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

Friday, June 30, 2006

A Way With Words

The "Axis of Taxes." I like that.

I'm hereby claiming it as my very own.

On The Way To Zero Unemployment

Be careful when you hear a politician brag about low unemployment numbers. It may be a good thing ... and it may not:
Unemployment numbers show workers leaving
Most of Southside saw a slight improvement in figures since April.
By Bernard Baker, Danville Register & Bee staff writer

DANVILLE, Va. - The fallout from the collapse of textiles and tobacco may be showing up in another area: a shrinking work force.

William Mezger, chief economist for the Virginia Employment Commission, said Danville area’s work pool has dropped by roughly 1,000 people since May 2005.

“The 1,000 people have either left the labor force or have left the area,” Mezger said Tuesday while releasing unemployment figures.

In May 2005, the Danville area had 52,920 people in the labor pool. The most current figure, for May 2006, was 51,810. (
link)
Ten years ago, Danville's workforce exceeded 60,000, which means there's been a loss of more than 8,100 souls (not counting the many dependents). That figure - the number of people who have packed their bags and moved north to find work - exceeds the entire population of Bland County.

But at least the unemployment statistic looks good:
Unemployment in the area increased slightly in May when compared to the same period of 2005, going to 8 percent from 7.7 percent a year ago. The May 2006 number, however, was an improvement over April, when the rate was 8.4 percent.
I don't hear anyone over in Danville cheering ...

Quote of the Day

I don't particularly care if liberals believe in God. In fact, I would be crestfallen to discover any liberals in heaven.

Ann Coulter, Godless: The Church of Liberalism

As Inevitable As The Sunrise

While the environmental left plays around with such amusements as solar power and french fry oil fuel (you think I'm kidding), the real world slowly comes to the realization that we are in great need of more affordable and viable energy sources:
House Votes for Expansion of Oil and Gas Exploration
By Michael Janofsky, The New York Times


WASHINGTON, June 29 — The House voted on Thursday to approve oil and gas exploration in coastal waters that have been protected from drilling for 25 years.

The vote was largely along party lines, 232 to 187, for a measure that would sharply expand efforts to make use of energy supplies beyond the Gulf of Mexico, the only area unaffected by executive branch and Congressional bans on drilling. (link)
That party line thing means the Democrats (along with Jeb Bush) are willing to stand on the beach down in Key West and watch the Chinese setting up drilling rigs off the coast of Cuba off in the distance and they will still try to block drilling in American waters. And they will all claim that they are saving the planet.

Brilliant. These guys are just brilliant.

Another Dem Frog-Walking To The Slammer

Yes, it's another day and another prominent Democrat is going to prison. Nancy Pelosi sure knew what she was talking about when she launched her campaign against the "culture of corruption" that exists all around her. The latest convict:
Ex-Governor and Executive Convicted of Bribery
By Kyle Whitmire, The New York Times


MONTGOMERY, Ala., June 29 — After twice telling a judge it was deadlocked, a federal jury on Thursday convicted former Gov. Don E. Siegelman and a former HealthSouth chief executive, Richard M. Scrushy, on charges that they conspired in a bribery scheme seven years ago.

The verdict came after a six-week trial and 11 days of deliberations. Mr. Siegelman was convicted of conspiracy, bribery, mail fraud and obstruction of justice. The jurors convicted Mr. Scrushy of bribery, conspiracy and mail fraud. The longest term, up to 20 years, is carried by the mail fraud convictions. (
link)
Much has been made in recent years of the fact that the prison population in the USA is skyrocketing. The thing the people who make that complaint need to understand is that there are still millions of Democrats out there ... conspiring ... bribing ... defrauding ... obstructing ...

Uh Oh

This is not good news. There is a horse disease going around in nearby Pulaski County:
Southwest Va. horses found to have virus
Richmond Times-Dispatch

Two cases of a highly infectious and incurable horse disease have been reported in Pulaski County, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said yesterday.

Two horses that had been pastured together in the Southwest Virginia county have tested positive for equine infectious anemia, a viral disease that affects horses and other equines. The horses, 25 and 31 years old, were euthanized to prevent the spread of infection. (
link)

If your horses are experiencing symptoms of "intermittent fever, depression, progressive weakness, weight loss, swelling and anemia" you would do well to have a Coggins Test performed.

