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

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

In The Wake Of The 'Me' Generation

Wendy Wasserstein died yesterday. Few people outside of the cultured classes of New York City ever heard of her or knew that she was a playwright of considerable renown. But by those who knew her and by those who were familiar with her work, she is already grievously missed (link). What is being mentioned also in glowing, laudatory tones is the fact that Wasserstein was the prototypical feminist of her - our - age. She wrote highly acclaimed, award-winning plays that highlighted and dramatized the plight of intelligent, driven, independent women who strive to succeed in this male-centric world. And all that. You can read all about her successes as an eminent dramatist here.

What you will read too is a sort of triumphalism. Wasserstein, being your cutting-edge feminist - a la 1972 - never married. That would have required that she bond with a man. The root word being bondage. The root word being malevolence. That just wasn't to be done. Not by a committed feminist.

And there's something else, mentioned only in passing, which somehow seems appropriate to the age. Buried in the New York Times obituary chronicling her life and untimely death is this:
Ranging across more than two decades, "The Heidi Chronicles" [her most famous play] was an episodic, seriocomic biography of an art historian seeking to establish a fixed and fulfilling sense of identity amid the social convolutions of the 1960's and 70's, a period when the rulebook on relationships between men and women was being rewritten. Heidi's allegiance to her ideals and her unwillingness to compromise them for the sake of winning a man's attentions caused conflict with friends who chose easier or different paths. Looking around at her materialistic, married, self-obsessed peers two decades after the exhilarating birth of feminism, Heidi observes: "We're all concerned, intelligent, good women. It's just that I feel stranded. And I thought the whole point was that we wouldn't feel stranded. I thought the point was that we were all in this together."

In the play's bittersweet final scene, Heidi has become a single mother to a new infant - a path Ms. Wasserstein would herself pursue many years later, ultimately at great physical cost, when she gave birth, at age 48, to her daughter, Lucy Jane, in 1999.
At age 48 Wendy Wasserstein decided to have a baby. It's unclear whether the "great physical cost" was inflicted on her or her child-toy. There was never a husband. Nor, it would seem, is there a father:
Lucy Jane will live with Ms. Wasserstein's brother Bruce.
She had a baby and remained - her entire life - unshackled to any man. How trendy. The "having your cake and eating it too" approach to family-building.

It seems Wendy Wasserstein had it all. Fame. Admiration. Awards. Accolades. Riches. And a baby.

And what of Lucy Jane, the fruit of 1970's feminism?

She's six years old. She has no father. She has no mother. She's all alone - except for her uncle. She will live among her mother's trophies.

Is this what Ms. Wasserstein contemplated when she went out and had herself inseminated at a point in her life when she was approaching old age? I probably give her too much credit when I ask the question. She probably wasn't thinking at all. Like most everyone of my generation, she was caught up in her own life and her own interests - her own feelings - and didn't think about the consequences of her actions at the time. We are, after all, of the "If It Feels Good, Do It" generation.

So she did it. I'll bet it felt good. And now Lucy Jane has to live with it. Six-year old orphan, Lucy Jane Wasserstein.

Opposition To Tax Increase Gaining Momentum

The fact that we knew with certainty before he was elected that Tim Kaine had every intention of raising taxes - in massive amounts - once he became governor is enough to enrage. And the Clintonesque "town hall meetings" that were staged after he was elected at which he announced that we had a "transportation crisis" and that he was searching really really hard to find a way to solve it, as if a Democrat has any other method, makes one's blood boil (read all about the scheme and my prediction as to exactly how it would play out here). Last week Governor Kaine announced his plan. He decided to raise taxes - in massive amounts.

To coin a phrase: We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore.

The opposition to Kaine's tax is mounting. And organizing:

Group to run radio ads against tax plans
By Christina Bellantoni, The Washington Times

RICHMOND -- A grass-roots government reform group today will begin airing radio ads urging Virginians to protest transportation tax increases proposed by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and the state Senate.

Leaders of Americans for Prosperity-Virginia (AFP) said yesterday that a campaign opposing higher taxes would have prevented the $1.38 billion tax increase passed by the legislature in 2004.

"In the next few weeks, there will be a grass-roots groundswell against this tax increase, and it will hopefully be defeated," said Rob Whitney, director of AFP-Virginia. "There was no organization in 2004 that was out there taking on the tax increase proposal and showing people that there are other alternatives."

Mr. Kaine, a Democrat, has proposed a host of fee and tax increases that would raise $3.7 billion over four years. (link)
Here's the message that needs to reach every elected official across this commonwealth: The state government is awash in money, including an estimated $1 billion surplus that, try as you might, you were unable to spend in 2005. You have enough. You'll get no more.

Live with it. Or face the wrath of those who got you there.

Update: Norm has related news here.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Joel Stein Revealed

I received an email several days ago from an individual who thought it important to come to the defense of Joel Stein. You may remember Stein; he was the Los Angeles Times columnist who announced that he was opposed to the War on Terror AND our troops in the field. I labeled the man traitorous (here); an honest leftist traitor. My email buddy asked if I realized that Stein was in fact a satirist. A satirist? I reread the article. A satirist he ain't.

Then I read this interview with Hugh Hewitt and came to the realization that the LA Times columnist isn't really a traitor either. I had given him too much credit. Joel Stein is a moron who can't put two coherent sentences together. One who doesn't know what he believes.

Read the interview. It shines the light on what's left of the antique media.

Hollywood Slides Further Into Obscurity

If the Screen Actors Guild celebrates the impact it had in the past year on American culture through the many films released in 2005 and nobody cares, is it still worth celebrating? Last night Hollywood went through the motions feting a movie about a confused homosexual author (not to be confused with the movie about two confused homosexual sheep herders) and a confused movie about a city full of troubled people - oh, and Reese Witherspoon - taking top honors:


By Bill Hoffman, Ed Robinson, and Lou Lumenick, The New York Post


The gay cowboys fell off their horse and "Crashed" at the Screen Actor's Guild Awards last night.

The cast of pre-show favorite "Brokeback Mountain" came away broke, losing the award for ensemble performance to the cast of "Crash," a film about racial tensions in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, "Brokeback's" two stars, Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, lost out in individual categories. Ledger was beaten for the best lead actor in a film by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who portrayed writer Truman Capote in "Capote." (link)


Only In The Times

When I read the headline this morning in the New York Times, "ABC News Anchor Is Badly Injured by Bomb in Iraq," I immediately wanted to express my sympathies and to wish him well. But look at how the Times twists the story:
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Jan. 29 — One of the new co-anchors of ABC's evening newscast, Bob Woodruff, and a network cameraman suffered head wounds and other serious injuries on Sunday when a large roadside bomb struck the Iraqi military vehicle carrying them north of the capital.

