I am working on the template of this blog today in order to chase down some problems that have developed with my template and widgets.

Macon County Commissioners

Coverage of the meetings of the Macon County Board of County Commissioners.

Franklin Town Board of Aldermen

Coverage of the meetings of the Franklin Town Board of Aldermen.

Macon County School Board

Coverage of the meetings of the Macon County School Board.


Photos from my photoblog.

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nullspace for future use


Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's the End of 2011 (And the Politicos Know It)

One of the themes for my New Year's resolutions for 2012 concerns focus. One of the things I resolve to focus more on is posting more Linkfests.

To the end, here is a last linkfest of 2011 for you, focusing on...

The Republican Primary Contest

The Iowa Caucus System Explained

The Iowa caucuses on Tuesday begin the process in that state that will result in 25 delegates being selected for the national convention. At the caucuses, voters will cast ballots in a presidential straw poll, and those results will get the most attention on election night.

Caucus-goers also will elect delegates to county conventions, who in turn will elect delegates to congressional district conventions and the state party convention in June. These are the conventions where delegates to the GOP national convention in Tampa, Fla., are selected.

Each of the four congressional districts will elect three delegates to the national convention. They will also appoint two members to a slate committee, which will choose 13 additional delegates. The slate is voted on at the party's state convention in June.

The system puts a premium on getting the most votes in individual congressional districts. If a candidate's supporters can control a congressional district convention, they can choose national delegates and slate committee members who support their candidate.

[Statesman] Wacky rules complicate race for GOP delegates

[RCP Polls] 2012 Iowa Polls 

A full slate of delegate candidates would be forty-one.

So which candidates were able to supply a full slate for Tennessee? Only one:

Michelle Bachmann: 0
Gary Johnson: 0
Rick Santorum: 0
Ron Paul: 35
Newt Gingrich: 34
Rick Perry: 27
Mitt Romney: 48

[Race 4 2012] Romney Proves the Point Again

Ron Paul will hit the trail in Iowa on Monday with his son, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, to make a final pitch to caucus goers in the Hawkeye State.

The father-son duo will embark on a whistle-stop tour, visiting five counties one day before the nation's first Republican nominating contest on Tuesday.

[CNN Political Ticker] Rep. Ron Paul to make final push in Iowa with son

WATERLOO, Iowa -- Rick Perry's events have taken a turn for the crowded. He'll arrive, typically, to find that a coffee shop built to accommodate 75 people is crammed with up to twice that many, spilling out the door and jammed into every available corner.

[CBS News] Can Perry's Recent Crowds Translate to Votes?

"The dumbest thing I've done in the last four years was sit on a couch with Nancy Pelosi," Gingrich said, according to The Hill's Mike O'Brien. "I can't defend it."

In the ad, Gingrich and Pelosi share a seat on a sofa in front of the Capitol and declare that "the country must take action to address climate change."

[Huffington Post] Newt Gingrich: Nancy Pelosi Climate Change Ad Is 'Dumbest Thing I've Done In The Last 4 Years'

To underscore her troubles, Bachmann has spent the past 24 hours trying to spin the fallout from her Iowa state campaign chairman’s defection to the Ron Paul camp — insisting repeatedly that the man in question took a payoff to make the switch. Another longtime staffer, who went public to defend the departed chairman, was gone from the campaign by late Thursday.

[Politico] Michele Bachmann's hard fall

Rick Santorum participated in raiding the federal treasury as an earmarxist, perfectly happy to pork away on Pennsylvania’s behalf. He did not join conservatives who fought against No Child Left Behind. He did not join conservatives who fought against the prescription drug benefit.

Rick Santorum was part of the problem in Washington. He was one of the Republicans the public rejected in 2006. The voters in Pennsylvania rejected him in 2006 because of his and the Republicans’ profligate ways. Along with Tom DeLay, Rick Santorum led the K Street Project, which traded perks for lobbyists for money for the GOP funded with your tax dollars through earmarks and pork projects.

[Red State] Rick Santorum, Earmarxists, and the Pro-Life Statist

Here's hoping that you have a Happy New Year and that the Republican nomination process is over by early March. I don't think the party can take a long drawn out process this year.

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Friday, December 30, 2011

2011: A Year in the Smokies

This is a short video by the Great Smoky Mountain Association highlighting the events and scenes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park during the year of 2011. 