While Bland Gains, Lebanon Loses

Alcoa Wheel announces another layoff:

Alcoa Wheel Products cutting jobs
Kathy Still, Bristol Herald-Courier Staff Writer


LEBANON – Thirty-two of Alcoa Wheel Products’ 180 workers will lose their jobs Friday.

The layoffs come amid a nationwide downturn in the automotive industry.Company officials said Wednesday that the aluminum car-wheel plant would drop one of its shifts.

It will keep two production shifts going. (link)

This is always unwelcome news.

Bland County On The Move

Bland County (Virginia) employment just took a big jump with this announcement:
2nd expansion at Bland Co. plant adds 30 jobs
Paul Dellinger, The Roanoke Times

ABB Inc., which makes transformers for manufacturing plants, hospitals, universities, the military and utilities, will invest $3 million in expanding its Bland County plant and add 30 jobs.

The new expansion will bring the number of employees to more than 400. (
link)
Let it be noted that this was accomplished without the aid of our soon-to-be exloding tourism industry or the destruction of our old-growth forest to make way for a bike path.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

There's a New Sheriff In Town

I had gotten (unnecessarily) worked up yesterday over Governor Tim Kaine's attempt at mushrooming an already bloated state budget by inserting a number of last-minute allocations. But I had forgotten - temporarily - who's in charge these days:
Kaine's spending cut from budget
Virginia's longest budget fight ended with most of the governor's proposed spending stripped away.
By Michael Sluss, The Roanoke Times


RICHMOND -- The House of Delegates on Wednesday rejected nearly $22 million in new spending proposed by Gov. Tim Kaine, bringing a chaotic and acrimonious conclusion to the longest budget fight in Virginia history.

The House's Republican majority turned back Kaine's attempts to add funding for the Art Museum of Western Virginia, for a building project at Virginia Western Community College, and for economic
development grants to help several localities in the Alleghany Highlands. It also rejected Kaine's proposal to help fund a combined sewer overflow project in Lynchburg aimed at preventing raw sewage discharges into the James River. (
link)
As a matter of record, Chad was first to report the good news yesterday.

And good news it is. Once again, we are indebted to the House Republicans for watching out for our hard-earned money.

We should name a bike path after them.

A Pandemic Of Their Own Making

You may not be familiar with Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane. But you've probably heard of its acronym. DDT was widely used and was wondrously effective in fighting the spread of malaria in the years before elitist environmentalists launched a campaign in 1962 to scare the bejeebers out of easily frightened politicians and have it banned. The world's elite came up with all kinds of implausible harms DDT was allegedly inflicting on the environment and on humanity - from falcon eggshell thinning to cancer in humans to grotesque birth defects.

By the 1970's DDT was virtually outlawed worldwide.

And the slaughter began.

It is estimated that 1 million people - mostly children, mostly in the poorest countries in Africa - die each year from malaria.

And the elitist left - the same do-gooders that are causing the deaths - take a moment now and then to pretend to care:
Push for New Tactics as War on Malaria Falters
By Cwlia W. Dugger, The New York Times


The mosquito nets arrived too late for 18-month-old Phillip Odong.

The roly-poly boy came down with his fourth bout of
malaria on March 16, the same day the nets were handed out at the makeshift camp where he lived in northern Uganda. "It was because of poverty that we could not afford one," his mother, Jackeline Ato, recalled recently, seated in rags beneath a mango tree.

As many as 100,000 people, mostly children, die of malaria each year in Uganda alone. "It's like a jumbo jet crashing every day," said Dr. Andrew Collins, deputy director of the Malaria Consortium, an international nonprofit group.

The United States is testing indoor insecticide spraying there. It is also treating more than 700,000 nets that Ugandans already own with insecticides and buying another 400,000 nets laced with insecticides that last up to five years.

Millions of doses of Global Fund-financed Coartem, the antimalaria drug, arrived this year in Uganda ... (
link)
Bug spray and nets. The pandemic will continue unabated.

A million more children will die this year because the world health community refuses to tackle the problem at its source. The swamps. The forests. The mosquitoes. The carriers of the deadly disease.

