Friday, February 27, 2009

Colerain's Famous Seagull Cafe
Spring Season Starts

Season opens this week!

The Seagull Cafe hours of operation are (as is traditional) from 11:00 AM until 2:00 PM. The Seagull is open on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Perry-Wynns Fish Company, Inc.

Here is the staff getting ready for a great new season of fish lunches.

Last year the crowd was standing room only within minutes of the doors opening.

The Seagull always specializes in Fresh Herring and Roe when available. They also have Salt Herring, Trout Fillets, plus North Carolina Oysters and Shrimp.

Fresh Herring Plate

My Personal Favorite Dishes, Oysters (Top Plate) and Shrimp (Bottom Plate)

The Seagull Cafe is the favorite place for farmers and workers in the area, as it has been for many years. It is famous, and there are a couple of rich developers who always fly in on their helicopters to eat every season. Now THAT is an endorsement, when someone flys in from Virginia to eat at a place this far off the beaten trail. The Chowan River is a beautiful place for this tremendous cafe.

Barry Knight's Transportation For His Regular Visits
To The Seagull Cafe In Colerain

The view from the Seagull always shows the Chowan River at its best. The small Cafe is located by the river near the end of River Road, close to the Colerain Beach Club.

Map to the Seagull Cafe in Colerain

Don't miss this unique dining experience!

The Seagull Cafe is affiliated with Perry-Wynns Fish Company, Inc.

A Conservative Viewpoint
- Obama Uses Crisis
For Liberal Agenda

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

Last week President Barack Obama spoke to a joint session of Congress and a prime-time television audience to make a case for his economic stimulus plan. While early, there remains a great deal of skepticism among individual and corporate investors whether this plan will stimulate anything more than our national debt and a liberal agenda.

“Now is the time to act boldly and wisely- to not only revive the economy, but to build a new foundation for lasting prosperity,” Obama said. He added that he will lead the nation from a dire “day of reckoning” to better economic times.

Obama claims he inherited this predicament from his predecessor. Some of it perhaps; but most economists believe the root cause of our economic crisis centers around banks and their liberal mortgage lending practices of the last 15 plus years.

In 1999, Steven Holmes of the New York Times wrote a revealing column that sheds light on our government’s mindset about granting mortgage loans. In the very first sentence Holmes states, “In a move that could help increase home ownership among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.”

Holmes quotes then Fannie Mae chairman, CEO, and President Bill Clinton appointee Franklin Raines: “Borrowers whose credit is just a notch below what our underwriting has required, have been relegated to paying higher mortgage rates in the so-called sub-prime market.” Making home ownership available to more individuals is a noble idea. The criterion for granting these loans however, was fiscally irresponsible, contributing greatly to our current recession and financial morass.

In April `01, President George Bush first sounded the alarm that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may not be effectively regulated. In `03, he said the housing problem could become systemic resulting in the failure of our entire economic structure. Later that year he proposed a new federal agency to regulate and supervise Fannie and Freddie. Led by ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee Barney Frank, D-Mass., the initiative was blocked. Frank declared, “We’ve got to stop the sky is falling mentality.” He said them there is “no crisis,” and that we should be encouraging Freddie and Fannie to be doing even more to try and make home ownership accessible to everyone.

In `05, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warned that our nation’s financial system is at “substantial” risk. His claims were rebuffed by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY., who said, “The agencies and their leadership are doing a great job.”

In`06, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., along with Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., and former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-NC, introduced the Federal Housing Regulator Reform Act which would have provided further oversight to Fannie and Freddie. It would have established risk base capital tests, additional enforcement actions and penalties, improved reporting procedures and the elimination or modifying of so-called golden parachutes. Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., chair of the Senate Banking Committee, refused to even give the proposed bill a hearing. President Obama, who was serving in the Senate then, did nothing to help get this bill to the floor either.

The Congressional Budget Office not only predicted the recession would end in late `09, but that the stimulus will hurt us in the long run. Yet the Obama administration seized upon the fear factor to try and convince Americans the situation was so dire that Congress had to act now to avoid us falling off a cliff. Ironically, it’s the Democrats who spent the last eight years chastising Republicans for being the fear mongers.

Obama and his all too compliant Democrats in Congress are spending money with reckless abandonment to enact their liberal agenda. The president’s nearly $800 billion stimulus package follows the $700 billion bank bailout plan that former Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson orchestrated last year. Team Obama will oversee $350 billion of those funds not previously allocated. We’re now talking well over a trillion dollars of spending and interest and Obama says he’s not done spending yet.

How much is $1 trillion? Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY. said, “If you started the day Jesus Christ was born and spent $1 million every day since then, you still wouldn’t have spent $1 trillion.” Using another analogy, a trillion one dollar bills stacked one on top of the other would reach more than halfway from the earth to the moon. Now consider this. Our national debt is projected to exceed $13 trillion by this September. This is absolute fiscal madness.