The injuries represented the latest crisis for a network news division that has been reeling since Peter Jennings, the longtime anchor of "World News Tonight," died of lung cancer in August [my emphasis]. (link)
How cold is that? "Bob Woodruff is fighting for his life. What's going to happen to ABC's ratings?"

Shameful. Pathetic and shameful.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

ODBA Roundup

Well, let's see what's going on this weekend within the Old Dominion Blog Alliance. Any common point of interest? A recurring theme? No. But diversity is what makes this bunch so readable as a group. Anyway, here's the most interesting of this week's postings:

Chad over at Commonwealth Conservative brings us a snippet (here) of a fascinating article written by David Brooks (didn't he write for the New York Times way back when?) that has to do with social conservatism, economic conservatism and which may be of more importance to the average folk. My opinion? Both are equally critical for the USA to continue to prosper.

Kilo Sparks It Up!! with a piece relating to the regionally renowned Barter Theater and its history. Ever wonder where it got its name? Ask Kilo ...

The hardest working attorney in Southwest Virginia, Steve Minor at SW Virginia Law Blog has a post that (... I can actually comprehend and that ... ) touches on the Alito and Roberts nomination processes and the self-flaggelating debacle that the inept Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee brought upon themselves (here). Steve links to a Terry Eastland article that has it dead on. Roberts and Alito were successful (fingers crossed on that second one) because they stood - intellectually - head and shoulders above their inquistors. Good stuff.

Fellow Southwest Virginian Alton Foley at ImNotEmeril has ... nothing posted this weekend. I'm beginning to worry about the man. He's putting in too many hours at work and his health is at risk. Slow down, dude. That engineering stuff will be there tomorrow when you get to work.

A man who secured a special place in my heart when he eloquently - and aptly - termed the Roanoke Times "fish wrap," Norm Leahy (One Man's Trash) addresses the upcoming DNC snoozefest featuring none other than Tim "ImNotWilliamJenningsBryan" Kaine as guest responder to President Bush's State of the Union address. As if "fish wrap" wasn't catchy enough, the title of his post, "Eyebrow Control," is fabulous.

Old Zack at Sic Semper Tyrannis reveals (here) that I'm not alone in saying I'll never vote for Hillary Clinton, no matter the opponent (I'll sit out the election if McCain runs against her). Apparently a majority of Americans won't vote for her under any circumstances. That in itself means the Democrats will probably nominate her. Thanks, Old Zack, for the info.

Doug over at Below The Beltway has more on Hillary. Read it here. She's apparently decided to join the Alito filibuster bandwagon - if it can be called that. So far, the wagon is loaded down with such heavyweights as John Kerry and ... well, Hillary. That's pretty much it so far. Some load. Doug's post is really well written. Check it out.

What an entertaining and talented bunch of bloggers. I can't wait until tomorrow morning when they'll all be pounding the keyboard once again.

If Y'all Don't Want It, Can We Have it?

I tend to agree with today's Roanoke Times editorial (if not its title), "Kaine's plan to grow transportation wisely." Essentially the thrust of the column is that "[Governor Tim] Kaine proposes to clarify ... existing law, require uniform traffic impact studies and improve cooperation between state transportation planners and local officials, all of which would give local governments clear authority under the law, plus added expertise to judge rezoning requests based on transportation impacts."

But I paused when I read this:
Kaine's plan represents small steps to give the state and localities influence over growth patterns that create road needs at a pace state taxpayers cannot sustain.

Lawmakers should listen. Even in the suburbs, voters have had enough of sprawl. (link)
No argument there. But Kaine and his pals at the Times think developers have caused the growth in Fairfax and Woodbridge. Economic vitality had nothing to do with it.


Here's the real deal:
  • Developers and the investors that fund them chase after opportunity (call it capitalism).
  • Opportunity can be found where economic expansion is occurring.
  • Developers can only create wealth where that opportunity currently exists.
  • Government - both state and local - can easily stymy the opportunity for growth. That is what Tim Kaine and the Times editorialist are advocating.
  • I encourage their efforts. The more developers, and businesses, and jobs, and related capitalism that are driven from Northern Virginia, the better the chances are for investment to be brought down here to Southwest Virginia, where we are enthusiastically supportive.

Special note to developers: We here in Southwest Virginia are in the process of throwing out the bums in Richmond who favor high taxes and stifling regulation - one Democrat at a time. Your opportunity to take advantage of this is now. We want your money.

Come on down, boys. Bring that cash. And the jobs that go along with it.

To Tim Kaine and the Roanoke Times: Keep it up. Run those developers and their investors out of Manassas. I've put the welcome mat out. We've got a whole mess of vacant buildings down here and we're eager to have someone bring them to life.

Particularly attractive should be this jewel.

Legislature To Kill Jobs

I wrote yesterday - and many days previous - that in order to slow the heartbreaking trend of employers shutting their doors and fleeing Southwest Virginia, we need to lessen their costs of doing business here. The Virginia legislature has the opposite intention it appears - on both counts:
Bills Would Boost Minimum Wage in Va.
By Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post Staff Writer

RICHMOND -- The Virginia General Assembly, long unfriendly to proposals on raising the minimum wage, will consider bills sponsored by Northern Virginia legislators who say the state should no longer tie its rate to that set by the federal government.

While business groups strongly oppose the legislation, backers of the wage increase say that after years of waiting for Congress to raise the $5.15-an-hour rate, it is time to press ahead at the state level for the sake of low-income workers. (link)
" ... the sake of low-income workers." How touching. The fact is, thousands of jobs in Southwest Virginia, low-income and otherwise, have fled to Mexico and China and the Philippines in recent years because our employers cannot compete here. A raise in the minimum wage will add to the burden for those companies that are struggling to survive and are unable to pay more than that. They too will flee.

