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PAGE 4 -A, WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 1993
An Offer The Congressman
Wouldn't Dare To Refuse?
The peanut deal wasn't enough to make Congressman
Charlie Rose vote for the North American Free Trade Agree
ment. But something else obviously was.
In a peculiar about-face which took place sometime between
last Monday and Wednesday, Rose changed his mind about
NAFTA and did President Clinton's bidding to help the agree
ment win approval in the U.S. House.
If Rose's change of heart had anything in common with that
of other NAFTA opponents-turned-supporters, there was a quid
pro quo involved; so far, he's not saying.
According to news stories last Tuesday, Rose was unim
pressed with the carrot the president had dangled that day.
Clinton had promised Rose and other peanut-state legislators to
ask the International Trade Commission to investigate whether
the flood of processed peanuts coming into the U.S. through
Canada is hurting American peanut price-supports. Rose report
edly called the offer "a joke."
Apparently, the president was ultimately able to come up
with an offer that made Rose stop laughing and see the light.
Maybe it was something like one of these deals made with his
? The vote of J.J. Pickle, D-Texas, was worth $10 million
worth of taxpayers' money. The deal was authorization in NAF
TA legislation to build the J.J. Pickle Trade Study Center, pre
sumably in Texas.
? Another Texas legislator. Rep. Gene Green, was promised a
$10 million East Houston bridge by Transportation Secretary
? A yes from Reps. Porter Goss, Dan Miller, Tom Lewis and
Henry Johnston, all of Florida, was worth $16 million. The ad
ministration will fund an agricultural research center to protect
Florida growers and allow pesticide use.
? Four California Democrats had written into NAFTA legis
lation funding for the North American Development Bank
through a U.S.-Mexico executive agreement. The cost would be
$250 million; $1.3 billion would be made available.
Those are a few of the more extravagant examples of the
kind of dealing more closely associated with the world's oldest
profession than the business of public service. After all, it's only
Maybe there are some really choice goodies for the people of
the 7th District in the surprise package Rose got for changing his
mind. It'll have to be mighty good to compensate for the queasy
feeling voters get with such a flagrant reminder of how strange
and smelly American politics can be.
Thank Your Humble Turkey
If you're having trouble finding things to be thankful for as
you sit down to your turkey, say a word of thanks for the humble
bird itself and its economic contribution to the Tar Heel State.
We're the country's largest turkey-producing state, with 800
North Carolina farm families raising more than 60 million birds
Turkey consumption has continued to rise steadily to a cur
rent figure of approximately 18 pounds per person this year, with
turkey food products available year-round in a variety of forms
from sausage to deli meats.
Consider these facts from the N.C. Department of Agri
culture about North Carolina's turkey industry:
? Number of pounds produced annually (live weight):
? On-farm value of production (1992 estimated): $475 mil
? Number of hatching eggs produced: 80 million
? Number of day-old poults hatched: 60 million
? People directly employed in industry: 9,000
? People employed indirectly by the industry: 6,000
? 3ushels of soybeans consumed by turkeys: 27 million
? Number of turkey hatcheries: 10
? Number ot teed mills: 13
? Number of turkey processing plants: 6
All that considered, is it really fair that bad movies and trou
blesome people get referred to as turkeys? Not in North Carolina.
Thanks and bon appetit!
? The clouds that gather round the setting sun
Do take a sober coloring from an eye
That hath kept watch o'er man 's mortality;
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
Thanks to the human heart by which we live,
Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.
? William Wordsworth
? For adoration all the ranks
Of angels yield eternal thanks,
And David in the midst. ? Christopher Smart
? 'Twas founded be th ' Puritans to give thanks f'r be in '
presarved fr 'm th ' Indyans, an '...we keep it to give thanks we
are presarved fr'm th' Puritans.
? Finley Peter Dunne (Mr. Dooley)
Science Fiction? We're Livina It With NEXRAD
Rising out of the landscape and
above the trees, it towers darkly 10
to 15 stories above Shallotte, a dis
tinctive landmark with no signs of
life around its base.
On its top, a huge dome constant
ly scanning the Earth's atmosphere -
Can you imagine Shallotte as the
setting for a new work of "hard" sci
ence fiction, of the same ilk as Jules
Verne or Isaac Asimov?
