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North Carolina also boasts stupid too:

LEXINGTON, N.C. –  Do you have change for a million-dollar bill?

Police say a North Carolina man insisted his million-dollar note was real when he was buying $476 worth of items at a Walmart.

Investigators told the Winston-Salem Journal that 53-year-old Michael Fuller tried to buy a vacuum cleaner, a microwave oven and other items. Store employees called police after his insistence that the bill was legit, and Fuller was arrested.

The largest bill in circulation is $100. The government stopped making bills of up to $10,000 in 1969.

Fuller was charged with attempting to obtain property by false pretense and uttering a forged instrument. He is in jail on a $17,500 bond, and it isn’t clear if he has an attorney. He is scheduled to be in court Tuesday.

Seriously.

What does it mean to carry a concealed weapon in North Carolina?  It means that you are about 20x more likely to obey the law: via Coyote Blog

A front-page story in today’s New York Times tries to stir up alarm about liberalized carry permit laws, which let people carry concealed handguns if they meet a short list of objective criteria. To illustrate the hazards of that policy, the Times cites crimes committed by permit holders in North Carolina. How many crimes? Excluding traffic offenses, the Times counts 2,400 over five years, of which 200 were felonies. More relevant (since critics of nondiscretionary permit laws worry that they contribute to gun violence), “More than 200 permit holders were also convicted of gun- or weapon-related felonies or misdemeanors, including roughly 60 who committed weapon-related assaults.” That’s a dozen gun assaults a year. How many permit holders are there in North Carolina? According to the story, “more than 240,000.” So 0.2 percent of them are convicted of a non-traffic-related offense each year, about 0.017 percent are convicted of a felony, and only 0.005 percent are convicted of a gun assault. The Times concedes that the number of permit holders convicted of crimes “represents a small percentage of those with permits.” More like “tiny.” By comparison, about 0.35 percent of all Americans are convicted of a felony each year–more than 20 times the rate among North Carolina permit holders.

I didn’t know this.  However, it kinda makes sense.  See, in order to get a conceal carry permit, you have to have a clean record.  Considering that most criminals begin young, this would seem to only include law abiding people.  Do folks suddenly have occasion to make a poor decision?  Certainly.  But not typically.

I don’t like guns.  I think they’re dangerous.  But they’re less dangerous than swimming pools and I have no problem with people having them.  I even let my kids play with swimming pools.

I also think that it’s okay to regulate guns.  No one needs a fully automatic assault rifle.  And you’d be hard pressed to convince me that we need armor piercing ammunition to take down Bambi.  We already agree that criminals shouldn’t have guns.  So it isn’t a case of “should we regulate” it’s more of a case on “where do we draw the line.”

The more I see that gun owners are safer and law abiding, the more I’m willing to push that line out a little further.

Apparently the protesters aren’t aware that private property is, you know, private:

Raleigh, N.C. — Six members of the local anti-Wall Street “Occupy” movement were arrested Friday afternoon after staging a protest at Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh.

Mall police arrested the protesters around 2:45 p.m. when the group began to demonstrate in the mall’s food court, Sughrue said.

I can’t help but feel dismayed by this.  Somewhere, at some point, some school failed these people.

Okay, so, I like to engage in debate.  Most especially I enjoy debating people that I tend to disagree with.  I suspect that this has to do with the fact that there is little to gain in debating someone you actually see eye to eye with.  This creates a condition where I only really interact with people who are not necessarily open to my point of view.

However, most of the time, I stress most, I engage with people who “put it out there”.  That is, I’ll engage people through this media.  Blogs, chat rooms or even Facebook.  I typically don’t engage friends, I try not to at least, family, or co-workers. Each to their own in their own daily lives.

So, when I see Occupy Raleigh, a group of people who have banded together to make a point, I might wanna engage them.  I might wanna challenge their facts, their assumptions and their solutions and conclusions.  This becomes more true as they take advantage of public largess and organize in a public manner.

They protest daily.  They have created a blog.  They have a Facebook page.

They encourage dialogue and discourse.

