Sunday, December 24, 2006

New look

Since I got a new look for Alasandra for Christmas, I decided to update the look of my other blogs. Most of my blogging will be done on Alasandra from now on, so drop by for a visit.

Friday, December 01, 2006

MS Gulf Coast Relocated

I decided to give the beta version of blogger a try and I really like it. So MS Gulf Coast has been relocated to Alasandra, until I am able to switch all my blogs to the beta version. Alasandra will deal with issues affecting teens, homeschooling and as always the issues affecting the MS Gulf Coast.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Relocating Railroad Would Adversely Affect the Residents Who Live North of Interstate 10

As a resident who lives north of Interstate 10, I take exception to Maddie Costelli ‘s letter advocating spending tax money to move the railroad to my community. There are NO benefits to relocating the CSX railroad, and it would adversely affect the residents who live north of Interstate 10.

Apparently Ms. Costelli is unaware of the numerous subdivisions that are located north of Interstate 10. After Katrina more and more people are choosing to build their homes north of Interstate 10 they and the long term resident of these communities do not deserve to have their lives disrupted by the relocation of the CSX railroad. As we have just as much traffic as the cities do, moving the railroad to our community would not reduce the number of deaths and casualties as she maintains.

The residents north of Interstate 10 do not wish to be held up by time-consuming traffic delays from stalled rail cars, anymore then she does. We have jobs, and classes that we need to get to on time. As most of us already have longer commutes then the city folk do, there is no reason to inflict additional delays on us just so the city folk will not be inconvenienced.

The railroad should be left exactly where it is already located. Maddie Costelli and the other resident’s of Gulfport knew there was a railroad there when they choose to live there, she has a lot of nerve trying to decrease the quality of life for those residents north of Interstate 10 in order to improve her own. It's even more outrageous that she wants to use our tax money to destroy our homes and lives.

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Friday, October 06, 2006

Casino Will Bring Crime and Drunk Drivers To Menace Area Students

October 18th at 7PM, at the Ocean Springs Civic Center (3730 Bienville Blvd), you will have a chance to tell the Indians that the residents of Jackson County DO NOT WANT A CASINO!

The resident's of Jackson County voted against casinos; so I fail to see why the Indians think they can come in and force one on us. The intersection of Mississippi 57 and Interstate 10 is a TERRIBLE place to put one. This area already has heavy traffic, not to mention it's the main route for the students who live North of Interstate 10 to get to the Jackson County Campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, it's the main route for a lot of people to get to the Jackson County Soccer Complex, and there are several other child oriented things in that area.

A casino will cause an increase in crime in that area. Then there is the issue of drunk driving. Casinos encourage alcohol consumption by their patrons. Do we really want our kids who are trying to get a college education to have to risk being hit by drunk drivers leaving the casino in order to get to school? Do we really want to risk our families being hit by a drunk driver while going to the soccer fields? Casino's DO NOT BELONG IN FAMILY AND SCHOOL ORIENTED AREAS.

This area is full of hardworking families, it is NOT a tourist area and a casino doesn't belong in the neighborhood. If the Choctaws really want a casino on the Gulf Coast, they can put one in Harrison County!

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

No prosecution over dragging comment

I am terrified to post this, what if Feather's feels threatened, will he send the cops after me. I certainly don't intend to threaten him in any way shape or form. But since I think the right to free speech is important, I'll put myself at risk and post.

After Feathers read Lester Creswell's comments in The Mississippi Press, he decided to file a criminal charge against him. "I felt threatened," said Feathers Monday after being informed the charges against Creswell were dropped, "and felt like something needed to be done."

I am glad prosecutors had the good sense to drop the charges. Certainly Lester Creswell's comments should be protected under FREE SPEECH! It would be a sad day indeed if the Creswell's of this world were silenced, and citizens could no longer complain about their lack of representation. Apparently Feathers didn't feel very threatened, the potholes still aren't fixed.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Government Charges Senior Citizens More for Medicare While Providing Free Care to Illegal Immigrants

At least one Representative understands why we shouldn't provide illegal aliens with free health care.

"Providing illegal aliens with free health care is an incentive for more illegals to come here," said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., one of the louder voices today calling for tougher immigration policies. "Draining limited health-care funds to take care of illegal aliens and reimburse hospitals for their emergency care is ill-conceived and harmful to our own citizens. I will continue to oppose this kind of nonsense," he said in a statement last week.

The free care for illegal aliens comes at a time when American Citizens are being forced to pay a rate hike for Medicare. There is something wrong when hard working tax paying American Citizens are asked to pay more for their medical care while illegal aliens who do NOT pay taxes are getting free care.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Problems With Outsourcing

Reba in the Mississippi Press has an article on the problems with outsourcing. I couldn't agree more. I am so tired of calling customer service only to get someone I don't understand and who doesn't understand me. What should be a simple call that takes 5 minutes at most, often winds up being an hour long dialogue and a lesson in frustration.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Ocean Springs Officials Stink

The city of Ocean Springs' public officials refused to ban smoking in public places on the grounds that it might hurt the restaurant business.