Close your eyes and try again, be
cause tomorrow is here.
Within a year that tower, that
landmark, will be part of the
Shallotte horizon, its dome larger
than that of conventional radar.
It will be the most visible symbol
we have locally of the times in
which we are living ? an era of such
rapid advances in technology that
we can scarcely imagine their scope,
much less keep up. As far back in
the "boonies" as we sometimes con
sider ourselves, even here we can't
escape the increasingly rapid pace of
change. 1 doubt we'd want to if we
could. It's all too exciting.
The tower will be a NEXRAD
radar antenna, one of many scattered
across the country. It will operate on
remote, its datastream feeding by ca
ble into computers at an expanded
National Weather Service office at
New Hanover International Airport,
Wilmington. New software pro
grams will allow rapid analysis of
data by a bank of meteorologists,
and rapid relay of that information
to interested parties.
Local residents have known for
some time a NEXRAD site would
be built here, off N.C. 130 just west
of Shallotte, but I don't think many
people had any idea of its size,
shape or complexity.
Why build it here instead of at the
NWS office? Al Hinn, meteorolo
gist-in-charge says the antennae
were sited based on the composite
needs of the agencies thai will share
the data collected. These include the
Department of Defense, Weather
Service, Federal Aviation Adminis
tration and others.
By itself NEXRAD would he
awesome, but it is even more so in
tandem with other changes being
phased in to take the Weather
Service into the 21st century.
A new improved remote weather
observation system will greatly en
hance short-range condition report
ing. Using a computer, presently the
NWS can retrieve wind and temper
ature data from remote observation
stations like the one at Holden
Beach on a regular schedule, and
weather balloons take readings at
the airport every 12 hours.
These new systems will do much,
much more, and a lot faster. We're
talking five-minute intervals for in
"There are many times," says
Hinn, "when the weather situation is
changing very rapidly and people
need to know that ? air traffic con
trollers and aviation types, for exam
Another system, called "Profiles,"
is a vertical scanning radar device.
What all the new technology
comes down to, says Hinn, is a
chance for meteorologists to not on
ly look at more data, but to look at
in in new ways, exploring relation
ships in ways not possible before.
Conditions can be pinpointed for
very specific geographic areas, a
county or a city, for example.
Already. NEXRAD installations
are relaying information gleaned
from their system to NWS sites still
without the technology, an informal
"heads up" warning system.
The technology will allow the
Wilmington staff to become regional
specialists on coastal and offshore
weather ? understanding better and
Hinn likens the changes to other
major advances in meteorology ?
such as the introduction of radar anil
satellite in the late 5()s and early 60s.
"It means we'll be understanding
better not only what's going on, but
understanding the science of it better
as well," he said. "It's a very excit
ing, special time for us, this
That goes for all of us, Al.
lei Us GiveTkinta
Be Thankful For That Thin Blue Line
Listening to ten narcotics officers
in black fatigues planning a drug
raid offered all the makings for an
exciting evening. Lots of speeding
cars, blue lights, sirens and suspects
up against the wall. Great stuff for
pictures. Way better than a commis
The detective at the blackboard
concluded his remarks by listing
some of the weapons known to be
carried by those named in the stack
of sealed indictments.
"I want everyone wearing a vest,"
he said. "Him, too."
He was pointing at me. Which
definitely got my attention.
The new Kevlar flak jacket was
comfortable, if not comforting. They
told rne it would offer some protec
tion against handguns. But it
wouldn't stop a bullet from the AK
47, the SKS-56 the MAC-90 or
some of the other weapons currently
in vogue among players and wanna
be's in the drug trade.
The vast majority of Brunswick
Conntian<j live in nice, peaceful, of
ten stunningly beautiful surround
ings. Which is one of the reasons the
natives stay put and the rest of us
We look around and see beaches
and marshes and rivers and farm
fields and pine forests and ocean
front bungalows and golf course de
velopments and wooded subdivi
sions and tidy mobile home commu
Most of us don't see crack houses
and open-air drug markets and
armed thugs and people so hopeless
ly broken by substance abuse they
no longer care about themselves or
their family or their future; people
whose sole ambition is to find more
We think of "those people" as
characters on our TV screens: the
"bad boys" in real-life cop shows,
the human scenery in gritty urban
dramas, the handcuffed suspects es
corted down courthouse hallways on
the evening news.
