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

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Reason Number 83

Norm over at my second favorite blog, One Man's Trash, provides another reason (here) why John McCain is a danger to the Republic and will never get my vote. McCain's attitude toward the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights is astonishing.

I quote from OMT, which quotes from a McCain interview with radio personality Don Imus:
"He [radio talk show host Michael Graham] also mentioned my abridgement of First Amendment rights, i.e. talking about campaign finance reform....I know that money corrupts....I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected, that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I'd rather have the clean government."
I don't think I've ever read anything more outrageous from a leader of the Republican Party in my life. And, yes, I haven't forgotten Pat Buchanan.

Senate Comes Up With a New Plan: A Gas Tax

These people just aren't getting it. Virginia, like the rest of the nation, is in the throes of a crushing surge in gasoline prices and the state Senate comes up with what the members deem a breakthrough compromise on the budget currently under debate. They propose an increase in gas prices:

Four transportation bills sail through Senate
By Bob Lewis, The Associated Press


RICHMOND -- The state Senate comfortably passed four transportation bills yesterday that won grudging thanks from House Republicans for untangling the budget from their long-running dispute over road funding.

[A key] plan features a 6 cents-per-gallon fee that would be assessed on major fuel distribution terminals in Virginia ... (
link)
Oh. The tax won't be assessed on us. It's going to be paid by "fuel distribution terminals."

Do they think we're complete idiots?

Yes.
"Make no mistake about it, this is a fee that would be charged to big oil companies," said Sen. R. Edward Houck, Spotsylvania Democrat ...

"I have no problem, I have no reservation about hitting the big oil companies here in the commonwealth" ...
And "Big Oil" isn't going to raise prices at the pump to offset the increase in taxes ...

The question is this: Is Ed Houck a moron who actually believes this horse shit or is he a morally reprehensible politician who holds his constituents in such low regard?

I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. I go with the former.

I'm Doing My Part

You have to be prepared for all contingencies:
Va. prepares for hurricanes
By Peter Bacque, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer (
link)
I'm getting ready should a hurricane come up the coast. I'm going to sit on my rooftop for the next four days and whine.

It's Party Time!

There's a wine festival being held over in Henrico County this weekend. And if I'm reading this right, it's all the wine you can drink for 13 bucks:
Area toasts wine festival
By Juan Antonio Lizama, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer


For $13 to $18, people get a glass and can sample wine from 25 wineries from Virginia ... at [the] 15th annual James River Wine Festival at Innsbrook's Pavilion in Henrico County.

The two-day event, which continues today, typically draws about 4,000 people, said festival coordinator Tony Martin. (link)
I wonder if the $18 tankard is the 32 ounce vat I would need if I were to be given unlimited refills on great wine.

Anyway, y'all need to check it out. I can't make it. Paula says I have to mow the lawn ...

Senator Allen Can Pander With The Best of 'Em

Taking a page from the Bill Clinton playbook, Senator George Allen is calling for Congress to issue an apology for slavery. How utterly pathetic.

Here's the shameful news:

Allen to seek slavery apology by Congress
Va. senator will work with Ga. congressman to push for resolution
By Kathryn Orth, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer


FARMVILLE -- Sen. George Allen, under fire for wearing a Confederate flag pin as a teenager, said yesterday he will pursue a proposal for a congressional resolution apologizing for slavery.

"I think it is a powerful idea and I want it to be considered seriously," Allen, R-Va., said during a three-day symposium for several congressmen to examine Prince Edward County's role in Massive Resistance and its aftermath. (link)
Allen wants a meaningless apology for slavery to be "considered seriously." Fair enough.

I consider it seriously idiotic.

It's been done, George. By the best panderer ever.

If you want to be taken seriously, do something about the institution of slavery that still thrives today in sub-Saharan Africa, George. Don't waste our time and insult our intelligence by offering up a vacuous apology for acts committed by individuals nobody knows against nameless individuals who were persecuted 200 years ago.

I think you owe us an apology for thinking we're a bunch of dolts.

That's Your Solution?

I couldn't believe my eyes when I read this header to a Roanoke Times editorial this morning:
Supply and demand guarantee high prices (link)
A concept so fundamental to economics and yet so unlike the Roanoke Times. Of course, I then read this:
Political pandering aside, President Bush and Congress are powerless to control gas prices unless they seriously diminish demand for oil.
In reality both President Bush and Congress are ever-more powerless when it comes to global demand anyway.

We are now at a point where no one in this country is going to be able to curb rising demands for oil - in China and India. And the Saudis, who were once able to knock down rising oil prices by flooding the market temporarily with a few extra million barrels (raising the supply to exceed the demand), are now at what many consider production capacity.

Anyway, I searched the editorial for a solution to the problem, finding only one:
For a long-overdue start, Congress could pass a meaningful increase in vehicle fuel efficiency requirements.
That ain't gonna move the global needle, friend. Ad if that's the best you can come up with, we're doomed.

Generally what we always get as a solution to the problem relating to a rising demand for an ever-shrinking supply is this:
Instead of the absolutely meaningless gesture with the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, President Bush should call for a national campaign for energy independence, harnessing the American ingenuity and drive that sent a man to the moon in less than a decade.
A national campaign. A meaningless gesture if there ever was one.

No, the only solution to this problem is to be found in the age-old profit motive. When Exxon or Peabody Energy or General Electric finds the right scientist who is able to come up with an alternative fuel - or series of fuels - that are abundant, easy to use, safe, and cheaper than oil, consumers will flock to that fuel and to that company.

But if that fuel will ever exist is still a mystery. Solar, wind, biofuels, and ethanol all nibble at the edges but are not the answer. If there is one to be found (coal?), it won't be in the halls of Congress. Our salvation will be discovered in the laboratory - more than likely at one of those hated oil companies.

Until then, fixed supply and rising demand will indeed guarantee high prices.

Goode To Smoke Weed Again

I have to believe I'm not the first person who came up with that line but I couldn't resist using it anyway. Here's the related news:

Al Weed likely to be nominee Weed has delegates to challenge Goode
By Christina Rogers, The Roanoke Times

Nelson County vineyard owner Al Weed appears to have clinched the 5th Congressional District's Democratic nomination and may for a second time go up against up incumbent Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Rocky Mount. (link)

I think the headline should be more creative. How's this?
5th District Voters now have a choice: Goode Weed.
Sorry. I'll stick to my day job.

