Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Since I don't have much to say, check out this link:
His latest post is about middle east history, complete with a slide show which I found interesting. Unfortunately, our computer speakers aren't working, so if there's any speaking during the slide show I couldn't hear it.
Friday, July 27, 2007
I sure am.
Anyway, I said I would try to post after the last meeting and I didn't. Sorry.
The board of Supervisors, after having a public hearing where we all said our thing, went into executive session so they could privately discuss the matter. This time at the public hearing the cattleman's association, the chamber of commerce, the zoning commission, the county lawyers, a spokesman for Harry Kenobe, and a privately hired lawyer all spoke on behalf of Mr. -------. Those are the big guns here in NE. They are richer than we'll ever be. They are worried that if the board votes against this one hog barn that it will set a precedent against agriculture here in NE. Which is really quite extreme, and not true.
The board voted to basically erase the last decision they made to deny the hog barn, and to table the discussion for two weeks so the lawyers could issue statements. At this point they are, to my understanding, just trying to avoid a lawsuit. The farmers from all over NE are supporting Mr. ------- , and they have money; they are really pressuring the board to approve the barn.
So, it seems like we are going to lose, but that isn't a done deal. Our options appear to be:
- or just put up with it.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
"By the day, evidence is growing that the U.S. “surge” in Iraq, declared a failure even before it had begun, is in fact working. The U.S. military, as usual, is performing courageously on the field of battle, dislodging Al Qaeda and its allies from strongholds, reducing their sanctuaries and doing it all with minimal civilian casualties.
As U.S. forces kill and capture the thugs, more and more Iraqis are willing to throw in with us. In Anbar province, U.S. forces have closed a deal with Sunni and Shiite tribal leaders resulting in joint military operations against Al Qaeda.
(The milbloggers are saying this too: check out Acute Politics, for one.)
Al Qaeda has other problems too. Its bloodthirsty, barbaric tactics are causing a backlash even among some of its own members. In one neighborhood in South Baghdad, locals are switching sides to support us after Al Qaeda thugs started cutting off people’s faces with piano wire.
Even an Al Qaeda cell leader crossed over and has provided the U.S. with vital intelligence information. When asked why he had abandoned Al Qaeda, he replied, “Because I’m sick of it and I hate them, and I am done.” (By the way, you’re not likely to read such reports in any of the domestic media. I learned of this report from the London Times.)
(Read Michael Yon!)
But here in Washington, powerful people, sadly, have a stake in our defeat in Iraq. Senator Harry Reid has repeatedly announced that we have already lost. Seventy liberal members of the House of Representatives, along with Republican Ron Paul of Texas, have written to President Bush warning him that they will not vote for more funding for our troops unless all of them are “redeployed” out of Iraq before Bush leaves office.
General Petraeus is supposed to bring his report to Congress in the next few months, but no matter what he says, the surrender contingent in Congress has already made up its mind."
I know people who like Ron Paul because he wants to pull out of Iraq, though for perhaps a different reason than Harry Reid. Ron Paul also voted to go into Afghanistan, and I don't know why he approves of us staying there but not Iraq. Also, he says he wants to fight terrorism, but I don't know how he would do that either; we can't meddle in countries other than Afghanistan, and other than that we just tighten security here at home and let Islam grow overseas? The terrorists will attack us again and security can't end that threat as well as killing them before they attack can. I do not see how pulling out of Iraq will be good for America or Iraq. If we leave Iraq now, the Iraqi people will be worse off than they were when Saddam was in power.
Iraq makes for a complicated issue, but I am sticking to my opinion that what we are doing in Iraq is, overall, good and right, and that we ought to stay in Iraq for a long, long, time.
Also: We have a very important hog meeting tomorrow, so expect another post, hopefully sometime tomorrow. I will try not to be so harsh in my critiques this time around; I know I was a bit too strong last time.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Our water pump broke.
