Category Archives: Flannel’s Mailbox

From the Comments: National Endowment for the Arts & Dept of Ed. Part II

Smacktooth comments:

Thank you very much for the response. I see your assertion clearly.

However, as I see you are somewhat of a constitutionalist, I wonder what place the “necessary and proper clause”, which leaves the door open for a major expansion of Congress’ legislative power, and the “take care clause”, which allows the president to undertake whatever action national policy may require that are not expressly forbidden by the Constitution or public law, fit into your assertion. Based on these portions of the Constitution there is provision for both the Dept. of Education and the National Endowment of the Arts.

I will admit I am quite sympathetic to your concerns of money-sucking government bureaucracy, but I will argue very seriously that these organization’s abolishment is unwarranted. If you allow me to say so, I think streamlining and “cutting-the-fat” would be a proposal where we share more common ground.

I do not wish to appear as though I’m rebutting your entire assertion because we are both sympathetic to a few things here, like limited bureaucracy for instance, but although we may see the National Endowment of the Arts differently I believe it is an important perpetuator of America’s cultural development. I find this to be a hallmark of any civilized nation. As for the Department of Education, I think it is a crucial facilitator in America’s project to make sure all children are able to get the quality education that is their right.

Again, thank you for your generous response to my previous comment.

First – I would like to look at the clauses referenced:

Section. 8.

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;–And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Section. 3.He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

It appears to me that these articles of the Constitution are tightly reigned in and would prohibit the Federal Government from establishing authority over Education or the Arts.   It should also be noted that there is nothing in the US Constitution to prohibit the States from doing these things.  Take for example the Arts.  Several years ago, the City of Raleigh commissioned the “Time and Light Tower“.  The project was universally panned when it was finished.  People thought it was an eyesore – an eyesore that reflected the sun into their eyes during the rush hour commute.  The public outrage over spending $50,000.00 of taxpayer money on something that so few people saw any aesthetic benefit from caused the city government to more carefully plan any future art projects so that they would be more beneficial to the public at large.  Because it was done at the city level, the people in charge of spending the public funds had to face the criticism from their constituents every day for a long long time – something that federal officials seldom have to do.  Especially in conjunction with the arts.  If the National Endowment for the Arts spends its money poorly, you have to have an act of congress to fix things, which is not necessarily easy to come by.

Likewise, the same is with the Department of Education.  A federal department will never be responsive to the needs of children.  It is merely a method by which conformity can be impressed upon the nation (or worse in the wrong hands – many totalitarian regimes are fine examples).  Schools should be managed at the local level, parents should be involved in the education of their children, and most importantly, parents should be in control of what their children are learning.  The more diversified the schools are, the more opportunity you have to try new ideas – and some will work, and some won’t, but the ones that do work will spread.

Also, keep in mind that a right to learn does not necessitate a Department of Education and federal funding for schools any more than a right to Free Speech obliges the Federal Government  to buy you airtime on CBS.  Having huge amounts of resources does not necessarily mean that you will have the best education – take for example Frederick Douglass who learned to read even though it was against the law for anybody to teach him.

Continuing with iBiblio Discussion…

I wanted to give a forum to the response I got to this post and go into some specifics about why I feel the way I do about the whole Indymedia thing.


Thanks for emailing me about your blog post. a few responses: To clarify, the signature was my own, and not that off the email list. I had meant to keep the signature up for a couple weeks as a joke around the office, and I certainly didn’t intend to ridicule anyone publicly. Also, I think when Joey said that he was being insulted by proxy, he meant that he takes an insult to ibiblio as an insult to himself, and not that you were insulting ibiblio in a roundabout manner. Also, the only reason I used Tiny URL was to be able to cut the size of my signature by one line, and not for any sneaky referrer obfuscation :)

Regarding Indymedia, it is ibiblio’s mission to provide technology resources for essentially any non-profit information oriented entity which requests it.

Independent of our mission though, I’m not sure why you refer to Indymedia as left-wing. Many (perhaps the majority of) Indymedia volunteers have anarchist political/philisophical views. They have what has typically been considered a libertarian view on government. The majority of the issues they cover and the stances they take are concerned with local autonomy, decentralized government, states’ right, and civil liberties.

In fact, all of the indymedias in the world don’t have any formal relationship with one another. They are all autonomous organizations which don’t share much but a domain name, an email list, and an attitude.

I suppose because of their views on civil liberties, they end up with what is typically today considered a “Liberal” view on sex legislation (such as the criminalization of certain sex acts), and since many regard health security as a civil right, universal health care might also be part of their discussion.

If you live near a city with an indymedia, I’m pretty sure they would love to have you help them report on states’ rights issues and the continuing problem with an increasingly powerful federal government and executive branch. There is no formal process for “joining” an indymedia, it’s a “do it yourself” organization with members who disagree on as many things as they agree on. I can’t speak for other indymedias, but the one with which I was involved in Houston had such an environment.