It Rises From The Dead

As I predicted, the Bridge To Nowhere in Alaska is going to be built at your expense after all. The Republican Party has seen to it. We should all be ashamed:
A 'Bridge to Nowhere' An overstuffed highway bill A teapot museum
Pork by Any Other Name . . .
By Michael Grunwald, The Washington Post


Last fall, after House Transportation Committee Chairman Don Young (R-Alaska) and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) earmarked $223 million to link the remote town of Ketchikan (population 8,900) to the more remote island of Gravina (population 50), the Bridge to Nowhere became a national symbol of congressional porkmania, lampooned by Leno, Letterman and Limbaugh.

Young, a 33-year House veteran, defiantly boasted that he had stuffed the bill "like a turkey." And Stevens, a 37-year senator, furiously threatened to resign if Congress shifted money away from Gravina and another bridge to nowhere near Anchorage -- a bridge named Don Young's Way, near Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

The Republican-controlled Congress still gave Alaska the $452 million it had requested for the two bridges, merely removing the earmark directing where the state should spend the money. (link)
This is shameful beyond words.

Before anyone in Southwest Virginia thinks this tendency toward wastefulness is exclusive to Republicans, you should know that your Congressman, a Democrat, is right there with them. He's just not as creative. Oh, and he has no clout. But look through this list of Rick Boucher self-praise announcements and you'll find plenty of taxpayer dollars being flushed down the toilet on one worthless project after another.

If there was ever a time when we needed a line-item veto and a President who will control this scandalous profligacy, it is now.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

A Look To My Past

Wedding day. January 19, 1921. The two handsome people seated in the center of this aging and somewhat faded photograph are my father's parents. At the time, if memory serves, he was a World War I veteran and a then-lumberjack (in the vast forests of northern Wisconsin) and she was or had been a housekeeper. A simple beginning to a marriage that would soon produce my father and eventually ... me.

I have fond recollections of my grandfather. He eventually settled in a fine home in Gresham, Wisconsin, out of which my brothers, sister, and I had some great summer adventures. A rather gruff old guy, he spoke with a guttural German accent (this part of Wisconsin was originally populated mostly by immigrants from nordöstlich Deutschland, and Indians) and is remembered as having a fine cigar with him at most times (I carry on that tradition - to a lesser extent).

I didn't know my grandmother. She died at a young age, before my father went off to carry on what almost became another family tradition - fighting Germans - this time in World War II. And she rarely came up in conversation in all the years my father and I were together. So Ida Majeske Fuhrman's life has faded into history. Our loss.

So many years have passed since this photo was taken. So many triumphs. Tragedies. Good times and bad. A lot more good than bad. Thanks to them.

I Appreciate Good Writing

Paula gets peeved with me (there's a news flash) on infrequent occasions over the fact that I never finish reading 80% of the books I start. About four in five I'll slam shut at one point or another and declare it worthless and going nowhere. But I'm the kind of person who doesn't intend to waste any more of my time than is necessary on mediocre literature. And the book stores are overflowing with dull, monotonous, predictable, unenlightened, unenlightening prose written by authors who have no business being published. Included are a number of the most popular authors in America. Steven King (too often) comes to mind.

Well, I started reading E.L. Doctorow's "The March" last night. Here's the first sentence:
At five in the morning someone banging on the door and shouting, her husband, John, leaping out of bed, grabbing his rifle, and Roscoe at the same time roused from the back-house, his bare feet pounding: Mattie hurriedly put on her robe, her mind prepared for the alarm of war, but the heart stricken that it would finally have to come, and down the stairs she flew to see through the open door in the lamplight, at the steps of the portico, the two horses, steam rising from their flanks, their heads lifting, their eyes wild, the driver a young darkie with rounded shoulders, showing stolid patience even in this, and the woman standing in her carriage no one but her aunt Letitia Pettibone of McDonough, her elderly face drawn in anguish, her hair a straggled mess, this woman of such fine grooming, this dowager who practically ruled the season in Atlanta standing up in the equipage like some hag of doom, which indeed she would prove to be.
Again, that's the first sentence. The plot is beginning to take shape. Important characters are introduced and gain definition. Much of the preliminary ground is covered.

I can't think of another author writing today who could have pulled that sentence off without it drifting into meaningless hokum.

If the second sentence is as good as the first, who knows, I may finish this book.

They Don't Really Mean It

In 1992 liberals were anguishing over the fate of starving children in Somalia. Remember? In response to the evening network news footage showing emaciated babies dying in refugee camps, President Bush (the elder) sent in the Marines to bring order to the chaos and to see to it that the children received food and medical treatment. We were there doing good.

The next year however brought conflict to Mogadishu. Resistance. Our military sustained 91 casualties - including 18 killed - at the hands of a local "warlord." Suuport for our presence in Somalia immediately evaporated and President Clinton withdrew all U.S. troops.

Starving children be damned.

In 2002 the United States Congress voted overwhelmingly to authorize President Bush (the younger) to go to war against Saddam Hussein and to end the suffering of the Iraqi people. Those in favor of war included a sizeable number of liberal Democrats. (link)

Iraq was summarily invaded and Saddam's military forces were destroyed.

Then began the occupation. As soon casualties began to mount as the result of relentless terror attacks against American and newly formed Iraqi units, the Democrats in this country turned against the war, with a growing number of party leaders demanding that we immediately evacuate the country. To cut and run.

Somalia all over again.

Well, they're starting it again.

Now the liberals are shedding tears over the fate of starving children in Darfur (that would be just west as the vulture flies from Somalia), and, as hard as it is to believe, they are demanding that we intervene there. Some are even willing to spend a few minutes in jail to show how committed they are - this time:
Moran arrested at Darfur protest
By Peter Hardin, Richmond Times-Dispatch Washington Correspondent


WASHINGTON - Rep. James P. Moran, D-8th, was one of five members of Congress arrested yesterday in a peaceful protest at the Sudanese Embassy.

The lawmakers were protesting the Sudanese government's role in atrocities in the Darfur region.

"The Sudanese government is carrying out a horrible genocide in Darfur," Moran said in a statement. "They are rebuffing attempts to allow U.N. forces into the region that would bolster the African Union soldiers currently struggling unsuccessfully to quell the violence."