We have no drinking water, no hot water, and worst of all, no running water. We can get cold water from the basement, but that's it. We've been washing our hair in buckets; at least, those of us who care about cleanliness have, and have been carrying and heating water on the stove to wash dishes. I would tell you what we are doing with the toilet situation, but I don't think it would be proper to say in such a public spot. The whole situation is annoying, but not too terrible. It looks like it will be fixed by the time I get home from work tomorrow.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
"FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — The longleaf pine forests on Fort Bragg where soldiers prepare for battle conceal more than the Army’s training secrets. Pieces of North Carolina’s history are hidden there, too. Dirt piles cover chimneys that once blew smoke from Scottish settlers’ homes. The bones of Civil War soldiers — Confederate and Union — lie in mass graves beneath wire grass fields."
About the meeting:
The courtroom was full. If Mr. ------- had a lawyer there, he didn't stand up and speak. Our lawyer didn't do much good because the planning commission didn't understand his legal argument and so it was basically dismissed. It would be nice if he didn't charge us full price for his work...
There was a public hearing for about an hour and a half. There were a lot of farmers there to support Mr. -------. We all said our pieces, and the board voted five in favor if the CAFO, one abstained. One board member didn't show up- I think he didn't want to get caught in the situation. Coward! Abstaining is cowardly- everyone has an opinion, and if you know what is right you need to support it. I am sure that man only abstained to try to keep his political support. All of our arguments against the CAFO were ultimately ignored- the board did not consider anything we said. They are all farmers and will not believe anything we say about health problems from hog confinements. The side supporting Mr. ------- was very emotional. They seem threatened by our opposition, as though we were opposing all hog barns in the county, which is not the case. Hog barns where there are few people are fine; though we will never support them by buying their pork again. The way they raise those pigs you'd think people would just flat out die from eating their pork.
So next week we go back to the board of supervisors, who voted in our favor last time. This time, though, there is so much pressure from the farmers that the chances of the board upholding their decision is slim. Even our area supervisor, who was so strongly in our favor last time, says the pressure is so bad he "doesn't know what he is going to do". Either way he loses votes- we won't vote for him if he's not for us, and the farmers won't vote for him if he's not for them.
These people are thinking selfishly and politically and not considering the facts we present before them. The zoning laws are too lax in this area- hog barns are allowed to be built a quarter mile from a residence; in this case three residences; and yet we cannot build another house on our property according to zoning laws because it would make our property too "crowded". That is not freedom!
It can be depressing considering the whole situation. Some things I learned through this course of meetings so far:
- It's hard to stay calm when hearing the opposing side speak and it's hard to treat county officials with respect when they act so callously.
- Always take water- your mouth tends to get so dry at these meetings.
- Take a verse to meditate on- there are times when you just don't want to hear what's being said, and you need something to think on. Also, encouragement is needed when you know you're losing.
Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
And we know that all things work together for good
to those who love God,
to those who are the called according to His purpose.
I know God was with us last night, and He caused the board to vote the way they did.
Monday, July 16, 2007
On the subject of leaving- I now have less than a month left before I leave for Ft. Bragg. That doesn't seem like a very long time to me! It is scary and exciting to think about leaving home. I know I will really miss my family. It turns out I will be gone for more like three and a half months, rather than two and a half. The return date is still not clear.
On a more lighthearted note, Mom was telling us the other day about the investments she had made and how they were doing (Mom is the family financial dealer) and one of her investments is doing real well- Smith and Wesson. That's good, of course, but we thought it was funny; she only invested in that stock because she thought she was investing in Wesson cooking oil.