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Cindy Sheehan May Run For Senate

Good News! Just when we began to worry that she was going to waddle into obscurity and irrelevance, Cindy Sheehan may stick around, allowing for continued ridicule and scorn. From the Washington Post:
Cindy Sheehan May Challenge Calif. Senator
By Ian James, The Associated Press

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Cindy Sheehan, the peace activist who set up camp near President Bush's Texas ranch last summer, said Saturday she is considering running against Sen. Dianne Feinstein to protest what she called the California lawmaker's support for the war in Iraq.

"She voted for the war. She continues to vote for the funding. She won't call for an immediate withdrawal of the troops," Sheehan told The Associated Press in an interview while attending the World Social Forum in Venezuela along with thousands of other anti-war and anti-globalization activists. (link)
Cindy may not run. She thinks her three living children might be against it:
"I can't see - if they think it's going to help peace - that they would be opposed to me doing it," she said.
Me either. The lunatic will be good for regular guffaws, she'll fit right in with the likes of Kennedy, Byrd, and Schumer in the Senate, and her voting patterns cannot be any worse than those of the ultra-leftist Feinstein. She'll continue to be great fun.

So, you go, girl. You have my vote.

What Went Wrong With Wayward Wytheville?

What in God's name is going on in Wytheville? Here are two stories that made headlines the same day (as well as the evening TV news up in Roanoke):

Teacher facing sex-related charges
By Jeffrey Simmons, Wytheville Enterprise

Wearing handcuffs, jeans and a pink sweater, a former Scott Memorial Middle School teacher was loaded into a regional jail van Friday afternoon after being charged with carrying on a sexual relationship with a seventh-grade student.

Being held in the Dublin lockup without bond, 41-year-old Karen Susan Patton is set to make her first court appearance Monday on allegations that she had oral sex with a 13-year-old boy.

Police charged Patton with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, non-forcible sodomy (oral sex) and carnal knowledge of a minor. (link)
And this:

Raid ends in blaze
By Mary Beth Jackson, Wytheville Enterprise

West Franklin Street residents started Friday morning with a bang when law enforcement officers stormed a bungalow they believed to have been operating as a crack house.

Edward Owens, 34, originally of Toledo, Ohio, was arrested and charged with operating a fortified drug house, possession of marijuana and maintaining a public nuisance. Owens had lived in Wytheville for three weeks.

"(We) anticipate there may be some more arrests on this," Sheriff Doug King said. (link)

The second story actually has a keystone cops flair:

The Wythe County Sheriff's Office, Wytheville Police Department and Virginia State Police participated in the bust, making a forced entry just before dawn.

King said it did not go according to plan. The Sheriff's Office tactical team threw a light-sound device (also known as a "flash-bang") into a front window, intended to emit a disorienting flash of light and an eruptive sound to announce their arrival, but the 1 1/2-pound device didn't break the window.

The house had been fortified with 2x4 pieces of wood, concrete block and bars, King said. The team took the front door off the hinges to gain entry and broke through a window toward the rear of the house and hurled another flash-bang indoors.

The devices usually smoke and smolder, but the second flash-bang was followed by two large "booms." King said he believes that it ignited an unknown accelerant. Flames erupted from the windows and black smoke poured from the front door. He speculated the house might have been booby-trapped.

Three fire extinguishers were not enough to quench the blaze, and the Wytheville Fire Department was called to assist.

"It could have been a chemical stored in the back of the house. We don't know," Davenport [?] said, adding, "Whatever it was, after the explosion, it was smoke and fire right there at it. You couldn't put it out."

Firefighters doused the rear of the house, but the fire would only re-ignite, delaying Wytheville and state police from initiating their investigations.

After all that effort, it is rumored - and the article leads one to conclude - that the crack being sought by all those law enforcement officers was accidentally destroyed in the fire:

Much of the evidence they were searching for had turned crispy within the armored back room.

"We never could make entry through the back door, it was barricaded with steel and bars so heavily," King said.

He is still confident, with the staged buys the authorities performed, that there is still enough evidence to obtain convictions.
I know Sheriff King. They don't come any better. My guess is, he's done some ass-kicking over this.

But these are troubling stories. Quiet little Wytheville is engulfed in criminal activity. What next, hookers walking Tazewell Street? Meth labs uptown? We may get a hint from this breaking story:

Just hold it like everyone else
Justin Harmon, The Wytheville Enterprise

Wytheville Town Council members hope to revise the town's code to specifically cover public urination and defecation. (link)
Uh .......

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Roanoke Times and Pavlov's Conditioned Response

When Bryan Harvey, his wife, and two children were murdered in their Richmond home on New Years Day (read about it here), there was no mention made of the horrific event on the op/ed pages of the Roanoke Times. No cries for retribution. No demands for a change in our laws. No interest in the slain family members. The Harveys, you see, had their throats slashed and, well, shit happens.

But you can bet, had the Harveys been shot instead of stabbed, the Times would have been all over it. How do I know? Because I predicted this:
'Pop!' goes the illusion of gun safety
Gun-rights advocates should be chastened by an accidental shooting that did nothing worse than embarrass one of their own.

The Roanoke Times

A shaken and embarrassed Del. Jack Reid got an unwanted lesson Thursday morning in just how fast and unintentionally gun accidents can happen when his own .380 semiautomatic handgun discharged while he was trying to unload it -- in his legislative office, in the General Assembly Building, at one of its busiest times of day.

Fellow legislators were forgiving -- members applauded after his apology on the House floor. And the incident quickly became grist for the Capitol's black humor mill -- don't invite Reid to take his best shot in the General Laws Committee, which he chairs, wags joked.

But while forgiveness is certainly in order for so unintentional and unforeseen an accident, forgetfulness is not.

State lawmakers should remember it well when they consider legislation that would deny universities the authority to prohibit guns on campuses. And they should rethink their own stubborn insistence on allowing guns in the Capitol complex. (link)
You're wondering what a firearm being accidentally discharged has to do with a university's right to void the Second Amendment to the Constitution? Beat's me. I thought the Times would come out with the tired refrain "We need more gun control." I thought too highly of the folks working there, I guess. Instead we get some goofy attempt at linkage to legislation relating to colleges and firearms bans.

The point is, like Pavlov's dog that was trained to salivate whenever a bell rang (link), the Roanoke Times editorialists can be counted on, whenever a firearms related story hits the news, to trot out some column decrying the prevalence of small arms in our society and demanding ... something.

The Harvey murder didn't make the bell ring, it seems.

So predictable. And in this case, so strange.

