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Sis and I had lunch today at Woody’s Sports Tavern. I mentioned them before in my Favorite Sandwiches post, and honored them with the #1 position on my list of favorites.

Of course, that’s what I had today. My check is below – check it out. Take your time, I’ll wait.

Notice anything flaky about this bill?

I realize that things have changed since the days when we had to chisel our arithmetic homework onto granite slabs, but I’d be willing to bet that $9.50 + $0.74 = $10.24, and not $10.43.

Being somewhat attached to whatever money Uncle Sam and his cronies see fit to leave me after I pay my taxes, I questioned the server about the apparent error on my bill. It turns out that Woody’s has recently started adding a 2% fuel surcharge to all their bills, to cover the additional costs they incur from their food vendors, who are charging them a fuel surcharge.

On the surface, I have no problem with that. I understand that all cost increases are passed along to the consumer – that’s Econ. 101 at it’s finest. What I do have a problem with is them not printing it on the bill. They seem to be operating under the fallacy that their customers can’t handle simple arithmetic, and will never notice that the bill doesn’t add up.

And what really frosted my cookies was that as I was leaving to come back to work, I saw the owner’s (identified by it’s WOODY’S #1 license plate) Cadillac Escalade parked in the lot. Exactly whose fuel costs is the surcharge covering?

“Ammo and students don’t mix”

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In conflict with North Carolina law, which allows firearms education in the public schools, a Wake County principal has canceled his school’s participation in a marksmanship tournament for which the school’s Rifle Team has been practicing and preparing for months. He did so with no notice to the team; the event will be over before they can appeal his decision. His reason? “Ammo and students don’t mix”.

Never mind that the school has participated in this same event for the past 22 years, along with close to 2,000 other middle and high school age shooters from across the state. Never mind that the decision conflicts with state law. Never mind that the event is sponsored by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (a state agency) and supervised by adults who are certified in firearms safety.

The only part of this story that warmed my heart was learning that the team has been coached for the past 22 years by a woman: Janet Harris also teaches Hunter Education and is the advisor to the FFA club who sponsors the team. There are too few women shooters; having her in this position will (hopefully) encourage the female students to learn to shoot.

You can read the full article here.

You win some, you lose some


i-voted.jpgAnother Election Day has come and gone.  I had the dubious distinction of being the first person in my voting district to cast a ballot yesterday, as I stopped to vote on my way to work and actually had to wait for the polls to open.

Some of my candidates prevailed. Congratulations to Tracy Carter, our new Sheriff, who won by a whopping 137 votes (in a county where just slightly more than 12,000 people voted). His opponent ran a good race, without the usual mud-slinging that we see so much of these days. It was very close.

Some of my candidates will have to try again next time. Life goes on.

I was very disappointed in my western NC brethren, who failed to re-elect Charles Taylor to the U.S. House of Representatives. He’s been doing a great job up until now; I think his defeat is a great loss to our representation in Congress.

Likewise, I’m sorry to see that Tim McNeil did not prevail in his bid for N.C. House. His presence would have brought some much-need fresh thinking to the table, especially his positions on law enforcement and illegal immigration.

C’est la vie. We’ll do better in ’08.

The NC Gas Tax Hike, Part III

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I received the following e-mail today from Bill Graham, who is heading up the fight against the North Carolina Gas Tax Hike. At his request, I’d like to share it with all of you. More

Only in North Carolina

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A Johnston County man was hauled into court yesterday, charged with disorderly conduct, for cussing at his mule in public during Benson’s annual “Mule Days” festival last September.

Chris Lutterloah, a horse trainer from Rocky Point, defended himself ‘pro se’ in Judge Andy Corbett’s courtroom. He called witnesses, brought charts and graphs, and apologized for his mule’s behavior, which is what prompted his outburst.

I’ve been in Judge Corbett’s courtroom, as an observer, when he’s been on the Lee County leg of his circuit. He’s a fair judge who tolerates no shenanigans from those appearing before him. He found Mr. Lutterloah “Not Guilty”.

“That horse was hungry,” Corbett said later, explaining his verdict. “He [Mr. Lutterloah] was spurring him and trying to do all he could under the circumstances.”

More on the NC Gas Tax Hike

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The gas tax hike I posted about here went into effect on Sunday, despite public outcry to stop it. Today’s Raleigh News & Observer profiles Salisbury lawyer Bill Graham, a leader in the effort to prevent the tax hike. The article names him as a likely Republican candidate for the governor’s office in 2008.

According to the article, Mr. Graham was able to collect over 22,000 signatures from his website in just three weeks, and has submitted them to state government officials. The esteemed Governor Easley (spit!) is against rolling back the tax hike.

Unbelievable (to me, at least) is that not everyone is in favor of the rollback. The article quotes Larry Goode, a former state highway administrator and co-chairman of NC Go (a coalition of 130 organizations representing chambers of commerce, highway contractors and such corporations as Wachovia) as saying “The gas tax is a small part of the price.” Goode said the increase would cost the average driver $15 per year. I’m curious where Mr. Goode got that number from!

My job requires me to track my mileage and fuel purchases. I pulled out my records for the last quarter of 2005. During that 3-month period, I purchased 449.817 gallons of gasoline. The increase of 2.8 cents per gallon, had it been in effect last quarter, would have cost me $12.60 (over and above the $31.27 that I did actually pay). That’s the cost for just one quarter! Annualized, the cost of the increase would be $50.40, not the $15.00 that Mr. Goode is estimating. Admittedly, I have a longer-than-average commute, but certainly not four times longer than average.

It looks like Mr. Goode needs to check his facts before he opens his mouth.

I’ll be watching this story, and keeping an eye on Bill Graham. It’s time that North Carolina had a Republican in the Governor’s Mansion. If only he wasn’t a personal injury lawyer!

Stop the Gas Tax Hike

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This post is aimed at my North Carolina readers … but all are welcome to follow the link. Maybe reading about how the Tarheels are being fleeced will make ya’ll feel better about where you live!

In the last four years, a 37% increase in the gas tax is costing North Carolina drivers an extra $300 million a year. The National Federation of Independent Business, the nation’s leading small business organization, says our state’s gas tax – the highest in the Southeast- is part of the reason why small business in North Carolina is hurting compared to our neighboring states.

While increasing the gas tax, the Legislature has drained $1 billion out of the Highway Trust Fund in the last four years. That’s part of the reason why we have the 5th worst roads in the country.

It is time to restore common sense to Raleigh. It is time to stop spending $400,000 on a teapot museum and $2 million on an ACC Hall of Fame.

Your signature on our petition will show the Legislature that people at the grassroots are outraged over high gas taxes that will go even higher in the New Year. Please tell your friends and associates to sign on and check the website for updates.

Click here to read more and/or sign the petition.

Morning Glory

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