I reference Indymedia is being largely a “Left Wing” voice is because of certain things I see on their website, for example, their Mission Statement

The North Carolina Independent Media Center is a network of activists that are committed to using media and journalism as a tool for promoting egalitarian change. As a collective, we will make all decisions through a consensus process and do our best at representing the diversity of our local communities. Though based in Chapel Hill, the NC-IMC will cover all related issues within North Carolina that are not being given adequate coverage by any other media. The North Carolina Independent Media Center will also work to network with existing independent media and publications that are committed to social and economic change throughout North Carolina. The NC-IMC will continually oppose hierarchy within its structure and the structure of the surrounding community. The North Carolina Indymedia Center advocates and promotes media democracy through free skill-share workshops and teach-ins, which are to be open for the benefit of all. Along with web publishing, we will also produce print resources and videos to spread the message amongst those who may not have access to on- line resources. The North Carolina Independent Media Center will actively oppose racism, homophobia, classism, sexism, and nationalism within our framework and within the framework of society. Since we are a regional media center, we will serve the cities and counties of our state by allowing them to have their own categories within our site and autonomy from the main IMC-working group, which is based in Chapel Hill, NC.

That mission statement is not only left wing, I think it would be fair to call it Marxist (particularly, opposing “Nationalism” in that the pure Marxist communism holds in the destruction of the Nation-State model of government and thus opposes nationalism). Also, the parts about “egaltarian change” seems to be buzz words for Left Wing/Socialist ideology. I’m also uncomfortable with the listing of the long list of “isms”, especially considering that a good number of those “isms” can be defined in such a way as to contridict traditionally held values.

Also, right now, on theNC Indymedia front page (due to the dynamic nature of the internet, I’ve made a PDF of the page for viewing here) I count:

  • Protest the Minutemen
  • Protest “Neocon Warhawk”
  • May Day Marches
  • May Day in Charlotte
  • May Day in Carrboro
  • Boycott for Immigrants Rights
  • Southern Girls Convention (Social Justice)
  • Several incidents of “Bush Protests”

I’m willing to grant that Indymedia may be a non-partisan outlet for news, but its volunteers seem to be overwhelmingly tilted to the left. And in a nation where blogs are easier to come by than food, I’m not entirely sure that it’s a good use of iBiblio’s resources.

I’m not trying to attack iBiblio, I actually quite like the concept of an online repository of our knowledge (and have used the Project Gutenberg and Linux Archives on occassion, and if I ever wanted to expand my blogging to more than one blog I’d probably go with Lyceum {but considering my posting history of late, I doubt I’m going to have that problem})
Which actually makes me start to think that I need to produce some more posts on why I think what I think. A little late to start tonight, but probably in the future (if my current task of mastering Asterisk doesn’t kill me)

Brave as long as they think you’re not looking…

My my, what a little Google search on your internet handle will reveal…

I love the fact that we’re reviled by a guy with a paunch who drives a Chevy (as a matter of religious conviction), calls himself the “flannel avenger”, and earnestly believes in the principals of the confederacy. If I have to be anonymously maligned by proxy, then I’m glad this guy’s the one doing it. -Joey Carr, re:

Where to begin…

Well, first off, only a moron would believe that I’m insulting anybody anonymously or by proxy. Anybody who is interested in spending 5 minutes reading my site can find out everything they need to know about me.

Secondly, don’t you love how they used a Tiny URL instead of the Real URL? You wouldn’t want anybody finding that sort of thing in the referrer logs and being able to trace it back to you, huh?

Thirdly, nobody has yet to explain to me why iBiblio, a service of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, should be providing webspace for Indymedia, an organization that blatantly spreads left wing propaganda.

And Fourthly. Comments are open. If you don’t like it, you had a chance to complain in the post as it was written. Of course, that would have given me an opportunity to repudiate anything you had to say, and we can’t have that. After all, leftists are all for free speech, which is to say, anything any left wing nutjob has to say is free speech, but dare to criticize anybody on the left and you’re a fascist ignorant bufoon.

Confederate Memorial Day…

Susan writes:

I just came across this column today, and wanted to “bounce” it off of you to see what you think. I feel annoyed to an extent that I’ve never heard of Confederate Memorial Day before.

I know my philosophy and convictions about the war have changed dramatically against what I was taught in school (in Yankee country, of course).

I think that there is more at work here than just political correctness run amuck. Confederate History is actively being pushed from our culture, and I think that it’s because the ideas of the Confederacy are dangerous to the powers that be (Slavery had nothing to do with the War)

Our borders are wide open, our money is very quickly becoming worthless, and power is becoming more and more concentrated in the hands of a few individuals in the federal government. The idea that people should be free to govern themselves is a dangerous idea in the face of globalism.

The path that we are now traveling was forged in 1861, when it was decided that it was not possible for the North and South to coexist without one forcing their will upon the other. Global politics has become nothing more than a contest for who can force their will upon everybody else. I much prefer the simpler rules of we’ll leave you along as long as you leave us alone, but if you dare antagonize us, you will face our full, unified, wrath.

