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

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Bring This Guy Over Here

I've written in the past that we should patch up our differences with our wayward western counties (they prefer to call themselves West Virginia, for now) and move forward - once again - as one. Another good reason for doing this, besides eliminating the confusing bit of trivia relating to Stonewall Jackson being a yankee (he was born in what is today Clarksburg, West Virginia), they have over there a governor who is fervently pro-life and, apparently, believes in holding down state taxes. My kinda guy!
Manchin Pledges to Block Gasoline Tax Hike
By LAWRENCE MESSINA, Wheeling News Register

CHARLESTON - A surge in wholesale prices threatens to boost a West Virginia gasoline tax by more than a third, but administration officials say Gov. Joe Manchin plans to makes good on his pledge to block any such hike. (
Unlike Tim Kaine, whose first act after having been elected governor of Virginia was to leak to the press his intention to raise taxes, Manchin is out there saying he's going to block at least some tax hikes.

Can we have a do-over and bring Manchin over here?

Gettin' 'em To The Polls

Much has been made in recent years about voter apathy. Tuesday's election here in Virginia drew an anemic 40% of eligible voters. David Broder, writing an op/ed for the Washington Post recently came up with the idea that we should change the day of the week we go to the polls from Tuesday to Saturday or Sunday. I think Joe Ellis has a better idea. He offers cash and whiskey to potential supporters:
Man Said to Use Cash, Whiskey to Buy Votes

LIBERTY, Ky. (AP) -- A Casey County man has been convicted of using cash and whiskey to buy votes in a school board election.

Jurors deliberated 30 minutes Wednesday before finding Joe Ellis guilty on four felony charges of buying votes. They recommended Ellis serve only the minimum prison sentence of one year. He had faced up to 20 years in prison.

Ellis gave pints of Ancient Age whiskey and $5 bills to Stella Johnson's son and daughter and a friend during a meeting the day before the November 2004 election, according to testimony during the trial. (link)
Truth be known, I'd probably have voted for Ellis just because he has good taste in bourbon whiskey. But throw in five bucks and I'll vote for you, rub your back, and wash your car too. I'm easily influenced in this regard. I should be thankful that we have juries out there protecting me from myself.

If Only It Weren't So

I received an email from someone yesterday questioning my veracity and suggesting that I exaggerate . In yesterdays' post, The Governor Has a Plan, I made the following statement:

We believe we can replace the thousands of jobs lost in the manufacturing sector with good paying jobs selling wieners to tourists.
My email buddy, in response, wrote this:

You have no proof that southwest Virginia has lost 'thousands of jobs.' Your (sic) just being hysterical. And a sore loser. Get over it you lost (sic).
Well. Let me make three points.

First, "your" illiterate. Go back to school.

Second, I didn't lose anything in the recent election. I'll do just fine regardless what damage Tim Kaine inflicts on the poor people of Southwest Virginia, beginning, it already appears, with a tax increase, a blow that will drive more people into poverty and, in raising the cost of doing business even higher, send more jobs overseas.

I will have to cut back though. You'll notice several charities featured off to the left of this weblog, each icon linking to a site where individuals can send donations for very worthy causes. I give to three of them every year - the American Red Cross, the Boy Scouts, and the Salvation Army. If my taxes go up, my donations may go down. I didn't lose but someone in great need will.

That seems to be the way your kind want it.

Third, I should caution everyone out there that I'm not the Bureau of Labor Statistics or the Virginia Employment Commission - but I know who is - so let me just cite one source for my comment that we have lost not "thousands of jobs" but thousands of jobs in the manufacturing sector alone. The article I cite appeared in the Los Angeles Times in 2002 (sorry it's rather dated but the problem has only accelerated since then). I'll quote a small portion of it.

A Town Out of Work: Globalization Takes Toll on Industries
by Warren Vieth, Los Angeles Times

CHILHOWIE, Va. — People in this pocket of Appalachia aren't sure what it's like to work in a Mexican garment factory or an Asian furniture plant. But they know how it feels to be globalized.

For years, manufacturers flocked to Chilhowie and neighboring communities because of their abundant supply of loyal, low-cost workers.

Then, in a sudden turn, plants began shutting down and moving out. Since 1988, Smyth County has lost 10 big factories employing 2,075 workers. Five of the plants and 1,430 of the jobs were in little Chilhowie, population 1,827.

An entire town, in effect, had been traded away.
Smyth County alone has lost thousands of manufacturing jobs since 1988. Chilhowie has lost damn near more jobs than it has people.

Add to the losses in Smyth County the losses in Giles, Montgomery, Roanoke, Washington, Carroll, Tazewell, Wythe, Wise, Grayson, Buchanan, Lee, Dickenson, Russell, Pulaski, and Floyd County - add the losses sustained at Spring Ford Industries' knitting mill and Tultex and Buster Brown and Natalie Knitting Mills (all cited in the article) to those at Mack Truck and Ethan Allen and Renfro and Celanese and Johnson & Johnson and Lear and Dan River and American of Martinsville and Virginia Glove and Virginia House Furniture and Lea Industries and ArvinMeritor and Alcoa Wheels and VF Knitwear and Burlington Industries and Hooker Furniture and Stanley Furniture and Thomasville and Bassett Furniture Industries and Pulaski Furniture, and a picture of the devastation emerges.

So, dear reader, if you're looking for winners and losers in the recent election, pick up any local phone book down this way. Of those folks who haven't already left for greener pastures, many who remain are losing - losing to a shifting global economy, a business climate - particularly on the manufacturing and mining side - that is costly, AND to a state government that is completely out of touch with the people of Southwest Virginia and their problems.

Problems, by the way, that will not be solved by raising our taxes again, as your man in Richmond is about to do or by giving names to hiking trails, as your hero and the darling of the Democratic Party did.