Now those same officials want to add an additional tax on people who choose to dine out. I would love to dine in a smoke free environment, but they decided that the right of smokers to pollute our air was more important then the rights of non-smokers to breath clean air. To add insult to injury they want to charge me more money, I don't think so. If they pass this stupid dining tax I will merely start dining in adjacent cities. Maybe one of them will even do us the favor of banning smoking.

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Jackson County Voted NO to Casinos

Not only should the Choctaws have to adhere to the same rules as the other Gulf Coast casinos they shouldn't be allowed to put a casino is Jackson County period. We voted NO to casinos!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

State Legislators Strike it Rich From Closing Homeowner Grants

It appears the good ole boy system is alive and well.

The first sign of a lapse in ethics is that a couple of state legislators were allowed to win a contract to handle closing the homeowner grants. Sen. Tommy Robertson, R-Moss Point, and Rep. Jim Beckett, R-Bruce, created a company, Jackson County Land & Title, that won a deal that may gross more than $1.2 million from a $250 fee charged to homeowners getting a grant in Jackson and Harrison counties.

Robertson said Ben Stone, ethics commission vice chairman, did approve of the legislators bidding for the contract. Stone has been unavailable for comment. But it seems that Stone also has some ethical soul-searching to do. His law firm created the agreement that homeowners sign to get grant money. The Mississippi Development Authority hired Stone's firm, Balch and Bingham, according to Scott Hamilton, the authority's spokesman.

Private Property Destroyed by Sheriff

I find it frightening that a sheriff can come onto private property, destroy a citizen's property and then claim immunity.

What happened to due process?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Trent's At It Again

Senator Trent Lott "As in the case of the dangerous CSX line along the Mississippi coast, I’ve also been very aggressive in trying to move rail lines away from congested and populated areas, both for safety and to make shipments along the rails more efficient and less hindered by rail crossings and other obstacles. "

Apparently Senator Trent Lott doesn't care about those of us who moved to rural areas for the peace and quiet. He wants to force the railroad his rich city slicker cronies don't want down our throat. Senator Lott, those of us who live in the country happen to think that the lives of our families are just as important as the lives of those city folk. And if you really cared about efficiency you would work to improve the track at it's current location instead of trying to foist it off on people that don't want it, and taking their homes away from them by eminent domain.

And Senator Lott those European and Japanese trains happen to go through major cities, just like the CSX currently does. Apparently the Japanese and Europeans are better at obeying traffic laws and using common sense like STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN at railroad crossings.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Do immigrants take jobs from U. S. Workers

If illegal immigrants are not taking jobs away from American's then why do we have so many people living off welfare?

Put those welfare queens to work and you won't need the illegal immigrants.

But unfortunately too many Americans think they are entitled to a "free ride". At least the immigrants are willing to work. Maybe we can do a switch, the illegal immigrants that want to work can stay here and we can send the welfare queens to Mexico (they might actually learn a work ethic - get to work on time, do your job, etc.).

Friday, August 11, 2006

Illegal Immigrants Can Afford A House While Many American Citizens Can't

This Thai family is working for below minimum wage taking jobs away from honest American citizens. Minimum wage was created for a REASON, lawbreakers who work for below minimum wage are harming the economy.

From this article I gather I am suppose to feel sorry for the Mom who won't be able to afford the mortgage on her 5 bedroom 2 story home, if her children who are here illegally get deported. Boo hoo it's kinda hard to feel sorry for illegal immigrants when many AMERICAN CITIZENS are homeless.

One can only hope this house bill passes, allowing American's to earn a living wage and hopefully afford their own homes.

A House bill would make illegal immigrants felons, and aiding them a crime.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Second Hand Smoke is Dangerous

Second hand smoke kills, it should not be a problem to ban smoking in public places. After all NON-SMOKERS should have the right to breath smoke free air. They shouldn't have to risk death in order to eat out, attend movies or shop.

An Ocean Springs ordinance is proposed to ban smoking in public places except in private clubs and hotels rooms designated for smokers.

Read more about it in the MS Press.
It's time we protect non-smokers, including young children, from second hand smoke.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Katrina Funds Used For Pavilion in Ocean Springs

Many people in the United States sent funds to help the victims of hurricane Katrina. I wonder if they think $250,000 for a pavilion is a wise use of the funds they sent Ocean Springs.

I wonder why the money couldn't have been spent to provide city water for a woman living inside the city limits. Wouldn't this be more in line with the humanitarian goals expressed by many of the people who sent funds.

"I thought it would be to fulfill the immediate needs of the community, that it was directly for hurricane relief," she said. "I thought that decision would be made locally."

And the people who sent funds are not the only ones disappointed by Ocean Springs decision to use Katrina Funds for a pavilion.

Ocean Springs resident Nancy Morin alleged the donated money had been misappropriated. "Yeah, it makes the beach look nice, but do we need that, or do we need people back in their homes?" Morin said. "They're spending (the money) to make our city more beautiful, not more livable."

Read more about it in the MS Press.

Friday, July 21, 2006

She Pays City Taxes But She Doesn't Have City Water

The Board of Aldermen voted 6-1 late Tuesday not to extend service to Boudreaux and her neighbors on Ocean Springs Road, who were annexed by the city 10 years ago.

