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.

nullspace for future use

nullspace for future use


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Florida Primary Results

The 2012 Florida Primary was a landslide victory for Mitt Romney as he garnered more than 46% of the vote in a four man race. The tally as of 11.30pm is below:


Of course, where there are primary voted being tallied, there will be politicians making speeches. Here are tonight's speeches delivered in the order in which the candidate finished.

Mitt Romney

Newt Gingrich

Rick Santorum

Ron Paul

It is my belief that tonight's victory in Florida has de facto sewn up the Republican nomination for Mitt Romney.

Bookmark and Share

Religious Bigotry in the Republican Party

It pains me to have to go on the record to report bigotry and hatred within my own political party, even by some who claim to be my co-religionists. The only way to get rid of this stuff is to shine a light on it. I want these cockroaches to scurry back into the hole they came from...

I've never seen such religious bigotry and hatred in an election as I have in this Republican primary. My guess is my fellow Republicans have never read the US Constitution. Or, if they have, considered it "just words" on a piece of paper and that the ideas contained therein do apply to them.

Here is a quote from Article VI of that same document:

" religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

I realize that people have the right to personally apply whatever litmus test, including religious ones, in choosing who they will cast a ballot for in elections. But some of these people are trying to imply to people that their vote may cause people to go to Hell.

What set me off was a blog that quoted a statement by Robert Jeffries (a pastor who supported Rick Perry for President) in a post entitled "Why Christians Should Not Vote for Romney", I have excerpted part of it below:

"I think before a Christian could vote for someone who embraced a false religion such as Mormonism, he would need to carefully consider the eternal consequences that electing such a leader could have in legitimizing a false religion and, therefore, endangering the eternal destinies of those who might choose that leader’s religion.” (Robert Jeffress)

I left a comment, which is awaiting moderation from the blog owner. I have posted a screenshot of my comment on that blog to TwitPic in case the blogowner or blogposter does not approve my comment, click here to see it.

John Scrhoeder relays information that Newt Gingrich is campaigning on anti-Mormonism and Sarah Palin (or her staff) is removing any pro-Mormon comments or comments defending religious freedom from her facebook wall, but allowing anti-Mormon comments to stay.

Here are some links to people telling Christians not to vote for Romney because he is a Mormon:

Why Christians Should Not Vote for Romney

Pastor: If You Love Jesus, Don't Vote for Mormon Mitt Romney

The GOP debate over Mormonism breaks into open


Here is an interview with Bryan Hall from C-SPAN. His documentary film Article VI: Faith. Politics. America looks at the influence of religion on politics, as well as the challenge that voters face in trying to balance their core beliefs and their political vote.


Please, people...think about what you are saying and writing. You are writing things that go against the very nature of Christianity and what America stands for. 

I am a Christian and I believe that unless Mitt Romney repents and accepts Christ's sacrifice on the cross as the only way to receive forgiveness for his sins, then he will go to Hell and eventually spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. That does not mean I can not vote for him or, if I do, that I will be held responsible for those who become Mormons because Romney is elected President. That's madness. It's hate and it is preaching bigotry and I will take a stand against it. You people have allowed Satan to whisper in your ear and have heeded his words. Repent of that. 

If Romney is the nominee of our party (and I believe that he will be) I will vote for him over Obama because his political views more closely align with mine.

Bookmark and Share

Monday, January 30, 2012

The McLaughlin Group 01-27-2012

Video of this past week's episode of my favorite political round table, The McLaughlin Group.

Bookmark and Share

Mary Forrester Speaks in Burke County
Regarding Defense of Marriage Amendment

On May 8th, 2012, registered voters will be allowed to vote for against an amendment to the North Carolina Constitution that will provide that marriage between one man and one woman will be the only recognized legal domestic union in the state. NC Senator Jim Forrester led the battle on getting this amendment passed through the North Carolina legislature so that the people of the state could voice their opinion on the matter. His widow, Mary Forrester, has continued to promote the Defense of Marriage Amendment. She recently appeared in Burke County to speak, and here is video of most of her speech:

Part One

Part Two

Text of proposed amendment is below:


Bookmark and Share

St Louis Welcomes Iraq Veterans Home

Graphic Courtesy Jan 28 Group

The above video is a press conference held by organizers (see website)of a grass roots effort to show gratitude to those who served our nation in Iraq.

