I can remember crossing over the Herbert C Bonner bridge for the first time, sometime in the early 70′s. I was absolutely petrified. I had never crossed a bridge that high and really wasn’t sure that I wanted to. After a number of crossings over the years, those feelings of terror gradually subsided. When I drove across last month on the way to Ocracoke, the crossing was rather routine. But the bridge itself, or its future, is anything but.
But we must needs go back a bit. The bridge was built way back in 1963 and named for a long serving NC Congressman, Democrat Herbert Covington Bonner from Washington, NC who served 12 terms and actually died while still in office. His namesake bridge then became a memorial bridge.
The bridge as it stands is 2.5 miles long and allows vehicles to cross the Oregon Inlet ( named for the first vessel to pass through it, the Oregon) and continue on to Hatteras Island. The bridge was designed to last 3o years and the plans to replace actually began in 1990, which as it turns out was not nearly soon enough. The talks and the environmental studies and environment impact statements have gone on and on and on.
The latest public hearings took place in Manteo last week and were something of a fine tuning. If all goes well and that is quite a large word in this case, construction might just begin in 2 years and be completed by 2015. The cost is projected to be only $300 million and that statement I make in all sincerity. That is because this new 2.7 mile bridge, landing a bit west of the current one was not everyone’s #1 choice. A coalition of environmental agencies and groups favored a 17 mile long structure that would have cost a whopping $1.3 billion. NC DOT spokesman Drew Joyner said it quite well when he sated that the state just could not afford it. That’;s a refreshing comment from a government spokesman, is it not?
Granted there needed to be lots of studies and opportunity for comment, etc. After all, the bridge’s location is about the perfect storm for environmental issues. It’s near an ocean, a sound, a national refuge and a national park. And if things were not done just so, you can bet good money that a raft of environmental lawyers would be lining up, briefcases in hand and palms outstretched.
Hear a few statements. NC DOT calls the bride “structurally deficient” but safe for travel. They are actually working hard right now at fixing weak spots. Kinda gives one just a small unsettled feeling though. And another from Beth Midgett who chairs the Citizens Action Committee to build Bonner Bridge. She says that public safety has to win out over bureaucracy at some point. It does, does it not? And finally, from Ken Sharp, Jr of Manteo who is “merely” a local citizen. Words of wisdom here. ” Just build me a bridge, please.” Well said sir.
Anonymity is like a warm blanket. So said Vanessa Redgrave,aka Job to Tom Cruise in the 1996 movie Mission Impossible. Betcha that Rep Bob Etheridge from North Carolina’s second district would pay dearly for a measure of that sort of invisibility about now.
The 7 term Democrat has been caught in the full glare of the media spotlight due to an event that occurred just last week. Here’s a guess that it is his first appearance on Drudge and he hopes his last. What did the still part-time farmer and former Superintendent of Public Instruction for North Carolina do to garner such attention?
Seem sthat last week he was on his way to a Nancy Pelosi fundraiser when he encountered a couple of college students with a video camera who asked him if he supported the Obama agenda. He demanded to know who they were and when they declined , he grabbed the camera from one person and grabbed the other by the wrist. He persisted in asking for identification and when they did not resond he grabbed one by the neck and shoulders, refusing to let go. The individual finaly slipped away.
Today, a few days later, Etheridge finally released a statement. ( WTVD, the ABC affiliate in Raleigh had previously left 11 messages requesting comment.) He acknowledges having seen the video and expresses his regret for his reaction and apologizes to all involved.
Now what? The aforementioned tv station confirmed with DC metropolitan police that no charges had been filed, which is quite fortunate for Rep. Etheridge. Was it an a ssault ? Follow the link on Drudge and watch the 1: 11 for yourself. I watched and was disturbed by Etheridge’s reaction, regardless of whether he was provoked. He had a rather tight grip on the wrist of one individual and refused to let go when asked. This is the same congressman who has encouraged college students to get involved in politics.
Granted, there may have been an element of entrapament, emphasis on maybe. That in no way justifies a physical confrontation. Very curious as to what the reaction will be inside the Beltway. Any doubt that it will be partisan in nature? Good thing Rush will return tomorrow. This is right up his alley!