So the left will continue to applaud people like Bill Gates for magnanimously furnishing more bug spray. And they'll occasionally send reporters to Uganda to take pictures and shed tears - and write their pernicious 1250 words of sorrow and woe.

And they'll continue the slaughter.

The Problem With Kyoto

The Europeans are good at chastising the USA for, among many other things, causing the planet to heat up. It was, you may recall, in 1997 that the various European countries came together and signed with great fanfare and ... a lot of hot air, the Kyoto Protocol. There were a number of us at the time who found the treaty and the bluster that came with it, like the following from the Germans, quite amusing:
Germany and the other 127 signatories consider the Kyoto Protocol to be the most important of all the global environmental agreements. Above and beyond its importance as a milestone in global climate protection, it has a vast impact in terms of development policy and constitutes a new element of the global economic order. (link)
Wow. So why was it so funny?

Because we knew these holier-than-thou champions of the environment didn't mean a word of it. And we were right:
New German Rule Could Increase Greenhouse Gas Emissions
By Judy Dempsey, The New York Times


BERLIN, June 28 — Germany, one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases in Europe, announced changes Wednesday that would allow increases in its emissions — a move that is expected to be challenged by the European Commission.

The German cabinet decided to exclude the coal industry from the European Union's carbon trading program, under which companies must buy permits before they can release higher-than-mandated levels of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The move could persuade other countries to loosen their controls, critics said. (
link)
President Bush should follow the lead of Europe's most influential steward of the environment. I call on the Bush administration to sign the Kyoto treaty and then to exempt our coal, petroleum, and natural gas industries.

And we should do it with all the same hot air and bluster.

This Sounds Familiar

It looks like Maine is in the same situation we are in here in Southwest Virginia:
Maine Struggling to Revive Ailing Economy
By Ariel Sabar, The New York Times


PORTLAND, Me., June 28 — Maine was the only state besides Louisiana to see a decline in economic activity last year, according to a new Federal Reserve study.

The state lost 1,700 manufacturing jobs and 800 financial jobs, said the report, which was posted on the Web site of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. The losses were partly offset by gains in education, health services, professional and business services, and government.

"Our manufacturing base is just disappearing," said Michael R. Donihue, a professor at Colby College in Waterville, who sits on a public board in charge of state economic forecasts. " (
link)
Unlike Southwest Virginia, the state of Maine at least has its tourism industry to fall back on.

But then again, it also has a liberal legislature that has saddled its citizenry with a dreadfully expensive Hillarycare system too.

The article, in the way of a solution, has this, "... others say that Maine will lag behind the rest of New England unless it takes bolder steps to cut taxes ..."

Where have you heard that before?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I Didn't Need To Read This

It's an odd thing. I don't worry about my firefighter son being called out on Roanoke's Engine 3 to do battle with a towering inferno.

And I don't have sleepless nights over my paramedic son going up against a drug-crazed madman in the normal course of his Roanoke Emergency Medical Services duties.

But I get a little nervous, for some reason, when I read news like this about my Roanoke Fire/EMS Swiftwater Rescue Team son.

Someone get the chief on the phone. We need to talk ...

WDBJ7 has him on video.

Hat tip to Lt. Rhett Fleitz.

So Much For That Big Mo ...

Kilo, ever vigilant, links to a Survey USA poll (533 "likely voters" interviewed between 6/25/06 and 6/27/06) that shows Senator George Allen leading James Webb 56% to 37%, which puts the numbers about where they were before the big Democratic primary "bump" took place.

There can be no joy in Mudville tonight ...

I'm Glad He Cleared That Up

Chad Dotson over at Commonwealth Conservative puts to rest once and for all the rumor that he's a comic book geek fanboy.

I'm kinda disappointed really ...

This Is What I'm Talking About

On Sunday, I provided the Jim Webb For Senate campaign team a strategy they should adopt so as to offset the fact that their candidate is woefully ill-prepared to talk about the issues of the day. I (shrewdly) suggested that they go right to the war hero ploy. They listened. This photo "surfaced" yesterday on one of the Democratic party blog conduits (via a MySpace website entitled "Jim Webb For Virginia.")



Kinda reminiscent of John Kerry's Vietnam action movie. Yes?

What a strategem. This scheme almost got Kerry elected. It should do as well for Webb.

What's with these people that they think this makes any difference to anyone?