Guess what? Some of "those peo
ple" live right here in your county.
Maybe not in your neighborhood.
But just up the road a piece.
If you make a wrong turn some
evening, you might drive past a bro
ken-down, graffiti covered building
where a dozen hollow-eyed souls
are gathered around an oil-drum
trash fire, shuffling from foot to
foot, sipping from a brown paper
sack and passing a smoking pipe.
Ride up another road at night and
you're likely to see a flashlight
flickering on and off from the dark
ness; a signal that there is crack co
caine for sale.
If you stop, you might also pur
chase bootleg liquor, or an illegal
lottery ticket or some female com
panionship. Or you might get
robbed at gunpoint for flashing too
Fortunately, these are small pock
ets of social decay that most of "us,"
the law-abiding majority, can easily
avoid and ignore. We can live and
work and play and raise our children
without coming into any serious
contact with "them," the criminals.
Because between "us" and
"them" is what someone once called
the "thin blue line" of law enforce
We'd like to think of our county
sheriff's department in a "Mayberry
RFD" sort of way, with a squad of
Andy Taylors and Barney Fifes set
tling arguments at Floyd's barber
shop and helping Aunt Bee win the
annual pickle contest.
But it's not like that anymore. Our
deputies, detectives and town police
officers face the same dangers,
brought on by the same social prob
lems, as their big-city cousins
(though thankfully on a smaller
If you ever glance at the crime re
port, you'll see how many break-ins
and larcenies our deputies investi
gate every week. A large percentage
of those stolen televisions, videocas
sette recorders and microwave ovens
are sold to buy drugs.
Listen to a police scanner some
night and you are sure to hear a few
"10-82s" (domestic disputes), a "10
84" (suspect wish a gun) and maybe
a "10-%" (shots fired). Imagine be
ing 'he one who has to pull into that
driveway and knock on that door.
Riding along with the sheriff's
drug squad last week, seeing all
their SWAT-team outfits and "bullet
proof' vests and assault rifles, I
wondered at first if these guys might
have been watching a little too much
TV themselves. Surely this was
overkill, I thought.
Then I saw the scene at "the
shed," Longwood's 24-hour drug
mart. And on Turkey Trap Road,
where investigators once retrieved
nearly a hundred spent shell casings
after a late-night shoot out. And in
Phoenix, where detectives showed
me two crack houses and the site of
an illicit gambling operation.
At one of the raids, in the back
seat of a car, the officers found an
assault rifle capable of firing 50
J_ .f *> AO i:U
lounud ui .JtArtaimvi uiiniiuiiiticm
without re-loading. The weapons
carried by police only hold 25
rounds of .223-caliber bullets.
The owner said he bought the ri
fle at a local pawn shop and kept it
with him for "no reason." The car
was ripe with the odor of freshly
smoked marijuana. He was in the
company of a convicted cocaine
trafficker (who was arrested on an
But the gun was legal and the
owner had to be turned loose. The
officers will probably see both of
them again, one way or another.
At two of the trouble spots, the
officers set up traffic stops to check
the drivers' license and registration
of people entering these known drug
areas. The license checks resulted in
several arrests. They also provided a
far more valuable reward ? a rare
note of thanks and encouragement.
One after another, the local resi
dents ? people like "us" who have to
pass these places day after day ?
happily surrendered their identifica
tion and told the officers how much
they appreciated their effort; how
much they hoped to see drug raids
and checkpoints in their neighbor
I Jn ?
It made me glad I don't live in an
area like that. And thankful for that
thin blue line.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
National Guard Unit's Service
Is Impressive To Smith Family
To the editor: none matched the execution of this
On Nov. 14, we attended the fu- unit. Their uniforms were sharp,
neral of our beloved Marlin Smith, their movements precise, and their
At the funeral, the Shallotte National demeanor militaristic.
Guard conducted the military por- We want to thank these men and
tion of the service. commend them again for the excel
In our grief we did not sufficient- lent seivice. We are proud of them
ly thank the unit for their splendid and thankful that they are our neigh
performance. Collectively family bors.
members have witnessed a number Family of Marvin Smith
of military funerals, but all said Edward Wagner
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