Richard Lapchick is the director of the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. He is very involved in efforts to increase the number of minority football coaches in college. (Fyi, the school at which he teaches has one George O’Leary, former Georgia Tech head man, as its head football coach and no Coach O’Leary is not a minority) Mr Lapchick is working with the BCA, the Black Coaches and Administrators Group, headed by Floyd Keith, to increase the number of minority head coaches at major football playing institutions.
At this moment, there are 120 Football Bowl subdivision schools. Alas, there are only 9 minority head coaches and I agree with Lapchick that the number needs to increase. But he is not just looking at the hiring but where they are hired. Case in point. Three minority head coaches were fired after the 2008 season. They coached at Kansas State, Mississippi State and Washington. Four coaches were hired, a small increase, but an increase nonetheless. The problem as seen by Dr Lapchick is that the schools where these hirings occurred; New Mexico, New Mexico State, Eastern Michigan and Miami(Ohio) are not powerhouses. Neither is Kansas State, but I digress.
Lapchick calls it “scandalous” that five of the six BCS conferences have no minority head coaches. Is it a problem-yes, does it need correcting-yes. But does it fall in the realm of scandal? I submit that it does not by any definition of the word. He also thinks that there should be a civil rights movement in college sports. Some even think that a lawsuit might be the way to go.
Again, I have problems with that approach, although I am not dogmatic about it. There is a need for more minority head coaches, but at the right schools. How does one define that? By size, by winning percentages, by bowl games, by what and who defines it? Conveniently left out of the discussion is the number of minority basketball head coaches. In my conference of choice, the ACC, the numbers are even, for example. Nationwide, I would guess that the numbers are pretty good. It has taken a while but I don’t think a lawsuit was necessary.
In the interest of full disclosure, my Tarheels have yet to hire a minority as a head coach for any sport. Although, i don;t wish per se for someone to be fired, I hope that the Heels will rectify that situation in the near future. Listening, Mr Baddour?
Not the city in the Saudi Arabia, but the one located in the state of Washington; actually should be considered a suburb of Seattle, I guess. It is a small city of 3,100 with an extraordinarily high average income of several times the national average. It also has a relatively unique sign welcoming those who enter the city limits. ” You are Entering a 24 hour Video Surveillance Area.” Bet that gets the attention of first time visitors.
The stated goal is a worthy one, of crime prevention and solving crimes if they indeed happen. Opinions vary on that count. Police chief Jeffrey Chen is a fan, maintaining that the cameras(installed at intersections to monitor all incoming traffic) give him an advantage over criminals. Since the system takes a picture of the license plate of all vehicles and then runs it through a database( don’t know what kind) information can be transmitted directly to police if a vehicle has been involved in a crime. Voila, a leg up on the evildoers.
Now, the city seems to have a low crime rate, 11 burglaries last year for example. But,according to Chen, one burglary is too many. One other intriguing fact is that the info is kept for 60 days, just in case something turns up later. If it does,gotcha!
Here comes an unusual thing, at least for me. I am somewhat in agreement with the ACLU on this one. Doug Honig is a spokesman for the Washington ACLU. He has this to say.”Government shouldn’t be keeping records of people’s comings and goings when they haven’t done anything wrong. By actions like this, we’re moving closer and closer to asurveillance society.”‘ Strongly agree with that. But, a council member in Medina begs to differ. Lucius Biglow says that preventing crime outweighs concerns over privacy. Hope he watches his speed through town.
Another member of the council had this to say. “We’re not elitist at all….What we’re doing here is protecting our citizenry.” So said Robert Rudolph.
Just to add to the above story, there is similar activity, albeit on a somewhat larger scale, going on in New York City.Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said that an existing network of surveillance equipment already place in Lower Manhattan will soon expand uptown. This is due to a Homeland Security grant received to assist in those efforts.
This comment was made by the myor in response to a criticism of the efforts.To me, it says volumes and I am afraid is a bit chilling. “We live in a world where we have to have a balance. We can’t just say that everybody can go everyplace and do anything they want.” What he did not add was that if you do, we will very likely be abe to see you do it.
