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

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Time To Gloat

From Human Events OnLine:

Billboard Blitz to Blast Hollywood

HUMAN EVENTS has learned that a billboard blitz "thanking" Hollywood for the reelection of President Bush will be unveiled early next week. The advertisements feature the faces of liberal Hollywood icons Michael Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Ben Affleck, Martin Sheen, Chevy Chase, Barbara Streisand, and Sean Penn, and offer thanks to Hollywood their help getting President Bush reelected. Two versions of the billboard were created, both "thanking" Hollywood -- the first for "4 more years" and the second for "W. Still President. "Billboard creator Citizens United, a group that advocates a return to traditional American values, has purchased the use of three billboards near the Kodak Theatre (home of the Academy Awards) for the month of February, which includes Oscar Night, Sunday, February 27. (link)
Ah, the thrill of victory; the agony of defeat. To coin a phrase.

Click on image to enlarge.
Photo courtesy of Human Events OnLine. Posted by Hello

A Lesson To Be Learned

There may be laws here in the USA prohibiting one from drinking while driving but I think the lesson to be learned from this story (via drudge.com) is that you should have several cases of beer in your car at all times just the same. They may save your life.

Man peed way out of avalanche

A Slovak man trapped in his car under an avalanche freed himself by drinking 60 bottles of beer and urinating on the snow to melt it.

Rescue teams found Richard Kral drunk and staggering along a mountain path four days after his Audi car was buried in the Slovak Tatra mountains. He told them that after the avalanche, he had opened his car window and tried to dig his way out.

But as he dug with his hands, he realised the snow would fill his car before he managed to break through.

He had 60 half-litre bottles of beer in his car as he was going on holiday, and after cracking one open to think about the problem he realised he could urinate on the snow to melt it, local media reported.

He said: "I was scooping the snow from above me and packing it down below the window, and then I peed on it to melt it. It was hard and now my kidneys and liver hurt. But I'm glad the beer I took on holiday turned out to be useful and I managed to get out of there."

Parts of Europe have this week been hit by the heaviest snowfalls since 1941, with some places registering more than ten feet of snow in 24 hours. (link)

I know. I know. You're saying this is one of those urban legends. I don't think so. If that were the case, the story would have mentioned the three hot, totally nude Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Contest finalists that were trapped with him. So let's leave it alone. OK?

Michael Moore, Where Are You?

Mr. Blimpy (his mommy prefers that we call him Michael Moore) enjoys hopping on a plane and going over to old Europe occasionally to trash his native land. They are so much more civilized over there, you see. Unlike here in Jesusland where George W Bush and his stormtroopers are trampling Michael Moore's right to all the Big Macs he chooses to consume at one sitting, the people of Europe are so much freer; so much more cultured; so much ... oh, wait.

Swede's Sermon on Gays: Bigotry or Free Speech?
Pastor Challenges Hate-Law Restrictions
By Keith B. Richburg and Alan Cooperman Washington Post Foreign Service

STOCKHOLM -- One Sunday in the summer of 2003, the Rev. Ake Green, a Pentecostal pastor, stepped into the pulpit of his small church in the southern Swedish village of Borgholm. There, the 63-year-old clergyman delivered a sermon denouncing homosexuality as "a deep cancerous tumor in the entire society" and condemning Sweden's plan to allow gays to form legally recognized partnerships.

"Our country is facing a disaster of great proportions," he told the 75 parishioners at the service. "Sexually twisted people will rape animals," Green declared, and homosexuals "open the door to forbidden areas," such as pedophilia.

With these words, which the local newspaper published at his request, Green ran afoul of Sweden's strict laws against hate speech. He was indicted, convicted and sentenced to 30 days in jail. [my emphasis] He remains free pending appeal. (link)
A pentecostal preacher is imprisoned for having said something the government doesn't agree with.

I notice that our most famous rotund film documentarian, when he travels to Europe, doesn't stay long. He may fulminate about how bad things are in the USA, but that little castle of his on the upper east side of Manhattan is, when you get down to it, a pretty cozy place to return to. And Moore can sleep well at night there knowing that the Constitution of the United States of America - and George W Bush - protect him from those who want his fat ass in prison for his anti-American cinematic screeds.

Sweet dreams, Mr. Cuddly. This isn't Sweden. You are in good hands here.

