We talked about this on my Facebook page for the blog a few weeks ago. If anyone is still interested, I’m going to be ordering some t-shirts in the next couple of weeks. It will just be a picture of the logo at the top of the blog page with the title of the blog. If you’d like one, they’ll be $10.00 which will cover the cost of producing the shirt. Specify the size you’d like and whether you’d like a black or a white shirt. The color that gets the most requests will be the color we’ll order. As far as paying for the shirts, If you are in the Wetumpka area, you can come by my work. I am at Bridgeway Wireless in downtown Wetumpka, directly across from the Wetumpmka Civic Center and City Hall. If that won’t work, just let me know and we’ll figure out another way to do it. Email your size and color preference to me at wetumpkanews@gmail.com. I will place the order in a couple of weeks so that anyone who might want one has a chance to order one. Not that anyone will. Thanks!

By: Thad Hankins

Who says the art of conversation is dead?

That is sarcasm. Last night, I was sitting at the computer blogging/Facebooking while Gigi sat on the couch watching TV. We were about 30 feet apart, maybe. Rather than have a conversation face-to-face, we texted each other. About 15-20 times.

Then, this morning before I left for work, I was sitting out on the back patio in the swing. I opened the back door and announced to my wife that I was sitting in the swing for a few minutes if she wanted to join me. She did and we both sat, blackberry in hand, perusing Facebook for ten minutes.

It’s kind of funny. But it’s also sort of sad. I love to talk. I often talk too much. But it has become so easy to simply email or text message or use Facebook or Myspace or even write on a blog that I find myself in situations like this all the time. Too much of my time is spent staring at the flickering screen of the computer when there are three other human beings in my house I could be interacting with. I’m pretty sure that is not a good thing.

If anyone has any suggestions on how to bring actual verbal exchanges between people back to the forefront as a primary means of communication, send me a text. TTYL!

Ok…This is Awkward

By: Thad Hankins

I was at a family reunion yesterday for my wife’s family. Maybe forty or fifty people give or take a few. In the South, someone is always asked to say a blessing before eating. There was some discussion as to who it would be and when it was finally decided upon, my brother-in-law, Brad, began to pray. About five seconds into the prayer, some unfortunate soul decided that was the time to walk into the house through the front door. If you’ve never been the person who walks unaware into the midst of a group of hungry, praying southerners, all the while continuing the conversation you had started with someone outside, prior to the blessing, well, you don’t want to be. Trust me on this. I’ve been there. The voice that in reality may be only slightly louder than you might talk to someone in a library, becomes a scream in such a situation. Which got me to thinking about other embarrassing moments. Such as…

Waving at someone whom you think is waving at you, when they are actually waving at someone behind you. It can be tough turning a full-fledged wave into a stretch or a move to fix your hair. I never know how to react when this happens to me, regardless of whether I’m the waver or the faked-out wavee. If I’m the waver, I kind of want both people to think I was waving at them even if I’ve never met the guy I wasn’t waving at. If I’m the guy who waved incorrectly, I want to act like there is someone I’m waving at behind the guy who waved at the guy behind me. Whew. Turn the old tables on him!

This one may be unique to working in a phone store, but…answering a question that you think someone is asking you when they are actually asking someone on a bluetooth, wireless earpiece. I usually say out loud, “Well, I’m an idiot. You weren’t talking to me.” Luckily, they don’t hear that because they are so engrossed in the real conversation.

Then, there’s the time I extended my right hand to shake hands with a man who had no right hand. Awkward! The bad thing about that is I knew him, his name was Jim, and I was aware he didn’t have a right hand and I did it anyway. He kind of chuckled and grabbed my right hand with his left hand and that always feels really weird. Stupid me.

By the way, is it ever okay to shake someone’s hand as they are exiting the bathroom? Or worse, they have just turned around from doing their business and haven’t even made it to the sink to wash their hands yet? I have a friend who was at church one Sunday and had just finished his business at the urinal and turned around to head to the sink. He swears a guy said, “Hey Jojo(not his real name). How are you?” And reached out to shake his hand. My friend shook his hand. Gross.

Speaking of church, a friend and I once went to a revival service at his church which started at 7:00 p.m. We walked in while the congregation was singing and sat down about halfway to the front with some friends of ours. They finished the song and then the pastor called on someone to CLOSE the service in prayer and we left. Three minutes, tops. Apparently, church started at 6:00 p.m. I wondered why everyone was looking at us so funny.