Monday, July 9, 2007
Someone tried to blow up our mailbox two nights ago, probably with some sort of firecracker. It was around 1am when it happened, and it woke me up and scared me half to death, but I didn't realize what it was until I saw the mailbox the next morning. But, having learned from past hoodlums, after the last incident we purchased a higher quality mailbox and I am happy to report that it withstood the blast while retaining only minor affects. This isn't the first time someone has tried to destroy our mailbox- it seems to be a 4th of July sport for the jerks in our area. Maybe it was the hog farmer that did it! I saw a sign once that warned that a building was protected by "2nd Amendment Security". I'm all for that, but by the time I would have gotten outside it would have been too late...
So Jen is coming home today. I am using stiff, expensive frosting that you can roll out with a rolling pin to decorate cakes to look like pointe shoes. And we're cleaning house and decorating with streamers, balloons, etc. We painted the hallway and I cleaned our room, so it looks real nice. Her plane was delayed an hour, but that seems to be almost normal nowadays.
She'll be home soon; I'm excited!
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Tomorrow my whole family is traveling to a celebration where we will exercise our basic rights as Americans by gathering together with friends and thanking God for our country!
2 Corinthians 3:17
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
An Englishman thinks seated; a Frenchman, standing; an American, pacing; and an Irishman, afterwards.
Monday, July 2, 2007
Now I wonder where they learned that expression?
I made reese's today- peanut butter and chocolate were made to be together! They have to be kept in the freezer because they melt so rapidly otherwise. And they were calling my name... I could not escape them... in the end I managed to take them out of the freezer, put them all in a plastic bag, and eat two without the boys in the next room even noticing. That's what you have to be careful of- if one boy sees you eat a sweet, they all want to eat one too.
So the 4th of July is almost here. We are going to the State Capitol for a Christian celebration of our Country's heritage. The ceremony should be wonderful, but I am a little apprehensive about afterwards. Having Jenni gone might be good for me, as far as gaining confidence by being alone in certain situations, but it's sure not fun. It was very depressing to me to be alone on Sunday, especially after various disagreements with friends.
Speaking of Jen, she called yesterday and she is having an awesome time dancing and making new friends. She said pointe class is painful, jazz and modern are easy, praise dance is God-honoring, combinations are good for her, and conditioning class is like ballet boot camp. She said they do lots of push-ups, sit-ups, etc, and they work her so hard her arms shake and she sweats a ton. But she is really having fun being with so many Christian girls who all love ballet.
I miss her!
Sunday, July 1, 2007
Here is a newspaper article about our last hog meeting:
”One of the most livestock-friendly counties in Nebraska rejected a proposed hog-confinement operation on Tuesday. After hearing complaints from neighbors about potential odor and health problems and damage to property values, the County Board voted 5-2 to reject a proposed 2,496 head wean-to-finish hog barn. Mr. -------, who lives (in a different county), said that he was surprised by the rejection of his hog operations after the first County Planning Board earlier had approved his plan on a 5-1 vote.
"I think they got a little bit scared," ------- said of the County Board. "It's a live stock operation, so it does smell some. But I don't think it would be as bad as what they think."
------- said that shortly after the negative vote, he reapplied for a county conditional use permit to build the hog barn, which would be the first one he owns.
While (our) County is not an officially designated "livestock friendly" county it has been in practice. It ranked No.1 in cattle on feed, 229,321 head, and No.4 in total hogs, 150358, according to the state's most recent agricultural census in 2002.”
The next meeting is two weeks from now, so we’re looking at getting a lawyer and some more support, because we know he will be a whole lot stronger in his denial of our concerns this time around. I guess I am very easily discouraged about this whole issue right now, because a) our county leadership doesn’t seem to care about the issues we brought up last time, b) we live in such an agricultural state that some of our friends and most of our leadership support big hog operations, in all their filth, and especially when it’s your friends opposing, it’s discouraging, and c) I’m missing Jen an whole lot more this week. The longest we’ve been apart before is a week, and it’s been two. I’m starting to feel very lonely. Today was especially bad. But our “We don’t want hogs for neighbors” group met tonight and everyone is still going strong on opposing this thing, so that is a plus. And besides that, God is in charge. Whew!