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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Virginia Tech Drop Out Rate Increases



This is rather perplexing:

"Close to 1,300 students have decided not to return to Tech in the spring. According to the university registrar, most students have dropped out due to medical problems and military obligations."

I can believe there are a number of students that are serving on active duty right now but what's the explanation for the "medical problems?"

Graph courtesy of Collegiate TimesPosted by Hello

Blacksburg Catches Governor's Fever

What's wrong with this headline (and subheading) in Collegiate Times?
Blacksburg looks to boost tourism

Tourism is the second largest industry in Virginia according to the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. To capitalize on Blacksburg’s tourism industry, the Chamber of Commerce proposes the town raise local hotel taxes. (
link)
Let's take it one thought at a time. The Blacksburg Chamber of Commerce hopes to raise the level of tourism in town. Fine. How? They will propose that the town raise its local hotel taxes.

Oh, that'll work. Raising taxes is an age-old way of stimulating growth. To be fair, my guess is that's not what was meant.

Regardless, what is with this tourism mantra anyway? Perhaps tourism is the second largest industry in the state of Virginia but my guess is that it ranks about 93rd around here, just behind meth labs.

Could I make a suggestion to the members of the Chamber of Commerce? You are on the right track when you insert the words taxes and industry growth in the same sentence. One definitely has an impact on the other. But go back to your Business 101 class and try to recall this unalterable truth: In order to maximize profitability, a business must create conditions that minimize costs.

To burden a company with higher taxes, or for that matter, more costly regulation, or burdensome work rules, or environmental restrictions, you will raise the cost of doing business.

Conversely, if you want to attract business to the area, lighten the load. Reduce taxes. Remove regulatory barriers. Get rid of nuisance fees. Eliminate unwise environmental restrictions. Grow the tax base.

The article mentions the hotel industry and the fact that somebody can't wait to raise hotel (occupancy, I'd guess) taxes. Don't think for a minute that a hotel chain doesn't research the general level of taxation in an area before deciding to locate one of their facilities somewhere. And I hope you're not so enamored of your town that you think that a Holiday Inn won't choose a site in Pulaski or Salem instead of Blacksburg. They are, after all, just an exit up or down I-81 away.

So, get aggressive. Do what you can do to get the town leadership to attract business. Declare Blacksburg a tax-free, regulation-free, hassle-free zone. And stand back and watch her grow.

The Governor Visits & Unveils His Plan

Governor Warner came slummin' Wednesday and brought us his plan to revitalize Southwest and Southside Virginia. He thinks a bike path will turn things around. Jay Leno obviously had something to do with the development of his economic recovery plan.
Roanoke Co., VA - Governor Mark Warner made a visit to Roanoke Wednesday morning, to promote his "Virginia Work" economic development campaign. Warner says it's a new approach by 'thinking outside the box', and finding unique ways to lure businesses and jobs to the state.

One way is to develop recreational and tourism attractions like turning old railways into hiking and biking trails -- and he's got his eye on the Southside.

"What we want to go ahead in Southside Virginia is build the first of 38-miles of what could eventually lead to a 350-mile hiking and biking trail across Southside Virginia, that will bring jobs, tourism and tremendous economic development activity." (link)
Now, I'm not all that bright. But someone is going to have to explain to me how converting an old train track to a bike path is going to "lure businesses and jobs" to the area.

And my experience here on Big Walker Mountain and on the nearby Appalachian Trail tells me that hiking trails bring us only lice infested hippies looking for a drink of water and a place behind the barn to take a dump.

We are going to take miles and miles of abandoned rail lines and turn them into bike paths. Then we're going to take all the abandoned factories and turn them into haunted houses. Perhaps we can then take all our abandoned homes in the area and provide them to visiting hunters to use for target practice.

And we'll all learn to sing in unison the traditional theme song of the Democratic party. Let's see. How does it go again? Oh yeah. "Happy days are here again."

Pass the makeup. I need to be looking my best. I want to make those tourists happy.

A Trail To Nowhere

According to an Associated Press release (link below), Governor Mark Warner has developed a comprehensive economic development plan for southern Virginia. He's taking our many mountain trails and is giving them names. You go, Mark.

You think I'm kidding. Check these out:

Virginia already has:

  • the Crooked Road Music Trail
  • the Civil War Trail [Were you aware of either of these?]

Coming soon:

  • the Tobacco Heritage Bike and Hike Trail
  • the Virginia Motorsports Trail
  • the Virginia Pet-Friendly Trail
  • the Captain John Smith Water Trail
  • the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Trail
  • the Virginia Wine Trail
  • the Virginia Fishing Trail
  • the Capital to Capital Bike Trail
  • the Virginia Colonial Trail (link)

I love that "Virginia Pet-Friendly trail." It will be the one designated for tourists to leave us a token of their appreciation; their dogs' turds.

Well, Mark, I've come up with a few names for my favorite trails too. Tell me what you think.