And, of course, the old I’m walking along, I almost trip over an invisible rope, now I must jog for ten feet and look back to try and see the invisible guys who were holding the invisible rope.

I know this is sort of a pointless post but things have been kind of heavy here lately so I thought I’d try to lighten things up a bit. Ain’t life fun?!? Tell me some of your most embarrassing moments in the comments section below. Or, just laugh at me and say nothing, which is what most of you will do(minus the laughing, I suspect). Oh, and if anyone knows Steve Calloway, ask him about the time he and I were at McDonald’s one Sunday night after church and he ignored the elderly ladies who were trying to talk to him. He’ll know what you mean!

Confessions of a Displaced Debutante

By: Kimberly Hays

The funeral that Thad wrote about earlier this week was actually my Dad’s. A little expected, a little unexpected, but nonetheless I have found myself displaced right back to Wetumpka for the next little while. In all the visits, cards, and calls we have received this week I have heard one thing repeatedly. My dad was proud of the independent women he raised and of the independent woman he married. He was proud that my sister and I not only had the opportunity to receive a college education, but that we both seized that opportunity. He was also proud that we recognized that intelligence did not always come from a college classroom or a text book, but sometimes comes when a little girl sits around a kitchen table with her dad, grandpa, and uncles.

Dad and I were alike in too many ways to name, but politics was definitely our thing. I have read news magazines for as long as I remember being able to read, Rush Limbaugh played on television as I got ready for elementary school, and the State of the Union was our own personal Superbowl. Even after I left home, Dad and I would talk pre and post State of the Union and spend the next few days breaking the speech down play by play. It didn’t matter who was giving the speech, we weighed and debated just the same.

Even though I could probably guess, my dad never told me who he voted for – ever. He loved the secret ballot; he saw beauty in the democratic process (even when it didn’t go his way) and in open debate. No topic was off limits in our house, but I was always expected to carry on these debates with grace and respect for the individuals involved. We talked abortion, immigration, torture, civic responsibility and the list goes on. I did make a conscious choice to avoid discussing the war. My dad, grandpa, and great uncles were all career military men. Between them they covered every branch, every major conflict, were practically their own Joint Chiefs of Staff and only by the grace of God not court-martialed a hundred times over for raising hell. I never wanted my father to think that I was not grateful for his service and the service of the men (and the women and children who loved them) in my family. My dad was never in a war, but he served this country in a time that wearing his uniform would get him spat upon and called a ‘baby killer’. He and millions of other men and women served this country so I could be a woman with a PhD, so I could voice dissent over a war and so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, so I can be a Christian with a roommate who was raised Buddhist and plenty of friends who are atheist, and so I could support a political candidate by volunteering for his campaign and putting a sticker with his funny sounding name on my car.

Burying my dad was obviously not something I looked forward to doing this week. However, being surrounded by people who love me and reminiscing about my dad and his quirks has made the week easier. Today, however, I was hurt by the actions of a stranger, actions that flew in the face of everything that my dad served this country for and spent his life trying to teach me. Maybe you think you just ripped an Obama sticker off a car in a church parking lot, but instead you reminded my of the ignorance that my dad promised me I would encounter in life. You also reminded me to treat you with grace and respect. I think my dad would be proud of me.

P.S. Confidential to the Sticker Ripper – I have another one =)

Will the Real Extremist Please Stand Up?

By: Troy Evans

On June 10th of this year an ignorant anti-Semite, James von Brunn, walked into the U.S. Holocaust Museum and opened fire with a .22 rifle. In this incident a security guard, Stephen Johns, was mortally wounded.

In listening to the mainstream media, they have been quick to label this murdering old bigot as a “right-wing extremist”. Looking at what this man stands for, what part of the right wing’s platform does he agree with. The “right” or Republican Party has always been pro-Israel. Does it seem that this man was pro-Israel or does it seem that his hatred for Jews would make it impossible for him to align himself with a political party that has as one of the main pillars of its foreign policy, protecting Israel.

Mr. von Brunn is also of the belief that our government was behind 9/11, not very “right wing” of him there, either. I guess that since the left wants to label all conservatives as racist, that must be the reason he is being labeled as a “right wing extremist.” That is the only reason I can see for it. This man is a criminal and a domestic terrorist. For the blame to be placed anywhere else but squarely on his shoulders is wrong. Again, can someone please tell me what part of the Republican platform was he trying to advance by his actions? Nothing. Call him what you will. A murderer, a domestic terrorist, a cold blooded killer, a bigot, a racist, but don’t try to politicize a man’s death by calling him a “right wing” extremist.