If they don't want to provide services to them, maybe they should unannex them, and give them a tax break. After all they having been paying taxes for 10 years for services they don't have.
Boudreaux, called her situation "a disgrace." "They got to beautify Ocean Springs with Fort Maurepas and the bridge, but they don't care about people who need a drink of water," she said. "It's ridiculous."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Family Fears City May Take Park

The Shepard family donated 450 acres in the Gautier city limits to the state decades ago with the stipulation that it be a nature park belonging to the state.

Now the family fears the state is somehow trying to transfer it to city control.

Barbour Wants to Tax Hospitals Instead of Smokers

Mississippi has one of the lowest cigarette taxes in the United States. When our legislature tried to raise the tax on cigarettes Governor Barbour said "NO". Now to cover a Medicaid shortfall Governor Barbour wants to TAX HOSPITALS. That's right Big Tobacco that sells carcinogens to Americans mustn't be taxed. Smokers whose second hand smoke kills innocent bystanders mustn't be taxed. But according to Governor Barbour it's perfectly Ok to tax hospitals.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

89 Year Old Man Injured 27 People With His Car!

Why isn't the Sun Herald calling for more restrictions against senior citizens driving, after all older drivers have higher rates of fatal crashes than all but the youngest drivers, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "Fragility" starts as early as age 60, the institute's report on 2004 fatalities says. By 75, older drivers are "markedly overinvolved in crashes."

I for one am tired of the Sun Herald's bias reporting against teen drivers. If a teen had been involved their age would have been blaring in the headlines, instead the article about the 89 year old man injuring 27 pedestrians bore the innocuous headline Car strikes Conn. festival crowd; 27 hurt

Your Home IS Your Castle

The new law allows homeowners to shoot intruders in their yard. As Sid Salter points out in the Meridian Star, if you stay out of the wrong castle you don't have anything to worry about.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Who Should Get The Grant Money?

The Homeowner grant checks are being mailed out. But some groups object to the homeowners getting the money to replace their homes.

They say by giving the money directly to homeowners instead of going through mortgage companies, recipients will be more susceptible to con artists and scammers and the arrangement will mean many hard-hit neighborhoods won't be rebuilt.

Barbour has said one reason for giving the money directly to homeowners is it would allow them to relocate to higher ground, if they so choose. He has said the grants would still be subject to mortgage and other liens, similar to insurance payments

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Teen Should Be Deported

While I feel sorry for this teen, and realize it's not her fault she is in the US illegally, I don't think it is fair that she may take scholarships away from real Americans who need them and are in the US legally.

She should be sent back to Mexico, along with the rest of her family who are here illegally. These people are criminals, what part of illegal don't they understand?

Jack Martin, special projects director at the Federation for American Immigration Reform, says amnesty programs, such as The Dream Act, harm the United States.“Any amnesty program simply encourages illegal immigration,” he said. The result, he said, is a society that approves the flouting of its own laws and pays to have its own schools and hospitals burdened with people who have no right to be in the country.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Your Taxes are Being Spent on the Medical Care of Illegal Aliens
To learn more about how illegal immigrants are getting free medical care, paid for with you tax money, read the full article in the Sun Herald.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Senator John McCain

N.Z. Bear is pleased to report that Senator John McCain has chosen as the venue for his blogging debut. His guest post (apparently his first blog post ever) can be found here.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

FEMA Funds Misspent

Considering the number of people who have yet to recover from the devastation Hurricane Katrina wrecked on their lives. I find it appalling that FEMA funds were misspent.

The studies findings hit the streets like wildfire: FEMA hurricane relief spent on football tickets, trips to Hawaii. High-end trinkets, "Girls Gone Wild" videos and even, believe it or not, a sex change operation.

One can only hope that these people will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

In the meantime there are still legitimate victims of Katrina in need of aid.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Meridian Star is Full of Baloney

The Meridian Star is full of baloney. Moving the CSX railroad from the Gulf Coast is unnecessary. Apparently the Meridian Star fell hook, line, and sinker for the load of BS the casinos and wealthy businessmen were spreading in order to gain a scenic boulevard and additional real estate for themselves, at the expense of American taxpayers. Thankfully Congress had better sense.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Choctaws Don't Have to Pay Taxes Like the Rest of Us

The Sun Herald maintains that charity is not the way for casinos to pay their way. The Choctaws want to come into a county (Jackson County) that voted NO to gambling, force an inland casino on us, and then they will just give the government however much money they see fit for services; because unlike the rest of us they don't have to pay taxes.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Unfair Tax

Before you jump on the fair tax bandwagon, consider this.

Those with sick family members would pay more in taxes as doctor's visits, hospital stays, and medicine would be taxed.

Seniors who have paid income tax all their lives would now be shelling out additional money in taxes at a time when they were expecting to pay less in taxes as their income is reduced.

Victims of natural disasters, like Katrina, would be taxed when replacing items lost in the natural disaster. Kinda adds insult to injury doesn't it. First you lose your home and possessions and then those idiots that advocate the "unfair tax" want to tax you to replace them.