Hat tip to James E. Martin


Goin' Downtown

The Israelis learned long ago how to deal with terrorist attacks. They retaliate by bringing all hell down on those who harm one hair on an Israeli citizen's head:
Israeli Troops Enter Gaza; Bridges Are Hit
By Ian Fisher and Steven Erlanger, The New York Times


GAZA, Wednesday, June 28 — Israel sent troops into southern Gaza and its planes attacked three bridges and a power station early Wednesday, in an effort to prevent militants from moving a wounded Israeli soldier they abducted Sunday, Israeli Army officials said. (
link)
World opinion be damned. Israel takes care of its own. First. Foremost.

I love these guys.

What a Shock

If you think the razor-thin margin was coincidental, you don't know how this bunch works:

Senate rejects flag bill by one vote
By Andrea Stone, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — The Senate fell one vote short Tuesday of passing a constitutional amendment that would have allowed Congress to ban desecration of the U.S. flag. (
link)
As I wrote a few weeks ago, I have no great burning need for a Constitutional flag burning amendment. I just know how some folks - the VFW; the American Legion; WWII vets - cherish the American flag and feel profound sorrow when it gets trashed.

I feel sorry for them today.

NOW We Have a Budget Crisis

It all becomes clear. (Virginia) Governor Tim Kaine meant for there to be a budget crisis all along. He wanted to fling to the wind a whole lot more taxpayer money than anyone had previously envisioned:

Kaine sends back budget with more spending attached
By Seth McLaughlin, The Washington Times


Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine yesterday offered 36 amendments to the legislature's two-year $72 billion budget proposal, just three days before the end of the state's fiscal year.

Mr. Kaine, a Democrat, suggested using unanticipated lottery revenues and money left over in the current state budget to allocate $6.3 million for public education, $3.75 million for a federally mandated sewer overflow upgrade in Lynchburg, $3.6 million to conserve 4,800 acres of land in Washington County and $1.8 million for projects in the Virginia Community College System.

Other amendments include allocations of $200,000 for the Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University's Center for Public Policy, an extra $2 million to attract a research-related facility along the Interstate 81 corridor, about $1.1 million toward the Office of Commonwealth Preparedness to pay for six new positions and money to help pay for child care programs in Northern Virginia that are affected by federal funding cuts. (link)

I especially like that "... $2 million to attract a research-related facility along the Interstate 81 corridor ..." If Kaine is thinking of bringing in hookers and a few cases of Bud Lite to do the attracting, I can understand the $2 million. But $2 million!?

Come to think of it, the Bud Lite would actually go a long way to explain the governor's irresponsible actions.

Otherwise, we have us a real crisis on our hands. A crisis of fiscal insanity.

Should I Be Afraid?

I'm sitting here in a hotel room in (... an underwater world once known as ...) Washington DC and I read this in the morning paper:
At Least One Person Is Killed as Explosion Rips Through Motel in Rural Georgia
By Brenda Goodman, The New York Times


BREMEN, Ga., June 27 — An explosion tore through a rural Georgia motel Tuesday morning, killing at least one person and sending motel guests and employees fleeing.

Natural gas lines, cleaning chemicals and a propane tank were in the area of the explosion, but firefighters said they would not be able to determine the cause until they could investigate after clearing debris and stabilizing the structure, which collapsed further at least three times after the initial blast. (
link)
It's moments like this that I think maybe I should put some clothes on.

Georgy Malenkov Would Be Proud

This seems so far removed from the America we all know and love:
Despite Protests, Rent Board Sets 7.25% Increase
By Janny Scott, The New York Times


Rents for New York City's one million rent-stabilized apartments can increase by as much as 7.25 percent over the next two years, the city's Rent Guidelines Board voted last night in a raucous meeting that was disrupted for hours by jeering tenants protesting the state's control of the city's rent laws.

The board voted, 5 to 4, to allow increases of 7.25 percent on two-year leases and 4.25 percent on one-year leases. For tenants who pay for their own heat, the allowable increases are 6.75 percent and 3.75 percent. The increases, the highest since 2003, apply to leases renewed between Oct. 1, 2006, and Sept. 30, 2007. (link)
Hard as it is to believe, there is a government bureaucracy still trying to perfect the Gosplan in New York City in the year of our Lord 2006.