SW Virginia - Looking To The Future

I cited Honduras and China yesterday in a discussion of job losses here in Southwest Virginia (see "Why SW Virginia Is Losing Jobs To China"). Although our manufacturing base is rapidly collapsing and the related jobs are fleeing to the third world, there is a country in the western world that provides an excellent example of how we can turn things around here. Ireland.

Relatively backward and economically stagnant just two decades ago, Ireland has exploded with growth and prosperity in recent years. How? Neal B. Freeman, Chairman of The Blackwell Corporation, provides some insight in yesterday's American Spectator:
... the world now knows how effectively Ireland could leverage its assets. Stunned visitors to the island insist on calling it the Irish Miracle.

A rundown, almost seedy place on my last visit, Dublin is now a big, bustling city on the make. A drive through the countryside reveals a different side of the new Ireland: an archipelago of clean, green industrial parks producing high-end goods and services for he world market -- computers, pharmaceuticals, software, financial services. More than 1,000 multinational corporations have established facilities here during the boom. As you spot the more familiar logos -- Intel, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Microsoft, Dell, Wyeth, Citigroup, IBM, Motorola ...

With the high-paying jobs has come remarkable prosperity.

... how did the Irish do it?

1. Create an independent and aggressive business development agency. In its drive to recruit world-class employers, the [Industrial Development Agency] gave new meaning to the word "aggressive." First they picked the businesses they wished to enter -- businesses that were likely to win in the future. Then they identified the individual companies with which they wished to partner.

2. Create a tax haven. The Irish knew that they had the workforce and they were betting that they could acquire the high-tech skills. What they needed was other people's money and the only way to attract it was to offer a higher return than investors could expect elsewhere. The one sure, upfront way to give that assurance was to cut the corporate tax rate -- and to cut it dramatically.

3. Design an education system for the 21st century. One of Ireland's problems for generations uncounted was that its school system educated young people for a future unlikely ever to materialize [sound familiar?]. The predictable result was a harvest of frustration, unemployment and one-way tickets to America, Australia, Canada and New Zealand [Manhattan, Charlotte, Atlanta, DC]. The Irish answer -- again, innovative rather than off-the-shelf -- was to establish a chain of regional technical colleges.
Each college is situated near a cluster of export-aimed companies and fine-tunes its curriculum quickly to meet evolving market needs. In other words, the new graduates are synched up tightly to the job openings. (
I'm not a big believer in "central planning" but it seems to have worked for the Irish. We can learn from their example and make use of their methods in bringing prosperity to a tormented land or we can build some more bike paths and hiking trails and wait for the occasional tourist to stray off the interstate to pee - and maybe buy a Snickers bar and a Faygo afterward.

The Irish provide us with the path. It's up to us to take it.

It's up to us.

Joel Stein Revisited

I made mention the other day of an article written by a lowlife scumbag for the Los Angeles Times, a columnist by the name of Joel Stein, in which we were finally given an honest reaction from the left to the war on terror. To paraphrase, Stein opposes our troops who are in harm's way, blames them for the conduct of the war, and has no interest in whether they live or die. That's the way I read it anyway.

In response, Ben Stein (no relation apparently) has this (in The American Spectator):

The man from Iowa or South Carolina, the woman from Mississippi or Idaho or Oregon or New York or California or Washington, D.C. or anywhere in America who leaves the comfort of home to fight against an evil as monstrous as what did happen and what is happening in Iraq are great warriors. But they are something more. They are saints in body armor, men and women of staggering moral virtue in a time and place when those words mean very little in the modern world. Their lives have the most meaning of any lives being lived on this earth right this moment.

Do I support men and women who are fighting Nazis who call themselves insurgents or Islamic militants? Do I support men and women who offer up their lives to fight the very same terrorists who killed three thousand totally guiltless Americans on 9/11? Do I support the troops who have more moral decency in their toes than I do or anyone I know does in our whole bodies? I support them, pray for them, am humbled just to be on the same planet with them. With every morning I wake up, every meal I eat, every walk I take in freedom, every night I sleep in peace, I ask God to look after the men and women who guard the ramparts of this blessed island of peace and decency called America. Without them, we would be nothing. Without them, Joel Stein would have his head sawed off. Saints in armor is what I call them and what they are. They are God's gifts to a wayward world. (link)
This has always been a fight between good and evil. Right and wrong. Freedom and subjugation.

Now it's right against left. Republican and Democrat. Stein versus Stein. The battle is joined.

Can there be any doubt which side will win?

What Makes a Car Worth $40,000?

John Travolta starred in a movie several years ago entitled "A Civil Action," that begins with this:
A dead plaintiff is rarely worth as much as a living, severely maimed plaintiff. However, if it's a long, agonizing death as opposed to a quick drowning or car wreck, the value can rise dramatically. A dead adult in his 20's is worth less than one who is middle-aged. A dead woman less than a dead man.. Black less than white. Poor less than rich. The perfect victim is a white male professional, 40 years old, struck down in his prime, at the height of his earning power. And the least perfect? A dead child is least perfect of all.
Harsh, yes? Cruel? Cynical?

Whenever you hear a plaintiff's attorney tell a TV interviewer that "it's not about the money," understand that it's all about the money. In the end a jury assigns blame - and puts a price tag to it.

In the case of a 22-year old Hispanic female who was "partially paralyzed" when her 10-year old Firestone tire came apart and her Ford Explorer rolled over, that price comes to a staggering $29 million. And that's only what Ford has to shell out. Firestone settled separately for an undisclosed amount. From the Detroit News:
Ford ordered to pay $29 million in rollover crash

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) -- Ford Motor Co. was ordered to pay $29 million Friday in the case of a 22-year-old woman who was partially paralyzed after the Firestone tire on her Explorer failed and the vehicle rolled over.

The accident occurred in 2002 near Poteet, Texas. [Maria] Munoz was one of four occupants of an Explorer that had been sold as a 1999 Mazda Navajo. The left rear Firestone tire on the Navajo de-treaded, and the vehicle rolled several times. Munoz, who was ejected from the vehicle, was the only one seriously injured.

The vehicle in question was using an original spare tire sold with the vehicle that was more than 10 years old. (link)
Next time you go to buy a car, look at the sticker price, and your heart stops, understand why. A young Hispanic female's life is now worth 29 million dollars - and climbing.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Wal-Mart 1, Morons 0

From James Taranto, "Best of the Web Today":
Jobs? Keep Your Stinking Jobs!
The Chicago Sun-Times reports on the Windy City's War against Wal-Mart:

Eighteen months after the Chicago City Council torpedoed a South Side Wal-Mart, 24,500 Chicagoans applied for 325 jobs at a Wal-Mart opening Friday in south suburban Evergreen Park, one block outside the city limits.