But those are just words.  You see, the Occupy Raleigh movement i n specific, and I suspect the type of individual involved in general, suffers dissent not at all.  They will do everything, EVERYTHING, to suppress your voice, your opinion and your viewpoint unless it conforms to their ideology.  The tolerant Left is a massively repressive regime when it comes to dissent.

They march in protest of CEO speaking at Universities here in Raleigh.  They claim they are denied freedom of expression when they are yanked out of the room.  But when it is THEIR forum, THEIR stage, and anyone tries to speak out against the mob, they shut you down.

I have long avoided confronting the Occupy Raleigh folks.  Some have come here and I try to make my case; I stay away from their forums.  However, the other night I decided to create a Facebook presence for Pino.  I don’t mind these freaks knowing who I am, but I don’t wanna expose my Facebook community to these guys if I can help it.  And I posted a ling on their wall.

It was deleted within 20 minutes.

Then I commented one of their posts.  Nothing untoward, same tone I use here.

I was called a troll.

Later I defended my position and let well enough alone.

Tonight, I got an email telling me that they had replied to my post.  I went to Facebook and they had deleted all of my comments and I’m now unable to post comments.

The left image is from my personal page, the right image from my Pino page.

If you dissent, you will be silenced.

This people, is how the Left rolls.  It’s how they’ve ALWAYS rolled.  They claim tolerance and compassion and understanding, but when those same qualities are demanded of them, they balk and and refuse.  They censor, the repress, the silence and they are brutal in the totality of it.

These people don’t represent the 99%.  They don’t wanna hear open and honest debate.  They aren’t about new ideas.  These people are Marxists.  They are Stateists.  These people are hard core Liberal actors bent on changing the way in which America was created.  They don’t like risk and reward.  They don’t appreciate Individual Liberty.

These organizations are damage.  And reasonable people route around damage.

There was a lot of debate around the Mississippi legislation that would have defined life at conception.  I’is no secret that this was nothing but a method to move to make abortion illegal.  The pro-life folks want to codify that life exists and therefore, that life has claim to individual Liberty.

While I resonate with the concept I diverge in two areas:

  1. I don’t think that human life begins at conception.  Shortly thereafter?  Sure.  Heartbeat, brain activity and blood flowing?  Yeah, then.  Then’ish.
  2. We don’t have to work that hard to make this point.

There is already bi-partisan support for this concept.  In fact, that support passed new legislation into law that will take effect here in North Carolina tomorrow, December 1.

RALEIGH, N.C. — More than four years after a pregnant woman was killed outside a Raleigh convenience store, a law named for her unborn son that criminalizes the murder of a fetus will take effect Thursday.

State lawmakers passed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, often referred to as Ethen’s Law, in April. The legislation deems that anyone who commits murder, manslaughter or assault against a pregnant woman is guilty of the same crimes against the fetus, regardless of whether an attacker knows about the pregnancy.

I do not find it consistent to be charged with a crime against a human being unless you committed that crime against, you know, a human being.

We all  know, ALL of us, that life begins well before literal conception.  What we’re doing is just negotiating on the time.  As such, we know that the kid in the womb is just that, a kid.

So, we’re not arguing about what’s going on when there is an abortion, a child is dying.  We’re just saying we’re okay with the taking of that life when it suits us.  It would be refreshing, as if, the Liberal Left would be honest and admit that.

I’ve seen people drive all over creation to find a gas station that sells gas for $0.02 cheaper than they can get at their local fill-up.  In fact, they’ll spend 15 minutes to obtain cheaper petrol.  I see the same thing with folks wanting to buy a CD, or a book or a video game.

People react to price variance, often outrageously so.

Further, I acknowledge that we need to pay for roads.  Society needs to be burdened to cover the cost of building and maintaining this infrastructure.  Currently we use gas taxes to cover this.  However, with the advent of more fuel efficient cars, and all electric cars as well, that tax may no longer be appropriate.  It is continuing to fall short of requirements, though I suspect this is in large part due to the fact that gas taxes fund other things besides roads and bridges, and so another method is required.