Also arrested were Reps. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., a Holocaust survivor and founder of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus; Jim McGovern, D-Mass.; John W. Olver, D-Mass.; and Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas; and six other protesters. (link)
And leftist Congresspersons aren't the only ones getting in on the act. Here's an editorial from the Roanoke Times this morning:
Never, again and again

Two years ago, President Bush and Congress condemned the atrocities in the Darfur region of Sudan. Sticking a label of genocide on the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people didn't save lives.

Nor did the futile gesture last year by the U.S. to support the African Union as the preferred force to enter Darfur with 7,000 insufficiently trained and poorly equipped troops.

The murders, rapes and massive diaspora of millions of people continue unabated; disease spreads, food runs short. Shamefully, two years after the world recognized the genocide, Darfur remains a horrendous crime scene, and conditions worsen. (link)
Wow, does that reek of sincerity.

Anyway, now the left is demanding that we intervene in Darfur.

But do they really mean it this time? Or is this just more of the same feel-good hand wringing, muddled thinking, and cowardly bluster for which these people are becoming famous? After all, the citizens of Baghdad are suffering every bit as much today as are the people of Darfur but the left demands that we retreat from Iraq. "Misery and death? Executions and bombings? That's too bad. We're sustaining casualties. Bye bye."

If we listen to this bunch and send troops to the Sudan, it won't be long, once a teenager with an AK-47 successfully injures an American soldier, before this same crowd will be decrying the slaughter that WE brought about there and will be calling for a withdrawal of our troops. Again.

So let them whine. Let them stage their insincere protests. Put up with their meaningless editorials. They have proven their inability to back up their talk with purposeful resolve. They will cut and run again. Guaranteed.

We're Getting There

The feds are starting to round up all our illegal aliens:
Agents nab 14 illegals in Loudoun
By Keyonna Summers, The Washington Times


Federal agents arrested 14 illegal aliens Thursday in Virginia ... (
link)
14 down. 11,000,988 to go.

Silly Me

I guess I'm cheap. I would have done it for $17 (if they were willing to take a personal check):
Jury awards $1.7M to woman spanked on job
By Juliana Barbassa, Associated Press Writer

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) -- A woman who was spanked in front of her co-workers in what her employer called a camaraderie-building exercise has been awarded $1.7 million.


Janet Orlando, 53, was subjected to sexual harassment and sexual battery when she was paddled on the rear end two years ago at home security company Alarm One Inc., a jury ruled Friday. (link)
So spanking is a no-no. Is there nothing sacred these days?

Howard Dean's Surrogate Speaks

I thought I was reading the blathering from some Democratic politician. Turns out, I was:
Al-Qaida leader: U.S. 'broken' in Iraq
By Lee Keath, Associated Press Writer


CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- Hundreds of suicide bombings in Iraq have "broken the back" of the U.S. military, al-Qaida's No. 2 said in a video posted Saturday - the latest in a series of messages from the terror network.

The video by Ayman al-Zawahri, posted on an Islamic militant Web forum, came within the same week as an audiotape by al-Qaida's top leader Osama bin Laden and a video by the head of al-Qaida's branch in Iraq - a volley of messages by the group's most prominent figures. (link)
Sounds like the whinings of Jack Murtha, doesn't it? It's impossible these days to tell the difference between those who are working toward America's defeat in the war on terror and ... al Qaeda members.

Friday, April 28, 2006

How Low Will We Go?

This is disgraceful:

Rebate Check Proposal
Associated Press

Senate Republicans say it's a way to do something about high gas prices. They are proposing a 100 dollar rebate check for millions of taxpayers to counter the higher costs of fuel. (link)

The Republican Party, once known proudly as the party of Reagan, is now best described as being the party of Vanna White and Pat Sajak. "Mrs. Jones, you've just won $100!"

Somebody kill me.

They Might Have Expected This

There are things in life we just must endure. George Allen is going to have to explain why he did what every white kid in 1966 was doing (see below) and the University of Virginia lacrosse team is going to have to put up with this:
Good behavior for U.Va. lacrosse
By Jeff White, Richmond Times-Dispatch Writer

CHARLOTTESVILLE - The off-field behavior of men's lacrosse players at Duke and, now, North Carolina has been scrutinized, criticized and publicized this spring. In the Charlottesville area, police say they don't consider the players at the University of Virginia to be a problem in the community.

Asked if there have been serious incidents involving men's lacrosse players at U.Va., Capt. Chip Harding of the Charlottesville police said, "None that have come to my attention."

Capt. John Parrent of the Albemarle County police: "I don't know of any issues with that team." (link)

I know I'm going to rest a little easier now.

Life As We Know It Is About To End

Shocking.
Allen: Rebel flag was teen 'attitude'
Magazine reports on the rebel symbols he had in high school
By Peter Hardin and Tyler Whitley, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writers


WASHINGTON -- Sen. George Allen, who has tried to reach out to minority voters in recent years, wore a Confederate flag pin on his shirt collar in a high-school yearbook photo, a national magazine reported yesterday. (link)
I think, unless Allen can prove his association with the NASCAR fan club, 17 million members of which proudly sport the Confederate flag on lapel pins, on hats, on their beer bottles, on their RV's, on their flags, on their butt tattoos, on their tombstones ..., we should hang the bastard.

That's Going Too Far

There can sometimes be too much of a good thing:
Reynolds makes big move into smokeless tobacco; profits up
By Tim Whitmore, Associated Press Writer


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Reynolds American Inc., the nation's second-largest cigarette maker, said Thursday its first-quarter profit rose 23 percent and it is planning a second major push into the smokeless tobacco category with a snuff product under its famous Camel brand.

Camel Snus (pronounced "snoose") will be test-marketed in Portland, Ore., and Austin, Texas, beginning by the end of June, the company said Thursday. (link)
Seems like a good thing. Right? So what's up with this?
Snus is sold in small pouches that are placed between the lip and gum. The tobacco in them does not require the spitting associated with traditional snuff. [my emphasis]
Say what? What good is it if you don't spit it?

Good Lord. Next they'll be criticizing us for our Confederate flag lapel pins.

By the way, what's a lapel anyway?

Where Has This Guy Been?

I read the headline attached to an E.J. Dionne column in the Washington Post this morning and was intrigued:
A New Gun Argument (link)
Knowing Dionne to be rabidly liberal, my only thought was: What gun-ban scheme have they dreamt up now?