Columnist Phyllis Schlafly, of Town, wrote, “Under the subterfuge of helping the economy, Barack Obama’s stimulus plan legislates vast new spending programs to finance liberal policy goals that are unnecessary and undesirable. The flow of taxpayers’ money will be so gargantuan as to make Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society expansion of the welfare state look puny.” U. S. Senate files indicate LBJ’s plan cost $306 billion in inflation adjusted dollars.

With the economy hemorrhaging, this is no time for grand initiatives. Any stimulus money being spent by Washington should be used for one thing only: creating jobs. This stimulus package misses the mark. Go to to see for yourselves.

Had Congress, Democrats and Republicans, not ignored the rampant warning signs and calls for reform, it is likely we could have averted the enormity of this fiscal calamity. The fact that they did ignore them makes the timing, scope and direction of the Democrat’s so called “recovery program” even more suspect.

Today I checked my 401K and it looks more like a 104K. The Dow appears perilously close to dipping below 7000. To paraphrase an old Army Air expression: As a nation we may have already departed the slippery slope and quite possibly are entering a terminal velocity Free Fall.

The problem with Bob's analysis is that we have a huge segment of our population that is mesmerized by Barack Obama. They have bought into the concept that Republicans are evil capitalists and are unable to recognize the totalitarian lies being sold to them at this time. They will support anything Obama says and will not listen to anyone like Bob who points out the irrationality.

I wonder what would have happened if George W. Bush had not listened to Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke last year when this crisis started? If it had been Ronald Reagan, I am sure he would have resisted the panic that they predicted and that Bush accepted as the consequence of not acting. George W. Bush could not resist doing something because he believes in big government, just as Barack Obama does. He also is such an ego-maniacal man that he could not resist the idea of stopping the panic as his last great move, going out a hero. As a result Bush created the "perfect storm" for the socialist Barack Obama to use to create an economic depression from what would have been a minor recession. The fear that Bush perpetrated allows Obama to gain huge power in the process of "fixing" Bush's mess. Way to go George. You could not have done a worse job of handling this crisis.

The last time our nation was in severe economic distress was when Jimmy Carter drove our spending as a percentage of GDP above the 21% level. Since then it has been continuously falling except during the George H.W. Bush years. Barack Obama is about to make that Carter economic idiocy look almost sane. The damage to individual freedom will probably never be undone. Why would the most free and richest nation on earth abandon the economic system that made them free and rich? Are the citizens of America completely insane? It appears, unfortunately, that the answer is yes.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Inner Banks Humor - Banks

Be sure and cancel your credit cards before you die.

A lady died this past January, and Citibank billed her for February and March for their annual service charges on her credit card, and added late fees and interest on the monthly charge. The balance had been $0.00 when she died, but quickly grew to over $60.00.

A family member placed a call to Citibank. Here is the exchange:

Family Member: 'I am calling to tell you she died back in January.'
Citibank: 'The account was never closed and the late fees and charges still apply.'
Family Member: 'Maybe, you should turn it over to collections.'
Citibank: 'Since it is two months past due, it already has been.'
Family Member: So, what will they do when they find out she is dead?'
Citibank: 'Either report her account to frauds division or report her to the credit bureau, maybe both!'
Family Member: 'Do you think God will be mad at her?'
Citibank: 'Excuse me?'
Family Member: 'Did you just get what I was telling you - the part about her being dead?'
Citibank: 'Sir, you'll have to speak to my supervisor.'

Supervisor gets on the phone

Family Member: 'I'm calling to tell you, she died back in January with a $0 balance.'
Citibank: 'The account was never closed and late fees and charges still apply.'
Family Member: 'You mean you want to collect from her estate?'
Citibank: (Stammer) 'Are you .... her ... her la-lawyer?'
Family Member: 'No, I'm her great nephew.' (Lawyer info was given)
Citibank: 'Could you fax us a certificate of death?'
Family Member: 'Sure.' (Fax number was given )

After they get the fax

Citibank: 'Our system just isn't setup for death. I don't know what more I can do to help.'
Family Member: 'Well, if you figure it out, great! If not, you could just keep billing her. She won't care.'
Citibank: 'Well, the late fees and charges will still apply.'
(What is wrong with these people?!?)
Family Member: 'Would you like her new billing address?'
Citibank: 'That might help...'
Family Member: 'Odessa Memorial Cemetery , Highway 129, Plot Number 69.'
Citibank: 'Sir, that's a cemetery!'
Family Member: 'And what do you do with dead people on your planet???'

You wonder why Citi is going broke and need the feds to bail them out? This is priceless, and easy to see happening, customer service being what it is today. Thanks to an anonymous email. Keep them coming!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Inner Banks Humor - Politics

History 101
(Crash course - Simplified with Actual Material)

Humans originally existed as members of small bands of nomadic hunters/gatherers. They lived on deer in the mountains during the summer and would go to the coast and live on fish and lobster in the winter. The two most important events in all of history were the invention of beer and the invention of the wheel. The wheel was invented to get man to the beer.