The new Wal-Mart at 2500 W. 95th is one block west of Western Avenue, the city boundary. Of 25,000 job applicants, all but 500 listed Chicago addresses, said John Bisio, regional manager of public affairs for Wal-Mart.

As blogger Steve Bartin notes, "The morons who run Chicago don't appear to want jobs in the city of Chicago." (link)
Or the wad of tax revenue.

Idiots. The city of Chicago is run by idiots.

Why SW Virginia Is Losing Jobs To China

If I were to throw out the term Sarbanes-Oxley, the average reader would think I'm referring to some fungal growth that appears in the armpit that might need excising. It is that, and more. It is a parasite of Congressional creation that sucks the lifeblood out of Southwest Virginia's publically-traded businesses - and adds to the burden companies bear in their efforts to turn a profit.

When we talk about all the reasons we lose jobs here, we usually focus on the disparity between prevailing wages in the USA and those in, say, Honduras. What we don't often think of, and should, are the many hidden costs that companies bear in their attempts at complying with the law: Fees. Mandates. Regulations. So many regulations.

Like Sarbanes-Oxley.

And it's doing great harm.

Even Wall Street's best and brightest don't understand this. From Arthur Levitt, Jr. in this morning's Wall Street Journal:
A Misguided Exemption

Small businesses employ a majority of private-sector workers and create 60% to 80% of net new jobs annually. This economic might, combined with the sector's political muscle, has kept policymakers vigilant in spotting impediments to small-business growth. Currently, the focus of many small-business advocates is the perceived burden placed on them by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which requires companies to assess and report the status of their internal controls. They worry that the cost of compliance is onerous, inhibiting their ability to access capital markets and grow.

The debate until now has centered on who should be exempted, not on how to ensure that companies have the internal controls needed to prepare reliable financial statements. This focus is unproductive since it is clear from a reading of SOX that Congress wanted all public companies to assess internal controls and have an outside auditor test them. Instead of defying Congress and provoking costly litigation, we need to work within the law to find ways to make compliance easier and less expensive for small businesses.

To start, we need to recognize the difficulties in compliance that turned up in the first year of 404-compliance. Many companies were ill-prepared for an audit: Their internal controls either were not in place or not documented, and many lacked accounting and finance staff able to do this work. At the same time, many of the audit firms lacked the tools, expertise and training to assess the internal controls of smaller companies. (link)
Mr. Levitt goes on to proclaim Sarbanes-Oxley to be a wonderful success because it restored investor confidence and argues, for that reason, that it needs to be strengthened.

Based on results thus far, most of that investment and those investors, it seems to me, are in China, where there is no transparency - and no Sarbanes-Oxley - whatsoever. And that's where the thousands of jobs that had belonged to workers here in Southwest Virginia now reside.

Some day people like Arthur Levitt Jr., with their best-of-intentions, are going to wake up to the fact that (... all of America's manufacturers have disappeared and that ...) there is a horrific cost associated with their swell ideas like Sarbanes-Oxley. That day will be too late for the employees at Lear Corporation and Bristol Compressors and Celanese and Tultex and all the other area employers that have closed their doors in the last few years.

We need to lessen the burden. We need to free up our employers so that they can compete in the global marketplace.

John Kerry Gets No Respect

Perhaps it was the story told about the young Lieutenant in the Mekong Delta who managed to wound himself in the backside when he threw a grenade at a threatening pile of "captured" rice. And then begged for a Purple Heart for his heroic action. Or, who knows, maybe it was our finding out that he calls his wife "lovie." And she lovingly refers to him as "you wienie; you poor substitute for a real man, John Heinz." Who really knows?

Whatever the case, John Kerry gets no respect these days. Even within his own party:
Kerry Urges Alito Filibuster, but His Reception Is Cool

WASHINGTON, Jan 26 — Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts could not attend the Senate debate on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. on Thursday. He was in Davos, Switzerland, mingling with international business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum [he better not have taken time out to go down to the topless bar; more on that in the next item].

But late Thursday afternoon, Mr. Kerry began calling fellow Democratic senators in a quixotic, last-minute effort for a filibuster to stop the nomination.

Democrats cringed and Republicans jeered at the awkwardness of his gesture, which almost no one in the Senate expects to succeed.

"God bless John Kerry," said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican on the Judiciary Committee. "He just cinched this whole nomination. With Senator Kerry, it is Christmas every day." (link)

If a Lieutenant leaps up, turns to his underlings and screams "Charge!" and nobody follows, is he still a 2008 presidential contender?

Poor Lurch. Perhaps its time he joined Al Gore in the business of making cartoons for little kids and simple-minded adults.

These People Must Live In a Closet

I have a confession to make. When I travelled to Columbus, Ohio this week on business, I had dinner at Damon's downtown. New York Strip. Carrots. Salad. Washed down with Kentucky's finest bourbon.

When I visited San Antonio a while back, I must confess to going down to an indoor rodeo honky tonk and watching the drunkards ride the mechanical bull.

In El Paso I played golf.

In Bristol I went to a NASCAR race.

Detroit - a Pistons game.

And I won't even put in print what I did at the Circus in Cleveland on numerous occasions.

I did all this while on company business. And I find out from the New York Times editorial staff that I was not supposed to have done any of it.

Or so they would have us believe:

Justice and Junkets

Justice Antonin Scalia certainly has poor judgment when it comes to vacations.

Justice Scalia was apparently unchastened by the criticism of his 2004 duck-hunting excursion with Vice President Dick Cheney, one of that term's most prominent Supreme Court litigants.

Last September, he skipped the swearing-in of Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. because of another ethically dubious trip, this time to the posh Ritz-Carlton at the Beaver Creek ski resort in Colorado.

He was there to teach a 10-hour seminar over a couple of days for a conservative group, the Federalist Society.

"Nightline" recently reported that the gig had left Justice Scalia plenty of time for tennis, fly-fishing and socializing with seminar participants, some of whom may have business before the Supreme Court.

Justice Scalia's travel is part of a broader affliction on the federal bench. (link)

How dare Justice Scalia travel to Denver and teach a class for free? (his travel and accommodations were paid for by the Federalist Society). And tennis? What's he thinking?