Well, as it turns out, they haven't. They're are just reciting an old theme. He just wants it to resonate with the people this time 'round:
Mayors Turn the Political Issue to Saving Lives

Railing against [the current] state of affairs is useless. Better that a savvy group of mayors takes the lead in the difficult struggle to change the underlying politics by reminding Americans that this issue is about saving the lives of innocent kids -- and of grandmas in their rocking chairs.
Why didn't Hillary think of this? Gun control should be for the children ...

Actually she had. As did the rest of the gun-ban crowd. Ever hear of the Million Mom March, E.J.?

It's been done before. And the American people summarily rejected the notion. Better come up with a new one.

Don't Forget The Third Leg Of That Stool

A study just released reveals that al Qaeda uses the press in its campaign of terror:
Al Qaeda wields press as terror weapon, report finds
By Jennifer Harper, The Washington Times


Terrorists use the press and public relations as weapons, said a study released Wednesday by Arizona State University.

"People are surprised the jihadis think of the media as a weapon," said Steven Corman, director of the school's Consortium for Strategic Communication and a Defense Department consultant on communications networks and counterterrorism. (link)
Contrary to the good director's thinking, nobody's surprised by this finding.

What has become rather startling though, is the willingness of the press to go along. The terrorists blow up a busload of school children and members of the media are quick to blame George W Bush for our being in Iraq.

Then there is the third partner in the triumvirate - the Democratic Party. The leadership is moving further and further to the left, often sounding like spokespersons for Osama himself as they criticize the President. Remember this from the man who would be President?
And there is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking sort of the customs of the--of--the historical customs, religious customs. (link)
Osama had to be smiling.

So, what to make of all this? Know thy enemy.

An Interesting Legal Case

I think we'd better get Steve involved in this one:
Teen sues mom in bid to ID dad
[Detroit] Metro area 17-year-old finds man who raised him isn't biological dad; they unite to seek genetic history.
Steve Pardo and Christina Stolarz, The Detroit News


MOUNT CLEMENS -- A 17-year-old is suing his mother in Macomb County Circuit Court to force her to reveal the identity of his biological father.

Two years ago, the teen -- identified as "Minor J" in court filings -- learned that the man who helped raise him wasn't his real father. Now, with help from that man, who is his legal father, he's involved in a lawsuit that could help determine what rights children have to know the identity of their parents.

The case centers on the teenager's desire to know his family genetic history for health purposes ... (link)
I'd expect to read more stories like this in the future. Fascinating.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Stick a Fork In 'Em

The Virginia Senate is flailing, searching frantically for a way out of a fiasco of its own making:

Senators work late on revamped budget proposal
WDBJ7

Senators mulled a half-dozen transportation measures Wednesday, preparing one last package of statewide and regional roads, rails and transit measures.

Senate leaders were busy Wednesday evening recasting their statewide transportation proposal. They were also preparing bills to establish regional taxing, tolling and road- and transit-building authorities in northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.

The new proposals were privately viewed as probably the last chance to budge the House, which is against new taxes. (link)
Here's the harsh truth: the House has no reason to compromise now and every reason not to. The people of Virginia have never supported Governor Kaine's stunt - that being his discovering the need for a massive tax increase as soon as he got in office, one that he had opposed prior.

And now that gasoline prices are going through the roof, for the Governor and the Senate to continue to demand an increase in citizens' tax burden, a portion of which involves an increase in the tax on gasoline at the wholesale level, especially at a time when the government is sitting on a massive revenue surplus, the Governor's pals know they've made a grievous error.

The Senate is looking for a way out of this. Soon the members will be begging for one.

A saying from my youth advises: Never kick a man when he's down. What I've learned in my short life calls for just the opposite.

I say, end their shenanigans once and for all. It's time the House called for a tax cut.

Update 04/27/06 7:41pm: Looks like I'm late to the party. Jim (and Chad) had already pounced on this story.

The House Goes On The Attack

It took too many days but finally the Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates read my advice and are linking the Democrats' demand for an increase in gas taxes with the skyrocketing price of gas at the pump:

Gas prices may derail VA Senate plan to raise gas tax
By WDBJ7

Gas prices have House Republicans calling on the Senate to put a lid on their plan to increase the gas tax. House leaders say adding to the cost of gas right now just isn't right, and at least one senator admits it's a proposal that's becoming increasingly harder to sell. (link)
Now, drive it home, fellas. This is the cornerstone of the Governor's tax proposal. If it goes, his campaign to raise a broad array of taxes crumbles. Stop him now.

The Pack Is Superbowl Bound

Okay, I can dream. Can't I?

But things are looking up for the Green Bay Packers:
Packers, Woodson agree to terms
FOXSports.com

One day after Brett Favre announced that he was returning, the Packers made their most significant free agent pickup this year. FOXSports.com has learned that the Packers have agreed to terms on a seven-year deal in the $45 million range for Raiders Pro Bowl defensive back Charles Woodson. (link)
Favre and Woodson. This is good. Now if we can get Sharper back. And Desmond Howard. And Reggie White.* And ...

I know. I know. Don't email me. It's my dream and I can dream what I want.

A Quiz To Start Your Morning

I find myself this morning in Emmitsburg, MD. Quick! Here's a quiz for all you Civil War buffs out there. For what is Emmitsburg famous? You have thirty seconds.

The clock is ticking.

No, cavalry battles that took place in the area don't (quite) measure up. And no, troop movements through here don't rise to the level of making it into most history books ( I should mention that Confederate troops moving through here didn't burn down the barns and mills in their path as did the boys in blue when they came through Bland and Wythe Counties, Virginia in 1864 - some wounds never heal). The service provided maimed and dying soldiers by the Sisters of Charity here deserves more recognition, but that's not what I had in mind either.

OK. Time's up.

A hint to the answer to the quiz is provided in the words "Confederates" and "troop movements." I'm about seven miles south - as the crow flies up the old Emmitsburg Pike - of a quaint little Pennsylvania town called Gettysburg.