These were the foundation of modern civilization and together were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity into two distinct subgroups:
1. Liberals
2. Conservatives

Once beer was discovered, it required grain and that was the beginning of agriculture. Neither the glass bottle nor aluminum can were invented yet, so while our early humans were sitting around waiting for them to be invented, they just stayed close to the brewery. That's how villages were formed.

Some men spent their days tracking and killing animals to B-B-Q at night while they were drinking beer. This was the beginning of what is known as the Conservative movement. Other men who were weaker and less skilled at hunting learned to live off the conservatives by showing up for the nightly B-B-Q's and doing the sewing, fetching, and hair dressing. This was the beginning of the Liberal movement.

Some of these liberal men eventually evolved into women. The rest became known as girlie-men. Some noteworthy liberal achievements include the domestication of cats, the invention of group therapy, group hugs, and the concept of Democratic voting to decide how to divide the meat and beer that conservatives provided.

Over the years conservatives came to be symbolized by the largest, most powerful land animal on earth, the elephant. Liberals are symbolized by the jackass.

Modern liberals like imported beer (with lime added), but most prefer white wine or imported bottled water. They eat raw fish but like their beef well done. Sushi, tofu, and French food are standard liberal fare. Another interesting evolutionary side note: most of their women have higher testosterone levels than their men.

Most social workers, personal injury attorneys, journalists, dreamers in Hollywood and group therapists are liberals. Liberals invented the designated hitter rule in baseball because it wasn't fair to make the pitcher also bat.

Conservatives drink domestic beer, mostly Bud. They eat red meat and still provide for their women. Conservatives are big-game hunters, rodeo cowboys, lumberjacks, construction workers, firemen, medical doctors, police officers, corporate executives, athletes, members of the military, airline pilots and generally anyone who works productively. Conservatives who own companies hire other conservatives who want to work for a living.

Liberals produce little or nothing. They like to govern the producers and decide what to do with the production. Liberals believe Europeans are more enlightened than Americans... that is why most of the liberals remained in Europe when the conservatives were coming to America. They crept in after the Wild West was tamed and created a business of trying to get more for nothing.

Here ends today's lesson in world history: It should be noted that a Liberal will have a momentary urge to angrily respond to the above. A Conservative will simply laugh.

Thanks to an anonymous Internet emailer - of which we thankfully have so many.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Conservative Viewpoint
- An American Nightmare

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

Americans love home ownership. Almost 70 percent of us are homeowners, a figure that has remained steady since 1960. Our homes provide more than shelter and security. They are a reflection of who we are and from where we’ve come. Family antiques, photos and other memorabilia adorn the rooms, creating an atmosphere that allows each of us to find a familiar respite from trials and tribulations.

According to the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Fact Book, married couples represent 84 percent of homeowners in America; with single families less than 25 years of age accounting for the fewest. Seventy-five percent of whites own their own homes, 60 percent of Asians and 48 percent of blacks. Black, Asian and Hispanic ownership has been steadily increasing.

Home ownership represents an average Americans biggest investment. But in the last 20 years, owner equity in those homes has fallen steadily. It is now at 50 percent. As a means of comparison: homeowners in Spain have 85 percent in equity, Ireland and Norway, 77 percent and the United Kingdom near 70 percent.

During the recent stimulus “negotiations” Republicans were exploring other measures to jump start the economy than some of those finally adopted by the Democrats. Some argue Republicans have no credibility on deficit spending after the Bush years. While criticism is justified, bi-partisanship should not be rendered impotent. With the exception of Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, little consideration was ever given to ideas from Republicans in Congress on how to stimulate our flailing economy.

The stimulus bill that passed includes mortgage help for troubled homeowners. President Obama announced last Wednesday a $275 billion taxpayer- backed plan that would help an estimated nine million Americans refinance their mortgage payments or otherwise avoid foreclosure.

Many Republicans in Congress felt that if mortgage relief had to be given it should be given to all homeowners with mortgages. They proposed lowering all mortgage rates to four percent. According to a telephone survey conducted last week by Rasmussen, 51 percent of Americans agree with this approach, while 45 percent oppose any federal mortgage subsidy.

If Congress had adopted the Republican plan, the additional money that would have been saved in monthly mortgage payments by reducing existing mortgage rates from an average of six percent to four percent would have been significant. On a $200,000 mortgage, discretionary spendable income would increase by $3000 per year, or $250 per month. On a $100,000 mortgage, the savings would be $1340 per year. In addition, the National Association of Realtors state that for every percentage rate drop in interest, between 350 and 400,000 additional home sales are generated.