I think that method is tolls.

We have long ago mastered the technology that allows us to gather and collect tolls without having to stop at toll booths thereby slowing traffic.  We can do this automatically and accurately.  Now the only thing preventing us is fear of change.

By tolling a rod we are able to directly collect funds from the vehicles using those roads.  AND we can tax some vehicles more than others.  For example, an 18-wheeler is going to impact our highways much more than a Prius.  We can tax the truck more.  And, from a capacity perspective, we are able to tax our roads in order to increase capacity.

As I mentioned above, people will go to great lengths to avoid even a small increase in price.  It is my expectation that as we increase the cost of driving on a road during peak times, fewer people will drive during those times.  This will spread traffic out  more evenly and allow for much more traffic on our roads than we currently experience.

And I’m glad North Carolina is going to experiment with this use:

Raleigh, N.C. — Growing congestion on Interstate 540 could require an expansion of the state’s first toll road, part of which is set to open to traffic next month, a regional transportation planner said Wednesday.

The Triangle Expressway is an 18-mile stretch of road that includes the western part of 540. Tolling is scheduled to begin in January on a 3.4-mile stretch that runs through Research Triangle Park

The rest of 540 is currently free, but planner Chris Lukasina said that could change in the future.

The long-term plan for the road, slated for completion around 2035, includes widening it from six lanes to eight, Lukasina said. Two of those lanes could become toll lanes, with varying costs throughout the day depending on traffic.

“At different times of day, or as congestion picks up or slows down, they can change the toll on that particular lane,” Lukasina said.

In other words, drivers will be able to pay their way into a faster lane.

I’ll be fascinated to see how this works.

.

 

Ever since the Federal government decided that it needed to subsidize home ownership, we’ve been heading for the bubble.crash.  And it hit.  Big.

Now we’re waiting for the bottom so that we can begin to climb our way back to positive ground.

I have seen two pieces of good news:

  1. My neighborhood Realtor has sold 2 properties on the street in the last couple of weeks.  Sellers are internalizing the new prices and buyers are responding by, well, by buying.
  2. This story about a first time home buy in Minneapolis:

Jessica Harrison thought she knew what to expect when she decided to look for a house: a buyer’s market.

And why not? Prices are down sharply since 2009. And with so many foreclosed properties for sale, Harrison was certain she would find a good deal fast.

Instead, the Minneapolis teacher waded through countless homes during what became a two-year search. Most needed too much work. When she found a move-in ready house, she lost out to bids she couldn’t match. Harrison tried to buy a home through a short sale, too, but the deal fell through after six months.

She finally reached a deal on a tidy house in south Minneapolis and expects to close at the end of this month. “There were multiple properties available, but I wanted to get a house that I could move into,” Harrison said. “A lot of the houses needed a lot of work, and I didn’t have the money or resources to do that.”

Home buyers can no longer assume that it’s easy to buy a cheap house in a good location. New local listings are down 17 percent in the Twin Cities over the past year, as would-be sellers are holding on to their homes until the market improves. “[Buyers] have to be patient until the right home comes along,” said Ryan Haagenson, a sales agent with Re/Max Results in Minneapolis. “And ready to pull the trigger when it does.”

Make no mistake: There are still more sellers than buyers. But the decline in listings and the quality of the options are slowing the search for those on the hunt. U.S. home listings in September fell to a four-year low, according to Realtor.com.

For whatever reason, when the supply of homes goes down, the price goes up.

We’re certainly not out of the woods yet, we still have Obama and the Democrats stalling foreclosures and incenting people to buy homes.  But we’re closer than we were last week.

I’ve long been an opponent of toll based funding of our public roads, highways and bridges.  However, as I’ve been enjoying my Libertarian blossoming, I have come to embrace the idea.  And mainly for two reasons:

  1. The closer we can get to real use based funding, the better our roads will be funded.  Those that use the road more will end up paying for that road.  Big corporation drives trucks over our publicly funded freeways?  Charge those trucks for that privilege.  Don’t drive those roads but DO purchase the goods and services of those corporations?  Pay that toll through pass through costs.
  2. Tolls can easily be adjusted using technology to influence traffic patterns.  Traffic begins to choke things up at 08:00?  Reduce the toll for drivers up until 08:00.  And then increase it slightly through the rush hour until the demand goes back down.  Over time, traffic will normalize.