Young adults just starting out and with huge student loans to repay would be paying the same in taxes as billionaires like Bill Gates (what's fair about that?).

And heaven help you if you get laid off, you'll still be stuck paying taxes every time you feed your family and provide shelter for them.

The argument that criminals and illegal aliens would now have to pay taxes is bogus.

It's a common misconception that illegal immigrants don't file income tax returns, said Francine Lipman, a professor at Chapman School of Law.
"A lot of undocumented immigrants pay taxes and actually pay more in taxes than your similarly situated low-income family who is here legally," said Lipman, who recently completed a law-review article titled "The Taxation of Undocumented Immigrants: Separate, Unequal and Without Representation."

The Social Security Administration last year estimated 75 percent of undocumented workers are paying Social Security withholding tax.

As for criminals, thieves wouldn't pay any taxes as they would steal the merchandise. Those criminals who are caught and jailed wouldn't pay taxes, as Uncle Sam foots the bill for their food, shelter and medical care.

My final gripe is why do they have to lie about what it is? It's not a fair tax, it's a consumption tax, so why don't they call it that. Why try to confuse people with it's name. But then again everyone is for a fair tax, very few people would be for a consumption tax that would tax medical care, food and shelter, you know the basic requirements of life.

Woman Tries to Use Katrina to Strike it Rich

Talk about frivolous lawsuits.

Boy am I glad I don't live anywhere near this woman. A hurricane comes along and slams the ports property into her home, and her solution is to sue the port.

I guess she figured it would be kinda hard to sue the hurricane.

Read all about it in the Sun Herald

Monday, May 29, 2006

Insurance Cost Should Be Spread Over State

They are talking about raising the premiums, 400% for some people, who have the misfortune to live in the coastal counties. But we all know that Katrina did damage as for inland as Hattiesburgh and Meridian. In fact my home in Latimer (which is located in one of the coastal counties) received very little damage, while some homes in Meridian received much more damage. So why should I have to pay higher premiums then they do? And we all saw on TV, the people in Jackson asking for FEMA assistance, so why aren't their premiums being raised?

Commissioner Dale, it's time for some answers?

Sunday, May 28, 2006


We went to see X-Men The Last Stand at the IP yesterday. Enjoyed the movie, but I don't want to go back to the IP anytime soon. It was impossible to find a decent parking place, we wound up parking in lot full of broken glass. And when people got out of another movie you could hear them talking in the hall, which was very annoying as I was trying to listen to the movie.

Will their be a sequel? I think so.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

We Don't Want Gaming in Jackson County

Read how gambling begets millions of ignored addicts, the social cost of problem gaming, and how prevention and treatment money is in short supply in the Meridian Star's 3 part article.

At least Barbour understands that NO means No, according to an article in the MS. Press he will not support gaming in Jackson County. I find it ironic that Jackson County which voted against gaming keeps getting asked if they changed their minds yet, but Harrison & Hancock County which voted yes haven't been offered the opportunity to change their minds now that they see first hand the ills gaming can bring to a community.

If the Choctaws want a casino on the coast, why not build it in Harrison or Hancock County which voted yes to gaming? Why force it on a county that voted against gaming? (find the answer in the Sun Herald)

Of course, that would mean going slot-to-slot with other casino operators, and Martin does not fancy that competitive arrangement. He would rather toss a casino into Jackson County, where casinos have been consistently rejected by voters over the years.

He would do so by parlaying his tribal status to create an island of sovereignty in or near the Sunplex Industrial Park where he could do pretty much as he pleases.

He would not have to pay taxes.
He would not be subject to the Mississippi Gaming Commission and the laws, rules and regulations it enforces and the procedures it has established.

It is one thing for that sort of arrangement to be in place on established, historical tribal lands in Neshoba County. It is quite another to inject such unfair advantages into a competitive gaming market.

Residents of Neshoba County, home of two Choctaws casinos, were not given the option to decide whether they wanted gaming, said Neshoba County supervisor Benjie Coats.
"There were some concerns," Coats said. "We had no input into it. It was just there's going to be a casino.'"
Nor were Neshoba County voters allowed to participate in the tribe's agreement with the state, according to Coats. The tribe's agreement with the state, signed by Gov. Kirk Fordice in 1992, described how the Choctaws would conduct gaming in Mississippi and the amount of compensation that would be paid to the state.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Say No to Gaming in Jackson County

I was relieved to learn that Governor Haley Barbour does not want to increase gaming in Mississippi according to a recent article in the MS. Press.

How many times must the residents of Jackson County say NO to gaming; before the pro-gaming forces get the messages. We do not want gaming in our county?

And this would be even worse then the casinos Harrison and Hancock County already have an overabundance of.

  1. This would be an INLAND casino exempt from state gaming laws, as it would be run by the Choctaws.
  2. The property and the income would be tax-exempt.
  3. The well paying jobs would be given to Choctaws, leaving the low paying jobs for the current residents of Jackson County (Just travel to Philadelphia and visit their current casino to see for yourselves).