Despite having been born in, and living most of my life, in the mountains of far western North Carolina, I've not been to this national park under my own power. The last time I was there was when my grandparents took me in the 1970s. Maybe I'll make it there this year or next.

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Mitt Romney Town Hall in Charleston, SC

This video was recorded at a town hall with Congressman Tim Scott in Charleston, SC. The Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, also spoke for a short time in favor of Mitt Romney's bid to become the nominee of the Republican Party in the 2012 Presidential Race.

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Participatory Concert of Handel's Messiah

Since 1995 the Obra Social "la Caixa" promotes participatory Messiah concert. This is a unique opportunity that brings together professional musicians and singers prestigious amateur choral music with a simple goal: to perform Handel's Messiah.

Participatory concerts Obra Social "la Caixa" offer people choral music fans the opportunity to participate in an emotional celebration of the music collective, alongside professional musicians and performers of international renown.

The ensemble performance of The Messiah, one of the most emblematic and significant repertoire of all time, has recorded another success of participation, with a figure of over 400 professional singers in each of the two concerts scheduled for the Obra Social "la Caixa".

For more information on this and other activies of the Obra Social, visit Obra Social.

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The Christmas Story "Festival of Carols"

“And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.” Luke 2:16-20 NKJV

The Sounds of Praise Orchestra at Rock Springs Baptist Church in Easley, SC presents "Festival of Carols" telling the Christmas Story.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ron Paul Town Hall Meeting In Manchester, NH

I've been neglecting to cover the national political scene on this blog for the past little bit, and here is a down payment on correcting that oversight...

Ron Paul Town Hall Meeting In Manchester New Hampshire
December 19, 2011 Aired on C-SPAN Video capture courtesy MOX News

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Friday, December 16, 2011

The Final Republican Debate in Iowa

Here is a playlist of the final debate in Iowa before the Republican Primary in January 2012.

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Macon County Board of Commissioners Agenda for 12-13-2011 Meeting
Updated with Video

**update** Here is the video of the meeting:

DECEMBER 13, 2011

  1. Call to order and welcome by Vice-Chairman Kuppers

  1. Invocation

  1. Pledge of Allegiance

  1. Adjustments to and approval of the agenda

  1. Acknowledge the recommendation of the Macon County Republican Party Executive Committee regarding the District I Representative on the Board of Commissioners – Vice-Chairman Kuppers

  1. Appointment of the new District I Representative

  1. Swearing in of the District I Representative – Macon County Clerk of Court Vic Perry

  1. Announcements

  1. Election of Chairman – County Manager Jack Horton

  1. Election of Vice-Chairman

  1. Public Hearing(s) – Proposed amendments to telecommunications tower ordinance – County Attorney Chester Jones
NOTE: Amendments to the ordinance will be considered by the board immediately following the public hearing.

  1. Public Comment Period

  1. Reports/Presentations
  1. Fiscal Year 2010-11 Audit Report – Erica Brown with Martin Starnes & Associates

  1. Old Business
  1. Exchange of real estate with Donald and Betty Fisher
  2. Board appointments (term limits)
  3. Revised 2012-2014 Macon County Work First Electing Plan – Jane Kimsey

  1. New Business
  1. Franklin to Fontana Local Watershed Plan – Andrea Leslie with the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources

  1. Consent Agenda – Attachment #16
All items below are considered routine and will be enacted by one motion. No separate discussion will be held except on request of a member of the Board of Commissioners.
  1. Minutes
  2. Budget revisions
  3. Tax releases
  4. Tax refund
  5. Holly Springs Community Club Agreement

  1. Appointments

  1. Closed session (if necessary)

  1. Adjournment/Recess

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Enduring Legacy of Pearl Harbor

The U.S. Navy through its last episode of "All Hands TV" commemorates the 70th Anniversary of Japan's attack of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The six memorable segments involve...

1) Seaman Anna Wagner talks about life as a USS Arizona Memorial boat driver.

2) The events in Europe that would draw Japan and the U.S. into the war.

3) Tensions between Japan and the U.S. worsen when a trade embargo forces Japan to declare war.

4) Japan attacks an unsuspecting Pearl Harbor

5) A retired Master Chief honors the veterans of the battle by scattering their ashes at Pearl Harbor.

6) More about the USS Arizona memorial and the lesser known memorials around the harbor that commemorate the other ships damaged and lost in the attack . . . with a mighty battleship standing watch over them.