It's actually the pike itself that has the greatest name recognition among Civil War historians. On the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, the area around the pike became the scene of horrific fighting. Here's a brief excerpt from an after-action report written by a Union officer, Colonel Henry J. Madill of the 141st PA Volunteer Infantry, who was there 143 years ago:

"In the meanwhile our line advanced up the slope and deployed in the oat-field, some 15 rods from the pike, and were ordered to lie down. At this point we sustained a severe fire from artillery for some time, the enemy having a good range. After remaining in this position for some twenty minutes or more, I received an order from General Graham, through the acting assistant adjutant-general (Lieutenant [Charles H.] Graves), to move my regiment out, and place it in front of Clark's battery. This order was in a few minutes countermanded, and I formed my regiment in rear of that battery, and, while supporting that battery, the Second New Hampshire was ordered up to my support. They took position in my rear. Here the fire from the enemy's artillery was very severe, and we sustained a considerable loss in killed and wounded.

At this time it was observed that the enemy was advancing in strong force from across and down the Emmitsburg pike. My regiment, together with two others (the Third Michigan [Colonel Pierce], and Third Maine, Colonel Lakeman), were ordered to the front of the peach orchard, the battery occupying that position having withdrawn and left the field. We advanced, the Third Maine on my right and the Third Michigan (Colonel Pierce) on my left. The enemy was advancing in two columns, one column crossing direction of the position occupied by the Second and Third Brigades, which were to our left and somewhat to our rear. When they advanced below the stone barn, they endeavored to extend their lines to the left.

It was at this time that my regiment, with the two others spoken of, was ordered forward. We engaged the flank of the enemy, and prevented him from extending his lines this side of the small creek that runs through the field near the stone barn. At this time the other column had advanced up to the pike and deployed, and was marching on the point we were occupying. The battery in position near the road and immediately to the left of the log house withdrew. The Third Maine, after exchanging a few shots with the enemy at this point, withdrew. Colonel Pierce's regiment (Third Michigan) withdrew about the same time, or a few minutes before.

I found myself alone, with a small regiment of about 180 men. (link)

Colonel Madill's regiment was nearly destroyed in the fighting along the Emmitsburg Pike:
...I took 200 men into the fight, with 9 officers. Out of that number I lost 145 men and 6 commissioned officers ...
When I awoke this morning, I thought I heard the sound of cannonading off in the distance ...

I'll actually be heading in the opposite direction when the day begins. I'll be driving down what is today Route 15 to Frederick, where I have business to conduct.

Before I leave though, I may toss some litter out my car window, just to get back at the damn yankees who burned those barns not that many years ago.

Today FEMA, Tomorrow The Dept of Education

There is a growing consensus that the United States government is broken and needs to be scrapped. Well, not quite. But a Congressional committee is recommending that one (major) part of the government be abolished anyway. It's a beginning:
Senate panel recommends abolishing FEMA
By Lara Jakes Jordan, Associated Press Writer


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Hurricane Katrina's latest fatality should be FEMA, the nation's disaster response agency, a Senate inquiry concluded in calling for a government overhaul to avoid future failures like those the devastating storm exposed. (link)

Hurricane Katrina exposed the weaknesses inherent in a federal bureaucracy being designed to handles major crises.

Hurricane Drop-out Rate and Hurricane Illiteracy and Hurricane Failing-Schools should be sending the same signal to the same Congresspersons.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

It's The Thought That Counts

I read this and my mouth watered:

Bland is Va.’s new wireless ‘hot spot’
By Charles Owens, Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLAND, Va. — Bland County is officially the first “hot spot” in Southwest Virginia.

In what the county Board of Supervisors hope will lead the way for all of Southwest Virginia in technology and innovation, Bland will be the first community in Southwest Virginia, and one of only three in the Commonwealth, to launch wireless Internet access free to its citizens next month using the latest in broadband deployment technology, according to County Administrator Jonathan D. Sweet.

Sweet said the installation work on the free broadband service is scheduled for completion on May 1 with the service going live on May 4. (link)

I currently use Sprint DSL service (and it works extremely well) but my mama told me to never look a gift horse in the mouth (not sure what she meant ...). Then I read this:
“The installation is going to be very rapid because of this technology,” Sweet said. “Since we are only activating downtown Bland as a hot spot in phase one of this juncture, it will not require extensive equipment.
Now let me say, up front, that I have a tremendous amount of respect for Jonathan Sweet. He's doing yoeman's work for us.

But for him to tout the fact that downtown Bland is going to have wireless service soon is like saying he'll personally autograph every Bible owned by a Democrat in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Neither is going to require a whole lot of effort.

"Downtown" Bland consists of an IGA, a State Farm Insurance office, a heating/air conditioning repair company, the public library and an auto repair shop (I'm not going to count the Dollar General or the Nextel office; they're in the suburbs).

This would suggest that the county went down to Wal-Mart, picked up three wireless routers, and is in the process of installing them at State Farm Insurance and the library (hard to say where that third one will go; Congressman Boucher will probably ask that it be installed at the abandoned and crumbling Bland Sportswear factory - just in case).

Anyway, the emperor of Bland County says this is progress and I'm inclined to take his word for it.

Still, I'm not sure how this advancement beats just opening a window and hollerin' to the folks "across town" but, by gum, we've entered the technological age here in Bland County.

Next - a community hot tub.

God Love 'Em

Here are three stories - back to back - in this morning's Charleston (WV) Gazette:
Residents say 'wind factory' would spoil life
By Eric Eyre, Staff writer

FAIRLEA — There was a lot of talk Tuesday about dead bats and birds, excessive noise and “flashing strobe lights” in the night sky if a state commission approves a proposed 124-turbine wind energy project. (link)
Then this:

Power rates are set to rise
By Sarah K. Winn, Staff writer


West Virginia’s Public Service Commission has 70 days to approve a rate settlement agreement, which would increase Appalachian Power customers’ electricity bills an estimated 16 percent by 2009. (link)
And finally:
Little relief at the pumps
By Mark Silva and William Neikirk, Chicago Tribune

WASHINGTON — President Bush’s decision to suspend oil purchases for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and authorize waivers of some environmental fuel regulations are designed to demonstrate government action about rising gas prices, but are unlikely to slow the larger forces pushing prices past $3 per gallon, analysts said Tuesday. (link)
So, what do we make of all this? (1) The cost of energy is skyrocketing and (2) we are prepared to nothing about it except whine.

We're doomed as a species.

It Never Ends

My feelings were hurt the other day when I read a response to one of my posts on what I guess can be described as a local Dickenson County chat room / bulletin board. I was described as being "disconnected" for having made mention of the 40,000 square foot shell building constructed in Clintwood with public money as a spur to economic development that has sat unoccupied for the last decade. I was disconnected apparently because - we're told - the thinking of local officials has changed. Taxpayer money is no longer wasted on local projects like constructing empty buildings that are meant to lure out-of-state employers. Local officials have learned from that mistake.