These people at the Times always crack me up, in this case feigning indignation over Antonin Scalia going fly-fishing. "Socializing with seminar participants." Shoot the bastard.

And they can count on their useful idiots to ... well, to react idiotically:

Three Democratic senators with a longstanding concern about this problem — Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Russell Feingold of Wisconsin and John Kerry of Massachusetts — are readying provisions to ban junkets and other compromising gifts for judges, which they hope to make part of their party's lobbying reform proposal.
I'm going to google Ted Kennedy later when I have the time. I remember seeing a photo of him struggling mightily to hoist his fat ass up the ladder of his sailing ship (yes, folks, he was in swimming trunks; a haunting experience), a "junket" that I'm sure I'll find referenced in some Times editorial denunciation.

So was that bourbon I consumed taboo? I get so confused trying to understand and adhere to the edicts that emanate from the cloistered monastery - otherwise known as The New York Times editorial boardroom - these days.

Oprah Ain't No Fool

Realizing her reputation was taking more of a pounding than was that of the lyin' connivin' author she had made famous, Oprah unceremoniously but confrontationally threw him over the side yesterday:
Live on 'Oprah,' a Memoirist Is Kicked Out of the Book Club
By EDWARD WYATT, The New York Times

In an extraordinary reversal of her defense of the author whose memoir she catapulted to the top of the best-seller lists, Oprah Winfrey rebuked James Frey, the author of "A Million Little Pieces," on her television show yesterday for lying about his past and portraying the book as a truthful account of his life.

"I feel duped," Ms. Winfrey told Mr. Frey. "But more importantly, I feel that you betrayed millions of readers."

It was a stunning bit of drama that had people throughout the publishing industry glued to their television sets yesterday afternoon.

The confrontation on Ms. Winfrey's show was the culmination of events that began with a report on Jan. 8 by The Smoking Gun, an investigative Web site, that found multiple discrepancies between Mr. Frey's life and his account in the book. (link)
Damage control at its finest.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Al Gore Gets No Respect

From James Taranto's "Best of the Web Today":
The news that trees cause "global warming" seems to have inspired Al Gore to try to kill more of them. Reuters reports that "Gore's second book about global warming will be published in April with the title 'An Inconvenient Truth,' his publisher Rodale Books said on Tuesday."

Rodale, eh? That's a pretty impressive imprint. Its
Web site lists some of its other books:
  • "The South Beach Diet"
  • "The South Beach Diet Cookbook"
  • "My Prison Without Bars" by Pete Rose
  • "The Abs Diet"
  • "Dr. Shapiro's Picture Perfect Weight Loss"
  • "Taking On Heart Disease" by Larry King

Good to see Rodale is diversifying its offerings by branching out into less serious fare. (link)

Al Gore gets no respect. Deservedly.

Will Anyone Miss It?

NBC has decided to cancel "The Book of Daniel," with its "edgy story line featuring [an Episcopal] priest hooked on painkillers, a drug-dealing daughter, a bisexual sister-in-law, a sexually promiscuous adopted son, another son who is a homosexual and an adulterous bishop."
NBC closes book on edgy 'Daniel'
By Julia Duin, The Washington Times

NBC has canceled its much-criticized drama, "The Book of Daniel," about an Episcopal priest and his dysfunctional family, becaue of low ratings.

The show, which started at 9 million viewers Jan. 6, dropped to 6.9 million on Jan. 13, then to 5.8 million in its last broadcast Friday, network officials said. (link)
I'm sure all the drug-addicted, promiscuous, sexually deviant Episcopalian pushers around the country will miss the show.

For the love of God. And the geniuses at NBC wonder why they can't compete with the Golf channel.

Seal The Border

What is up with the Mexican government? First we read about heavily armed Mexican military units crossing our border and escorting drug gangs into the USA and now this:
White House slams Mexico for aid maps
By Nicholas Kralev and Jerry Seper, The Washington Times

The Bush administration yesterday accused the Mexican government of facilitating illegal entry into the United States after Mexican officials said they would distribute maps of dangerous border areas and posters with safety instructions and other tips.

Mexico's National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said the maps, which would provide details of the terrain, cell-phone coverage and water stations set up by the U.S. charity Humane Borders, would help to save lives. (link)
The Mexican government is becoming ever more belligerent and the flow of illegals continues unabated.

Close off the border. And send the Mexican diplomatic delegation in Washington packing. This is outrageous.

The People Have Spoken

It appears that the Palestinian people have decided to go with the terrorist group, Hamas, for its leadership:
Anticipating Hamas Victory, Palestinian Premier Resigns
By The Associated Press

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) -- Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia and his Cabinet ministers submitted their resignations Thursday as the Islamic militant group Hamas appeared to have captured a large majority of seats in the Palestinian elections -- a shocking upset sure to throw Mideast peacemaking into turmoil. (link)
The fact that the Palestinians participated in a reasonably free and relatively fair election bears witness to the fact that these people are finally being dragged into the 20th century (which means they have a long way to go) but their choosing to elect a gang of thugs who still plot the destruction of Israel means the Palestinian people can expect more of the same isolation, lack of economic opportunity, and abject poverty. Too bad.

Democracy is still a wonderful thing. They'll eventually come around. The 21st century awaits.

What's With This Weather?

I drove down the West Virginia Turnpike last night (yes, I had to go to BB&T and get a wad of cash to accommodate the confiscatory tolls along the way) and encountered rather heavy snowfall as I approached southern Virginia.

Someone (excluding you global warming nuts) please explain to me how it is I've found myself - on at least three occasions this Fall and Winter - leaving what used to be thought of as the great frozen north but is now the balmy north, and driving south into a heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures?

I can move back to lake-effect Michigan and get this kind of treatment. Jeeeesshh.

They Get My Vote

Below The Beltway brings us some interesting news regarding BB&T (which, because it has a large vault in each of its branches, warehouses a good bit of my money). The bank has decided not to provide loans on transactions that involve eminent domain. Good for them. Here's the news from the A.P.
BB&T ends loans for eminent domain
By Paul Nowell, Associated Press

CHARLOTTE — Regional bank BB&T will make no loans to developers who plan to build commercial projects on land taken from private citizens by the government through the power of eminent domain.

