketing. The workers made mistakes because they forgot who was actually providing them with paychecks, and the federal government takes a huge share of the blame for our punishing corporate tax code.

Let's talk unions for a moment. I saw some clips on TV this morning from plant workers who were understandably upset over losing their jobs. One woman was saying that Ford gave her everything she had. It wasn't a gift, she worked for it. Another woman was saying that McDonalds just can't absorb all these workers. How's that for ignorance? She actually thinks that those are the choices? Build cars for Ford or flip burgers? There's a woman whose knowledge of the job market is practically nonexistent. The fact is, however, that the United Auto Workers have played a huge role in making Ford and other American auto manufacturers non-competitive in the worldwide automobile market.

Have you been around a major union auto plant lately? Look at the bumper stickers on the cars. You'll see many more bumper stickers that say "UAW" than you will that say "Ford." Watch the workers as they arrive or leave on a chilly day. They're wearing UAW jackets, not Ford or Chevy jackets. Many of these people have far more loyalty to their union than they do to the company that is actually writing their paychecks. The financial burden that has been on these automakers by inflated union contracts has been crippling. Many years ago the UAW developed a game plan for bleeding the automakers dry. They would pick one of the big-three, either Ford, Chrysler or General Motors. They would then hit the target automaker with a demand for huge pay and benefit increases. That automaker would balk, and the UAW would go out on strike. Finally, after huge loses, the automaker would cave. A new contract would be signed, and the unions would then force that contract on the other automakers. Over the years these contracts created a burden on the automakers that could not be sustained. In some cases these automakers can't even lay off employees without having to continue their paychecks years into the future.

Now .. the government. Do not for one moment discount the effect our onerous tax code has on companies like Ford The United States has perhaps the most crushing tax burden of any major player in the industrialized world. Our politicians, eager for money to spend on vote-buying programs, long ago figured out that they could hide the tax burden of the American working man and woman behind the illusion of corporate taxes. These politicians would play on the economic ignorance of the American people -- an ignorance fostered by our system of government education -- by pretending to shift a good portion of the tax burden from the people to those evil, greedy corporations. Some Americans are waking up to this ruse. More Americans have now learned that these corporations don't actually pay taxes, they merely collect the taxes from their customers, their shareholders and their employees and pass them off to the government.

Several years ago Chrysler Corporation merged with Daimler Benz. After the merger was announced the bean counters and lawyers started to work out the details. One detail would be just where the new corporation would be headquartered. A study was conducted comparing the tax consequences of being a U.S. corporation vs. being a German corporation. Germany won. The new corporation would save a huge amount of tax money being headquartered in Germany vs. the U.S., so it became Daimler-Chrysler.

Now ... what could have saved these jobs and plants? Better management? Sure! It also would have helped if the UAW members had actually remembered that they worked for Ford and not for their union. It also would have helped a great deal if Ford had been more competitive in the global market .. a competitive edge that our tax system would not allow.

This, of course, brings us to the FairTax. What if Ford Motor company could operate in the United States with no tax component whatsoever on capital or labor? What if every company operating in this country could operate free of tax consequences? It's not difficult to figure out what would happen. America would become the world's number one tax haven for businesses. A "To Let" sign would soon be posted on the Daimler-Chrysler headquarters in Germany, and 30,000 Ford employees wouldn't be wondering about their future.

Sadly, though, political power is more important than economic health. You've heard me say it before, but it's a central point you need to remember: The FairTax would be the biggest transfer of power from government to the people since our Republic was formed. Politicians won't go willingly to the FairTax .. they'll have to be pushed. They have to be threatened with a loss of their jobs. That's the only way they'll listen, and you're the only one who can deliver the message.

Read more!

posted by David at 9:08 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (2) ::

Another Book By Gore On Global Warming


Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore's second book about global warming will be published in April with the title "An Inconvenient Truth," his publisher Rodale Books said on Tuesday.

Gore, the Democrat who lost to George W. Bush in the disputed 2000 presidential election, has been a long-standing campaigner on environmental issues.

The book is tied to a documentary of the same title about Gore's environmental campaigning which was shown at the Sundance Film Festival on Tuesday. It follows up on Gore's successful 1992 book "Earth in The Balance."

I never bought into global warming. There is just too much conflicting information on the subject. Even some of the "expects" that claim it is a true event can't deny the evidence that shows that it is a non-event. I haven't read Gore's first book and don't forsee me reading this one or watching the film.

Many scientists say global warming is melting glaciers, raising sea levels and will cause more intense storms, droughts and floods. Current levels of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere are higher now than at any time in the past 650,000 years, research from Antarctic ice cores shows

I wonder why there is so much carbon dioxide in the air. It couldn't have anything to do with the world's population boom could it?

However some have questioned whether climate change is the result of human activity and the United States has refused to sign the Kyoto protocol on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, claiming its mandatory cuts would threaten economic growth.

"In the film, Mr. Gore guides audiences through indisputable evidence of the environmental impact of global warming," Rodale said in a statement.