It didn't work in the Soviet Union in 1935. It still ain't working.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Tale Of Two Virginias

No, I'm not thinking of our wayward western counties that decided in 1863 to go their own way and (misguidedly) form their own state. I'm thinking of the cavernous expanse that today separates northern Virginia from southern Virginia.

Up north, the issues of the day relate to employers and how the planners up there might be able to stack one on top of another. Smart growth, mass transit, alternative fuels and such are the big topics of discussion.

Down here, our big issues relate to employers and how we might gain a few. To hold on to the few we have. We talk too about improving the quality of a woefully inadequate public education system. About improving the quality of the drinking water. In Southwest Virginia we talk - in 2006 - about putting sewer systems into communities that have never had them.

There is certainly talk in some circles about the needed completion of the Coalfields Expressway and about much-needed improvements being made to U.S. Route 58. Some say I-81 down this way needs to be upgraded. And that's all, in the big scheme of things, probably important. But generally, transportation issues aren't uppermost in the thoughts and discussions of folks around here.

Paychecks are. Food. Clothing. Shelter. The kinds of things taken for granted in the fabulously prosperous north. And there are issues here that people in the D.C. suburbs rarely talk about: Grievous suicide rates; Drinking water unfit for human consumption; Depopulation. Small communities decimated by the loss of thousands of jobs.

With this in mind, I think the recently announced proposal put forth by the Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates to solve northern Virginia's transportation problem is a swell idea:
GOP Plan Would Raise N.Va. Taxes for Area Roads
By Michael D. Shear and Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post Staff Writers


RICHMOND, June 26 -- People who live or work in Northern Virginia would pay steep new fees and higher taxes under a $578 million transportation plan being circulated by six Republican delegates from the region.


Having voted for months to block statewide tax increases that were pushed by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and the Republican-controlled Senate, the House members said their constituents will gladly pay more as long as the money raised is used only for road and rail projects in their area. (
link)
You folks up north feel your transportation system is inadequate? Fix it.

It's not that we want to do what our western counties did in 1863 and walk away from our troubles. We here in southern Virginia - particularly those of us in Southwest Virginia - simply need to solve our problems and work to bring our way of life into the 20th century - before we assist you in taking yours into the 22nd.

So. You all go along and take care of yourselves. You certainly have the means. We'll be along directly and will be happy to pitch in and help.

But first we have problems of our own that need fixing. Starting with the turds floating in the drinking water in Callahan Creek.

A Short Memory

Burning the American flag was unlawful in this country (in 48 states) for many, many years. Since before any of us were born, at least. This may come as a shock, but it wasn't until just recently, 1989 to be exact, that a liberal (in the literal sense of the word) Supreme Court decided that the freedom of speech clause in the 1st Amendment to the Bill of Rights protected something creatively called "symbolic speech."

James Madison, it is rumored, cried out, on the very day that the ruling came down, from his place of rest over at Montpelier, "Gi' me that again?"

You'd think, from all the hand wringing and gnashing of teeth of late, that Madison meant for "speech" to include "lighting a fire" in the first place. Well, I've got some bad news.

But don't tell that to the hand-wringers at the New York Times:
Burning the Bill of Rights

With the Fourth of July fast approaching, Senate Republicans are holding a barbecue. Unfortunately, instead of grilling hot dogs and hamburgers, they are trying to torch a hole in the First Amendment's free speech guarantee by passing an amendment to the Constitution that would allow federal and state authorities to punish flag-burning.


Some things should be out of bounds even in a competitive election year. Messing with the Constitution is one of them. (
link)

I like that "messing with the Constitution" bit. If discontorting the meaning of the word "speech" is messing, let it be messed.

The Republic will survive, I'm reasonably confident.

Epitaph

Tough-talking badass and Indian Chief wannabe Ward Churchill is getting the boot from Colorado University:
University of Colorado Chancellor Advises Firing Author of Sept. 11 Essay
By Kirk Johnson, The New York Times


DENVER, June 26 — The interim chancellor at the University of Colorado said on Monday that Prof. Ward L. Churchill, whose comments about the victims of Sept. 11 prompted a national debate about the limits of free speech, should be fired for academic misconduct.