Governor Warner Opposes Tax Reduction

This is a hoot.

Warner derides car-tax plan
Promises to phase it out over six years are irresponsible, he says

Gov. Mark R. Warner yesterday attacked an election-year promise by House Republican leaders to phase out the car tax over six years or so, calling it fiscally irresponsible.

"Where are the true fiscal conservatives?" asked an exasperated-sounding Warner on his monthly radio call-in show broadcast from the Richmond studios of WRVA.

Warner said the House plan, which would remove the tax entirely on the first $20,000 of a vehicle's assessed value, is fueled more by election-year politics than fiscal realities.

"Show me the cuts [in the budget] and the revenues" to pay for a complete phaseout, Warner challenged. Full car-tax relief was promised by Republican Gov. Jim Gilmore as a candidate in 1997. The rollback has been frozen at 70 percent since 2002 because of budget problems.

"Let's be fiscally responsible," pleaded Warner, who said Republicans seemingly have bolted from their pre-session position of avoiding out-of-control spending and expensive election promises. (
"Fiscally responsible." That's funny. Now Warner's become a comedian. This from a governor who thinks he's done us a big favor by taking money from our childrens' clothing allowance to pad the government's burgeoning rainy day fund.**

Please, Mark. I'm laughing so hard, I hurt.

**Rainy Day Fund - A government accounting scheme that involves the confiscation of taxpayer wealth and its application to a special commonwealth reserve coffer. Usually this terminology is used with reference to revenues the government cannot spend fast enough; thus it goes into a fund designated "for future squandering."

A Surplus By Any Other Name ...

You have to give the folks at the Roanoke Times credit for trying. They (here) are going to try to convince you that the $1 billion in excess revenue the state of Virginia will stash away in various "funds" is not a surplus. It's just money left over after your elected representatives have spent the remainder on every project they could dream up.
'Surplus'? What 'surplus'?

If more Virginians knew how "surplus" is defined in the language of state budgeteering, they might be less inclined to see it as a windfall profit. The Roanoke Times

Seizing on a currently projected "surplus" in the neighborhood of $1 billion when the 2004-06 biennium ends 17 months from now, some Virginia lawmakers are calling for new tax cuts, or new discretionary spending, or both.

Their eagerness for another fiscal train wreck is a marvel to behold, but Virginia should resist the temptation. Such resistance will come easier if Virginians bear in mind what is meant, and not meant, by "surplus" in state budgeting lingo. "Surplus" is not a synonym for profit. It doesn't necessarily mean having more income than outgo for the year. (
Yes. It does.
All "surplus" means in state budgeting talk is having cash on hand at the end of the prescribed budgeting period.
I'll bet there is a distinction being made here. Perhaps we shouldn't think in terms of "state budgeting talk" and revert to the King's English! Government money remaining after all obligations are met is a surplus, using any "lingo!"
If, honestly accounted, the amount of cash is more than was on hand at the end of the previous budgeting period, the state has taken in more than it has spent. If it is the same, the state has broken even. If it is less, the state in fact has run in the red for the period, even though the budget shows a "surplus."
State budgeting talk at its best.

I apologize. I only have a masters degree in business. This requires some kind of special degree in governmentgobbledeegook to understand. Fellas, if it was "honestly accounted," we wouldn't need "state budgeting talk."

Like the family with a mortgage payment looming, the state's projected $1 billion "surplus" has hard-to-escape claims on it. Repayment of debt owed the rainy-day and transportation funds will take at least half the money; repair of a car-tax budgeting glitch in the initial biennial budget, an additional 25 percent; a modest pay increase for state workers for the second half of the biennium, 10 percent; rising Medicaid costs, easily the remainder.

Now you had to go and sneak in a little dishonesty. The rainy-day fund in non-state budget talk, is a surplus in itself. As is the transportation fund. To attempt to use a mortgage analogy, you'd have to refer to a home one hasn't purchased yet in order to make it valid.

So please. Stop this charade. My grandchildren had fewer gifts under the Christmas tree because our government officials are more comfortable if state coffers have funds on hand other than those allocated to specific entities, programs, or projects. In order to reach that comfort level, they raised my taxes.

Creating a surplus.

Is This What We Pay Them To Do?