Monday, May 15, 2006

Illegal Immigrants Lament Not Being Able to Land Well Paying Jobs With Their College Degrees

We are told that we need illegal immigrants to fill the low paying jobs that Americans don't wish to do, but these illegal immigrants have no intention of taking a low paying job Americans don't want, they intend to use their college degrees obtained in the U.S. to take jobs away from American citizens. A bill before the Senate would create a track for illegal immigrants to become citizens and eliminate federal prohibitions against their receiving in-state tuition at colleges and universities. Critics of the Dream Act say the provisions would encourage more illegal immigration by parents seeking to enroll their children in U.S. schools, and that immigrants are taking college slots away from middle-class American students.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Bra sets off metal detector in California

My sympathies are with the woman whose bra set off the metal detector. Especially since the good ole boys running the government don't seem in the lest bit inclined to solve the problem.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Veto the Pork

Thankfully President Bush plans to veto the Pork. I just hope he sticks to his guns. The American taxpayer deserves better then to be saddle with $700 million in debt, so Biloxi can have a scenic boulevard.

According to the Sun Herald “We don't expect an editorialist or newscaster who has never been here even once to appreciate that fact; we do expect a president who has already been here 10 times to better understand the situation.” I have news for the Sun Herald, I live here and I see no reason to spend $700 million to move the CSX rail line that has just been repaired. Apparently I am not the only one if Letters to the Editor are anything to go by.

Ronald Salters of Ocean Springs says Too many details of this pork project are hidden.

Too many details of this pork project are hidden
It is hard to believe that $700 million is being misappropriated for the purchase of the CSX right of way. This is only the beginning of the funds that will be needed to tear down a perfectly functioning railroad and build a multi-lane monstrosity, the details of which are conspicuously hidden from public scrutiny. The casinos and Harrison County and are the only true beneficiaries of this outrageous pork barrel.
The real travesty is that no one has considered the fact that an east-west corridor currently exists along the CSX right of way through Harrison County. By using the existing service roads and easements a multi-lane, east-west corridor could be constructed and co-exist with the railroad for far less than $700 million.
The $700 million is an unsolicited arm-twisting by politicians who used to brag about building infrastructure and fiscal responsibility. We should not let politicians use strong-arm tactics to push their pet project through Congress, furthering this country's debt at a time when real needs are not being met.
There is a better use of $700 million; one need look no further than those who are desperately seeking housing and jobs as they are being handed eviction notices by FEMA.

William Hutter of Biloxi says Questions should have been answered earlier

Questions should have been answered earlier
Politics and ethics aside, there remains the issue of whether buying the CSX right of way for an east-west connector road is good public policy. I offer the following for consideration:
• If the tracks are retained for light rail use, how will safety be increased? On a limited-access, high-traffic connector road, how will traffic accidents be reduced?
• Most of the Coast casinos are located along the beachfront. Moving traffic away from their front door seems counter-productive. The hundreds of beachfront businesses we hope will rebuild will face the same disincentives.
• The dream for a scenic U.S. 90 may be overblown. Most of the Victorian houses are gone, and view of the water is being decreased by condominiums.
• Width greater than the CSX right of way will be required. That will come at the expense of the moderate-income houses that line the tracks.
• A limited-access road means street grids will be blocked and neighborhoods will be separated.
• If the main artery for Coast traffic is moved north of the beach, it does not make much sense to route traffic across Biloxi Bay onto old U.S. 90.
In summary, I fail to see how a project with the potential of increasing traffic, doing nothing for traffic safety, decreasing tax revenues, reducing affordable housing, dividing neighborhoods, and delaying construction of the Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge is in my best interest or that of my fellow citizens. Had this project been fully discussed earlier we might have avoided the embarrassing situation in which we now find ourselves.

Friday, April 21, 2006

New Blog

Steve Barnes has entered the blogging world, visit his blog Empires Fall, for his perspective on the Bush administration.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Hurricane Supply Tax Break

Floridians are likely to get hurricane supplies tax free. On the other hand Mississippians who already shell out 7% in sales taxes on groceries, don't have any tax free supplies to look forward to.

Maybe if Barbour wasn't determined to give CSX $700 million dollars he could spare a few cents for working class Mississippians.

World News Tonight

Last night, ABC World News Tonight ran a segment on the current proposal to spend $700 million of your money to rip up and relocate a fully operational railroad in Mississippi. The segment can be seen here .
To get to the specific segment, click on "World News Tonight" on the right side of the page, then click on the fourth item from the top about the train.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Contributed by Bo Alawine - Wasp Nests