Professor Churchill, 58, was immediately relieved of his academic and research duties as a result of the chancellor's recommendation, but will continue as a paid professor pending a decision by the Board of Regents.

[Chancellor] DiStefano said two committees had found evidence of serious misconduct in the professor's record, including plagiarism, misrepresentation of facts and fabrication of scholarly work.

[Churchill] wrote in an essay shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks that many of those who had been killed were not innocent victims but were part of a machine of American foreign and economic policy that the world was rebelling against. But it was the essay's incendiary tone, especially the comparison of dead office workers in New York City to Eichmann, who helped carry out the Holocaust, that prompted the firestorm. (
link)

Ward Churchill will have plenty of time to rebel against "the machine" now.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Out Of The Past

Marion, Smyth County, Virginia has a past; one that we'd all rather forget but never should:
Tree project finds glimmers of Virginia's slavery past
The Associated Press


A project to locate and showcase Virginia's most interesting trees has drawn some 300 nominations.

But Sallie's Crying Tree was the first that the organizer of the project felt compelled to visit.

The town of Marion placed a stone marker beneath the tall white oak in 2000, formally giving it the name Sallie's Crying Tree. The marker says a young slave girl cried while her arms were wrapped around the tree when her family was sold to a Lynchburg slavemaster in the 1840s. (
link)
A sad tale. One of millions.

There's a Big Difference

You'd think the Democrats would be overjoyed that a plan may be in place to start withdrawing troops from Iraq later this year. Instead they throw a tantrum:
Democrats Cite Report On Troop Cuts in Iraq
Pentagon Plan Like Theirs, Senators Say
By Michael Abramowitz and Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post Staff Writers


Senate Democrats reacted angrily yesterday to a report that the U.S. commander in Iraq had privately presented a plan for significant troop reductions in the same week they came under attack by Republicans for trying to set a timetable for withdrawal.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said that the plan attributed to Gen. George W. Casey resembles the thinking of many Democrats who voted for a nonbinding resolution to begin a troop drawdown in December. (
link)
Boxer, arguably the least intelligent member of the United States Senate, couldn't be trusted to manage your checkbook. So we are to entrust military strategy to her and her buddy, John Kerry? Kerry's only experience in this regard, you may recall, is to have wounded himself in the ass when he threw a hand grenade into a (threatening?) pile of rice in Vietnam.

What President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld have been saying all along is that it is up to the generals in the field to determine military strategy, not a daffy senator from California or a wannabe warrior whose miltary experience amounts to one failed attack on a rice pile.

Pushing The 1st Amendment Envelope

There was a day, not that long ago, when a newspaper publisher could be asked by federal law enforcement to refrain from printing state secrets and the publisher would agree. That day is gone. There was also a day when journalists, editors, and publishers, protected by the freedom of the press clause in the 1st Amendment, weren't hauled into court on charges of treason related to the willful exposure of state secrets.

That day may be gone too:
Lawmaker Wants Times Prosecuted
By Devlin Barrett, Associated Press


The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee urged the Bush administration yesterday to seek criminal charges against newspapers that reported on a secret financial-monitoring program used to trace terrorists.


Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.) cited the New York Times in particular for publishing a report last week saying that the Treasury Department is working with the CIA to examine an international database of money-transfer records.

King said he will write Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, urging that the nation's chief law enforcer "begin an investigation and prosecution of the New York Times -- the reporters, the editors and the publisher."

"We're at war, and for the Times to release information about secret operations and methods is treasonous," King said. (
link)
A war on many fronts, it now appears.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Let Me Help You With That

Kathy Gerber over at Raising Kaine is concerned that her party's message isn't getting out. I'll be glad to help her broadcast the news. The Democratic party here in Virginia is four-square in favor of state-sanctified deviant sexual relationships. The details:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Democratic Party of Virginia State Central Committee Unanimous [sic] Adopts "Virginia Partisans Resolution" Opposing the Proposed Marshall/Newman Constitutional Amendment

The Virginia Partisans Gay and Lesbian Democratic Club today cheered the unanimous vote of the Democratic Party of Virginia's State Central Committee to strongly oppose the November's ballot referendum on the Marshall/Newman so-called "Marriage Amendment."