I now know why the FBI failed to prevent the terror attacks on the World Trade Center. They had their manpower focusing on the Boy Scouts.
Boy Scouts Suspected of Inflating Rolls
By Manuel Roig-FranziaWashington Post Staff Writer

Federal subpoenas have been flying around. FBI agents have been asking questions, and the administrators down at the Boy Scouts' Greater Alabama Council headquarters in Birmingham have had to fess up to hundreds of volunteers that their 22-county organization is under federal investigation. The same U.S. attorney's office in Birmingham that this week opened its case against HealthSouth executive Richard M. Scrushy, one of the marquee corporate corruption probes in the nation, is also investigating the local Boy Scouts. (link)

Al Qaeda. Boy Scouts. Makes sense to me.

Petersburg To Do Without Representation

It appears that residents of the Petersburg, VA area are going to be without representation in the Virginia House of Delegates for a while.
Special election unlikely
Richmond Times-Dispatch

The election to replace Del. Fenton L. Bland Jr., D-Petersburg, will take place after the General Assembly session ends next month.

Because Bland resigned during the session, House Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford, could call a special election while the legislature met. But Howell said he won't do that.

"I don't think I'll call an election during the session because it would take at least four weeks, and we're going to be out of here in four weeks and a couple of days," Howell said. "We've got an election coming up this fall. My feeling at this point is there's no need for anybody to do anything." (link)

This is not right. Petersburg needs a delegate at this critical juncture in the state's history.

They can have mine. We here in Bland will do without.

Call it a sacrifice for the cause.

When It Gets Down To $99.95 ...

Good news from the Associated Press:
Hungering for one of those monster TVs? Your wallet says to wait
By Elliot Spagat / AP Business Writer

SAN DIEGO -- Even if you take all your friends to a sports bar on Super Bowl Sunday and even if you pay for every beer, you'll likely spend thousands less than you would have if you bought yourself a new ultra-thin, high-definition television.

And you won't have to kick yourself as you watch the price of those TVs fall.

New factories and improved manufacturing techniques are expected to contribute to significant price declines this year. Exactly how much depends on whom you ask.

The price of liquid-crystal display TVs fell between 30 percent and 50 percent last year -- with the larger screens dropping more -- a decline that will likely be repeated in 2005, said Douglas Woo, president of Westinghouse Digital Electronics LLC.

Westinghouse introduced a 27-inch liquid crystal display TV for $2,499 last January. It sells for $1,299 today.

A 37-inch liquid crystal display TV that cost $7,000 a year ago now sells for about $3,000, said Sean Wargo, director of industry analysis at the Consumer Electronics Association, the Arlington Va., manufacturers trade group.

He expects prices for liquid-crystal display sets to drop around 40 percent this year. (link)
Paula and I had to make a decision a couple of years ago. I wanted to wait until High Definition television was the standard in both TV sets and in broadcasting; and I wanted the prices of the large plasma TV's to come down - as we knew they would. So, as is the American way, we decided not to accept that wisdom and we bought a new TV anyway. Large. Expensive. "HDTV-ready," whatever that meant.

It's not high definition but how clear does it have to be to watch SpongueBob SquarePants?

Is This A Good Idea?

I am conflicted. This (from the Detroit News) strikes me as not being right:

Klan memorabilia auction creates controversy
By Tim Martin / Associated Press

HOWELL -- Gary Gray says he will be auctioning off history Saturday when he sells seven Ku Klux Klan robes and other paraphernalia at his downtown business.

But the uniforms, knives, books and buttons are reminiscent of a past this small Michigan town would rather forget.

Gray, a white man and owner of the Ole' Gray Nash Auction Gallery, says the auction is not about promoting racism. He says it's about education and business -- a potentially lucrative departure from his more standard auction fare of antiques, coins and books. None of those auctions, however, has stirred controversy like this one.

The NAACP branch in neighboring northern Oakland County, along with other civil rights groups in southeast Michigan, have blasted the auction as insensitive. (
The fact that the NAACP has come out against the auction sends the signal that it is probably not a bad thing to do. After all, it is the NAACP that is home today to America's most notorious racists (go back and read some of the inflamatory remarks coming from the likes of Julian Bond and Kweisi Mfume).

Still, the Klan is not something we need to immortalize in our history books or in memorabilia collections. It should be relegated to that part of our past where most all its membership resides - in the cemetery.