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Pearl Harbor Attacked 70 Years Ago Today


The USS Shaw exploding on December 7, 1941.

KGU in Honolulu calls NBC to report Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor while it is in progress.

An NBC Radio report on the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

"December 7th," directed by John Ford, begins with the aftermath of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, nicknamed "the Navy's hundred million dollar fist." Authentic footage of the invasion is mixed with reenactments to provide a complete portrait of the events of that fateful day. An extended sequence pays tribute to the American soldiers killed in the attack, many of whom are individually profiled, complete with testimonials offered by surviving family members. American bravery is not only embodied by the fallen, it is proven by the resolve that comes in response to the attack. The film culminates in a profile of the Navy's recovery of one sunken vessel in particular, employing the effort as a metaphor for the American cause, "a symbol of the fighting spirit of our men who build and man our ships." Much like this successful refitting, the film suggests that American forces will rise from destruction, stronger than they were before.

Here are three chapters from the Frank Capra "Why We Fight" film series to help you understand a little better of what was going on back then...

"Prelude to War," Chapter I of Frank Capra's "Why We Fight" series,
describes World War II as a battle between the "slave world" of fascism
and the "free world" of American liberty. In the "slave world," the
entire populations of Germany, Italy and Japan have been hoodwinked by
madmen, opportunists who capitalized on their people's desperation and
weakness to rise to power. These demagogues promised revenge for past
losses, and in the process convinced their people to give up their
rights and accept dictatorship. In the "free world," the principles of
equality, freedom, and liberty characterize the greatest leaders,
embodied in the works and words of Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln.
This freedom is a threat to the fascist dictators of the Axis powers,
who claim that democracy is weak and must be eradicated. The film
claims that the ultimate goal of the Axis powers is to enslave the
nations of the "free world," a desire made manifest in the Japanese
invasion of Manchuria and Mussolini's destruction of Ethiopia.

"The Battle of China," Chapter VI of Frank Capra's "Why We Fight"
series, explains why the Empire of Japan possessed such a strong
interest in ruling the disparate lands of China. In an attempt to break
the will of the Chinese people in one massive assault, Japan invades
Nanking and massacres forty thousand civilians. The attack results in
an opposite effect, galvanizing the Chinese resistance and unifying the
separate lands into a single Chinese identity. While the Japanese take
control of all Chinese ports, hoping to cut off all resources from its
victim, China's allies effectuate an engineering miracle. They
construct the seven hundred mile long Burma Road over the mountains of
Myanmar, and set up a constant caravan of trucks to ship food and
materiel to the Chinese armies, keeping them alive. Frustrated by their
inability to conquer China, the Japanese turn their attention to the
islands of the Pacific, and the United States.

"War Comes to America," Chapter VII of Frank Capra's "Why We Fight"
series, begins by celebrating the American values of liberty and freedom
that are threatened by the aggressive forces of Germany and Japan. The
early years of the war are seen from the perspective of the United
States, with particular focus on the reluctance of the American people
to get involved in a European or Asian conflict. As the German army
rolls across Europe, Nazi organizations spring up across the United
States. The film attributes the rise of such groups to Hitler's policy
of softening up future targets with political sympathizers, and shows
one surreal Nazi rally at Madison Square Garden, where paintings of
George Washington hang alongside the swastika. Eventually the American
government realizes that war is inevitable and cranks up the production
of weapons and drafts the largest army in its history. The film ends
with the war's beginning for the United States, the surprise attack by
the Japanese on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Franklin Alderman 12-05-2011
Jimmy Tate Selected as County Commissioner

**9.40pm** My camera quit recording before the meeting started (while I was covering the selection of a new county commissioner across town), so there will be no video of this meeting.

Download MP3

The Executive Committee of the Macon County Republican Party selected Jimmy Tate to fill the vacancy on the Macon County Board of Commissioners as the District I (Highlands area) representative. 

Jimmy Tate of Highlands is Macon County's newest County Commissioner

I will be at the meeting, tweeting the proceedings via my @WPIG twitter account and will post audio and video as soon as I can.

Town of Franklin Board of Aldermen 


Monday December 5, 2011 - 7:00 p.m. 