The resolution, offered by the Virginia Partisans Gay & Lesbian Democratic Club and adopted at today's State Central Committee meeting in Charlottesville, VA, puts the Democratic Party of Virginia squarely on the side of equality for all. (
link)
On that "equality for all" thing, I feel compelled to make the point that a gay male here in the commonwealth is currently my equal in the eyes of the law in this regard today. I, a hetero male, am restricted to marrying a woman as well.

If that weren't shameful enough, lesbian and heterosexual women are both equally restricted to marrying men. Oh, the inhumanity.

The key word being EQUALLY.

Wait Just a Minute

Hold on there, buster. This is OUR gig:
Blazing Trails
Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial


Richmond recently has seen a major bicycle race as well as the adventure games. Both events resembled street celebrations. The region enjoys a reputation for participant sports -- and should continue to promote itself as a site for competition and recreation.

Participants enjoy the venues. Visitors leave impressed by the area's spirit and scenic beauty.

The bicycle race suggests additional opportunities.

Central Virginia could establish itself as a center for recreational cycling -- and for riding bikes to work. The area has ample prospects for bike paths. The Commonwealth appreciates cycling. Nelson County's Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail links to the American Discovery Trail, a vast national undertaking. (
link)

Bike trails in central Virginia.

But if you all build bike trails up there, Congressman Rick Boucher's plan to bring tourism - and with it economic prosperity - to Southwest Virginia by carving all kinds of trails out of our pristine old-growth forestland would be destined to fail.

That is, unless Rick pulls some strings in Washington, brings in a few million that might otherwise have gone to feed poor, starving children in New Orleans, and executes a link between his Wise County Rails to Trails Trail and his Guest River Trail and his Virginia Creeper Trail that's being connected to the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail that could then be tied into the Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail with a link to the American Discovery Trail which could have a connector to Governor Kaine's Economic Crisis Strike Force trail ... er, office in Galax where all our trail enthusiasts are currently standing in line.

So, please. Leave us our dream. There's a biker out there somewhere and we want him here in Southwest Virginia. Rick Boucher's career depends on him showing up - some day.

Webb Lays Out His Plan

Democrats met in Charlottesville yesterday to hear what Jim Webb plans on doing when he unseats Senator George Allen and takes America where no man has ever gone bef...

Anyway, here's the plan:
Democrats rally behind Webb in Charlottesville
The Senate candidate says he wants to bring fundamental change
By Tyler Whitley, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer


The Democratic Senate candidate, Jim Webb, said he wanted to "fundamentally change the way that power functions in our government."

"If we work together as Americans, as Virginians and as Democrats, we can accomplish this goal," he said. (
link)
Shrewd. And so eloquently spoken. Why hasn't any other politician ever put it in such splendid ... wait, I think every other politician in United States history has spouted the same empty platitudes. But coming from a liberal Democrat, they sound so much more ... authentic.

And speaking to the "small but enthusiastic crowd" that bothered to show up at this event, Webb went out of his way to tell them he's not one of them - a liberal Democrat. He's a conservative Republican ... or something:
Webb, speaking briefly, said, "The old labels, liberal and conservative, no longer apply any more. It's time for the Democratic Party to take another leap forward."

"We can reach out again to those people [the 98.5% of the electorate that didn't vote for him in the primary?], whatever label we would like to put on them [I like 'non-rabid non-liberals'], the Reagan Democrats, the conservative Democrats [all twelve of you]," Webb said.
There you have it. Call it the We Are The World, We Are The Children Plan To Get Elected.

I don't know. I think I'd stick to the John Kerry Plan To Get Elected and work the war hero thingy.

Remember That Budget Crisis?

Our roads and bridges here in Virginia are in deplorable condition. I found that out from our illustrious governor six days after he was elected and a month after he promised not to raise our taxes. Tim Kaine must have been startled into an ugly reality after his inauguration because he immediately thereafter proposed a massive tax increase to mitigate the crisis.

Either that or he just got into a bad batch of marijuana and hallucinated the whole thing. That seems to be the more plausible scenario because they sure ain't no budget crisis no mo:
Cash for culture
Lawmakers set aside $37 million for various groups. Is it pork?
By Michael Hardy, Jeff E. Schapiro and Pamela Stallsmith, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writers


It's the little-known lottery of largesse, operated annually by senior state lawmakers and underwritten by Virginia taxpayers.