NAR estimates there are 75.1 million owner occupied homes in the U. S. Forty nine million of those homes have mortgages. Imagine the immediate impact to America’s economy if all home mortgages had been reduced to four percent? Almost 50 million homeowners would have had additional money to spend every month ongoing, as opposed to the Obama plan that will bring relief to nine million homeowners.

But the Obama plan can still have some positive effect on the troubled housing market. It should help to stem foreclosures that would have further increased an already hefty national housing inventory, thus helping to stabilize housing prices.

With all the money being doled out of Washington these days, some folks are angry. I received a call from a reader last week upset about the housing segment of Obama’s stimulus package. She said that she had acted financially responsible over the years and now “selfishly” feels that others are being rewarded for their lack of fiscal discipline, and worse- she and other responsible taxpayers are furnishing the reward money.

She went on to say that when she purchases stock and loses money, it’s her loss and she alone must bear it. She sold her condominium in Florida last year when she chose to relocate to North Carolina. “I took a terrific loss,” she said. “But it was my decision. I don’t expect anyone else to pay for my mistakes or lack of good judgment. I probably shouldn’t have bought in Florida in the first place.”

Shouldn’t have bought it in the first place? How many of us can say that about a recent first or second home purchase or even taking on and then using a significant equity line of credit? Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Federal Home Loan Banks have funded or guaranteed $6.5 trillion in home loans. While home ownership and building up equity is admirable and a fundamental component to a thriving economy, bad loans aren’t. And these folks made plenty of them.

When little or no money is required for down payments; when allowing unemployment and welfare benefits to count as income to qualify for a loan; and when providing “teaser” adjustable rate mortgages to make borrowers believe they can afford more home than they actually can, sooner or later, bad things are going to happen. The relaxed borrowing standards “encouraged” by Washington, coupled with greedy and opportunistic bankers and investors preying on uninformed, naïve or equally opportunistic buyers, has our fiscal ship of state floundering.

In the past, Americans wanting to own a home worked hard and saved their money to make that down payment. They “earned” the right to qualify for their part of the American dream. But in America today, hard work and savings has taken a back seat to instant gratification, greed and government handouts. This mindset is economically unsustainable and is part and parcel why the American dream of home ownership is turning into an American nightmare.

The problem I have with either the Obama scam or the Republican counter proposal described by Bob, is that the crisis is an artificial crisis. Each time there is another delay in resolving the backlog of homes in the heavily damaged foreclosure states (which only include five states – see here) the entire banking industry continues to wait for the bailout and delays making any loan decisions. As a result, no loans are being made because no one has the ability to predict what the outcome will be.

It is interesting how libertarians are more hostile to Wall Street than conservatives, yet more willing to trust the free enterprise system than those supposedly capitalistic denizens of our investment banking centers. The bailout was a mistake for more serious reasons than Bob describes. America has lost confidence in free enterprise and personal initiative.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Inner Banks Humor - Politics

"A Liberal is a person who will give away everything they don't own."

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Conservative Viewpoint
- Stimulus Minus Tough Decisions

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

Chowan County knows a thing or two about dealing with a financial crisis. Last June, the incoming county manager discovered cash reserves had been nearly depleted and revenue estimates for the coming fiscal year were vastly overstated. He would later discover that $20 million dollars which had been set aside as a nest-egg earning interest, had also evaporated. It appears this money was used to help Chowan live beyond its means.

Many citizens have an increased interest in county government and are now attending board of commissioner meetings. The new board faces daunting challenges as it struggles to get Chowan’s fiscal house in order. Commissioners, unlike our elected officials in the nation’s capital, don’t have the luxury of printing more money to meet their obligations. With limited options, the commissioners must balance the county budget. They can sell assets, reduce spending and raise taxes and fees. They can cut services that, while not essential, people have come to expect. Just like ordinary citizens, when there’s more month than money, you tighten the belt.

The federal and state governments, and many of their local counterparts across the country, also have been living beyond their means. In Raleigh, lawmakers are looking at a possible $2 billion dollar revenue shortfall by the end of this fiscal year. The Carolina Journal reported last week that there is a gaping hole in the N. C. State Employee Health Plan that will require a combination of increased taxpayer and employer contributions totaling $1.2 billion over the next two fiscal years. That will only finance current levels of benefits.

North Carolina, along with other states, anticipates receiving federal money from a finalized stimulus bill. It’s hoped this tax money will, temporarily at least, stop the bleeding of red ink.

A friend last week, mentioned that in many small, rural and poor communities, financial grants are a God-send. Grants can come from either the private sector or from the government. Private grants originate from philanthropic foundations or trusts, while government “grants” are nothing more than our tax dollars spent at the largesse of our elected officials.

While my friend praised grant money, he bemoaned the size of the proposed federal stimulus and government spending in general. Our conversation centered on the town of Edenton trying to acquire land for a new park. The acquisition would be funded by two state grants. “If we don’t take this grant money (tax dollars),” he said, “some other county or community will get it.” It doesn’t matter whether we need another park here or not. It’s simply, if we don’t take the money, someone else will.