Back on June 1st, another murder took place. Two U.S. Army recruiters were attacked. One soldier was killed and one was wounded. Where did this take place? Iraq, Afghanistan? No, Little Rock Arkansas. Was this man labeled a “left wing” extremist? No, only a Muslim convert. To make matters worse the killer, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, is saying that he does not think he murdered anyone because murder is when you kill someone without a justified reason. So this man thinks he is justified in killing members of the U.S. military in America because of our ongoing war on terror. Sorry my friend, but if you are going to try to place Mr. von Brunn in my camp then Mr. Muhammad is in yours. His view that America’s war on terror is an unjust war on Muslims certainly isn’t coming from the right.

To be clear, I am not saying that Democrats are responsible for what happened in Arkansas. Nor is any member of the right responsible for what happened in Washington, D.C. Both of these individuals planned and executed their deadly plots without any help from any political party. James von Brunn is not a right wing extremist any more than Muhammad is a product of the left. The fact that Chris Mathews, Lester Holt, and numerous other left-leaning media members plastered the label “right wing” on this man is simply wrong-headed. Three men died. Three families will never be the same. Three Americans were killed by demented, twisted thugs. Political parties should not have played any part in the reporting of either story. Sadly, in one case, they did.

What is Racist?

Saying that a hispanic woman would make a better decision as a judge than a white man would is not racist. Disagreeing with the president’s choice of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court based on that comment is racist. Can someone please explain?

Maybe if you read this very interesting article in the Wall Street Journal by Shelby Steele, it would help.
Sotomayor and the Politics of Race

Then come back here and explain it to me!

I Went to a Funeral Today…

I’m going to write more on my observations from a funeral and graveside service I attended this morning. But right now I wanted to mention how incredibly poignant and moving a funeral with military honors is. I always get a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes when I attend one. The precision with which the honor guard performs their duties at these services adds a degree of respect, honor, dignity, emotion, and appreciation that is unparalleled by anything else I have ever seen. It makes me proud to be an American that our military sees fit to honor our fallen servicemen and women in such an incredible way. From the carrying of the casket to the playing of taps, these men and women serve a very important and meaningful purpose and are to be commended. Thanks!

Could it be Conservative Backlash?

A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows that one-third of Republicans have an unfavorable view of their party while only 4% of Democrats said the same of theirs.

I posted a few weeks ago about how, in my view, conservatives like me have been betrayed by the party we usually call home. They continue to give us less than desirable candidates and really outdid themselves by giving us that old maverick, John McCain, as a presidential candidate.

I was not contacted as a part of this survey but I would be among that unhappy one-third. Could it be that conservatives have grown weary of the party’s move toward the center, and ultimately the left? Are the days of conservatives voting Republican in every election over? I said before, I’d rather lose with someone who represents me and the issues that are important to me rather than win with someone who is a maverick. Are the GOP leaders learning anything from all of this? I would hope so, but I have my doubts. What do you think?

A Non-Obama Supporter Responds!

By: Laura Baumgardner

I made a comment to Thad regarding a blog that Natasha Donghia had posted. She is an Obama supporter and decided to speak up in defense of him. That is her right to do so, as it is everyone’s right to have an opinion. She wanted me to explain why I disagreed with some of her statements. I did, and what I thought would be a quick response turned out to be quite long. I didn’t mean to write so much, but once I got going it was hard to stop. Anyway, my blog is actually my response to her….

Natasha, you wrote a great blog and I applaud you for doing so when the views you expressed aren’t shared by many people “in these parts.” I do agree with you on a few things. I guess that’s where our conservative values meet. Like you, I disagree with his health care policy. I think it is greatly flawed too. Unlike you, however, I don’t think Obama’s plan will benefit the private health insurance companies themselves as much as it will diminish the quality and the amount of care that we will be allowed to receive if the government has control of it. Both Canada and Great Britain are prime examples of the diminished health care one receives when it is government regulated. In Great Britain, if you are diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, no treatment will be made available to you. You are past the point in which they think you are “curable.” I want to know there are cures available and have every opportunity to find it. I’m also glad that Obama lifted the ban on federal funding of stem cell research, but I still believe that we should only use adult stem cells in the research and not embryonic stem cells.