St Louis held the first large scale welcome home parade for veterans of the Iraq War on January 28th. I have collected a few videos of the parade and embedded them below as an expression of gratitude to these men and women who served our nation in Iraq.

Part One

Part Two

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The 2012 Sanford Hunt Frye Dinner

The Democratic Party of North Carolina held their annual Sanford-Hunt-Frye Fundraiser in Greensboro, NC this year. Thanks to a timely tip via Zan Bunn on Facebook, I was able to watch part of the event. I also recorded the audio and have posted it below. If you do use it on your website or blog, I have released it under a Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution Requested license...which is a fancy way of saying, if you use it, please credit Bobby Coggins and link back here where you found it.

Download MP3

Here is the video of the event as well. It is three plus hours long and the audio above is just of the meat of the event.


In 2007, I joined The Carolina Stompers and Space Mountain Productions and infiltrated the 2007 Vance Aycock Dinner and filmed that Democratic Fundraiser. 
Here is my coverage of that event:

2007 Vance Aycock Dinner
First Three Videos

Bookmark and Share

Tribute to Fallen NASA Astronauts

Also the source of the names of the list of fallen astronauts I have used below.

Exploring a new frontier is a risky, but rewarding endeavor. The men and women who sign up to be astronauts are signing a blank check payable any amount, up to the life of the signer, during the course of their duty.

The following is a tribute to the astronauts who have given their lives in the performance of their duty. 

The Fallen

Theodore C. FreemanFrancis "Dick" Scobee
October 31, 1964Michael J. Smith
Judith A. Resnik
Charles A. Bassett, IIEllison S. Onizuka
Elliot M. See, Jr.Ronald E. McNair
February 28,1966Gregory B. Jarvis
S. Christa McAuliffe
Clifton C. Williams, Jr.January 28, 1986
October 5, 1967
APOLLO ONE ACCIDENTManley L. "Sonny" Carter, Jr.
Virgil "Gus" Grissom
April 5, 1991
Edward H. White, II
January 27, 1967Rick D. Husband
William C. McCool
Michael J. Adams
November 15, 1967
Robert H. Lawrence Jr.
February, 1, 2003
December 8,1967

NASA Day of Remembrance

Each January, we honor the Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia crews, as well as other members of the NASA family who lost their lives supporting NASA’s mission of exploration. We thank them and their families for their extraordinary sacrifices in the service of our nation.

On this Day of Remembrance, as we remember our fallen heroes with tributes and public ceremonies, I will take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. Across the country, all flags at NASA Headquarters and the NASA centers will be flown at half-mast in their memory.

Space exploration is a difficult and dangerous endeavor. We recognize these pioneers’ sacrifices each day with our ongoing commitment to safety. As an agency, we know the risks inherent in each mission. Ensuring the safety of our employees is our highest priority.

The legacy of those we have lost is our ongoing work and the inspiration of generations of new space explorers. Every day, with each new challenge we overcome and every discovery we make, we honor these remarkable men and women. Please join me in working to fulfill their dreams for the future.

Charles F. Bolden, Jr.
NASA Administrator

A tribute to the heroes of Apollo 1

The heroes of Apollo 1 who were killed in a fire on the launchpad during a test 
Edward White, Command Pilot
Virgil Gus Grissom, Commander
Roger Chaffee, Pilot

January 27, 1967.

That date doesn't mean anything significant to most Americans. On that day, three men died in the service of our nation as they conducted a routine test on their command capsule. Much has been written about that day and these men. I cannot add anything substantial to what has gone before, so I will just point to what I think were the best attempts to explain what happened, and to remember these men who died on our journey to the Moon.

A video tribute to the crew of Apollo 1.