Government has become too big and no longer works efficiently. Many expect government to do it all. Advocates for this kind of thinking are often selfish, self-centered and unwilling to take the personal responsibility needed to do the hard work and creative thinking necessary to find workable, efficient and fair solutions in problem solving. We want what we want and we want it now! Cost and who will end up paying in the end is too often a secondary thought, or worse, given no consideration at all. Consequently we can’t just blame this fiscal nightmare on Wall Street, Raleigh and Washington’s greed. The person in the mirror looking back at many of us is equally to blame.

This financial crisis has been a long time in the making and is not, as some would like to believe, a paradoxical set of circumstances that suddenly took hold in the last two years of the Bush administration. The bankruptcy of Enron in 2001 perhaps was the first visible warning sign.

Sin-ming Shaw, a former visiting scholar at Princeton University, points to Enron’s fraudulent accounting being “certified” by the accounting firm Arthur Andersen. Price-Waterhouse-Cooper was “unable” to discover billions missing from India’s Satyam Computer Services during its audit, he said. It seems trust and competence is in short supply everywhere.

The Rasmussen polling firm last week found that 58 percent of voters don’t believe most senators voting on the $838-billion stimulus plan, know what’s in it. They also found 59 percent of American adults believe that when members of Congress meet with regulators and other government officials, they do so to help their friends and hurt their political opponents. This is the real crisis - a crisis of confidence in government.

Sen. Byron Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat, said on the Senate floor last week, “We’ve seen more money go out the backdoor of this government than anytime in its history.”

The Senate’s $838 billion stimulus bill passed last week had the support of only three Republicans. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R- Ky., said, “President Obama was right to call for a stimulus, but this bill misses the mark.” He continued, “Most of my party colleagues doubted this plan would work.”

The Senate and the House have reached a bicameral deal that will increase our nation’s indebtedness by an additional $789.5 billion. Will this be the magic tonic our country needs to regain its financial strength? Or is this potion nothing more than a placebo, a mental fix that will induce a short- lived high, followed by another bout of depression.

Maybe we’ll soon come to realize that there are neither easy answers nor quick fixes when it comes to digging out of a financial crisis. Most Chowan County residents and their elected commissioners already understand that. It’s only a matter of time until the rest of the folks begin to understand it too.

There is little doubt that the greed based form of government called socialism has taken over our nation. Socialism often starts out benevolent but its history is an infallible movement to tyranny. Simply look at the history of Germany with is National-Socialists, Russia with its Marxists and China with it's People's Republic. They are among a huge number of socialist nations which have evolved to tyranny at a pace unmatched by almost any other form of government. They also are three governments with an unmatched record of killing their own citizens as the ultimate example of tyranny.

This 'Stimulus' in Obama's Marxist Agenda is the first step for America in that same evolution.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Civil War Living History

The Museum of the Albemarle had a special event Saturday called, Remember the Battle of Elizabeth City. A part of Civil War Living History Day, it included a number of civil war re-enactors representing both the Confederate and Union Forces.

The main booth in the lobby was staffed by some very knowledgeable experts on Civil War munitions, these included (from the right) Walter White, Mark Miller, Bob Campbell and Jim Mayo.

Some of their examples of Civil War Munitions are shown below.

Outside, there were emcampments for both Confederate Troops (below) and Union Troops (second picture below)

In addition there was an exhibit showing how bullets and munitions were made between battles.

It was an excellent and fascinating exhibit of a time in our history that still fascinates many in our nation.

The Museum of the Albemarle is a great place to spend a day learning about our area. Their regular exhibits are as spectacular as this one day historical event.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

A Conservative Viewpoint
- Job Bill A Fraud

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

Many Americans are frustrated with the $819 billion stimulus bill the U.S. House of Representatives recently sent to the Senate. Any effort to produce significant job growth for the long haul deserves serious consideration from our representatives in Washington.

But many of us back home are beginning to recognize that this bill is nothing more than a typical Congressional rip-off, laden with pork and other special interest giveaways. In fact, not one single Republican voted for it. In addition 11 conservative Democrats joined them in opposition in an attempt to stop what amounts to nothing more than a job stimulus fraud.

Last week a Rasmussen poll found public support for Congress’ economic recovery plan slipping. Opposition has increased from 34 percent two weeks ago to 43 percent. It appears the Republican resistance has merit and is gaining traction. Democratic support for the bill is down 10 percent, with 50 percent of the unaffiliated voters and 72 percent of Republicans opposed.

The poll also found a majority of voters believe tax cuts would jump start the economy. They believe a dollar of tax cuts is better than a dollar of government spending.