"In the book, the former U.S. Vice President writes about global warming and shares his personal story about how the issue became of urgent importance to him."

Gore served two terms as vice president under President Bill Clinton before losing to Bush in the 2000 election despite winning the popular vote.

Kyoto is a joke. The whole point is to weaken the US.

In related news:

Click on Detroit - Snowstorm Closes Hawaii Volcano To Tourists

BREITBART.com - Deadly freeze claims more lives in Eastern Europe

Read more!

posted by David at 6:31 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (1) ::

Pork Busting

I support the Fiscal Watch Team Offset Package

Read more!

posted by David at 6:22 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (6) ::

Here's Your Map To 'Illegally' Get Into The US


Mexico's human rights agency says it will give out detailed maps of the Arizona desert, including rescue beacons and water stations, to guide migrants safely through the most popular and deadliest corridor into the United States.

The maps were designed by a Tucson-based group, Humane Borders, which plans to hold a joint press conference today with the National Human Rights Commission in Mexico City to announce its strategy.

The maps are the latest effort by activists to aid undocumented immigrants as they trek across the border,

What a bunch of crap. If they came in the front door -legally- they wouldn't need a map with the rest stops marked. If someone wants to break the law then whatever happens to them is on them. Once they get here then what? "Activists" will then want the government to give these people money for food, free health care, education, so on and so forth. I have no problem with legal immigration. I know Mexicians that have set businesses in the area that do quite well. They are a boon for the local economy -I really love San Jose's shrimp casadia-. But illegal immigration is a drain on the local econmy and on the taxpayer's wallet. If you know me then you knew this was coming: The FairTax would help remove this drain on the taxpayer. When they buy food and clothes they would end up paying the same consumption tax to the federal government that you and I do. And if we could get NC to go with either no income taxes or a consumption tax they would end up paying NC the same as us also. Sounds 'fair' to me.

You can read the whole story in the extended section.

Activists to provide migrants Ariz. maps
Safe routes, stations for water included

Chris Hawley
Republic Mexico City Bureau
Jan. 24, 2006 12:00 AM

MEXICO CITY - Mexico's human rights agency says it will give out detailed maps of the Arizona desert, including rescue beacons and water stations, to guide migrants safely through the most popular and deadliest corridor into the United States.

The maps were designed by a Tucson-based group, Humane Borders, which plans to hold a joint press conference today with the National Human Rights Commission in Mexico City to announce its strategy.

The maps are the latest effort by activists to aid undocumented immigrants as they trek across the border, helping to fuel a raging debate over illegal immigration in Arizona and other parts of the United States.

Two rights commission officials confirmed the quasi-governmental agency had agreed to print and distribute the maps through its state offices to reach Mexican migrants before they ever leave their hometowns. It has not decided how many copies to print or how much it will spend on the project, the officials told The Republic.

They spoke on condition of anonymity pending the official announcement today. Officials in President Vicente Fox's office said Monday that they were unaware of the project and had no immediate comment. The Mexican Foreign Ministry said it would not be involved in distributing the maps.

The plan's proponents say they are trying to prevent deaths, and they deny the maps encourage people to cross.

"This is good information, and it will save lives," said Rev. Robin Hoover, president of Humane Borders.

But border-control advocates say they fear the maps could embolden people to make the trek.

"I'm afraid that maps and water jugs do nothing but give illegal crossers false hope," Arizona Rep. J.D. Hayworth, a Republican, said in a written statement. "Either we convince potential crossers not to make the journey or, failing that, we stop them from crossing the border."

Last year, the Mexican government outraged border-control activists in the United States by publishing a comic book containing safety tips for illegal immigrants. Soon afterward, the southeastern state of Yucatán published its own guide containing detailed information on routes through the desert.

Arizona has become the most traveled corridor for Mexicans trying to enter the United States illegally. Border Patrol agents in Arizona caught more than 577,000 undocumented migrants, most of them Mexicans, during the 2005 fiscal year. At least 279 immigrants attempting to cross the desert died during that time.

Humane Borders has produced maps for each of the four main corridors through Arizona: Douglas, Lukeville, Sasabe and Nogales.

The maps show mountains, roads, railroads and cities. Blue flags show where migrant-aid groups have left water tanks in the desert. Blue stars indicate Border Patrol rescue beacons where migrants can push a button to summon help.

Black lines show how far a migrant can expect to get walking one, two or three days.

The maps use red dots to show where migrants have died during the past four years. Humane Borders used data from the Border Patrol, medical examiners and other agencies to pinpoint each death.

At the top of each map, a bar graph shows the number of deaths during each month of the year. At the bottom are several tips including:

"Go with people you know and trust."

"Don't cross the desert between May and August, because the temperatures are very high."

"Bring enough water and food."

"Know your route well and the distance well before starting."

"Look for tanks of water in the desert that are marked with blue flags."

Large letters say "Don't go! There's not enough water! It's not worth it!"

Future versions of the maps will include circles showing cellular telephone coverage, Hoover said.