Or not:

Harvest backs shell building: foundation will pay off loan if not sold in 5 years: New plan praised
By Ginny Wray, Martinsville Bulletin Staff Writer


Most members of the Henry County Board of Supervisors and Martinsville City Council said they are supportive of a plan to develop a $3.5 million shell building project in the Patriot Centre at Beaver Creek industrial park.

City council members liked the proposal, too.

Under the proposal, the EDC would commit about $200,000 for architectural / engineering expenses, marketing and the first-year's interest.

Henry County would pay about $400,000 in interest over the following four years on the building -- which Heath calls an "available building" rather than a "shell building" -- and Martinsville would pay $200,000 of the interest costs for that period.

If the building has not sold at the end of year five, The Harvest Foundation would pay off the construction loan.

Heath responded to Parker that the deal "has two things going for it."

First, he said, is that The Harvest Foundation is willing to take part. "We're encouraged they're supportive of what we're doing."

Second, "the activity generated by this is as exciting as anything," Heath said. "It shows we're in the game." [emphasis mine] (link)

What "game" local officials are playing isn't made clear in the article but I can give it a name based on the Commerce Park fiasco in Pulaski County and the Dickenson building pipedream-turned-bust :

It's a shell (building) game.

Disconnected indeed.

Quote of the Day

CIA Director Porter Goss is now facing press criticism for trying to impose some discipline on his agency. The serious and disturbing question is whether the rot is so deep that it is unfixable, and we ought to start all over and create a new intelligence agency.

The press is also inventing a preposterous double standard that is supposed to help us all distinguish between bad leaks (the Plame name) and virtuous leaks (whatever Ms. McCarthy might have done). Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie has put himself on record as saying Ms. McCarthy should not "come to harm" for helping citizens hold their government accountable. Of the Plame affair, by contrast, the Post's editorial page said her exposure may have been an "egregious abuse of the public trust."

It would appear that the only relevant difference here is whose political ox is being gored, and whether a liberal or conservative journalist was the beneficiary of the leak. That the press sought to hound Robert Novak out of polite society for the Plame disclosure and then rewards Ms. Priest and Mr. Risen with Pulitzers proves the worst that any critic has ever said about media bias.

Wall Street Journal Editorial, "Our Rotten IntelligenCIA," April 26, 2006

A Shameful Immigration Sham

Following in his father's footsteps (remember how George Bush pere pledged that there'd be "read his lips," no new taxes, just before he sided with the Democrats and raised taxes?), George W Bush has decided he no longer needs to masquerade as a conservative and has gone over to the dark side:
Bush, senators agree on alien citizenship, shut out critics
By Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times


President Bush and a group of senators yesterday reached general agreement on an immigration bill that includes a pathway to citizenship for many illegal aliens.

But left out of the closed-door White House meeting were senators who oppose a path to citizenship. The meeting even snubbed two men who had been considered allies of Mr. Bush on immigration -- Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican and chairman of the immigration subcommittee, and Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican. (link)
I watched the news as a beaming Democratic senate minority leader came out of the White House yesterday afternoon to praise President Bush for having come out of the closet. Bush is now one of them.

Besides the president thumbing his nose at his conservative base, (we want the illegals in our midst handled compassionately too; we just want the illegality down along the border to stop first) here's what makes this a farce:
The Hagel-Martinez bill [the legislation the our president and Ted Kennedy support] would divide illegal aliens into three groups. Most of those who have been in the country for more than five years would be granted access to citizenship, those here more than two years but less than five years would have to go home first but would also be eligible for citizenship, while those here two years or less would not have a path.
We're going to ask those illegally in the country how long they've been in the USA. If they reply that they've been here more than five years, they get to stay! Those who haven't been properly coached and answer that they've been here less than five years will be summarily kicked out. Now there's a workable plan!

For what it's worth, what's left of the Republican Party isn't going along with this silliness:
"This idea that was being kicked around the Senate about providing some sort of amnesty for those who have been here five years or more, I just think it was a very big mistake," House Majority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said yesterday. "You are just inviting more people to come."
By the millions. Tens of millions.

Any more immigration reform and we might as well all start learning Spanish.

Who Profits From a Windfall Profits Tax?

Those eyes that have not been diverted by Virginia Governor Tim Kaine's plan to increase the price of gasoline at the pump by raising gas taxes at the worst possible moment in history, are looking to the federal government to do something about skyrocketing prices. The Democrats have - as one might predict - proposed a tax on "windfall" oil company profits. ExxonMobil makes lots of money; so why not?

I'll tell you why not. The elderly will suffer. As will hundreds of thousands of soon-to-be elderly. Here (from the Detroit News) is how:
Editorial: Granholm's oil profit cap will damage pension funds

[Michigan] Gov. Jennifer Granholm's grandstanding to get oil company profits capped is not only misguided and misinformed, it's bad for Michigan -- particularly the state's retirees.

How so? ExxonMobil Corp. is the largest stock held by the Michigan State Employees' Retirement System and the Michigan Public School Employees' Retirement System. At the end of 2005, the state pension funds owned more than 13 million shares of the oil company's stock with a market value of more than $846 million. (link)
The hundreds of thousands of owners of the major oil companies (through 401K investments, IRA plans, mutual fund retirement programs and the like) are banking on those profits to put bread on the table when they get old.

When the government (state or federal) raises the windfall tax on profits, the government has a windfall to be sure. But the elderly are left holding the empty bag.

Dissolve NASA

So much could be done - so many questions could be answered - if we weren't hell-bent on sending school teachers and retired politicians into space:
NASA Chief Says Future Flights Will Force Cutbacks in Science
By Warren E. Leary, The New York Times


WASHINGTON, April 25 — The ability to send humans into space after retiring the space shuttle is such a high priority for NASA that some space science must be sacrificed to help pay for it, the agency's administrator, Michael D. Griffin, said Tuesday. (link)
This is pathetic.

It costs ten times as much to send a ship into space with someone aboard as it does to send up an unmanned craft. We could have a ship on Neptune right now running all kinds of experiments. Instead we're going to cut back on science in order to continue this program that amounts to little more than an amusement ride for the photogenic - a program that's going nowhere.

