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

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Wilderness v. Jobs

Governor Mark Warner has decided, since Southwest Virginia is slowly being depopulated anyway, to speed up the process. Logging, one of the few remaining viable industries in the area, is about to find itself completely shut out of the Jefferson National Forest and is to be deprived of the millions of harvestable trees therein.

From the Associated Press:

Warner seeks U.S. protection of wilderness areas in Virginia
By Sue Lindsey, Associated Press Writer

December 22, 2005 Roanoke, Va. -- Gov. Mark R. Warner on Thursday petitioned federal officials to protect more than 380,000 acres of mountain wilderness in Virginia's national forests from development.

Warner asked Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns to issue rules restricting road construction and commercial activity in the wild areas of the George Washington and Jefferson national forests.

The petition asked Johanns to restore in Virginia a 2001 regulation that prohibited development of wilderness areas nationwide except to protect public health and safety.

Warner's petition, the first filed in the nation, was lauded by the Southern Environmental Law Center and The Wilderness Society. (link)

Of course it was. Neither the Southern Environmental Law Center nor The Wilderness Society are headquartered in Southwest Virginia. They could give a damn what happens to the local citizenry. The SELC has its offices in Charlottesville, a pristine wilderness if there ever was one, and The Wilderness Society has its headquarters in that sublime forestland otherwise known as downtown Washington DC. I guess if I were staring at asphalt for as far as the eye can see, I'd demand that others preserve some trees for me to occasionally view too. Both groups are hellbent on preserving our trees and rocks down here for those twice-a-year excursions they make to our neighborhood to buy our pots, listen to us strum our banjos, smoke their dope, and pretend they are one with nature. Oh, and they ask that we change the linens and scrub the toiletbowl for when they camp out at the Hampton Inn over in Fort Chiswell.

It would do us all well to remember who these people are and who's side they're on.

The Roanoke Times, in an editorial this morning, picks up on the "Warner is going to make Southwest Virginia an uninhabitable wasteland" news (where does he live again?) and has this:

Gov. Mark Warner's praiseworthy petition this week asking the federal government to protect 380,000 acres of mountain wilderness areas in Virginia was the first from the states seeking to restrict construction of roads and other commercial activity in national forests.

With more than 90,000 signatures from Virginians supporting such wilderness protection, Warner pointed out in his petition how crucial such pristine areas are in supporting wildlife habitat, purifying water sources* and enhancing tourism [my emphasis] (
link)
So there are 90,000 residents from the DC suburbs who demand that Southwest Virginia revert (more rapidly) to its stone age origins. Swell. Personally I think our next governor should petition the federal government to have Northern Virginia declared a wilderness area and to demand that it be turned into one big unemployment line.

Look. I don't take the Roanoke Times editorial staff seriously but a governor who's worming his way into a coveted meeting with Michael Moore some day is dangerous.

And Warner's proposal is destructive.

I know Governor Warner and the boulder aficionados rejoice at the thought that the logging industry would be destroyed but, with the exception of the burgeoning hiking trail construction industry (along with the pathetic ceramic pot crafting business that we are all expected to participate in), we have little else.

Rather than close off the national forests to development completely, I'd rather we opened them up to logging - and mining - interests and put some of the poor people around here to work. I'd also ask that government that professes to have our best interests at heart to fascilitate their growth and vitality. That's what governments once were expected to do.

Either that or come down here and direct traffic as the hundreds and hundreds of poverty-stricken families descend on the Bland Ministry Center to receive their handouts of food and clothing and Christmas gifts for their destitute children.

I can't, however, guarantee that you'll enjoy the view.

* For details on that "purifying water sources" crap, see this Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy study on the "purified water" flowing down Callahan Creek, a source of drinking water that is unfit for human consumption.

Quote Of The Day

Rise and Shine, Campers

"The U.S. Congress on Thursday agreed to extend until February 3 key provisions of the anti-terrorism USA Patriot Act to allow more time for lawmakers to consider civil liberties protections," Reuters reports from Washington.