In May, Humane Borders distributed a few maps in Sasabe, Sonora, just over the border in Mexico. But the group decided it needed to get the information farther south, to discourage potential migrants before they even leave their hometowns, Hoover said.

The Human Rights Commission pledged its support in December. The agency is technically independent of the Mexican government, but it is funded by Mexican taxpayers and operates under a government charter.

The effort is supported by Pima County, partly as an attempt to help alleviate the expense of dealing with hundreds of corpses found in the desert, said Enrique Serna, a deputy county administrator who accompanied Hoover to Mexico.

Pima County encompasses Tucson and some 115 miles of the Arizona-Mexico border.

Arizona Rep. Jim Kolbe, a Republican, said he supports the maps as a way of saving lives. But the best way of keeping migrants from dying in the desert is by helping Mexico create jobs and reforming U.S. laws to better manage migration, he said.

"It's hard to disagree with giving information to your citizens to save their lives," Kolbe said. "Ideally, what I would prefer is that they hand out flyers saying {grave}You don't have to cross the desert because there are jobs in Mexico, and here is some job information.' But that isn't going to happen, because there aren't jobs in Mexico."

Critics of the maps said they don't do enough to emphasize the dangers, or the illegality, of crossing the border.

"If you want to tell people, {grave}Don't go,' then that's an entirely different handout. You don't give people a map," said Rick Oltman, western field director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

Read more!

posted by David at 5:29 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (3) ::

Monday, January 23, 2006

'Strickland to seek seat as commissioner'

The News Reporter

Howell Strickland, the fighting farmer from Fair Bluff who has taken an eminent domain case against Progress Energy to the state Supreme Court, announced last week that he would run for the Columbus County Board of Commissioners.

Strickland would run in the Democratic primary for the District 6 seat currently held by Kip Godwin. Godwin has not committed to running for another term.

“I want to see if I can make a difference and help the people in this county,” Strickland said. “I speak what’s on my mind. I might be outspoken a bit but at least people know where I stand.”

Strickland said his fight against Progress Energy, which wants to build a 230-kilovolt power line across his 250-year-old family farm, gave him some motivation to run.

“I found out the little man’s voice is not even heard,” he said. “Everyone in this county deserves to be heard – people on fixed income, people who work for minimum wage. I know how difficult it is for them to maintain a standard of living and they have no time for politics. I want to do what the majority of the people want – not just what a few want.”

Strickland is the son of Pittman and Ruth Strickland, who owned Strickland’s Tire Service for 32 years, selling tires to farmers across what is now county commission District 6. Phillip Strickland, his older brother, died two years ago.

A 1967 graduate of West Columbus High School, Howell Strickland runs the family farm off Hinson’s Crossroads near the South Carolina state line. He attends Spring Branch Baptist Church in South Carolina, which is just one mile from his house.

“I have always worked two jobs,” Strickland said,” growing tobacco, corn and sweet potatoes in the summer and working construction in the winter.

He started working construction in 1983. At first he was a subcontractor working for others and then he obtained a contractor’s license and went into business as a primary contractor.

He has put in water and sewer lines, among many other types of work, in North Carolina and South Carolina. He won a contract once in Key West, Fla.

“I’ve been lucky enough to make a living off of farming and construction and pay all my bills and debts,” he said. “I never filed any type of bankruptcy. As everyone in Columbus County knows, if you’re farming, you have to live within a budget. I would like to see the board of commissioners live within a budget. There’re a lot of times I couldn’t buy a piece of equipment because I didn’t have the money. I had to wait till next year. The county needs to take the same approach.”

Strickland is dissatisfied with the current performance of county government, which he blames for the high tax burden on residents.

He lives in Water District 2 and pays water taxes but would likely never have access to county water. He can see the South Carolina state line sign from Hinson’s Crossroads in front of his house.

“I think we should have worked for grant funding for the entire project and not just put the burden on taxpayers,” he said. “I’ve been putting in water and sewer lines for years,” he said. “A lot of times a county was building the system in phases and they might wait three years before another grant came along. That made sense because people didn’t have to pay so much through property taxes. Otherwise, it’s like buying a piece of equipment with no down payment.”

On economic development, Strickland sees the county’s proximity to the Grand Strand as a way of attracting business and industry to replace the jobs that have been lost in recent years.

“Our factories and plants have pretty much left the county,” he said. “That makes it hard for people to pay their taxes and afford the high cost of medicine. Columbus County is close enough to the beach that we can draw a lot into this county but it’s not going to come to us. I’ve never had anything fall in my lap. You have to work hard at it.”

Strickland supports the movement for electing county commissioners countywide instead of by district.

“I think county commissioners should be held accountable to everyone for their actions,” he said. “The best way to do that is with countywide elections.”

Strickland is realistic about the impact he would have on the county’s economy and political troubles.

“I know I can’t fix everything,” he said. “I’m not promising I can fix everything but I can make it better, considering the damage that’s been done by our county government.”

Here is a link to the May 2004 article in the News Reporter explaining Mr. Strickland's trouble with Progress Energy.

Read more!

posted by David at 5:24 PM :: Permalink :: Comments (3) ::