The president ambled down to the Tar Heel State today to talk about health care I guess. I didn’t go even though Raleigh is only about 3 hours or less from here. For some unknown reason, I didn’t receive an invitation. Apparently some other more prominent people failed to receive an invitation as well, since they were not there. Specifically, Sen Kay Hagan was busy elsewhere. Three of the “Blue Dog Democrats” from Congress were also awol. Reps Heath Shuler, Mike McIntyre and Larry Kissell apparently had other more pressing business.
Seems sort of odd, does it not that you would not be there when your president visits your state. You know, hop on Air Force One, zip down for a great photo-op and be back in D.C. for dinner. Especially since Gov. Perdue and most of the state’s top Democrats were there. Guess the Blue Dogs were back in the capitol having their arms twisted to vote for the health care bill. Wonder if they were meeting with one or both of the Emanuel brothers?
It appears from listening to Maxine Waters that some members of the party’s more liberal wing are totally on board with the attention the Blue Dogs are getting and perhaps the influence they may be wielding. It can be kinda fun to watch Democrat vs Democrat, but one should remember that at sundown, they are still Democrats.
In the interest of equal time, hey, hey, it’s Father’s Day. So hats off to us dads, all 64.3 million of us. Almost seriously, dads don’t generally toot their own horn and they shouldn’t. But on behalf of dads, thank to Ms Dodd for Father’s Day. She was from Spaokane, Wa and got the idea for Father’s Day by(of all things) listening to a Mother’s Day sermon at church. She wanted her widower dad, Civil War vet, William Smart to be appropriately honored. Upon the death of his wife, he was left to rear six children on the family farm. He must have done a good job if he had daughter who wanted to pay him honor.
June 19, 1910 was chosen as the first Father’s Day and so proclaimed by the mayor of Spokane. June was chosen since it was the month of Mr Smart’s birth. Surprisingly to me, the first presidential proclamation regarding Father’s Day was not until 196 courtesy of LBJ.
So, I had the opportunity to celebrate 26 such days with my dad before he moved up and out. Admittedly, I probably contributed little to the first 3 or 4 of those. And I would guess I always saw him on those days. For my wife as a child and me as a father, that has not always been the case. When her dad was with us, the constraints of geography kept her apart from him on some of those days. So it has been true with me. And that is ok. I treasure the love of my children whether they are near or far. I must add for clarification that I consider myself fortunate to have added an additional child to my “quiver”(Psalm 127 :4-5) when my son and his wife were married a few years ago.
So, thanks Sonora Dodd, again proving the power of one individual to all of us who wonder what can one person do.
Try these descriptive phrases on for size. Euthanasia, assisted suicide, right to die and death with dignity. All describe the same thing but each one seems somehow a more “humane” description than its predecessor. Of course, all describe the process by which someone dies with the overt assistance of someone else.
This has long been a troubling topic for me, well before the growing push for its legalization. I suppose my thoughts hark back to a video series I saw in the early 80′s, put together by the late Francis Schaffer. Euthanasia was not the only subject addressed but it was the one that seemed most chilling to me. Those feelings have never really departed and they return almost every time I am reminded of the issue by various media outlets.
The “movement” if that is accurate seems most active on the west coast, i.e. Washington and California. Douglas LeBlanc wrote an excellent post on the topic on Get Religion on May 8 and articulated many of my thoughts. He used phrases such as “the breezy dismissal of moral concerns” by some advocates, a thought that really resonates with me.
He wrote of an advocacy group in Washington called Compassion and Choices, headed by Robb Miller. The group says that through 2008, some 41 people in Oregon and 3 in Washington have legally obtained prescriptions allowing them to facilitate their own demise. Predictably the American Medical Association opposes the group’s efforts and the law that these 44 people used I would think that virtually all physicians would have difficulty with any type of assisted suicide. How does it square with the Hippocratic oath’s admonition to first do no harm? Don’t know, I’m afraid.
It just seems to me that if the “death with dignity” movement gets momentum and maybe even gets a law passed ensuring a” right to die”, still another manufactured right would have appeared from thin air.