  • the get-the-hell-out-Southwest Virginia-before-its-too-late trail
  • the Democratic Politicians one-way trail to Pennsylvania
  • the will-the-last-person-leaving-Smyth County-please-turn-the-lights-out trail
  • the eat-a-tourist-for-breakfast trail

And my personal favorite (although I think it has been taken already):

  • the trail of tears

Mark Warner Must Go

I opposed the impeachment of President Clinton in 1998, not that I had any use for the guy. I believed that the effort was counterproductive and, more importantly, I felt that the people who voted for him should have to live with the scumbag.

I have a tendency to have the same attitude about our Governor Warner. The people of the state of Virginia apparently, from all I've heard, think he's a swell guy. I'm not sure why they have chosen to ignore his blatant lies and deceit when it comes to his recent tax hikes but they have. And I'm guessing most of them think his new spending initiatives - with the surplus tax dollars that were so desperately needed to fight off bankruptcy - are just wonderful as well.

Bedford, VA - Governor Mark Warner says he wants to green-light more than $800-million in new transportation spending - much of it from the state's growing surplus. His plan, announced Thursday, includes about $150-million for new highway projects.

Warner also wants to spend $256-million to pay off debts on completed road construction, and about $100-million for maintenance. The bulk of the spending, more than $300-million, is earmarked for partnerships with private businesses, local governments, and railroads. The Governor says new partnerships "are critical to the success" of the state's economy. (link)

Such bullshit.

Saving the state from bankruptcy was critical a few short months ago. So he and his buddies in Richmond, including a number of Republican senators, raised our taxes. Now, miraculously, the budget crisis has disappeared (we have a massive surplus) and the state economy's success is now "critical," whatever that means.

Part of me says Virginians deserve this bunch. But another part of me screams, NO! You lied to us. You got away with that one time. You'll not be trusted again. You bounce from one "crisis" to the next, each time with grave predictions and dire warnings if we don't shell out more money.

Well, I for one say this: You took money from my grandchildren's Christmas. I will not forgive you for that. In the process, you lied through your teeth as to the circumstances for having need of it. I want it back.

For what it's worth, there are still a few Republicans (Republicans!) in this state who remember what got them where they are:
Del. Kathy Byron, (R) 22nd District - "The surplus needs to be directed back to the people that put it there. And that's the taxpayers. It doesn't surprise me that the Governor wants to spend it."
Thank you, Kathy.

Delegate Byron, by the way, is from Lynchburg. Those of you who have Ms. Byron representing you should be very proud. It takes a good bit of intestinal fortitude for a politician to speak out in favor of taking money out of the hands of politicians and giving it back to its rightful owners.

There's a Law Against This?

NewsMax.com brings this news to us today:

Landlord Ordered to Pay Women in Sex-for-Rent Case

A landlord was ordered to pay more than $66,000 in damages Thursday to 10 women who accused him of violating federal Fair Housing laws by demanding sex in lieu of rent.

The award against John Koch was far less than the $1.9 million the U.S. Justice Department had sought. (link)

If he demanded sex, I can understand this. If, however, he accepted sexual favors in lieu of money from these low-income women, is there a crime? I know it's wrong but was there a law broken? I guess so.

What Would I Do Without The Loony Left?

I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes after having had a horrible nightmare. I have this recurring dream that all the liberal lunatics in America have retired and died off and I have nothing of interest to post to my weblog. My nightmare is reinforced today by the announced retirement of Bill Moyers from PBS. And I'm not the only one, seemingly, who will miss him.

Moyers Exits PBS With Attack on 'Right-Wing Media'

Taxpayer-supported Democrat operative Bill Moyers is showing his true colors (all blue) by tainting his exit from PBS with an attack on what he describes as "right-wing media."

"I'm going out telling the story that I think is the biggest story of our time: how the right-wing media has [sic] become a partisan propaganda arm of the Republican National Committee," the Associated Press today quoted Moyers as saying.

"We have an ideological press that's interested in the election of Republicans, and a mainstream press that's interested in the bottom line. Therefore, we don't have a vigilant, independent press whose interest is the American people," claimed Moyers, who next week is leaving his weekly series, "Now."

Moyers failed to mention that, unlike himself, the few conservative media that do exist aren't on the American taxpayers' dole.

He also failed to mention that for decades the left-wing media establishment, ranging from PBS and NPR to the New York Times and the CBS of Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather, has been and continues to be a partisan propaganda arm of the Democratic National Committee.

Perhaps the wire story is satire, but it describes the extraordinarily biased Moyers as "a citizen-journalist" who was on "a truth-telling mission during his three decades as a TV journalist."

Moyers' liberal rants have been increasing in recent years, perhaps owing to the increasing success of the Republican Party, which now controls the White House, both houses of Congress, the Supreme Court and a majority of state legislatures and governorships.

This past Election Night, Moyers even went so far as to suggest that if Kerry won the election, the right wing might stage a coup to keep him from taking power. (link)

Personally, I think Moyers lost his mind long ago. This, after all, is what he spewed on election night just a few weeks ago:
"I think if Kerry were to win this in a - in a tight race, I think there’d be an effort to mount a coup, quite frankly. ... I mean that the right wing is not going to accept it." (link)
Such a wealth of material with which to work. Billy, I'll surely miss ye.

