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

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Governor Has a Plan

Breaking news from the Associated Press:

Kaine Team Unveils Economic Development Plan
Associated Press

Bland, Virginia (AP) -- Governor-elect Tim Kaine's transition team wasted no time in introducing the first in a series of initiatives intended to reinvigorate the woefully depressed economy of Southwest Virginia. "We made a number of promises to the people down that way," said Kaine spokesperson Tanya Harding, "and we hope to honor as many of them as we can."

Just one day after having been elected, Kaine, through his spokesperson, said "We believe that the lifeblood of the economy in Southwest Virginia is in the burgeoning tourism trade and this initiative, working in conjunction with Congressman Rick Boucher's creation of a horseback riding trail in Scott County and Governor Mark Warner's actions in giving names to bike paths and hiking trails throughout the area will result in full employment and economic prosperity. We believe we can replace the thousands of jobs lost in the manufacturing sector with good paying jobs selling wieners to tourists. This will bring vitality and a sense of self-worth to the people in the area - from Beckley to Abingtown."

Local reaction to Kaine's plan was mixed.

Willy Nevalern, a lifelong resident of Marion and a Democratic Party operative, looked at Kaine's Prosperity-on-Wheels as it's been dubbed by party officials, and remarked, "I had 25 years in as a fine furniture artisan at American of Martinsville in Chilhowie but I've been unemployed for the last five years. This could be just the thing to get my family off SSI and back on our feet. I'm willing to learn how to cook hotdogs for a living. I think Tim Kaine is doing right by Southwest Virginia."

Stretch Credulity wasn't as impressed. "It's a wiener," he remarked after having stared incredulously at the hotdogmobile for a time. "What do we do with a wiener?" When told it was intended to attract the tourist crowd that flocks to Southwest Virginia to encounter the area's vast resources of rocks and ... stuff, Stretch shook his head and replied, "So what do we do with those tourists once we get 'em a hotdog? Take 'em on a guided tour of our abandoned homes and factories? Show 'em the architectural niceties of our crumbling schools? Treat 'em to a refreshing bottle of water that has to be trucked in from up north because our drinking water here is unfit for human consumption?"

When told of the underwhelming local response to the new governor's economic recovery plan, Tim Kaine's spokesperson simply replied, "They'd better get used to the idea. This is as good as it's going to get."

Another local resident, Russel Honore, was heard to remark as he walked away, "Talk about being stuck on stupid ... "

Leave It To The Collegians

Unlike the frightened adolescents at the New York Times who fear any open discussion of or change in public school curriculum relating to established dogma and the theory of evolution (go here to see related blog post on the subject), the editorial staff at Virginia Tech's student newspaper, Collegiate Times, takes a truly adult approach to the subject. They think theories are open to debate and should be debated. Did the earth just tremble?
I.D. necessary to show faults in evolution
November 11th, 2005
Collegiate Times Editorial Board

Earlier this week in Kansas, the state’s Board of Education voted six to four to adopt new policies on science standards that would challenge the evolutionary theory presented by Darwin. Conversely, in the election held last week in Dover, Pa., voters opted to oust eight school board members who had previously approved of intelligent design being taught in classrooms.

The problem with all of this fighting is that people are arguing over which theory should be taught. What they may be forgetting is that both options, evolution and intelligent design, are theories. A theory is something that has not been proven and often can have holes in it.

At this point in the history of the world, it is impossible to avoid recognition of the fact that there are alternatives to evolutionary theory. There are holes in the theory and, just as with many other things, people want explanation as to what those holes mean, how they came to be and what other things could possibly fill them. (link)

The idea that theories - whether they relate to religion, politics, or home cooking - are open to debate - and should be debated - is refreshing. I had been told long ago that such intellectual inquiry was the reason someone created universities. But I had begun to wonder if a more Marxist approach to learning had taken the place of rational discussion of the issues of the day - Don't pay attention to anything you've learned in the past, anything you feel, smell, touch, see, or hear, believe only what we tell you to believe. This, it seems to me, is how the New York Times editorial staff would have it. "We got it figured out. Don't screw with it."

I applaud the editorial staff of Collegiate Times for its support of open intellectual debate of the issues of the day.

God knows, as we try to make our way through this life, we have more questions than answers. Either God, that is, or some evolutionary creature that crawled up out of the primordial ooze and learned to walk, talk, and write goofy crap for the New York Times.

Bush Strikes Back

President Bush opened a can o' whoop-ass yesterday.
By DEBORAH ORIN, The New York Post

WASHINGTON — President Bush yesterday hailed America's heroes on Veterans Day and hit back at "deeply irresponsible" charges from Democrats and anti-war critics that he led the nation to war in Iraq by twisting intelligence.

"These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will," Bush told troops at an Army depot in Tobyhanna, Pa.

"As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them," he said to loud applause.

The president went on the offensive to defend his Iraq policy at a time when his public support has slid to its lowest point amid nonstop Democratic attacks on his credibility — until now, mostly unanswered by the White House.

Bush accused "some Democrats and anti-war critics" of trying to rewrite history and pretend they were tricked into backing the war to topple Saddam Hussein, even quoting 2004 rival John Kerry's strong pro-war statements.

Bush didn't mention Kerry by name but noted that "my opponent" said before the war: "I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in [Saddam's] hands is a threat, and a grave threat to our security." (link)
If I were to criticize Mr. Bush's approach to taking it to his opponents, it would be in the fact that he only takes them on for brief moments and then goes back to work. Unlike President Clinton, who never accomplished anything but was in permanent campaign mode, President Bush seems to think his job is to govern. He needs to take time out more often and thrash his enemies - as he did yesterday - and then go back to saving the world.

Business Icon Dead At 95

A decade ago I read everything Peter Drucker had ever written on the subject of business management. He was a smart fella. And will be missed.
Peter F. Drucker, a Pioneer in Social and Management Theory, Is Dead at 95
BARNABY J. FEDER, The New York Times

Peter F. Drucker, the political economist and author, whose view that big business and nonprofit enterprises were the defining innovation of the 20th century led him to pioneering social and management theories, died yesterday at his home in Claremont, Calif. He was 95.

He challenged both business and labor leaders to search for ways to give workers more control over their work environment. He also argued that governments should turn many functions over to private enterprise and urged organizing in teams to exploit the rise of a technology-astute class of "knowledge workers."

Mr. Drucker staunchly defended the need for businesses to be profitable but he preached that employees were a resource, not a cost. His constant focus on the human impact of management decisions did not always appeal to executives, but they could not help noticing how it helped him foresee many major trends in business and politics. (