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

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Exactly What Are We Saving Again?

You people who are enthralled with the hybrid class of automobiles out there are not going to want to read this. According to a newly released study, the Ford Escape and Toyota Prius, arguably the most attractive and popular of all the electric/gasoline powered vehicles, will cost you - over a five-year stretch - more than you'll save. Lots more.
A hybrid shortcircuit

Gasoline-electric hybrid cars get the fuel economy buzz, but they still don't pay for themselves at the pump. Edmunds.com found that the Ford Escape hybrid would break even over five years with its gasoline counterpart only if gas cost $5.60 a gallon. For a Toyota Prius, the tipping point is $10.10 (compared with a Corolla). That's hardly electrifying. (link)
Back to the drawing board ...

You Can Afford It, Michael

The Detroit News has had enough of Michigan native Michael Moore. Finally.
Daily Beef: Moore or less on GM

Filmmaker Michael Moore weighed in on the GM plant closings by saying "General Motors continues its destruction of cities like Flint and the American middle class," according to USA Today. As though GM doesn't want to sell cars, make money and strengthen communities. But if Moore thinks he can do a better job, he could hire the laid-off workers and build cars. (link)

Moore, who made a few hundred million from his slanderous hit-piece, "Fahrenheit 9/11," could afford to help every one of the 30,000 soon-to-be laid-off GM workers. Let's see if those tears of his are genuine.

Write 'em a check, Mikey.

Shop Til You Blow Your Harddrive

Paula and I have two places to shop for Christmas gifts here in Bland County, Virginia. We have our beloved Dollar General and we have the IGA (for those who can expect to find cheese under the tree on Christmas morning).

With that understood, you can imagine how much of a workout the internet is getting right now what with Paula having a list longer than your arm of toys and goodies that she intends to purchase for little Kaid, Jayla, and Chase.

And The Wall Street Journal is taking note of the growing phenomenon:
'Cyber Monday' Sales Strong, Web Sites Say
By PUI-WING TAM and MYLENE MANGALINDAN, Staff Reporters of The Wall Street Journal

The Monday after Thanksgiving, nicknamed "Cyber Monday," is the unofficial kickoff of the Internet holiday shopping period. It has become a huge online shopping day in part because after a long Thanksgiving weekend of comparing prices and exchanging gift ideas, many shoppers return to the high-speed Internet connections in their offices ready to buy electronically.

Online Christmas sales already had jumped over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend. Americans spent $305 million online Friday, up 22% from the same day a year ago, according to research firm comScore Networks. Research firm Nielsen/NetRatings said its Holiday eShopping Index, which tracks traffic to 100 Web sites, jumped 29% Friday from a year earlier. (link requires subscription)
Check out the chart above that shows how internet shopping has grown in recent years. It's astounding. Frannie Cooley has the reason pegged:
"I'm in front of my computer a lot. I hate having to deal with driving downtown, parking, scrambling around looking for what I need," she says. On the Web, "it's just easier."
Or in the case of Bland Countians, it provides the only opportunity for us to shop without taking a day and jouneying to the nearest outpost of civilization.

Click on image to enlarge.
Chart courtesy of The Wall Street Journal.

I Stand Corrected

A valued and trusted reader took issue with the following that I wrote on Friday:

Although the Constitution allows for the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, circumstances, it seems to me, must be far more egregious before we allow any president to exercise that authority. (link)
It is the reader's belief that the Constitution allows for Congress to suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus and not the President.

Hmm. I remember in past readings that Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation at the beginning of the Civil War that suspended the right of the incarcerated to be charged with a crime. What resulted was the government arresting a host of people - southern sympathizers deemed enemies of the United States - and in some cases deporting them without an opportunity to have their cases heard in a court of law.

Did Abraham Lincoln actually have that authority?

I looked it up in my trusty Constitution.

Here's what it says in Article 1, Section 9, Clause 2:

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it. (link)

The fact that this clause appears in Article 1 of the Constitution, which enumerates the powers of (and certain limitations on) Congress, means the authority does rest in the hands of Congress.

Mea culpa.

What we need to know now from our favorite Southwest Virginia law blogger (a guy who knows the law) - Blogger Steve - is: Did Abraham Lincoln exceed his authority and violate the law when he issued his proclamation suspending the Writ of Habeas Corpus?

To the reader who brought this to my attention: Don't ever make me look like an idiot again! But thanks for keeping me on my toes. I learned something today.