On January 27, 1967, tragedy struck the Apollo program when a flash fire occurred in command module 012 during a launch pad test of the Apollo/Saturn space vehicle being prepared for the first piloted flight, the AS-204 mission. Three astronauts, Lt. Col. Virgil I. Grissom, a veteran of Mercury and Gemini missions; Lt. Col. Edward H. White, the astronaut who had performed the first United States extravehicular activity during the Gemini program; and Roger B. Chaffee, an astronaut preparing for his first space flight, died in this tragic accident.

A seven-member board, under the direction of the NASA Langley Research Center Director, Dr. Floyd L. Thompson, conducted a comprehensive investigation to pinpoint the cause of the fire. The final report, completed in April 1967 was subsequently submitted to the NASA Administrator. The report presented the results of the investigation and made specific recommendations that led to major design and engineering modifications, and revisions to test planning, test discipline, manufacturing processes and procedures, and quality control. With these changes, the overall safety of the command and service module and the lunar module was increased substantially. The AS-204 mission was redesignated Apollo I in honor of the crew.

This is an audio recording of the actual last moments of the crew of Apollo 1, with commentary and a play by play of the initial accident investigation.

This is a dramatization of the tragic event, as presented during the "From the Earth to the Moon" miniseries on HBO.

For more information on this accident, please visit the following webpages:

Apollo 1 Memorial Foundation

National Space Data Center Apollo 1 page

A tribute to the heroes of STS-51L Challenger

The crew of the Challenger
Back row L to R  Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judith Resnik 
Front row L to R Michael J Smith, Francis Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair

The Challenger Accident was different from the Apollo 1 Accident because it happened during the launch, and many people witnessed the explosion. I had stayed home from school in order to watch the launch because they had become so routine, there was no effort made by the school to allow students who were interested to watch them or integrate them into lesson plans.

Apparently, network television had the same idea about spaceflight becoming routine, because they did not cover the launch, and I did not have satellite TV so I couldn't watch it on the NASA Channel or even CNN, which was the only network to carry it live. (This was in the days before broadband Internet). So I was digging through the shortwave radio stations, trying to find one that was covering it when my dad called from work. He told me the shuttle had blown up. I didn't believe him at first because I thought he was teasing me, and he told me to cut the TV on and see. I did, and I saw.

Video courtesy: NASA

NASA documnetary detailing the events surrounding the loss of OV-099, Space Shuttle Challenger, shortly after the launch of the 25th flight of the Space Transportation System, Mission STS-51L, on 28 January, 1986, and the subsequent investigation into the loss of the vehicle and its crew of seven. The investigation shows that the Solid Rocket Booster field joints were of an insufficiently fault-tolerant design and when the vehicle was launched at below-normal temperatures, hot exhaust gasses leaked on ignition, damaging the integrity of the field joint, leading to a breach in the external tank and destruction of the orbiter.

This is a video of the live CNN broadcast of the launch, the only network to carry it live.

This is a live television feed of the accident that was involved in gathering B-Roll from the viewing stand for guests of NASA during the launch, including families of the crew.

Amateur Video of the Launch from Central Florida (ABC News)

Here are the unforgettable words of President Ronald Reagan memorializing the Challenger crew.


We come together today to mourn the loss of seven brave Americans, to share the grief we all feel and, perhaps in that sharing, to find the strength to bear our sorrow and the courage to look for the seeds of hope.
Our nation's loss is first a profound personal loss to the family and the friends and loved ones of our shuttle astronauts. To those they have left behind - the mothers, the fathers, the husbands and wives, brothers, sisters, and yes, especially the children - all of America stands beside you in your time of sorrow.

What we say today is only an inadequate expression of what we carry in our hearts. Words pale in the shadow of grief; they seem insufficient even to measure the brave sacrifice of those you loved and we so admired. Their truest testimony will not be in the words we speak, but in the way they led their lives and in the way they lost those lives - with dedication, honor and an unquenchable desire to explore this mysterious and beautiful universe.