"The idea that a citizen's property can be taken by the government solely for private use is extremely misguided; in fact it's just plain wrong," John Allison, chairman and chief executive of the Winston-Salem-based bank, said Wednesday. (link)
Hooray for BB&T. And a good P.R. move it is.

To read Doug's excellent take on the development, go here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Bolling: Tax Increase Unnecessary

Politicians who have their hard-pressed constituents in mind (rather than a fanciful write-up in the Washington Post) may yet prevail:
Bolling: Surplus will fund roads
Lieutenant governor opposes raising taxes for transportation
By Tyler Whitley, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling says transportation is the most important issue facing the General Assembly this year, but it doesn't warrant a tax increase.

While there is much to applaud in transportation plans proposed Friday by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine and Senate leaders, Bolling said, "We can build a transportation system for the 21st century without raising taxes."

He said huge budget surpluses will finance transportation needs.

The transportation trust fund could be built up by dedicating all of the tax on auto-insurance premiums and perhaps a portion of the corporate income tax to it, he said.

Also, he would dedicate an additional percentage of the state sales tax to it. (link)
The roads up north can be repaired and we don't have to raise taxes to do it. Give this man a megaphone.

Because We Say So ...

I laughed when I read this:
Bush the Incompetent
By Harold Meyerson, The Washington Post

Incompetence is not one of the seven deadly sins, and it's hardly the worst attribute that can be ascribed to George W. Bush. But it is this president's defining attribute. Historians, looking back at the hash that his administration has made of his war in Iraq, his response to Hurricane Katrina and his Medicare drug plan, will have to grapple
with ...

In numbing profusion, the newspapers are filled with litanies of screw-ups. Yesterday's New York Times brought news ... (link)
Bush is incompetent because every liberal media rag and all of Meyerson's leftist friends say so.

You gotta love it.

The Windy City?

I come to you this morning from the seventh floor of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Columbus, Ohio. I'm in bed cowering beneath the covers, waiting for the windows to implode. The wind gusts are fierce.

I've been here for several days and look forward to heading home this evening. If I don't get blown into Oklahoma in the attempt, that is.

See y'all soon.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Hats Off To An Honest - and Traitorous - Liberal

At least Los Angeles Times columnist is being consistent:

Warriors and wusses
Joel Stein

I DON'T SUPPORT our troops. This is a particularly difficult opinion to have, especially if you are the kind of person who likes to put bumper stickers on his car. Supporting the troops is a position that even Calvin is unwilling to urinate on.

I'm sure I'd like the troops. They seem gutsy, young and up for anything. If you're wandering into a recruiter's office and signing up for eight years of unknown danger, I want to hang with you in Vegas.

And I've got no problem with other people — the ones who were for the Iraq war — supporting the troops. If you think invading Iraq was a good idea, then by all means, support away. Load up on those patriotic magnets and bracelets and other trinkets the Chinese are making money off of.

But I'm not for the war. And being against the war and saying you support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have ever taken — and they're wussy by definition. It's as if the one lesson they took away from Vietnam wasn't to avoid foreign conflicts with no pressing national interest but to remember to throw a parade afterward. (link)
What kind of American denounces our troops while they're in harm's way? I guess we all know the answer to that question.

I wish no harm on this scum. I do, however, condemn the Los Angeles Times for having him on its payroll.

Roanoke Times Favors Massive Tax Increase

As one might have predicted, the editorialists at the Roanoke Times have decided that Governor Tim Kaine's outrageous, misguided, and punitive tax proposal is a swell idea:

Plowing through Virginia roadblocks
Gov. Kaine's transportation proposal offers a progressive mix of funds. The key will be for the House to forgo its regressive ways.
The Roanoke Times

Gov. Tim Kaine proposes a welcome mix of progressive measures to pay for Virginia's overwhelming transportation needs.

Kaine ... proposes raising the auto sales tax, creating a graduated titling fee that charges owners of heavier vehicles (which cause more road damage) a higher rate [this is a reference to a new tax on SUV's; where these people came up with the preposterous notion that these "heavier vehicles" cause damage to roads is a mystery only they can explain], increasing fines for bad drivers and a slight increase in auto insurance premium surcharges.

Kaine's plan would raise $3.74 billion in four years to be used solely on projects to improve roads, rails and the public transit system. The costs would be borne by those who actually use the system and would not sacrifice the education or health of any Virginian. (
Where do these jokers think this $3.74 billion is going to come from?

Let's get a few few things straight;

(1) Expenditure of personal income is a zero-sum game. When a portion of one's hard-earned paycheck is confiscated by the government, that portion will not be available for other expenses - like healthcare and education.

(2) " ... those who actually use the system" include every business owner in Southwest Virginia. This array of new taxes will increase their costs of doing business. The
many furniture plants that have closed their doors and laid off thousands of Virginians in recent years were unable to compete with the Chinese because costs - including taxes - are too high. The Chinese will not be paying Tim Kaine's taxes.

Managers at Johnson Controls are, at this very moment, trying to determine whether or not the remaining 1360 employees at their
Bristol Compressors plant will be fired due to the plant's inability to turn a profit. Tim Kaine's taxes will worsen the plant's losses and will make the decision to terminate the employment of those 1360 Virginians at Bristol's largest employer easier and quicker.

(3) The Roanoke Times disparages the notion put forth by conservative Republicans in the house to use moneys from the general fund for transportation needs:

"The House plan, expected later this week, is likely to avoid new sources of money and will seek to solve one problem by exacerbating others.

Reports indicate the House plan will rob the general fund -- to the detriment of schools, public health and other vital services.
It should be brought to the attention of the person who wrote this that it was none other than Mark Warner who began the practice (link) and it is a worthwhile and legitimate practice.

(4) The state government has been spending money like drunken sailors.

"Proponents of tax increases point to unmet transportation needs to support their cause. Yet state spending increased 13 percent in 1999, 7 percent in 2000, and 9 percent in 2001. If key transportation needs have not been met, the problem is not a lack of funds but legislators who have not properly prioritized the budget." (link)

This needs to stop. Now.

(5) Most importantly, Tim Kaine's taxes will hurt our already damaged economy here in Southwest Virginia and will slow growth across the state:

Tax increases are not just bad budget policy; they are also bad economic policy. Since higher taxes reduce economic growth, an added cost of higher ... taxes would be lower incomes for Virginians. During the 1990s Virginia taxes grew faster than incomes, and local property taxes have soared recently. (link)

(6) Think of the poor folks (Virginians!) who are showing up at Bristol Compressors and Webb Furniture for work this morning and who are wondering if today will be their last day on the job.