I agree with you that our country is great. I love my country and the freedoms which it offers. Are we fat and lazy like we are portrayed in the rest of the world? Absolutely. Why? I believe it’s because the government has made us this way. The social program we know as Welfare is the biggest reason that we’ve become a lazy society. Sure, there are times when we need to help those less privileged and less fortunate. However, when you have families that become “welfare dependent” generation after generation it proves the system has failed and needs to be changed. Will the government do that? No. Instead Obama wants to do a little thing called redistribution of wealth. Seven years ago Obama said in a radio interview, “the U.S. has suffered from a fundamentally flawed Constitution that does not mandate or allow for redistribution of wealth.” I’m sorry but in my opinion, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as the Declaration of Independence speaks of has nothing to do with redistribution of wealth. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of footing the bill for the people who are able to work but are unwilling to do so because it’s easier for them to draw a paycheck from the government. It’s time for a “change” alright, but I’m sure his slogan didn’t mean in it that respect. It’s my sincere belief the he wants to grow a much larger welfare dependent society because that will allow the government to have the power over the people. (Government health care plan included).

As for your comment that his administration inherited the problems for the former administration, it’s the same statement uttered by every new president that has taken office. I doubt that will ever change. I agree that a few of the problems can be blamed on the Bush Administration, but some of the problems can also be placed squarely in the laps of his own Democratic party who were in control during the Bush years. That being said, Obama has taken office during one of the most difficult times our nation has ever faced. I don’t disagree with that. However, I don’t think that some of Obama’s actions and plans have been in best interest of our country. It is not the government’s place to fire a CEO of a public owned company. It is not the government’s place to say that a bank can receive a bailout will not have a chance to repay that money. Yes, the TARP fund was started by the Bush administration, but it is the Obama administration who is saying that the banks aren’t going to be allowed to pay it back. That is a HUGE conflict of interest when the government controls the largest and most powerful banks in America.

You asked what administration WANTS industry to be nationalized by government. Are you kidding me? It doesn’t matter who is in control, Democrats or Republicans. The government will seize any opportunity it has to grow larger and more powerful. Once it grows in size, you can be assured that it will never shrink. That’s why we need to be careful and pay attention to what’s going on in our society. Everything is happening at such a slow pace that I’m afraid that most people don’t see how “we the people” are losing our voices. It has nothing to do with being a Republican or a Democrat. What’s the old saying? Throw a frog in a pot of boiling water and he will jump out, but throw a frog in cold water and turn up the heat he will slowly cook to death. That is the analogy I use with our government.

I agree with you that the structure of our economy was different 30, 40,and 50 years ago. You mentioned that mom and pop stores are closing because Wal‑mart and other larger companies are forcing them out of business. That’s true. I can say that because I was one of them. We closed our business because we knew we couldn’t compete against the giants like Petsmart and Petco. I’m not blaming them for being successful, though. Every large company had to start somewhere. That is what’s great about our country. You can start small and dream big, eventually becoming wealthy and successful. So why would you let the government come in and decide how much money you can make or how much money you can pay your employees? Where do you draw the line? Sure, I’ll be one of the first to say that Wall Street was out of control and that the “golden parachutes” the CEO’s rewarded themselves with were shameful, but it’s the stockholders and shareholders who should decide what happens in the private company. Capitalism is an economic system in which wealth, and the means of producing wealth, are privately owned. The Obama administration is most certainly trying to stifle capitalism. He is wanting to control the wealth, and the amount of wealth one can earn. We may be in uncharted territory, but you had better watch where Obama steps because it may be on your toes next. You can’t have it both ways.

As for the man himself, I don’t appreciate our president visiting another country and apologizing for Americans being “arrogant.” He may be trying to improve relations, but dogging one’s own citizens isn’t the way to go about it. If the American citizens are arrogant it’s only because we’ve been taught that you don’t have to work hard or have a job in order to have your needs met. The government will give it to you anyway. Our forefathers worked hard and fought hard to get ahead in life and I think they would be ashamed to see what has happened to our country.

America was founded on God and Christian principles, and for Obama to say that we aren’t a Christian nation is an outrage. “In God We Trust” can be found on all of our currency. “One nation under God” is in our Pledge of Allegiance. Heck, even the Alabama State Constitution states “ that all men are equally free and independent; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” So do what you want to make you happy in life, but please don’t trample the values of the U.S. Constitution in order to get there, and don’t expect me to foot the bill for it.

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