The Labor Department reported that the U. S. unemployment rate through January has climbed to a 16 year high of 7.6 percent, with more pink slips on the way. But the plan Democrats passed in the House will do little to create the jobs necessary to jolt the economy.

Consider some of the items in this bill that we and our heirs will be paying for, at least for the next 50 years and probably well beyond. And how many meaningful jobs- the stated intent of the stimulus- will be created from expenditures like the following:

1) $50 million to the Endowment for the Arts

2) $70 million for a program to get folks to quit smoking

3) $850 million to Amtrak, which has been bleeding red ink for decades

4) $650 million in coupons to help citizens cover the minimal cost to convert to digital TV

5) $100 billion in refunds going to people who don’t pay taxes

6) $600 million to establish a Heritage Train in Mississippi

Add to that money to purchase 100,000 door bells, disbursements for a dog park, the purchase of hybrid cars for government agencies and installing solar panels costing millions in Puerto Rico. Congress is, once again, trying to deceive us.

Barrack Obama is heavily vested in the success of this stimulus. If it fails, so too, could his presidency. He has said as much. One of the problems Obama has, according to New York Times columnist David Brooks, is that he is trying to jam his entire domestic agenda into one bill.

There appears to be a fissure erupting between the White House, the moderate Democrats, and the liberal leadership in the House. In a recent radio interview, Conservative Democrat Congressman Jim Cooper of Tennessee said that the administration urged him to vote no on the stimulus bill. “[The administration] knows it’s a messy bill and they wanted a clean bill. I got in terrible trouble with our leadership because they don’t care what’s in the bill. They just want it passed and they want it to be unanimous.”

Sen. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) feels that the bad House bill will only get worse in the Senate. And with Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) leading the way, there can be little doubt Pence is right. It appears the Senate version will grow the bill to $920 billion, or $1.5 trillion with interest.

Republicans and moderate Democrats feel that the proven tax relief for families and businesses would better serve the American people, not this congressional grab-bag giveaway that is being masqueraded as economic stimulus.

Obama needs to show leadership. He campaigned on promising to reduce pork barrel spending. So now he needs to get House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca), Sen. Reid and other members of his Party in line behind him. They need to be told that neither he nor the American people will tolerate giveaways.

Obama should insist that Congress do three things in finalizing a stimulus bill:

1) Concentrate entirely on creating real jobs with meaningful tax incentives

2) Cut out all pork barrel spending

3) Reduce tax rates for businesses and extend tax cuts for individuals

The stimulus bill being put together now is a catastrophe. The American people are demanding Congress do better. If they don’t, the Democrat’s current reign in Washington could be short lived.

President Obama has an opportunity to become one of our better presidents. The campaigning is over. He’s told us throughout he can lead. Well there’s no better time to start proving it than now.

As bad as Bob makes this bill sound, I am more concerned because of the disastrous long term consequences. It is not just the money is wasted and will not stimulate the economy. Much of this bill establishes new government programs that, as we all know, will never be ended. Our children and grandchildren are being loaded down with an expansion of government more egregious than any expansion since the 30s or the 60s. These were the last two periods of socialist utopian expansion here in America, one presided over by FDR and one presided over by the trilogy of Johnson-Nixon-Carter. How ironic that the struggling economy caused by these earlier expansions is the excuse the socialists use to expand government even more!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Wired Village

by Lars Kongshem - Septermber 1997 - Electronic School

"The network lets people feel less isolated; it doesn't replace face-to-face communications, it supplements it. The real value of the network, I think, is that we can all tell our own story. We can get our voices back."

The Inner Banks region needs to catch up with the rest of the world in its use of computer and network technology to advance communications. This eleven year old article describes a communication world that we have not yet attained in this area.

Wireless 3G WAN Service
For Eastern NC

While doing some research on 3G Wireless for our area I ran across this map showing total 3G coverage nationwide. If you want a reality check on how fast 3G is rolling out, just take a look. In Eastern North Carolina, Raleigh is the closest location where 3G is available with any reliability.

What is frequently called 'edge' service (meaning it is unreliable and frustrating) only extends to about Rocky Mount. Look at the rest of the country and you can see why 3G as a ubiquitous service is still a few years away. Even Charlotte only has reliable service in the immediate built up metropolitan area.

Going North you don't see reliable coverage until you approach Washington D.C. Richmond has only a tiny footprint around the downtown area. My phone service through Embarq does not even provide a direct 3G option, but resells services of another vendor (and that vendor is a minor player in the 3G world).

The complex technical options of 3G are making it far more difficult to roll out than when we saw the roll out of wireless phones a few years back.

Carpenter’s Tools
- Hit The Deck Brownies

Article by Pastor Wallace Phillips
- Ahoskie, NC

It’s a busy Tuesday morning and my wife, Joy, is busy preparing brownies for her monthly meeting of Journeys: A Grief Support Group. She fixes a double batch and adds fresh southern pecans to the mix to make them even more scrumptious.