Another Ty Pennington Fan…

I don’t know why the Ty fans even bother…

Ty Pennington is hotter than hot – not to mention Michael Moloney. They are all great guys and if you think that you are in any way better than them then you need a new brain, not to mention a new body! Ty and the design team from Extreme Makeover Home Edition are awesome and we love them.

If you wanna attempt to build an amazing house and have the heart to help a family, then go ahead as I’d like to see you try! The design team are unbelievable people doing everything within their power to change other people’s lives for the better! If any of the Extreme Team are reading this, we love ya, and keep doing what you’re doing!

Lets see… Where to start…

First, lets wipe the Ty Pennington-Teenage-Fan-Girl-Drool off the post, shall we?

Now, if I had the budget for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, I could do all that stuff too. Nevermind the seemingly endless hoardes of help that actually build the house while Ty Pennington works on his “Special Project”.

Such as it is, Ty Pennington probably has one of the best jobs in the world, and I want it. Thus, I have declared him henceforward and forever more my arch nemesis and I shall destroy him!


Lauren Writes

Let me put it simple for you. TY IS HOT!!!!! YOU ARE WEIRD!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m not the one hemming sheets here…

She further comments:

AAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! TY PENNINGTON IS SOOOOOO HOTTTT!!!!!!!! Whoever this flannel avenger guy is, you are beat. Hes funny,attractive, and a really good person… I doubt you can beat that!!! 😛

I’m funny, attractive, and a good person too! My mama said so!

Flannel’s Mailbox

Or, more accurately, comments.

Anyway, people have finally started to comment.

Shelby writes:


My Arch-Nemesis will never prevail!

now, onto something more serious.

GRM writes:

As always, I see a lot of complaining about social ills and carping about what will happen to the money. There is a great deal of spin going on around this issue, but very little fact. Things like – they will actually end up spending less on education – look at such and such a state, the poor will buy tickets instead of feeding their children, $500 million is just a drop in the bucket – it really isn’t going to make a difference and people will become addicted to gambling.

What I don’t see are valid, logical arguments that support not allowing people of this state to spend their money as they see fit.

I really don’t give a hoot whether NC has a lottery or not. As a matter of fact, I put it in the same category as seatbelt laws and helmet laws. Why should it matter to those folks in Raleigh (or anyone else for that matter) if I wear a helmet or a seatbelt. Why does it matter if I spend the money in my pocket on a pack of cigarettes, a pint of booze or a lottery ticket. For that matter, what business is of theirs anyway!

The politicians pass these laws and just about break their arms patting themselves on the backs congratulating each other on how, once again, they have saved the ignorant masses from themselves.

As an adult, I feel that I should be able to buy tickets if I want. Just like I should be able to buy a drink, a magazine or a pack of cigarettes. If I want to be stupid enough to drive a vehicle without wearing a seatbelt or ride a motorcycle without a helmet, it should be my choice. It is my money, it is my life and it should be my choice on how I spend it and live it.

Specific to the lottery, the opponents say that it breeds sloth because people will buy a ticket and feel like they don’t have to work as hard – “Hey, I’m going to win the lottery, why bother working so hard!”. I would counter with – “Hey, the government has programs for the unemployed, why work at all!”.

They talk about the habitual gamblers. The state is surrounded by lotteries – if the think for a minute that habitual gamblers aren’t already up the eyebrows in it, they are only fooling themselves.

They talk about the poor who will by tickets instead of feeding their children. This in my opinion is the worst of all. Not only is it prejudicial, it is slanderous to the majority of hard working responsible citizens of this state who take pride in their work and put the needs of their families first and in most cases, even above their own needs.

It all boils down to a bunch of political who-hah where the politicians are so busy strutting around trying to look important and control our lives that they end up turning their backs on the rights and freedoms of those who they represent as they legislate how we spend out money and how we live our lives.

In all honesty, if NC passes a lottery (regardless of whether you are for or against it) – how will it affect you personally (and saying that you find it offensive, doesn’t count – Who isn’t offended by second hand smoke, public drunkenness, topless bars, idiot drivers or stupidity – and yet, we deal with these everyday)?

If you are against a lottery, don’t buy a ticket – that’ll teach them. If you are for it – make sure you are aware of the odds, and throw your money away if you want – I really don’t care! What I care about is a little less government control over how I live my life.

I can sum up why the Lottery is a bad idea in 3 succint points:

1) Anything that gives the government more money to grow larger and more intrusive is a bad thing.

2) It’s bad fiscal policy to run the state into a hole and then turn to a lottery as its salvation. If the government can’t manage its tax dollars, why do you expect that they’ll be any better at managing lottery money? If it were anybody other than the government, they would have all the money taken from them for their fiscal irresponsibility rather than trying to figure out how to give them more of it.

3) It’s hypocritical. The government in North Carolina has banned gambling, and yet, they’re prepared to open a lottery? What right does the government have to tell the average businessman that he can’t open a casino when they’re running their own gambling operation? It’s a state owned monopoly.