Tim Kaine's taxes will be the determining factor.

* Click on image to enlarge.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Making It Tougher On The Citizenry

My neighbors to the north have a big problem with the dramatic increase in taxes at the toll booths on the southern West Virginia segment of I-77:
A plague on southern West Virginians — Stronger subsidy for turnpike is unacceptable
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

The whirlwind of anger grows as the black hole of questions deepens. Mercer County hasn’t often stood shoulder to shoulder on local issues, but this time, it’s different. This time, we’re all looking at the same attackers, the same insults, the same long-term threat, the same inequality from greedy schemers to the north.This time, we want — no, demand — fair play, nothing more, nothing less.We demand the suspension of elevated turnpike tolls until an acceptable resolution is reached. The toll increase is nothing more than a blatant tax designed to burden Mercer County and southern West
Virginians. (
The sad fact is, there is only one way to get from Bluefield to Charleston unless you sprout wings or take a circuitous route that takes days off your life. And a number of people from southern West Virginia work in Charleston and have to drive the West Virginia Turnpike (I-77) every day. With three toll booths awaiting them. $2.00 per booth. Up and back. Every day.

The toll, by the way, increased 60% on January 1.

My biggest complaint with the system - besides the aggravating delays and long lines on a Friday afternoon - is that the West Virginia Turnpike is the poorest maintained highway in the region. I drive 'em all. I know. It's bad enough if you're driving a modern-day passenger car with a quality suspension; you'll only spill your coffee. But don't even think about driving your pick-up pulling a horse trailer. It will loosen your fillings.

In any case, the people over in Bluefield and Princeton are upset. And have good reason to be.

Lost In The Din

In former Governor Mark Warner's transparent attempt recently to dredge up an old capital murder case in order to capture a few headlines and to become the darling of the ACLU-left in his party, something was forgotten. Make that someone:
They barely mentioned Wanda McCoy
By Matthew Lakin, Bristol Herald Courier

Wanda Faye McCoy never had children.

She never got to raise a family.

She never even got to beg for her life.

She bled to death at age 19, raped and killed by a man she trusted - her sister's husband.

That man, Roger Keith Coleman, appeared on the cover of Time magazine 10 years later, hailed by anti-death penalty groups around the world as innocent.

Supporters argued his case on television and radio talk shows, in newspapers and before the U.S. Supreme Court. They tried to block his execution in 1992, then demanded the state use new technology to test semen samples that might prove his innocence.

They questioned the evidence and criticized the courts. They called Coleman a victim of rural injustice, condemned for failing to fit in.

They barely mentioned Wanda McCoy. (link)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

From Bad To Worse

Bristol Compressors has announced that it is going to lay off 290 of its employees by March. And the parent company, Johnson Controls, is hinting at more drastic measures:
Bristol Compressors to lay off 290 employees
RICK WAGNER, Bristol Herald Courier Reporter

BRISTOL, Va. - The bad news is the largest employer in the Bristol, Va., area is laying off 290 people in March. The good news, officials said Friday, is they know of no plans to shut down the plant, which will retain about 1,360 employees after the layoffs.

Bristol Compressors will lay off about 290 of approximately 1,650 total employees by early March, Johnson Controls Inc. spokesman Darryll Fortune said Friday afternoon. (
And there's this:

Bristol's largest employer faces uncertain future
Bristol Herald Courier Staff Reports

BRISTOL - Bristol Compressors, the Twin City's largest employer, faces an uncertain future.

Less than two weeks after announcing 290 layoffs at the Bristol Virginia plant, parent company Johnson Controls announced Friday it "has begun exploring various strategic alternatives for its Bristol Compressors business," according to a statement Friday morning on PRNewswire. (link)
The loss of 290 jobs in Bristol is going to be a severe blow to the local economy. If the plant shuts down completely, it would be devastating.

I'm reminded, by the way, that Governor Tim Kaine proposed a series of tax hikes the other day, some of which will increase our employers' cost of doing business, in order to improve the roads up in Alexandria, the end-result of which will be more Bristol Compressors stories.

A never-ending spiral into the abyss.

Reactions Start Pouring In

This from Chad Dotson over at Commonwealth Conservative with regard to Governor Tim Kaine's having decided - as we predicted over and over again - to raise taxes after all:
Perhaps we should have listened to Jerry Kilgore when he told you that Kaine would raise your taxes. (link)

Chad is being too conciliatory. I think the myriad tax hikes that Kaine has proposed should be levied only on the "we" who voted for the weasel and who are now regretting it.

How Far Are You Willing To Go?

When you start dropping barriers and advocate for the social acceptance - we call it tolerance in this our oh-so-tolerant era - of perversion, you cannot ever again argue that some perverse acts are okay but others should be banned.

Same-sex marriage is all the rage in liberal circles. Exponents argue that sex behind closed doors between two consenting adults is a matter for those two consenting adults and that Christians should keep their morality to themselves. They tell us that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality and morals shouldn't enter into the debate.

I've said for years that to be accepting of sex between "two consenting adults" is in itself a moral judgement. Actually three: Sex is acceptable between TWO people if they are CONSENTING and those people are of a certain age to be considered ADULTS.

If you truly believe that morality shouldn't be factored into the equation, then it stands to reason that you would have to allow for sex with children. Beastiality. Polygamy.

You scoff.

Matrimonial multiplication
By Debra J. Saunders, The Washington Times

When social conservatives argue legalizing same-sex "marriage" could lead to legalized polygamy, same-sex "marriage" advocates either laugh or sneer. It's a scare tactic, they say. It'll never happen.

Last year, however, as Canada legalized same-sex "marriage," Prime Minister Paul Martin commissioned a $150,000 study to debunk the polygamy argument. Big mistake: The study confirmed the scare tactic by recommending Canada repeal its anti-polygamy law. (link)
So what propels the thinking behind the recommendation?
"Why criminalize behavior?" asked Martha Bailey, one of the study's three law-professor authors. "We don't criminalize adultery."
There you have it. All moral judgements have been excised. Behavior should not be criminalized. There should be no more rules. No guidelines. No morality.

The learned professor, having removed morality from consideration, concludes that every deviant act is permissible. Or so she must.

Be afraid for your children. Be very afraid.