  1. Call to order -Mayor Collins
  2. Approval of November 3 and November 7, 2011 meeting minutes
  3. Oath of office for Mayor and the Aldermen- Vic Perry, Macon County Clerk of Court
  4. Selection of mayor pro tempore
  5. Public hearing 7:05 p.m. for Truck route
  6. Board consideration on the following item: Truck route
  7. Public Session
  8. Presentation on the Fiscal Year 2010-2011 audit- Martin Starnes associate
  9. Forward petition for re-zoning on William Knief property to planning board for recommendation
  10. Budget amendment for Fish and Wildlife contract- Janet Anderson
  11. Mill Creek utility service contract- John Henning Jr.
  12. Approval for financing package for police vehicles- Sam Greenwood
  13. Adoption of the 2012 Town Board Regular Meeting Schedule
  14. Adoption of the 2012 Holiday Schedule
  15. Adjourn

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Music Monday: Franz Lachner
Symphony No. 5 in C Minor "Preis Symphony" Op. 52

Franz Lachner is one of the composers of the Romantic Period of classical music that should have more exposure.

The 5th symphony that I have chosen to introduce you to him is a giant one, lasting an hour. It takes its time to develop, in a Schubertian manner. I consider him a transitional period between Beethoven/Schubert and Bruckner/Brahms and hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Franz Lachner - Symphony No. 5 in C Minor "Preis Symphony" Op. 52 (1835)

I. Andante - Allegro - 20:46
II. Andante Con Moto - 15:58
III. Menuetto - 10:48
IV. Finale - Allegro - 12:48

Franz Paul Lachner (2 April 1803 – 20 January 1890) was a German composer and conductor.

Lachner was born in Rain am Lech to a musical family (his brothers Ignaz, Theodor and Vinzenz also became musicians). He studied music with Simon Sechter and Maximilian, the Abbé Stadler. He conducted at the Theater am Kärntnertor in Vienna. In 1834, he became Kapellmeister at Mannheim. In 1835 he received the first prize for symphonic composition at Vienna with his Sinfonia passionata, and became royal Kapellmeister at Munich, becoming a major figure in its musical life, conducting at the opera and various concerts and festivals. His career there came to a sudden end in 1864 after Richard Wagner's disciple Hans von Bülow took over Lachner's duties. Lachner remained officially in his post on extended leave for a few years until his contract expired.

Lachner was a well-known and prolific composer in his day, though he is not now considered a major composer. His work, influenced by Ludwig van Beethoven and his friend Franz Schubert is regarded as competent and craftsman-like, but is now generally little known. Among his greatest successes were his opera Caterina Cornaro (1841), his Requiem and his seventh orchestral suite (1881). In the present day it may be his organ sonatas (Opp. 175, 176, 177) as well as chamber music, in particular his music for wind instruments, that receives the most attention, though his string quartets and some of his eight symphonies have been performed and recorded. His songs, some of which are set to the same texts that Schubert used in his songs, contributed to the development of the German Lied.
For performances of Luigi Cherubini's Médée in Frankfurt in 1855, Lachner composed recitatives to replace the original spoken dialogue, and it was this version, translated into Italian, which was used in many twentieth-century revivals and recordings of that opera.

Source: Wikipedia 

Conductor: Paul Robinson Website 

Orchestra: The Slovak State Philharmonic, Košice (ŠfK) 


Wikipedia partial list of compositions 

Classical Archives 

Naxos Discography 


Amazon MP3's

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Friday, December 2, 2011

MCNC and Advantage West Host Broadband Briefing

MCNC and Advantage West hosted an information session in Franklin, NC to update local leaders on the progress of the funding and construction of a fiber optic "middle mile" in the far western counties in North Carolina with the goal of fostering economic development in the region.

Several people, including Joe Freddoso, Ken Maxwell and Cecil Groves spoke about the ongoing efforts to establish a fiber optic "middle mile in North Carolina, with a focus on the far western counties represented by Advantage West. It was mainly an information session.

I have the full video of the meeting and a few photos I took during the meeting below:

Here is a short video that gives an overview of the program:

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Macon Commissioners Accept Resignation of Chairman
Macon County Republican Party to Select Replacement

The Macon County Commissioners met last night in a special meeting to accept the resignation of chairman Brian McClellan and to notify the Executive Committee of the Macon County Republican Party that it has 30 days to select a replacement for County Commission District I on the Board of County Commissioners. Chris murray, chairman of the Macon County Republican party, was present to receive the formal notification from the County Commissioners.

The full video and audio of the meeting is below:

Download MP3

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