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Archive for February 3rd, 2012

City Council Retreat

Asheville City Council’s retreat just concluded. Jan Davis and Gordon Smith assisted by providing copies of the secret papers to members of the audience during the first break. Otherwise, it would have been a matter of turning our attention to items a through h on pages 3 and 4, etc.

Following are things I “learned:”

  • The city needs to deal with the pending anti-Asheville legislation that would seize the airport, water system, and other properties. Esther Manheimer said the only difference between Asheville and other NC local governments is that they stand a chance of having legislators respond to their requests.

  • “Lobbyist” is a bad word.
  • Members of council were willing to wait for PACE programs to become legal before implementing one.
  • People can pretend it really makes a difference if the city’s strategic goal is to become the safest city or just a safe city. Council deliberated this fifteen minutes in spite of the mayor stating twice the only thing that mattered was how council wished to reapportion funds going to police and fire.
  • Prime downtown real estate should be used to raise crops for the food-insecure. A number of organizations are springing up in the city to assist with this issue. Urban green spaces help push sprawl into the burbs and give NIMBY’s a run-for-the-money in opposing infill development.
  • Raising the wages of city workers by taking more from taxpayers directly injects money into the economy.
  • Marc Hunt assumed “neighborhood services” pertained to sanitation and street repair, but was informed it was intended to suggest the creation of an Office of Neighborhood Affairs, served by representatives from Neighborhood Associations.
  • One guy in the audience would have rather listened to cows breathe than hear about the different hats of group dynamics.
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For Those Interstate-Commercial Fires

A total of $2.5 million in DHS grants will be awarded to NC fire departments.

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FREEEEEEEEEE

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has judged policies of four-year higher educational systems to be restrictive of First Amendment rights. The group claims:

Too many racial, sexual and general harassment policies extend substantially beyond the limits of genuine harassment.

Appalachian State’s director of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Compliance was consulted to defend the school’s position. The ACLU has sided with the conservative group. Three First-Amendment benders perpetrated by the school were listed in a Watauga Democrat article:

“commenting inappropriately on someone’s appearance” [Free speech means you can say what you want, but inappropriately indicates the comments were so egregiously placed as to cause defensible injury.]

“sexual innuendos and comments” [These comments existed in every student conversation in my college experience.]

“imposing religious beliefs on others.” [This is definitely a violation of the First Amendment, and the good folks at FIRE need to rethink their tack if they suppose otherwise. To belabor the point, reading a Bible outloud is not imposing one’s beliefs on others. Examples of imposition would be giving students bad grades for not renouncing the faith of their choice, dragging one’s roommate to church against their will, sacrificing non-consenting virgins to one’s god. One practice engaged by peers, counselors, and other higher-ups when I was in college was trying to compel geeky do-gooders to violate their religious taboos.]

The same issue cropped up in another story today. NC leaders are not taking seriously a letter sent by the ACLU claiming it is wrong for leaders in the General Assembly to offer invocations. Since the issue seems to be more than one of interpretation, I will dissect it. The First Amendment reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; . . .

First praying in a state legislature is not an act of Congress. If, by popular demand, Congress were to pass a law forbidding prayer, then the First Amendment would be violated. If Congress takes no action and tells people to live and let live, it is in compliance.

The free exercise of many religions involves prayer. People praying are exercising a Constitutionally-protected right. Has Congress passed a law prohibiting prayer? If not, then Congress is still adhering to the law of the land. If the ACLU decides to place itself between the individual and his god, and forces Congress to pass a law prohibiting prayer, then Congress would again be in violation.

‘Nuff said, or am I going to be seeing this again in a couple weeks?

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Good Work

The Atlas Shrugged people officially announced today that Part II of the trilogy will screen in October 2012. I commend the crew for their efforts on behalf of liberty. The novel, which is one of very few admittedly fictional works through which I have waded, was critiqued as “absurd” only a decade ago. Now, the former “absurdities” are viewed as flavorless, so-what givens.

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