The best we can do is remember our seven astronauts - our ChallengerSeven - remember them as they lived, bringing life and love and joy to those who knew them and pride to a nation.
They came from all parts of this great country - from South Carolina to Washington State; Ohio to Mohawk, New York; Hawaii to North Carolina to Concord, New Hampshire. They were so different, yet in their mission, their quest, they held so much in common.

We remember Dick Scobee, the commander who spoke the last words we heard from the space shuttle Challenger. He served as a fighter pilot in Vietnam, earning many medals for bravery, and later as a test pilot of advanced aircraft before joining the space program. Danger was a familiar companion to Commander Scobee.

We remember Michael Smith, who earned enough medals as a combat pilot to cover his chest, including the Navy Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals - and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star, in gratitude from a nation that he fought to keep free.
We remember Judith Resnik, known as J.R. to her friends, always smiling, always eager to make a contribution, finding beauty in the music she played on her piano in her off-hours.
We remember Ellison Onizuka, who, as a child running barefoot through the coffee fields and macadamia groves of Hawaii, dreamed of someday traveling to the Moon. Being an Eagle Scout, he said, had helped him soar to the impressive achievement of his career.

We remember Ronald McNair, who said that he learned perseverance in the cotton fields of South Carolina. His dream was to live aboard the space station, performing experiments and playing his saxophone in the weightlessness of space; Ron, we will miss your saxophone and we will build your space station.
We remember Gregory Jarvis. On that ill-fated flight he was carrying with him a flag of his university in Buffalo, New York - a small token he said, to the people who unlocked his future.

We remember Christa McAuliffe, who captured the imagination of the entire nation, inspiring us with her pluck, her restless spirit of discovery; a teacher, not just to her students, but to an entire people, instilling us all with the excitement of this journey we ride into the future.

We will always remember them, these skilled professionals, scientists and adventurers, these artists and teachers and family men and women, and we will cherish each of their stories - stories of triumph and bravery, stories of true American heroes.

On the day of the disaster, our nation held a vigil by our television sets. In one cruel moment, our exhilaration turned to horror; we waited and watched and tried to make sense of what we had seen. That night, I listened to a call-in program on the radio: people of every age spoke of their sadness and the pride they felt in `our astronauts.' Across America, we are reaching out, holding hands, finding comfort in one another.

The sacrifice of your loved ones has stirred the soul of our nation and, through the pain, our hearts have been opened to a profound truth - the future is not free, the story of all human progress is one of a struggle against all odds. We learned again that this America, which Abraham Lincoln called the last best hope of man on Earth, was built on heroism and noble sacrifice. It was built by men and women like our seven star voyagers, who answered a call beyond duty, who gave more than was expected or required, and who gave it with little thought to worldly reward.

We think back to the pioneers of an earlier century, and the sturdy souls who took their families and the belongings and set out into the frontier of the American West. Often, they met with terrible hardship. Along the Oregon Trail you can still see the grave markers of those who fell on the way. But grief only steeled them to the journey ahead.

Today, the frontier is space and the boundaries of human knowledge. Sometimes, when we reach for the stars, we fall short. But we must pick ourselves up again and press on despite the pain. Our nation is indeed fortunate that we can still draw on immense reservoirs of courage, character and fortitude - that we are still blessed with heroes like those of the space shuttle Challenger.

Dick Scobee knew that every launching of a space shuttle is a technological miracle. And he said, if something ever does go wrong, I hope that doesn't mean the end to the space shuttle program. Every family member I talked to asked specifically that we continue the program, that that is what their departed loved one would want above all else. We will not disappoint them.

Today, we promise Dick Scobee and his crew that their dream lives on; that the future they worked so hard to build will become reality. The dedicated men and women of NASA have lost seven members of their family. Still, they too, must forge ahead, with a space program that is effective, safe and efficient, but bold and committed.

Man will continue his conquest of space. To reach out for new goals and ever greater achievements - that is the way we shall commemorate our seven Challenger heroes.

