Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Outrage of the Day

Let me just give you a taste of the article from Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier from Dec. 6, 2009. I think you'll realize what the outrage is.

"A split-second decision was the difference between life and death.

"Glen Fortsch had to choose: Shoot an attacking grizzly bear or die. The Hudson hunter didn't want his wife to be a widow or his children not to have a father.

"Kill it or be a statistic," Fortsch said..."It was more reaction than anything," Fortsch recalled. "The (investigating) agent said ‘you had about 2 seconds to die.'"...The good news is Fortsch lived to tell the exciting, yet heart-pounding tale. The bad news is grizzly bears were re-listed on the federal endangered species list a day before he shot the omnivore. Fortsch could be charged with an endangered species violation. Wildlife officials estimate there are 600 grizzlies in Wyoming."

So let me get this straight...because an animal is on the federal endangered species list, that animal's safety is more important than that of the man that animal would have killed? Because Glen Fortsch rightfully decided to defend himself, he could be looking at a $25,000 fine and/or 6 months in PRISON.

Oh yeah, he'll learn his lesson from that!

Seriously, six months in prison??? Yeah, let's waste time and money on that trial. According to the New York Times, "The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population. But it has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners." I mean, it's bad enough to waste taxpayers' money on frivolous lawsuits, like burning yourself on hot coffee or mental suffering because your favorite suit didn't come back from the dry cleaners, but this is going too far.

Even the CATO Institute in Washington, D.C. is backing that up. "The amount of money that American taxpayers spend on prisons has never been greater, and the fraction of the American population held in prison has tripled during the last 15 years, as has national prison capacity."

I obviously don't have a problem with hunting. And I'll go so far as to say it's a shame that an endangered animal died, but to punish Glen Fortsch for saving his own life is outrageous. The federal government or whoever is going to try and bring suit against Glen needs to drop it and leave him be. Fining him or putting him in prison WILL NOT bring the bear back to life.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Virginia Veteran Wins Battle to Keep His Flagpole in Yard

After reading about Col. Van T. Barfoot's fight with his home owners' association in Henrico County over the height of his flagpole, I was thrilled to read that he had won his fight!

For anyone outside Henrico County, here's the quick breakdown for you, courtesy of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Dec 4, 2009: "In a five-paragraph letter to Barfoot that he received yesterday, Barfoot is being ordered to remove a flagpole from his yard. The decorated veteran of three wars, now 90 years old, raises the American flag every morning on the pole, then lowers and folds the flag at dusk each day in a three-corner military fashion...In a priority mail letter, the Coates & Davenport law firm in Richmond is ordering Barfoot to remove the pole by 5 p.m. Friday or face "legal action being brought to enforce the Covenants and Restrictions against you." The letter states that Barfoot will be subject to paying all legal fees and costs in any successful legal proceeding pursued by the homeowner association's board...There is no provision in the community's rules expressly forbidding flagpoles, Barfoot's daughter said. But she said the board ruled against her father's fixture and ordered it removed in July, deciding that free-standing flag poles are not aesthetically appropriate. Short flag stands attached to porches dot the community."

My immediate thought was, wow, what a bunch of douches! This man is a 90 year old veteran, a Medal of Honor recipient from WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. My next thought is, damn, he's 90 years old...he might not be around for much longer. He's not hurting anyone, leave him and his flagpole be. I actually thought Col. Barfoot would be ordered to remove his pole.

But as Fox News reported earlier today: "[Barfoot] can keep his 21-foot flagpole in his front yard after a homeowner's association dropped its request to remove it, a spokesman for Democratic Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said Tuesday...The association had threatened to take Barfoot to court if he failed to remove the pole from his suburban Richmond home by Friday. It had said the pole violated the neighborhood's aesthetic guidelines." I'm guessing the HOA realized they wouldn't make any headway by forcing him to remove the flagpole, just because it didn't match the rest of the neighborhood. According to the Virginian-Pilot article, "It had said the pole violated the neighborhood's aesthetic guidelines."

Guidelines??? Col. Burfoot took all that shit over GUIDELINES? They weren't even actual HOA RULES!

Virginia is thick with a military population, both active duty and retired. Do you really want to alienate that type of homeowner out here? I think not.

I've never lived in an HOA. In fact, when we started looking at houses, we purposely avoided any that fell into that category, just for that reason. I don't what someone else telling me what I "can" and "can't" do with a house and property that I own and maintain. According to Association Times, "A homeowners association is an organization established to govern a private community. Typically it owns and manages some common property for owners of private houses or condominium/townhome units. By buying a lot and/or home, an owner automatically becomes a member of the homeowners association of which it is a part. Most homeowners associations are corporations established under the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law. A homeowners association is similar to other corporations – it is governed by a board of directors elected by the members and a set of rules called by-laws. Books and records of financial transactions must be kept, taxes paid, and certain services provided to members in accordance with the governing documents. Usually the board has an annual budget prepared to estimate expenses, and then assesses each member a share of the costs."

Meh, I don't see a need for all that, especially considering you have to pay more to live in those neighborhoods.

And let me give a little shout out to Sen. Mark Warner for getting involved with that. I was glad to hear about his support and the support of Jim Webb.

But Col. Burfoot also had loads more support. A Facebook page was started to show the local support for this man to keep his flagpole. I joined it tonight. It has more than 33,000 fans.