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

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Time To Take Care of Our Own

Paula and I donated to the American Red Cross this morning - again - and we intend to participate in this fund drive:

NBC U Slates Katrina Benefit
By Jim Benson -- Broadcasting & Cable

The NBC Universal Television Group, which has been active in raising money during previous national disasters, has scheduled a live benefit special, A Concert For Hurricane Relief, in high-definition on NBC, MSNBC and CNBC at 8 p.m. Friday.

The hour music- and celebrity-driven broadcast will air live on the East Coast, tape
delayed on the West.

The telethon, hosted by NBC's Matt Lauer, will be broadcast entirely from 30 Rock.

The special will feature performances by artists with ties to the affected areas, including Tim McGraw, Harry Connick, Jr., and Wynton Marsalis, and feature an appearance by Leonardo DiCaprio, among others.

All viewers will be encouraged to donate to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund in support of hurricane relief through its website and donation hotline (www.redcross.org or 1-800-HELP NOW). (link)

We routinely show the world how magnanimous we can be when it comes to the poor in Africa and the tsunami-ravaged in Southeast Asia. Now it's time to show them how we take care of our own. As a famous Ghostbuster once said, "Let's show them how we do it downtown!"

The American Red Cross needs cash.

On The Road

I come to you this evening from the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Chicago. Yes, it's a tough life.

I am having dinner tonight with a new vice president and will be in meetings here tomorrow.

Then it's off on some other adventure.

Life is good ... if you can deal with O'Hare.

Searchers 'Pushed Aside The Dead'

News out of the gulf coast is bleak:

Floods Ravage New Orleans
Two Levees Give Way; in Mississippi, Death Toll Estimated at 110
By Guy Gugliotta and Peter Whoriskey, Washington Post Staff Writers

NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 30 -- Two levees burst Tuesday, flooding the city of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which had already leveled much of the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Alabama in one of the nation's worst natural disasters.

The flooding showed that the damage from the historic hurricane that hit early Monday with 145-mph winds was only just beginning. Rescuers in boats pushed aside the dead floating in the brown, churning waves to reach survivors trapped on rooftops as authorities urged residents to flee. (link)
I considered the dire predictions made by the "experts" about the damage that Hurricane Katrina was about to inflict on the coastal areas to be hysterical and unfounded.

I was wrong.


Photo coutesy of The Washington Post
Click on image to enlarge

Governor Warner's Pravda

"Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." Joseph Stalin

It would seem our erstwhile governor is regretting having created a legacy for himself that will be chronicled as profligate, undisciplined, and shamefully irresponsible. Chronicled, that is, by objective journalists - which omits the Roanoke Times. Virginia Governor Mark Warner, after having been elected on a platform that included a pledge to not raise taxes, not only brought about the Commonwealth's largest tax hike ever, he oversaw the fastest rate of budget spending growth of any administration in Virginia history as well. Now he pleads for his successor to be fiscally disciplined. I'm sure both Jerry Kilgore and Tim Kaine got a good chuckle out of that.

The Roanoke Times, in an editorial that may have been authored by Baghdad Bob, frets this morning over the fact that Warner's legacy may be tarnished if the next Governor doesn't rein in state government spending. Which shows that they, like Warner, have a sense of humor too.
Warner's fiscal legacy stands at risk
Both major party candidates seeking to replace the governor seem more interested in expensive campaign promises than budgetary restraint.

The Roanoke Times

In his Monday speech to the General Assembly's finance and appropriations committees, Gov. Mark Warner sounded like a man desperate to secure his legacy of fiscal prudence.

The reason for his desperation is clear. As a Sunday story in The Roanoke Times detailed, the two major-party candidates to replace Warner are promising hundreds of millions of dollars in spending increases and tax cuts. (link)
I'm trying to decide what's worse - a politician who makes a promise he doesn't deliver on or a politician who makes a promise he doesn't deliver on. At least in the case of the two (legitimate) candidates to replace Warner, if they don't spend the money they're promising to spend, it does no harm to the fund that I had set up to provide for my grandchildrens' education. Warner, on the other hand, confiscated a chunk from my savings account so that he could boost the state's savings account, after having promised that he wouldn't.

That is his legacy.

And while I'm on the subject of editorialists who seem to perennially have their lips affixed to Governor Warner's backside, The Roanoke Times staff would do well, when they make an allegation, to back it up with ... something.

In this particular editorial the Times makes the following charge:
Republican candidate Jerry Kilgore actually has said how he'll pay for his promises: He'll use the budget surplus generated by the tax increase he opposed last year.
Ouch. Now that would be a serious error on Kilgore's part if true; not that he would be the first politician to be accused of hypocrisy. But here's how the author backs up the charge. He/she provides the following quote from a Kilgore aide :
"We will quite easily be able to cover Jerry Kilgore's campaign promises with room to spare," Kilgore spokesman Tim Murtaugh told The Washington Times, moments after he informed the same reporter, "We see the massive surplus as absolute proof the tax increase was not necessary."
Where in that quote does it even hint at, "He'll use the budget surplus generated by the tax increase he opposed last year"?

They see what they want to see. They write what they want to write.

All hail Mark Warner, the fiscal conservative!

Suddenly everyone stood - began to applaud - to cheer - and to smile. The children waved. In a box to the right - smiling and applauding the audience - as well as the artists on the stage - stood the great Stalin.

I remember the tears began to quietly flow and I too smiled and waved. Here was clearly a man who seemed to embrace all. So kindly - I can never forget that warm feeling of kindliness and also a feeling of sureness. Here was one who was wise and good - the world and especially the socialist world was fortunate indeed to have his daily guidance. I lifted high my son Pauli to wave to this world leader, and his leader. For Paul, Jr. had entered school in Moscow, in the land of the Soviets.

They have sung - sing now and will sing his praise - in song and story. Slava - slava - slava - Stalin, Glory to Stalin. Forever will his name be honored and beloved in all lands. In all spheres of modern life the influence of Stalin reaches wide and deep. From his last simply written but vastly discerning and comprehensive document, back through the years, his contributions to the science of our world society remain invaluable. One reverently speaks of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin - the shapers of humanity's richest present and future.

Yes, through his deep humanity, by his wise understanding, he leaves us a rich and monumental heritage. Most importantly - he has charted the direction of our present and future struggles. He has pointed the way to peace - to friendly co-existence - to the exchange of mutual scientific and cultural contributions - to the end of war and destruction. How consistently, how patiently, he labored for peace and ever-increasing abundance, with what deep kindliness and wisdom.
Paul Robeson, March 5, 1953 (link)