And if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow on Feb. 2, we'll have six more weeks without a terrorist attack.

James Taranto, "Best of the Web Today," December 23, 2005

Susette Kelo On Eminent Domain

The city of New London, Connecticut has been given the green light by the Supreme Court of the United States to seize the private property of Susette Kelo and to hand it over to a private company to develop. Susette is the now-famous Kelo in the now infamous Kelo v. City of New London.

Many Americans - including me - consider this decision to be the most egregious assault on our freedoms in our lifetime. The government seizing property from one private entity and handing it over to another private entity (the receiving party will always have more wealth; the reason Kelo's land is being seized is because a development company can always provide more tax revenue) assaults the foundations of our Republic.

Susette Kelo puts it best in this interview with a reporter for the Wall Street Journal:
In Kelo, the Supremes interpreted the "takings" clause of the U.S. Constitution to say that local governments have more or less unlimited authority to take private property. For Ms. Kelo, that means that the state-financed New London Development Corp. may seize the house where she's lived for eight years, tear it down, and put up a private development that would include more expensive condominiums and townhouses that would return higher property-tax revenues for the city.

"For public use--for a bridge or a road or a school or a hospital -- that's bad enough," says Ms. Kelo over tea at the kitchen table of her little house at 8 East Street in the Fort Trumbull section of the city. "But you add insult to injury if somebody else can live here. That's exactly what they plan on doing here. Making it so somebody else can live here." But "I live on East Street. I live on East Street. Why can't I live here?" (
link requires subscription)

The woman is pleading with us not to let our government take the only property she has. Susette Kelo is powerless now - as are we - to stop the local authorities from throwing her out on the street. She lost the last chance she had to keep her home when the Supreme Court sided with the developer in her case.

This is absolutely wrong.

Then And Now

I sat and watched - for the umpteenth time - the 1954 movie classic "White Christmas" the other night. Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen were dazzling in the way they dressed and comported themselves. They were ladies in the best sense of the word.

That was then; this is now:

Foxy gets slap for yap
Judge has her cuffed in gum-chewing fracas
By Thomas Zambito, New York Daily News Staff Writer


Rapper Foxy Brown's diva act didn't go over well yesterday with a judge, who ordered her handcuffed when she stuck out her tongue, then threatened her with jail when she tussled with a court officer.

"Have her cuffed right now!" Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Melissa Jackson bellowed as court officers swarmed the 26-year-old Brooklyn-born rapper.

Brown resisted, shouting at officers as they struggled to snap the cuffs over the chunky silver bracelet and bangles adorning her left wrist to tether her to the bench. Jackson later accused Brown of striking one of the officers. (link)
Foxy will be feted in every entertainment magazine in the land. She is what we've become.

"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas ... "

So What Do We Call It Now?

The MS in MSNBC is packing its bags and heading back to mama:
Microsoft Quits MSNBC TV, but Web Partnership Remains
By
BILL CARTER, The New York Times

Ending a partnership that soured long ago, Microsoft and NBC announced yesterday that they would dissolve their joint ownership of the cable news channel MSNBC, with NBC taking control. (link)
I've got news for you. Bill Gates isn't busting up this relationship because of a "soured" partnership. He's stemming the flow of blood. MSNBC is losing money, it has no viewership, FOXNews is kicking its ass, and its programming is as leftist as it could be - in a growingly conservative America. Remember when they brought Phil Donahue out of moth balls to host a talk show? Phil Donahue?

Anyway, Microsoft made the smart decision and is baling out. NBC would do well to learn from their example.

No Bias There ...

Here's the first item I look at in this morning's New York Times:
Capitol's Pariah [my emphasis] on Immigration Is Now a Power
By Rachel L. Swarns

Representative Tom Tancredo has become a symbol of the ascendancy of extreme conservatives [my emphasis] in the immigration debate. (
link)
The folks at the Times will tell you they maintain a high degree of neutrality in its news reporting. If only their words told the same story.