When I was a boy growing up on a dirt road near Zero, one of the many rural entertainments available to my brother and me was knocking down wasp nests. This was only marginally safer than one of our other hobbies, mining the gunpowder from fireworks to manufacture WMDs capable of splitting hollow catalpa trees, but I digress. (As for you sadists who think stirring up hornet’s nests is a more enlightened form of entertainment, my brother and I may have been dumb, but we weren’t fools.) The whole point of whacking wasp nests was to protect other people from getting stung. At least that’s what we told our mother. Aside from the dubious “fighting them over there in the shed so we don’t have to fight them here on the porch” rationale, the benefits were manifold. Whacking wasp nests made for a great cardio workout. If you were successful, you could get a hundred yard sprint per wasp nest, depending on how fast you were and how many very grumpy wasps were on your tail. Stings, while contributing to the zeal of the workout regimen, were considered minor occupational hazards unless you happened to incur the wrath of a nest of red wasps. These large, ill-tempered beasts were relentless when disturbed, held a mighty grudge and moved with a velocity which belied their size. We learned very quickly distance was our friend when dealing with red wasps. This led to another benefit: learning how to accurately aim a slingshot loaded with a dirt-laden sweet gum ball. Smart bombs have nothing on sweet gum balls for destructive power, at least on wasp nests and kid brothers. Last, but not least, were the economic benefits. I have no doubt in my mind the manufacturers of Benadryl, meat tenderizer and chewing tobacco are greatly indebted to us. What got me to reminiscing about stirring up wasp nests with sweet gum balls were the interesting reactions to my series of questions concerning the very serious issue of abortion. One of the rewards of having one’s ruminations published for all to read is the feedback of other people. Often as not, it is thought provoking and sometimes downright provocative. What I found most intriguing is that the majority did not to directly address any of my questions but to offer their own interpretations of either my intent or my moral clarity on the issue. This was greatly confusing to me, as I already thought I knew what I meant. In fact, I used my moral compass to build my foundation above the obfuscatory fog. (At this point, Mr. Alawine pats himself on the back for being clever enough to respond to three different columnists in one sentence). The mortal enemies of my youth, wasps, possessed a certainty of conviction. They led simple lives, with simple goals: feed the young and protect the nest. Along comes the knucklehead launching the Sweet Gum Ball of Mass Destruction (SGBMD), upsetting their nice little world. As is their nature, the wasps would immediately swarm, most searching for the cause of their confusion and disorder. Only after attempting to administer swift and terrible punishment, would they calm down, muttering to themselves, and return to their staid lives, incapable of contemplating why the SGBMD was sent special delivery, courtesy of Slingshot Express. Being a curmudgeon-in-training, I frequently lob the figurative SGBMD into the well-ordered, respectable opinions of those who fervently believe they hold the moral high ground. It’s a dirty job but someone’s got to do it. Interestingly, most of the reactions bear a striking similarity to those of my insect antagonists. As a student of human nature, I have noted people often do not wish to have their cherished notions of ethics, morality and fair play challenged. They instinctively attack the messenger, build and knock down straw men, or pooh-pooh the validity of the questions raised. People should be able to thoroughly explore and rationally discuss the issues of our time. The inability or unwillingness to see other viewpoints, debate the questions at hand and work out the particulars is at the crux of a number of the problems in this country. A dogmatic insistence that one particular world-view is the only lens through which all life can be safely viewed fails to address the various facets of each of these problems. “Because God said so” or “Because I said so” is not the answer to the questions which may make us uncomfortable or may cause us to re-examine our convictions. These responses require no effort of thought and are designed to avoid the hard task of defending a particular position. Admittedly, I am an amateur practitioner of polemics. I have a weakness for wiping the smug smiles off of the faces of pundits whose certainty is absolute. Having said this, I will also state it is a guiding principle of mine that when I offer my opinion to the rest of humanity, I darn well better be able to defend it or admit I was wrong and learn from my mistake(s). I hold other opinion peddlers to the same standard. The logical result of applying this principle is that sometimes opinions push people out of their comfort zones. A wise old saw once told me opinions were like bellybuttons: everyone has one and they all stink. Having an opinion doesn’t mean you have a monopoly on the truth. It should be an expression of what you think, and a good one should make other people think. Nearly forty years later, I’m passing through my second childhood, firing sweet gum balls into wasp nests. I guess I’m a slow learner. Who’d a thunk it?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Pork or Progress?

According to the MS Press the $700 million to move the CSX rail line isn't pork it's progress! But considering that many residents of the Gulf Coast are living in FEMA trailers; I believe the money could be better spent elsewhere.

Why was CSX allowed to repair the rail line (which is now fully functional) if the government was going to buy them out?

Why isn't money being sought to rebuild the public schools, libraries and government buildings destroyed by Katrina?

Why isn't money being sought to restore the utilities destroyed by Katrina?

Why isn't money being sought to help people rebuild their homes, and to build apartments?

Why is money being sought to give to a private corporation (CSX), that had a profitable year in spite of Katrina?

At this time $700 million of our TAX MONEY could be better spent on the citizens of the Gulf Coast who lost everything, not on moving a railroad that is fully functional.

If you believe the $700 million could be better spent on the needs of the residents of the MS Gulf Coast, please sign this online petition

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Coburn Expresses Concern About CSX Buy Out

The relocation of CSX is back in the news. I have to admit that I am relieved they are talking about using existing rail lines now and are not planning to build a railroad in my community. But Coburn made several good points in his press release. It seems to me the $700 million could be better spent rebuilding our schools, sewer and water lines, government buildings, public libraries and helping people rebuild their homes. And one has to wonder why CSX was allowed to repair the rail line (at their expense) if they were only going to be asked to take it up again at taxpayer expense.