And so North Carolina begins its foray into toll based funding:

MORRISVILLE, N.C. — North Carolina’s first toll road is almost ready for drivers…

….

When Phase I of the toll road – a stretch of 3.4 miles between Interstate 40 at N.C. Highway 147 in Durham County south to Interstate 540 in Wake County – opens in December, it and the existing portion of N.C. Highway 540 between N.C. Highways 54 and 55 will be the Tar Heel state’s first toll road.

Drivers will have one month’s grace, and tolls will begin in January 2012.

I’m excited to see how the toll goes.  I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to recover enough money to fund these “infrastructure jobs” that the Obama administration continues to talk about.  The direct tax from tolls should be able to be easily tracked to highway funding.  This should be a no brainer.

However, I also fear that the money we normally collect for our roads will simply be diverted to other uses and that, in net, our roads will continue to be underfunded.

Sigh.

I shouldn’t be surprised.  Democrats have long ago abandoned any hope of defending individual liberty.  In so far that the Liberal Left picks up any cause, it’s done simply to gather that group’s vote in future elections.  You think the Democrats support civil rights?  Look at their record on civil rights votes.  Think that Liberals defend folks who are discriminated because of who they are?  Consider the same Liberals who demand their music not be played at certain functions.

Public schools?  Look where Obama sends his kids.

And now we have one more example of a Leftist going out in public displaying her finest pandering colors:

RALEIGH, N.C. — Gov. Beverly Perdue announced Friday she’ll vote against a change to North Carolina’s constitution next May that would prohibit gay marriage…

See.  A hypocrite.

“But Pino”, you may claim, “she is voting against the amendment and FOR liberty!  Ahhh, but look closer:

Perdue said in a prepared statement she believes marriage is between one man and one woman and voted while in the Legislature for a 1996 law so that North Carolina couldn’t recognize same-sex marriages in other states.

“I continue to support that law today,” Perdue said.

So, how does the good Govna of the Great State of North by God Carolina explain her fllippy floppyness of her vote?

“But I’m going to vote against the amendment because I cannot in good conscience look an unemployed man or woman in the eye and tell them that this amendment is more important than finding them a job.”

This is crap.

But I shouldn’t be surprised.

I mentioned that North Carolina has the dubious distinction of having elected the latest legislature to try and “regulate” the banks into behaving.  Well, in addition to ignorant congressmen, we have talk radio as well.  And this morning, Brad and Britt had Brad Miller on their show to discuss his new proposed legislation.

As you can imagine, much goodness ensued.

While discussing Mr. Miller’s proposed legislation, Brad admitted to being a customer of one of the big banks.  The conversation drifted into the details of the proposed law and how “hard” customers have it today when dealing with and switching banks.  During that conversation, Brad mentioned how hard it would be to switch banks, and he cited the reasons:

  • Direct deposit
  • Electronic bill pay
  • On line banking
  • Centralized banking for the whole family

All of which struck me as hilarious.  Brad is basically complaining that he doesn’t wanna switch banks because the services offered by his current bank ROCK.  Somehow the convenience of his current provider is SO good, that he just can’t imagine switching.  And, by gawd, we need a law to fix that!

Further into the conversation, Britt asks Rep. Miller what he would say to those people who have been “preached to” about the evils of government regulation? What would you say to those folks who have been told how to think and what to say?

Miller’s response?

That’s just silly.

Ahhh…

And THAT folks, sums up the entirety of the Left’s response to their actions.

Bank of America added this fee to us customers as a direct, a DIRECT, result of the Durbin amendment.  And now, Brad, Britt and and their guest are shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you, that we people would rather they quit.

But never mind facts guys, keep on keepin’ on.