The Most Boring Country On Earth

James Taranto nominated this for the "most boring headline of the year" award in his Best of the Web article yesterday:
"No Canadian Investigation Into the United Nations Oil-for-Food" (Canada Free Press , Dec. 10)
I make mention of this only because it coincides with my impression of Canada and Canadians in general. I must admit that most of my experience with the great frozen north came about watching the CBC broadcast out of Windsor when I was living in Detroit. But I have to tell you, it was awful. The shows that emanated from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation were so boring, they would make your eyes cross. They were so bad, they were virtually impossible to watch. So it was a rare day that I tuned in. They could make a Maple Leafs/Redwings game boring. They even made the 2000 Olympics boring. You have to plan meticulously to make that happen.

So, in keeping with Taranto's wish to recognize a Canadian headline as being the most boring of the year, I'd like to suggest that we give the entire nation a lifetime achievement award for the same stellar accomplishment.

A Virus Plagues The Capital

What is it about Washington DC that can make even the most stalwart conservative Republican seek, after a short time living there, more and more of my hard-earned money. I expect it of Democrats. I will not accept it from Republicans. Here are the latest thieves to be added to the (lengthening) list of turncoat Republican tax hikers, as reported in an article in the Wall Street Journal having to do with Social Security reform:

We're not surprised to hear Democrats demanding a tax hike to "pay" for this reform, or that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (a major villain in the Medicare debacle) appears poised to join them. But color us disappointed to find South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham in their camp.

Senator Graham courageously ran for office on Social Security reform, only recently considered the third rail of American politics. But now in the hope of drawing a few Democratic votes, he wants to extend the amount of income to which the 12.4% Social Security tax is applied from the current $87,900 all the way up to $200,000. That's a huge tax hike any way you slice it, and it is entirely unnecessary. (link)

Shame on both of them - and every other Republican who seems to quickly forget the people who sent them to Washington.

This Is Not Good

From the Detroit News this morning:

The situation: Squeezed by rising materials and health care costs and lower vehicle production, No. 1 auto supplier Delphi Corp. plans to cut 8,500 jobs worldwide next year after eliminating more than 9,000 in 2004.

The outlook: Company officials say business will be tough as 2005 begins, with lower vehicle output at General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. and no relief in sight on commodity prices.

The bottom line: Delphi expects to lose $350 million in
2005, including $150 million for work force reductions. (
link)

General Motors spun off a good bit of their parts production and Delphi was born a number of years ago. It has seen boom and bust ever since. Being at the mercy of just a few big customers, this sort of thing is understandable but still unfortunate.

Liberals Eventually Kill & Eat Their Own

Paula Zahn is a highly paid (and really cute) news anchor for CNN. I don't watch much of what she does anymore since she left Fox News but I'll see her occasionally talking to some of her famous friends in New York about ... something.

Well, if you haven't heard, she is in big, BIG trouble. The nature lovers in the Big Apple (Is that an oxymoron? Can you be a nature lover and live in New York City?) are enraged that she, her husband, and the other co-op owners of her high-rise luxury apartment building have destroyed a hawk nest on the roof. The citizens demand retribution.

No Fighting the Co-op Board, Even With Talons

By THOMAS J. LUECK and JENNIFER 8. LEE

They gathered on Oct. 19 for a ritual known to thousands of New York co-op owners, the annual meeting. The board president, Richard Cohen, and his wife, the newscaster Paula Zahn, threw open their second-floor apartment overlooking Central Park for the occasion. Quickly, the discussion focused on a huge and untidy red-tailed hawk, known famously as Pale Male, which had been nesting on the building's facade for a decade.

The building, 927 Fifth Avenue, is among the city's most sumptuous - apartments behind the neo-Italian renaissance facade occupy entire floors, or two, and are worth well over $10 million. The roughly 10 people at the meeting included Robert A. Belfer, the founder of Belco Oil & Gas and a former director of the Enron Corporation; Dr. Robert Schwager, a plastic surgeon with offices on the ground floor; and Dr. Robert Levine, a Manhattan cardiologist who is married to Mary Tyler Moore.

Some shareholders had long complained about Pale Male and his mate, Lola, whose nest of twigs and small branches had grown to eight feet across a cornice outside the building's 12th floor.

The hawks were hardly hygienic, preying on pigeons and rats, sometimes dropping bloody carcasses on the roof or sidewalk. And bird watchers were constantly looking up with their cameras and high-powered binoculars.

The nest, board members said, had to go. (link)

And it went. And now the hawk poop has hit the fan.

It's hard for me to ridicule Paula Zahn for this as she seems like a good person. So I'll ridicule the other rich limousine liberal types who couldn't stand to be around ... birds. These are the same people who profess a profound affinity for, and support of, the downtrodden in our midst. As long as the downtrodden don't touch them or try to enter their building. That's what the definition of a limousine liberal amounts to. They like nature. They donate to the zoo, for God's sake. But a family of little baby hawks nesting on top of their building is, well, just totally unacceptable.

Such easy targets for scorn I don't deserve.