Here's a Waste Of Time

Thousands of gun laws and New York and Boston still suffer from rampant crime. What to do? "Hey, let's pass some more gun laws!"

Seeking a National Voice, 15 Mayors Meet on Gun Violence
By Sewell Chan, The New York Times


Asserting that the federal government had failed to curb gun trafficking, mayors from 15 cities gathered yesterday at Gracie Mansion and agreed to intensify efforts to combat illegal firearms.

Mayors Michael R. Bloomberg of New York and Thomas M. Menino of Boston, the organizers of the meeting, said the mayors needed to use every tool, from crackdowns on irresponsible gun dealers to new gun-tracing technologies, because federal authorities had abdicated their responsibility. (link)
Yeah. Don't want to be cracking down on those criminals, eh Mike?

I have an idea. Michael Bloomberg is one of the wealthiest persons on the planet. How about - in a real demonstration of his interest in solving the daunting crime problem in his city - he signs over all his assets to the NYPD so that they can put more cops on the street?

Like that'll happen.

I guess the photo-ops - and feckless gun laws - are more economical.

Oh, Hurt Me

Another reason why the United Nations should be dissolved (what is this, reason number 613?):
U.N. Council Imposes Sanctions on 4 Men in Darfur War Crimes
By Warren Hoge, The New York Times


UNITED NATIONS, April 25 — The Security Council passed a resolution on Tuesday imposing the first sanctions in the violence that has killed more than 200,000 villagers and driven two million people from their homes in Darfur, in western Sudan.

Twelve members of the 15-nation Council voted in favor of the American-drafted measure, which will freeze the assets of four Sudanese accused of war crimes and instructs nations to block their entry. (link)
These fiends are responsible for the deaths of 200,000 innocent people in Darfur and the U.N. slaps "sanctions" on them. What's the punishment when the number gets up to 1,000,000? No satellite TV for a month?

Good Choice

President Bush did well with his pick for White House press secretary:
Fox Host to Join White House
By Jim Rutenberg, The New York Times


WASHINGTON, April 25 — Tony Snow, the Fox News radio and television commentator, has agreed to become the White House press secretary and could be officially named to the post as early as Wednesday, administration officials said on Tuesday.

A senior administration official said the president chose Mr. Snow, 50, to become one of the most visible faces of the administration because he understood newspapers, radio, television and government, having worked in all four areas. (link)
The fact that he is kind, considerate, and congenial helps as well. Best of luck to Tony. He'll need it.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

'Kaine To Raise Gas Prices'

I wrote a week ago that it seems a bit incongruous that the national Democratic Party is beginning an all-out effort to pin the most recent gasoline price increases on the Republican Party while, at the same time, our fair governor (a Democrat last time I looked) is promoting (wholesale) gas tax hikes.

Well, not only does he favor an increase in the cost of your gasoline, he's out there touting it:
Kaine considers fuel-tax increase?
Governor shows willingness to accept the option while urging a budget solution

By Michael Hardy and Jeff Schapiro, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writers

Despite rocketing gasoline prices, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine yesterday said he would consider backing higher fuel taxes as part of a remedy for roads and mass transit.

"I will not pledge to veto a gas-tax compromise," said Kaine.

Kaine signaled a willingness to consider an increase in the 17.5-cent-per-gallon tax on gasoline -- the lowest in the region as House Republicans demanded that the state Senate retreat on a proposed increase. (link)

This deaf-ear approach to the budget impasse - the people of Virginia are already unnerved by the spike at the pump and Kaine is more than willing to worsen the problem even though his government is sitting on a massive surplus - should be fodder for the Republicans who are standing up heroically against another massive tax increase.
  • This governor will stop at nothing to feed the insatiable government maw.

Do I need to write the talking points for you guys?

'Tell a Child Not To Do Something...'

Where does this fall in Virginia Tech's ongoing effort at bringing "community" to campus?
Racist graffiti found at Tech
By Greg Esposito, The Roanoke Times


Virginia Tech police on Monday reported another instance of racist graffiti on campus, less than a week after students protested against what they see as institutional racism at the school.

On Saturday, police responded to West Ambler Johnston Hall, where someone had written "nigger" on a wall of the dormitory in black marker, Lt. Wendell Flinchum said.

The university also adopted its Principles of Community in March 2005 reaffirming its commitment to diversity on campus. (link)
There were those of us who scoffed at Tech's heavy-handed approach to forcing diversity down the throats of its adolescent "community." For the following reason:
... Shawn Braxton, head of the Virginia Tech chapter of the NAACP, said Tech needs to take a more active role to educate the community about problems with racism at the school.
More racial indoctrination. Yeah. That'll make the punks quit scribbling grafitti on the walls.

And lest we forget the tactics that Joseph Stalin would be proud of.

Like It Or Not

You may not want it to be the case, but President Bush is right about this:
Bush rejects mass deportation of illegal aliens
By Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times


IRVINE, Calif. -- President Bush yesterday ruled out deporting the estimated 12 million illegal aliens in the United States and also praised a plan that offers a path to citizenship for many current illegal aliens.


"Massive deportation of the people here is unrealistic. It's just not going to work," he told the Orange County Business Council. "You hear people out there hollering, 'It's going to work.' It's not going to work." (link)
By the same token, we can protect our southern borders and stop illegals from adding to the mess.

It seems like both sides should be able to come to a workable solution here.

And they need to today.

It's Far From Over

For those who advocate that we should get out of Iraq and crawl in a hole, making the world a better place:
BOMBS' GRISLY TOURIST TRAP
By Uri Dan and Leonard Greene, The New York Post


April 25, 2006 -- A bloody string of terrorist bombings tore through a popular foreign resort area on Egypt's Sinai Peninsula yesterday, killing at least 30 people and injuring as many as 150 during the height of the vacation season, officials said.


Twenty-three people were killed in the attacks, including one at a hotel, in the seaside city of Dahab.

The bombers struck along a crowded promenade of shops, restaurants and bars. (link)
This scourge has to be defeated - wherever they're to be found. Or they'll be found here.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Blogger Problems

Blogger.com is having problems today.

I notice the two blog entries from eight hours ago have finally been published. The host has a message posted advising that serious problems are being experienced and that publishing will be slower than normal. No duh.

The Virginia Blog Carnival Is Up

Norm over at One Man's Trash has this week's offerings from Virginia's best bloggers. Check them out here.