Coburn Expresses Concern about Pork Projects in Emergency Supplemental Bill
Supplemental may include $700 million to destroy
and relocate recently-repaired rail line

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senators Tom Coburn, M.D (R-OK) today urged his colleagues to resist the temptation to attach extraneous pork projects and other non-emergency items to the must-pass Hurricane Katrina and Iraq supplemental spending bill. Coburn specifically encouraged his colleagues to not attempt to use the supplemental as a vehicle to dismantle and relocate the CSX Gulf Coast line to clear the way for a new scenic road and other waterfront development projects.

“It is ludicrous for the Senate to spend $700 million to destroy and relocate a rail line that is in perfect working order, particularly when it recently underwent a $250 million repair. American taxpayers are generous and are happy to restore damaged property. But it is wrong for Senators to turn this tragedy into a giveaway for economic developers,” Dr. Coburn said.

“Emergency supplemental bills are designed to help our nation confront emergencies. While the current location of this rail line may be displeasing to local economic developers and politicians, it is hardly a national emergency,” Dr. Coburn said.

“The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina continues to be a nightmare for displaced persons in the Gulf Coast region. Tons of debris still has not been removed, and thousands of people are still in temporary housing. I hope the Senate uses common sense and puts true emergency needs ahead of the special interest requests of developers. The citizens of the Gulf Coast and taxpayers across America expect nothing less,” Dr. Coburn said.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Contributed by Bo Alawine

Abortion’s complexities
BO ALAWINE / guest columnist

OCEAN SPRINGS — I have a confession to make: I have a serious character flaw (actually, more than one, but for purposes of this column, we’ll pretend only one).This character flaw causes me to challenge those self-appointed know-it-alls who have the answers for all society’s problems, regardless of how nuanced and complicated the problem. Unfortunately, there’s more of these “savants” than I have hours in the day, so I have to pick my battles.My current targets this time are those “compassionate” conservatives who reside in the opinion pages of The Meridian Star, pontificating on the tragedy of abortion. I reserve my double-secret ire for these folks who are, to borrow from Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers, “unencumbered by the thought process”, who view the world and all that’s in it as a series of black-and-white situations. All that’s required is their simple solution and, presto, problem solved.
One enlightened individual recently figuratively gleefully clapped his hands (“Mississippi’s historic moment,” Sunday, March 5), applauding the state Legislature’s attempt to ban abortions in Mississippi (with some exceptions), ecstatically saying, “Sometimes a single event goes a long way toward shifting the direction of a culture for good.”Mr. Craig Ziemba’s sentiments are, at first blush, laudable. It would be a wonderful world if we no longer had to deal with the controversy of abortion. The problem is, those who would support the current proposed legislation apparently believe the legal prohibition of abortion will solve all manner of societal ills. Welcome to SimpleLand!It’s far too easy to simply say abortion is wrong and work to pass laws to restrict and/or ban this procedure, thus promoting a “culture of life.” Abortion opponents are avoiding the heavy lifting by not addressing serious questions directly related to the issue, issues that should be considered before any further legislation is passed.
  • When does human life begin?
  • If human life begins at birth, what is the status of the contents of a woman’s womb prior to birth?
  • If human life begins at the earliest date of viability outside of the womb, what defines that viability?
  • If human life begins when the fertilized egg, or zygote, implants in the uterine wall, is anything that prevents implantation considered abortion?
  • If human life begins at fertilization, is anything that prevents fertilization or stops cellular division considered abortion?
  • If the definition of abortion includes the prevention of the “potential” for human life, would birth control be considered as a form of abortion?
  • Is it ethical or moral to force a woman to carry to term a child who was violently conceived (via rape) or is deformed?
  • Is the life of a pregnant woman less equal than, more equal than, or equal to that of a child or the potential of a child (depending on your view of when life begins)?
  • Should a woman be entitled to make a decision, regardless of the possible long-term physical, mental and/or spiritual ramifications, regarding her own body?
  • If abortion is to be made illegal, what is to be the status of a woman who seeks an abortion? Is she then guilty of conspiracy? What if she receives an abortion? Is she guilty under the law or is only the abortion provider guilty? Who is to be punished?
  • Would a woman who knowingly or unknowingly causes a miscarriage be in violation of a law banning abortions?
  • If abortion is made illegal, who will take on the responsibility of feeding, clothing, educating and caring for the medical needs of those “unwanted” children? The social services existing in this state and this country struggle to deal with the caseloads they currently have. Will additional funding be provided?
  • And, my personal favorite, in a “culture of life”, why is it not immoral to promote and participate in executions and wars?
For those readers who think the answers to these questions are a series of questions asking me if I support, in the words of Mr. Lenny Joiner (“Us vs. them,” Sunday, March 5), “the destruction of the unborn” or some other rhetorical nonsense, read this next statement very, very slowly: I personally think the practice of abortion is abhorrent; however, there is no single, one-size-fits-all solution to what is a very complex problem.My point is those who fervently believe abortion is at the root of all our ills and banning abortions will solve all manner of problems have a myopic vision of our culture, our legal system and human nature in general. The law is a blunt instrument and is quite often inflexible. Human nature, being what it is, will find a way around any legal restrictions.Our world cannot be viewed in black and white terms. Call it moral relativism if you wish but simply believing something to be true may work in Peter Pan’s world (i.e., Tinkerbell and fairies) but not in ours.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Currently Mom's Could Go To Jail For Breast-feeding Their Child

In Mississippi Breast-feeding in public is a misdemeanor under the current law, punishable by up to six months in jail or a $500 fine.