Dick Armey Scolds Republicans

Dick Armey, we miss you.
It's My Party . . .
By DICK ARMEY, The Wall Street Journal

In all my years in politics, I've never sensed such anger and frustration from our volunteers -- those who do the hard work of door-to-door mobilization that Republican candidates depend on to get elected. Across the nation, wherever I go to speak with them, their refrain is the same: "I can't tell a dime's worth of difference between Republicans and Democrats." Our base rightly expects Republicans to govern by the principles -- lower taxes, less government and more freedom -- that got them elected. Today, with Republicans controlling both the legislative and executive branches of the federal government, there is a widening credibility gap between their political rhetoric and their public policies.

What will happen to Republicans if these freedom-loving, grassroots activists don't show up for work next fall? The elections earlier this month may be an indication of the answer. (link requires subscription)
I'm afraid it's not going to be pretty if the Republican Party leadership doesn't quickly remember to start dancin' with the ones what brung ya'.

Now That's the Christmas Spirit II

The people of Novi, Michigan (well, a subdivision therein) have banned the baby Jesus.

It's away with the manger
Novi subdivision tells family to get baby Jesus off lawn; homeowners say Christ belongs in Christmas.
Jennifer Chambers and Brad Heath, The Detroit News

NOVI -- The multicolored nativity scene on the Samona family's front yard is under attack.

The Samonas' neighborhood association has ordered the Novi family to remove its seven-piece plastic display or face possible fines of $25 to $100 per week.

The family isn't budging and neither are its three wise men. The Samonas have vowed not only to keep the display, but also are threatening to enhance it."If you take this out, it's not Christmas anymore," said Joe Samona, 16, as he reached down and scooped baby Jesus from the creche on his parents' front lawn. (link)

This story gets a bit bizarre. Apparently the Samonas are displaying, in addition to a nativity scene, Santa and Mrs. Claus and Minnie Mouse and Winnie the Pooh, but those statuettes are not banned. Just the nativity scene. Because a "complainant" in the neighborhood has a problem with "advertising."
Although I'm not offended by it, I take issue about advertising personal beliefs and interests by putting them on display whatever the belief or interest may be.
So when George Clooney comes on television to hawk a product that he "believes" got rid of his jock itch this genius would take issue with it? Sure.

What is it about the baby Jesus that brings out the stupid in people?

NY Doc Becomes Crime Expert

We have of late been treated to images of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie conducting foreign policy (here) and (here) and actually having the mainstream media turn to them as if they're experts on the subjects of poverty and world hunger and not just modern-day court jesters. Now we have doctors in New York lecturing us on how we are to solve the crime problem.

Another expert. Another court jester:
Yesterday, at a press conference held following the death of Officer [Dillon] Stewart, Dr. [Robert] Kurtz said the time has come to get the guns off the city's streets. Here, the Bronx-born MD explains why he's such a fierce proponent of gun control.

THE country and the city are awash in guns and we have to do something about it.

I see all-too-graphic evidence of the problem daily in the emergency room at Kings County Hospital. (link)
Dr. Stewart then goes on to voice the same worn out arguments that have been discredited in recent years. Gun control in New York is working marvelously well but it's not working because there isn't enough gun control in Florida ...
But when the whole country is deluged with guns, and when people can buy guns very easily in Florida, Georgia, and Virginia and bring them up here, they're much too easily available.
When the state of Florida cracks down, Stewart will complain about the free flow of handguns out of Nicaragua. Zimbabwe. Tatooeen.

Oh, and we have only the NRA to blame for all the violence on the streets of the city:
But the armaments industry controls the National Rifle Association, and the NRA has intimidated politicians, both Republican and Democratic, making it impossible to pass suitably restrictive gun laws.

If New York's gun laws became any more restictive, every citizen found there in possession of a firearm would be shot on sight ... er, stabbed on sight.

And, oh by the way, the armaments industry doesn't control the NRA; I do.

Then there's this troubling flaw in Dr. Stewart's attack on America:
About half our admissions are victims of penetrating trauma — from guns, knives, and other weapons and violence.
Knives and "other weapons" are contributing to the problem. Even you supporters of gun control are abetting crime. That's precious. The next sound you hear will be a knock on YOUR door.

Great Britain has taken Dr. Stewart's logic to the next level. Legislators there are attempting to ban BB guns, hunting knives, and - more recently - plastic toy guns (and crime there has risen since). Can fingernail files be far behind?

As is always the case with his kind, this crime expert never mentions the scumbag who shot and killed Officer Dillon Stewart. Never being the operative word.

About That CNN 'X'

We were treated to CNN's explanation for flashing that huge black 'X' over the image of Dick Cheney as he was making a speech the other day (here). An excerpt:
"We did it just to make a point. Tell them to stop lying, Bush and Cheney ... "

"Bring our soldiers home."

"Was it not freedom of speech? Yes or No?"

"If you don't like it, don't watch."
I appreciate a company policy that is clearly written and expressed without ambiguities. CNN wants us all to shut up and die. You think I exaggerate?

Bill Quick has the audio.