There is some great stuff this week.

A Memo To Roanoke Times Reporters:

Would you please go down the hall and read the news to the editorial staff?

Duncan Adams has a revealing and marvelously well-written report in this morning's paper (read it here) relating to a survey released by the president of Roanoke College and an economics lecturer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in which it was made clear that the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is lagging behind the nation in growth, household income, "quality of life," and ... taverns. And little is being done about it.

The editorial page of the paper, taking the latest news into account, comes out with a hard-hitting piece demanding that area leaders create conditions such that Roanoke no longer wallows at the bottom of every national economic survey.

Oops.

No, the editorial staff has no interest in the fact that Roanoke is falling behind the entire western world in population growth, in economic vitality, in ... They advocate the opposite. They instead are enthralled with the governor's plan to remove 400,000 acres of property from ever being productive. And they demand that the state of Virginia set aside taxes so that the land can be purchased and made permanently unproductive:

Kaine's blueprint for a green Virginia

The governor's commitment to land preservation can be realized, if he can gain the cooperation of the General Assembly.

Gov. Tim Kaine has the right vision: Preserve Virginia land from almost limitless development.

He has a measurable goal: Protect 400,000 acres by the end of his four-year term, in 2010.

The governor and General Assembly need to guarantee a steady source of funding by dedicating a particular tax or portion of a tax for land preservation -- and soon.

At Virginia's pace of development, delay will mean failure. (
link)

Virginia's pace of development is at a gallop. Roanoke's can charitably be described as a slow crawl.

And the Times editorial page, in its relentless effort to retard the former, will, if its scheme is adopted, most assuredly help destroy the latter.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Area Blogger Makes Regional Headlines

As most of you know, one of Virginia's premier weblogs is hosted by a fella by the name of Chad Dotson. Besides being a gifted writer, Chad, come to find out, has a day job! And America's drug kingpins are the worse for it this morning:

Operation Street Sweeper nets 49 drug arrests in Wise
Wednesday, April 19, 2006 By Stephen Igo, Kingsport Times-News


WISE - A two-year investigation revolving around a drug subculture in Big Stone Gap has provided investigators in other states - including Tennessee - with leads on illicit drug suppliers to the tiny Wise County town, particularly significant amounts of cocaine.

On Tuesday, Wise County Commonwealth's Attorney Chad Dotson announced more than 100 felony indictments against 49 individuals in what the Southwest Virginia Drug Task Force dubbed "Operation Street Sweeper." As of 2:45 p.m. Tuesday, 30 of the 49 individuals indicted by a special grand jury had been taken into custody during a daylong roundup.

"Most of this is a cocaine ring," Dotson said, describing "loose-knit networks" of distributors and users mostly in Big Stone Gap, Appalachia and Norton. (link)

There have been occasions when readers have openly speculated as to why Chad wasn't devoting more time to his weblog. Now we know. He's been focused on eliminating the area's crime problem. Chad, you're going to have to get your priorities straight, man.

In all seriousness, Wise County should be very proud. Your prosecutor's making your streets and back roads a whole lot safer.

Why Am I Suddenly All Aglow?

Here's some exciting news out of Bland County. We're about to electrocute ... er, electrify ourselves:

APCO eyes June date to energize 765kV line
By Charles Owens, Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLAND, Va. — Todd Burns is hoping Appalachian Power Company can officially “energize” the region’s new 765kV transmission line by early June.

It was 16 years ago when the company first proposed the high-voltage power line across the rugged mountains of southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia with the hope of reinforcing the region’s power grid for the first time since the early 1970s. (link)

It was kind of cool to watch the helicopters go back and forth (in the mountains around here you're not going to use flatbed trucks) with girders and poles and the like dangling beneath them as they worked the construction site. Paula and I were able to watch the operation from our living room window.

So now we've got us a scenic high-voltage transmission line running through the heart of Bland County. We're all kinda excited about it. We're even expecting our congressman to show up in June and declare it to be a tourist attraction and the means by which we will achieve economic nirvava. He has a reputation for such silliness.

Good. Make a Park Out Of Chesterfield.

Another day, another call for economic stagnation. This time a forward-thinking Virginian wants us to set aside land so that developers (we call them employers down here) don't get it. And he asks that we increase taxes to do it. Jesus.

The latest comes from the Free Lance-Star:
Virginia's rural landscape needs a healthy dose of public funding
By Charles G. McDaniel

The footprint of development across Virginia will double in the next 25 years, so maintaining our quality of life will require us to balance this growth by establishing more protected lands. (link)
He goes on to write about our heritage and how it is tied to fishing and hunting and the like, an opinion with which I agree. But I'm prompted to ask Mr. McDaniel the same question I ask of those who demand ever-larger annual tax increases: How much is enough? To his request, I ask: How many more millions of acres of national and state park land should we set aside?

Down this way, we have a growing problem with land being abandoned because jobs are being lost and citizens are moving north. We only wish we had a developer problem. But it's always the more isolated and least economically developed areas that these people have in mind for preserving.

So, do us a favor. You want to set aside some land for posterity? I suggest you start in Deerfield Estates over in Chesterfield where the developer problem actually exists. Not down here in Southwest Virginia where we wait each day with open arms for one of those developers that we've heard so much about to show up.

When Can We Expect Those Tourists?

I woke up this morning to the news (in the Martinsville Bulletin) that the the area has another walking trail. This makes 83. And counting. But this one's different. This one's going to bring in the tourist trade ... finally.
Boucher, Goode walk trail path

The area's two congressmen on Saturday walked the rails where a hiking trail is envisioned as a tourism and economic development attraction.

Ninth District U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Abingdon, and 5th District U.S. Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr., R-Rocky Mount, ignored the rain to walk 1.5 miles of the 7.5-mile Danville & Western Line railroad tracks, also known as the "Dick & Willie."

"I think it will add to tourism and economic development," Goode said of the walking trail that is proposed for the rail bed.

Boucher, who successfully spearheaded an effort to earmark $400,000 in federal funds to pay for converting the rail bed to a walking trail, also said he feels the project is important. (link)
I envision a feature article in Condé Nast.

I liked that part about the two congressmen expecting the trail to become a "tourism and economic development attraction." A former railroad track. A walking trail. That's chutzpah.

Do you get the feeling that these guys have run out of ideas as to how to turn the economy here in Southwest and Southside Virginia around?