The morning is filled with activities; steady phone calls, preparation for school and work, mental rehearsing of what she’ll do in her meeting at 10:00 AM, etc. She gathers all of her red items as the February meeting is always a great time to focus on Valentine’s Day items and colors.

The buzzer goes off and she removes the pan of pecan-filled brownies from a 350 degree oven. After a little cooling time, she packs the car, and heads out the door of our home. As she steps on to the deck and reaches to pull the door shut, she loses her hold on the warm pan of brownies and …..they hit the deck..

Shaken, split, cracked, and moved toward one end of the pan….the brownies went through a stage that was not listed in the directions. Oh well, don’t cry over spilled milk. Pick ‘em up and tak’em to the church. They are going to be served one way or another.

As she places them in the car she makes a quick stop to Wal Mart to pick up some Valentine’s Day helium balloons to add to the décor for the meeting. Once she exits the door at Wal Mart, two of her helium balloons take to the sky leaving nothing but the strings in her hands. What a morning!

She arrives at the meeting….enjoys a great time of sharing and caring for those who have lost loved ones. All the guests had a marvelous time. Hot pizza from our new Dominos…cool Lipton green tea….Valentine candies that take us down memory lane…and to top off the whole meeting…….that’s right……a cool ball of vanilla ice cream on top of one of Joy’s famous “hit the deck brownies”. They were fabulous! In fact, the next time she makes a pan, I’m going to ask her to take them outside and drop the pan on the deck.

Oh…one more thing - “All things work together for the good to those who love the Lord.” This applies even when your balloons fly away and your brownies hit the deck.

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Boy Scouts Of America

February 8th is the 99th anniversary of the founding of the Boy Scouts of America. We remember and salute the beginning of Scouting in 1910. The mission of the Boy Scouts is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

The Scout Oath states “On my honor I will do my best to do my Duty to God and my Country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.” This oath is spoken every week in Scout meetings all across America. These ideals may seem a bit old-fashioned but are more relevant today than ever before; Duty to God and Country plus integrity and honor are Scouting core values. The Scouts of today will be our leaders of tomorrow.

Boys can begin in Scouting as young as first grade and girls and boys who have completed 8th grade may join Exploring. In Blackbeard District we have 12 Cub Scout Packs, 18 Boy Scout Troops, four Venturing Crews and one Ship who serve nearly 900 youth. In 2008, 12 Scouts in Blackbeard District earned the rank of Eagle. From Tiger Cub to Eagle Scout the Scouting trail is filled with wonderful volunteers and organizations that together make this journey into adulthood possible by teaching the values of character, Duty to God and Duty to Country.

This Sunday is Scout Sunday and as Scouts in many churches pass out programs, receive awards, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and present the colors, I want to say “Thank You” to all the volunteers and organizations that have made the Boy Scouts of America successful for so many years. Scouting is growing in our region and so are the young adults touched by Scouting. They are our future leaders; thank you for supporting them.

Yours in Scouting,
Paul Spruill
Blackbeard District Chair

Serving the following counties:
Beaufort, Hyde, Martin, Washington, Bertie and Tyrrell

A Conservative Viewpoint
- The Terrorists Are Cheering

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

Imagine: On a clear April morning sometime in the future, U. S. intelligence discovers a plot to blow up a large Midwestern city within the next 30 hours. A terrorist, being held in a federal prison in western Pennsylvania, is awaiting trial and is suspected of having information that would prevent the bombing.

Interrogators feverishly question him. He refuses to talk, knowing there is nothing the government can do to make him cooperate. He is, after all, on American soil. He has rights. And it’s precisely those “rights” that will trump survival of innocent Americans to unknown death, destruction and chaos.

In this frighteningly real setting there is no guarantee that the detainee has the information needed to avert the attack. There’s also no assurance he doesn’t.

Given the circumstances, I would have done whatever necessary to try and extract the necessary information from this detainee, up to and including waterboarding. I’m certainly no advocate of routine torture, but I’m not going to take any chances when it comes to saving American lives either.

President Barack Obama has rejected the more aggressive posture of the Bush administration when it comes to dealing with terrorists. Ushering in a new era of American leadership last week, Obama signed an executive order to close the camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba within a year as well as any remaining CIA “black site” or secret detention centers abroad.

To his credit, Obama is trying to restore the moral authority of America. He states this ultimately will strengthen our national security, but I’m not so sure our standing on a higher moral ground will dissuade terrorists.

Wishing terrorism away is not a deterrent when dealing with fanatics and religious zealots who hate us and all we stand for. While playing nice might make us feel better, it will only embolden those hell- bent on our destruction. When it comes to terrorists, killing them with kindness is a dangerous game.