Questions for me at least, multiply. Who has the ultimate right to decide who dies? The sufferer, the physician , the family. the state? Can you say, rationing of health care? Or perhaps, get rid of the old, they are useless?This is no doubt a troubling issue and I fear that it isn’t going away.
I really don’t like writing about these types of things but the rapidity with which they are happening makes it almost unavoidable. I speak of the rash of multiple killings that have taken place within the past 2-3 weeks. From a nursing home in North Carolina to a domestic shooting in Washington to two separate cases of police officers being killed( Pittsburgh and Oakland) to perhaps the biggest of the group, in Binghamton, NY. at a community center.The news reports coming so close together seem somehow surreal in their assault on our senses.
Even a cursory glance provided no common denominator between theses tragedies. Two appear to be domestic violence while two others targeted law enforcement. The only commonalities are the weapon of choice- firearms- and that all the alleged shooters were male. as is usually the case in these types of violence.
So, what can one say, save to grieve over those who lives were taken? Is it the fault of easy gun laws, poor environment, perceived or real grievances? I don’t think anyone can say with certainty. These five instances whereby violent death occurred affect us all, those with relatives or friends as victims, obviously far, far more.
If you are so inclined, I would urge you to pray for those who suffer, as victims, as friends or relatives and as communities who know great loss.
I just finished an excellent book written some 50+ years ago by noted author Jim Bishop. The book was entitled The Day Lincoln Was Shot . Mr Bishop subsequently wrote a similar book about the assassination of President Kennedy. Much of the information was at least familiar to me and some very well known.Things like the who, the what, the where and to a degree, the why are somewhat common knowledge.
I was still very intrigued by the thoroughness of Mr Bishop’s work (research of a number of years) and the ability to immerse this reader in 19th century Washington, D C. and its environs.
He began the book early in the morning of April 14,1865. Approximately, 25 and one half hours later, it ended with Mr Lincoln’s death and a brief epilogue detailing what happened to those involved most intimately with the plot and its consummation.
Perhaps, what intrigued me most was the small details, things that went unnoticed at the time, but which played a vital role in what transpired. There were many but I will attempt to discuss only a few of them.
As you read these, attempt to place them in the context of the time and allow yourself to wonder, if they had been just slightly different, would the tragedy have still occurred.
Some days before April 14th, a small group had reserved seats for a play at Ford’s Theatre. They failed to show by the end of act I, so as was theatre policy, their seats were given to someone else. When the party finally arrived, the ticket seller Thomas Raybold was chagrined and attempted to atone. As fate would have it, the presidential box was the only one available. When he arrived with his partyMr Raybold, iscovered the door was locked but did not attempt ocate a key. Employing somewhat relentless force, he managed to break the lock and seat his patrons. In the excitement, he forgot about the broken lock on the presidential box and did not report it.Some four weeks and three days later, a man named Booth would have easy access.
The second instance involves a law enforcement officer named John F Parker, a rather dissolute man with an inferior work record. He was assigned to the 4PM -12 midnight shift as Mr Lincoln’s protection . For starters he was three hours late that night and was described at one point as half- amused, half-blank that evening. After getting Mr Lincoln and his party settled, he manned his post outside for an hour or so. At 9 pm became bored, went outside and invited an acquaintance next door for a drink. Mr ;Lincoln’s box was thus unprotected.He was not seen again until 10am on April 15th. He was sent home and remained a policeman in good standing for three years.
And yes, April 14th was Good Friday that year. The vagaries of history are rich indeed. Do you not wonder if those referred to above, along with others similar to them had any realization of the part they played in the death of a president. It seems proven again, that history that is well written trumps fiction most any day.
Kudos to Sonny and Cher for the title. Unfortunately, the event to which it refers is not nearly as good as the the song. Not wanting to be scooped by George Clooney, Brad Pitt made his appearance in Washington with Nancy Pelosi- not to worry Angelina- she isn’t quite in Brad’s league.
They met to discuss and publicize his foundation, Make it Right, which is doing work in New Orleans 9th Ward. Ms Pelosi was described as giddy while Pitt was described as bored, what a shock! Well, if nothing else Madame Speaker was able to make points with her children and grandchildren.
Any predictions for the next celebrity to make a landing in Washington? Anybody seen The Oprah lately?
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