Dick, Mike, Judy, El, Ron, Greg and Christa - your families and your country mourn your passing. We bid you goodbye. We will never forget you. For those who knew you well and loved you, the pain will be deep and enduring. A nation, too, will long feel the loss of her seven sons and daughters, her seven good friends. We can find consolation only in faith, for we know in our hearts that you who flew so high and so proud now make your home beyond the stars, safe in God's promise of eternal life.

May God bless you all and give you comfort in this difficult time.

A performance of the song written by John Denver in tribute to the crew of the Challenger. He was originally considered for the flight and underwent training before a teacher was selected.

I still think it is a good idea to send gifted artists into space so that they might use their talents to share with the rest of humanity what it is like.

Here is a discussion on the findings of the Presidential Commision that was broadcast on satellite TV Worldnet. 

For more information on the Challenger accident, please visit the following websites:

Report of the PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident

NASA webpage of links to information on the Challenger accident

TV Coverage of the Challenger Accident (54 videos encompassing several hours of archived live video)

A tribute to the heroes of STS-107 Columbia

The Crew of the Columbia 
Seated in front are astronauts Rick D. Husband on the left, mission commander, Kalpana Chawla, mission specialist, and William C. McCool, pilot. Standing are, from the left, astronauts David M. Brown, Laurel B. Clark, and Michael P. Anderson, all mission specialists, and Ilan Ramon, payload specialist representing the Israeli Space Agency.

The Columbia breakup happened on Saturday, February 1, 2003. It disintegrated over Texas stretching from Trophy Club to Tyler and into parts of Louisiana during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, resulting in the death of all seven crew members, shortly before it was scheduled to conclude its 28th mission, STS-107.
The loss of Columbia was a result of damage sustained during launch when a piece of foam insulation the size of a small briefcase broke off the Space Shuttle external tank (the main propellant tank) under the aerodynamic forces of launch. The debris struck the leading edge of the left wing, damaging the Shuttle's thermal protection system (TPS), which protects it from heat generated with the atmosphere during re-entry. While Columbia was still in orbit, some engineers suspected damage, but NASA managers limited the investigation, on the grounds that little could be done even if problems were found. 

NASA's original Shuttle design specifications stated that the external tank was not to shed foam or other debris; as such, strikes upon the Shuttle itself were safety issues that needed to be resolved before a launch was cleared. Launches were often given the go-ahead as engineers came to see the foam shedding and debris strikes as inevitable and unresolvable, with the rationale that they were either not a threat to safety, or an acceptable risk. The majority of Shuttle launches recorded such foam strikes and thermal tile scarring. During re-entry of STS-107, the damaged area allowed the hot gases to penetrate and destroy the internal wing structure, rapidly causing the in-flight breakup of the vehicle. An extensive ground search in parts of Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas recovered crew remains and many vehicle fragments.

Initial NASA TV Coverage of Columbia Accident

Amateur video shot of the final moments of the Columbia

Cockpit video of the momets leading up to the destruction of the Columbia.

US Apache Helicopter crews were on a training mission with foreign pilots on the morning of February 1, 2003. Gun-camera footage picks up the shuttle as it enters the atmosphere over Central Texas. The footage was released a couple of days after the crash. Video is courtesy of Fort Hood and DOD.

An audio podcast discussion accompanied by photos of the Cloumbia breakup and recovery.

Here is a video playlist of live coverage of the accident and immediately thereafter by NASA, CNN and other TV Networks.

For more information regarding the Columbia accident, please visit these websites:

Bookmark and Share

Friday, January 27, 2012

Republicans Debate in Florida One Last Time

Last night, the candidates running for the nomination of the Republican party met for the last time in a forum in Jacksonville, Florida.

Republicans will go to the polls this coming Tuesday and this is a must win for Newt Gingrich.

This may have been the most important debate of the primary cycle and the full video of the engagement is below.

Here are links to the previous debates, arranged by date:

Jan 23

Jan 19

Jan. 16

Jan. 8

Jan. 7

Dec. 15

Dec. 10

Nov. 22

Nov. 12

Nov. 9

Oct. 18

Oct. 11

Sept. 22

Sept. 12

Sept. 7

Aug. 11

June 13

May 5 

Bookmark and Share