This isn’t Vietnam, Korea or World War II when our enemies were clearly defined. While intelligence gathering was important then, it is even more so in this age of the nuclear suitcase bombs, biological warfare and clandestine hacking into government internet sites. Jeopardizing our ability to gather intelligence about terrorist plans to prevent future attacks, borders on a suicidal death wish.

No one understands that more than the families of 9-11 victims. In a recent New York Post article, New York Fire Department Lt. Jim McAffrey, who lost his brother-in-law at Ground Zero, declared: “ The terrorists are going to be cheering” when Obama closes Gitmo.

In that same article, Long Island Rep. Peter King, R-NY., said, “We live in a dangerous world. Guantanamo is a necessary evil.” King, who supports waterboarding, wondered, “On September 10, would you have put Mohamed Atta’s head under water for 20 seconds to prevent the September 11 attacks?” King was referring to the lead 9-11 hijacker.

Michael Burke, who lost his brother on 9-11, recently wrote a letter to the New York Daily News. He chastises President Obama and “the classic clueless ultra-Liberals-the ones who can generate great passion for the rights of the guilty defendant and none for the innocent victims. With a single stroke of the pen, Obama has delayed justice for the victims of 9-11, and in essence, granted a reprieve for Al Qaeda mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the architect of 9-11.”

“The only thing Obama has accomplished,” he said, “is convincing these mass murderers that we are too narcissistic, too foolish and too weak to protect and defend ourselves; just as the terrorists believed prior to 9-11.”

The U. S is a signatory to the Third Geneva Convention of 1949, which deals with the treatment of prisoners of war. On occasion we have violated this treaty. At times it may have been necessary to prevent an attack. Clearly the 2004 abuses of Iraqi prisoners at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison by U. S. soldiers did not meet any reasonable standard of “necessity.” The civilized world had reason to be outraged. Those found guilty were rightfully punished.

Human rights activists around the world are concerned about the treatment of anyone held captive. But where are their cries of outrage when our enemies in the Middle East are slitting the throats and/or beheading soldiers and civilian captives? It seems in the world community, anger is often directed only at America.

While we are a nation of laws, our Constitution was never intended to serve our enemies. Yet we are bestowing constitutional rights upon individuals who are not entitled to them, ironically in spite of their contempt for the very document on which they appear. In fact, the rights we’re giving them are the rights they’re seeking to take from us.

In the coming days, months or years it is possible America will face a scenario similar to the one described at the beginning of this column. Will our new president’s fresh approach to terror provide us with the intelligence to protect our security and our lives? Obama obviously feels it will. It’s a high risk gamble for this new administration- but more importantly, for all of us.

I am flabbergasted at the number of people who support Barack Obama who cannot see how much he is over his head. His comments on Al Aribiya denote a man with almost no understanding of either our history or the history of the middle east. There is a famous quote about those who do not understand history being forced to repeat it. That is why mankind has had to fight so many wars over the centuries. Tighten your belt. This is going to be a really bumpy ride.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Shooting in Butte, Montana

Preteen with shotgun vs. illegal alien home invaders.

Butte, Montana November 5, 2007

Two illegal aliens, Raphael Resindez, 23, and Enrico Garza, 26, probably believed they would easily overpower home-alone 11 year old Patricia Harrington after her father had left their two-story home.

It seems the two crooks never learned two things: they were in Montana and Patricia had been a clay shooting champion since she was nine.

Patricia was in her upstairs room when the two men broke through the front door of the house. She quickly ran to her father's room and grabbed his 12 gauge Mossberg 500 shotgun.

Resindez was the first to get up to the second floor only to be the first to catch a near point blank blast of buckshot from the 11-year-old's knee crouch aim. He suffered fatal wounds to his abdomen and genitals.

When Garza ran to the foot of the stairs, he took a blast to the left shoulder and staggered out into the street where he bled to death before medical help could arrive.

It was found out later that Resindez was armed with a stolen 45 caliber handgun he took from another home invasion robbery. That victim, 50-year-old David Burien, was not so lucky. He died from stab wounds to the chest.

Ever wonder why good stuff never makes NBC, CBS, PBS, MSNBC, CNN, or ABC news ... an 11 year old girl, properly trained, defended her home and herself ... against two murderous, illegal aliens ... and she wins, she is still alive.

Now that is Gun Control!

This interesting tid-bit came to me as an email on the Internet. Great story! But it isn't true.
Snopes has a couple of other stories which are true that are just about as good except they are about a 17 year old boy and an 11 year old boy, not a girl. Maybe that has something to do with why the email was created.

The two similar true stories that Snopes found actually validate the message of the story anyway.
Because the most important attribute of its greatness is that here in America, it is not all that unique. That is why people believe it. Since our early pioneer days, women and children had to deal with the harshness of life. It influenced them and our culture. Our culture teaches: Don't wait for the cops, kill the bad guy yourself. A lot of liberals think that we should end that pioneer spirit. I don't.

How about you?

- Dean Stephens