Senate Bills 2419 and 2352 and House Bill 527 would exempt breast-feeding mothers from Mississippi's public indecency law, protect breast-feeding mothers from discrimination in the workplace and ensure that licensed child-care facilities accommodate breast-feeding mothers and their children.

Breastfeeding has many benefits for both Mother and Child and certainly shouldn't be a CRIME.

Please call your Senator today and let him know you support the bill.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Sid Salter is Dead Wrong

E-commerce does not hurt local economies, merchants unwillingness to carry the merchandise their customers want is what hurts their business.

I agree that the sales tax on food should be eliminated, and the tax on cigarettes raised. Most states do not tax groceries and Mississippi certainly should not be one of the exceptions, and since cigarettes kill, we should do all in our power to discourage people from buying them.

But e-commerce certainly should not be taxed. People who are forced to buy on-line already have to pay shipping and handling charges. We should not be further punished by being forced to pay taxes on merchandise local merchants refuse to carry.

His argument that only those with computers and credit cards can buy online and thus not taxing e-commerce is a regressive tax on those without computers is bogus. Public Libraries have computers with Internet access that anyone can use. Websites offer a variety of ways to pay; credit card, pay pal, by check, or COD, thus anyone can buy online no matter what their economic status.

Unless local merchants can be forced to carry clothing and shoes in all sizes e-commerce should not be taxed. It is not the consumers’ fault if they can’t find what they want locally, and not all of us can afford to drive to a metropolis (and gee you would be losing the sales tax then too) whenever we need something.

I would love to be able to buy my dress shoes and clothing locally. Unfortunately local merchants refuse to carry ladies shoes in a 91/2 SS (for those that do not know SS stands for Super Slim or 4A heel). Whenever I attempt to buy shoes from local merchants I get a “Our shoes just come in a B width”. This is 5 sizes to big for me. Whenever I try to buy dress clothes from local merchants and tell them I need a size 4 or 6, I get told “go to the petite (for those who don’t know petite in the US means Short) department, our regular misses dresses start at a size 8”. Well at 5ft 6inches I am not SHORT and I can’t wear petite dresses. Or worse yet I get directed to the JUNIOR department. At 40 years old the styles that teens wear are not suitable for me. I do wish local merchants would get it thru their thick skulls that all thin people are not short or teenagers, and that not all women have wide feet. Until then I have to buy my shoes and clothes online. I should not be forced to pay taxes on them when I am already being punished by not being able to try them on before purchasing them and having to pay shipping and handling.

Taxing e-commerce would be a regressive tax as it would unfairly apply to those of us who are not average sizes and thus can not find clothing and shoes to fit us at local merchants as we would be taxed in addition to having to pay shipping & handling (a charge/tax that those who are average sizes and can shop locally can avoid).

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Why Do Laws Protect Criminals at the Expense of their Victims

Why do we have laws that allow law-abiding citizens to get stiffed? Thanksgiving Day, I was rear ended inside Hattiesburg city limits. I provided the police officer with my name, a valid address, a valid phone number and my insurance policy. I produced my driver’s license as well as a proof of insurance card. After a MONTH my insurance company was finally able to get a copy of the police report.

Unfortunately the man who hit me gave the police officer a Tennessee phone number that has been disconnected. He had North Carolina license plates. According to the North Carolina DMV his first name is Rogelio as listed on the police report, but Perez, which the police officer wrote down for his last name, is his middle name, and due to the Federal Privacy Laws they can’t tell me his last name. He had a New Mexico Driver’s license but again due to the Federal Privacy Laws they can’t tell me his last name either. According to the police report he had insurance with Nationwide. But guess what the policy # is bogus and without a last name there is no way to verify if he has insurance with them or not.

What is the use of having mandatory insurance laws if drivers do not have to provide proof of insurance? What is the use of having mandatory insurance laws if the police do not write down the correct information on the police report and make no attempt to verify it? And why on earth after being given a Tennessee address, a New Mexico Driver’s License and seeing the car had North Carolina plates didn’t the police do something to protect this reckless driver’s victim?

And why on earth do we have laws (the Federal Privacy Laws) that protect criminals????
Ironically I read in the Sun Herald where a new law doubles the amount of liability insurance you must carry. Why don’t they make sure EVERONE has liability insurance first, so that innocent drivers don’t get stiffed when reckless driver’s rear-end them?

Monday, January 02, 2006

A recent soundoffer advocated moving the railroad

Here is my response
To Move the railroad
Why do you think we want a major traffic obstacle and safety hazard north of the interstate? Stop trying to inflict your problems on someone else. People will lose their homes if the railroad is moved, not to mention the tax money that it will cost that could be better spent educating our children. Leave the railroad where it is.