Squirreled away in the state's proposed $74 billion, two-year budget are more than 300 grants to museums, tourist attractions, theaters and organizations helping the needy.

"Pork is in the eye of the beholder," said Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, who, in the current budget, stopped a $4.5 million cut in state assistance to a proposed arts center in his hometown, Richmond. (
link)
Other awardees of what might have been I-81 improvement funds include the Richmond Ballet, the Lime Kiln Theater, the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, and the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library in Staunton.

Why does Richmond feel it necessary to support these projects that actual visitors/customers don't/won't? Delegate Vincent F. Callahan Jr. (R-Fairfax) provides an insight. He says the tourism projects in particular "bring money into the commonwealth."

I'll let you think about that for a moment. We need to throw money at all our tourist attractions because tourists bring them money.

That must be some marijuana ...

Michael Moore Does Movies?

If your not doing anything at the end of July ...
Michael Moore film festival to feature 60 films
Associated Press


TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Michael Moore's second film festival will be headlined by a mock-documentary produced by Jeff Goldblum and the latest comedy from Woody Allen.

The Oscar-winning filmmaker is the founder of the Traverse City Film Festival, which drew 50,000 admissions last summer in the northern Michigan resort town.

This summer, the July 31-Aug. 6 festival includes the Midwest premiere of those movies, the showing of more than 60 films, panels with the actors and filmmakers and an outdoor 65-foot screen featuring older flicks. (
link)
I'll not be in attendance, by the way. I don't want to encourage Michael Moore. He may want to get in the filmmaking business himself some day.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Dream With Me ...

It's not the bird flu pandemic, but with a little imagination ...
Mumps: A Threat to Campus?
James Brooks, Editor in Chief , Collegiate Times
I think there is greater danger posed to life on the Virginia Tech campus by racist grafitti scrawled on walls - and the government's overreaction to it.

Still, it's fun to take a moment now and then and scream at the top of our lungs: "Mumps! We're all going to die!"

Jobs Come To Franklin County

Good news for those looking for work over in Rocky Mount. MW Manufacturers is going to be hiring:
Franklin County business expands, creating 175 jobs
MW Manufacturers in Rocky Mount will take over the former Lane Furniture building.
Mason Adams, The Roanoke Times


ROCKY MOUNT -- Franklin County's largest employer will invest $23 million to add 175 jobs and expand into a former furniture plant, whose closing five years ago hit Rocky Mount hard.

MW Manufacturers, which makes doors and windows, is expanding its facility into the former Lane Furniture building across North Main Street from MW's current plant. (
link)
In a storm of bad plant-closing news coming out of Southwest Virginia, this announcement is a ray of sunshine.

Everyone should go out and buy an MW window today.

Webb's Cheerleaders Ain't Gonna Like This

The hand-wringing, milksop, oft-puerile lefty bloggers here in Virginia who have been shrieking their support for Democratic Senate candidate James Webb because he opposes our involvement in Iraq are going to be disappointed by this news:
Webb questions Senate proposals
The Democrat who will challenge incumbent George Allen says initiatives by Senate Democrats this week were ill-timed and not the best solutions for problems in Iraq.
By Michael Sluss, The Roanoke Times


RICHMOND -- Democratic Senate candidate James Webb said Friday that he opposes setting a deadline for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, but understands the "frustration" that prompted some Democratic senators to support such a proposal earlier this week.

"This is not a way to bring an end to our engagement in Iraq," Webb told reporters in Richmond after a private political strategy session with Gov. Tim Kaine.

Webb, who is challenging incumbent Republican Sen. George Allen, has been a relentless critic of President Bush's handling of the war in Iraq. But he also has questioned the wisdom of setting a timetable for troop withdrawals. (
link)
My first thought when I read this was, "So where DOES this guy stand on Iraq?"

Turns out the George Allen campaign is wondering the same thing:
Allen campaign manager Dick Wadhams accused Webb of "trying to have it both ways" on the war by criticizing the government's current strategy and offering no clear alternative of his own.

"He is absolutely incapable of telling us what he thinks we can do from here forward," Wadhams said. "He still doesn't have the foggiest idea."
My guess is, Webb does have an idea (foggy though it may be) as to how we should proceed in Iraq. He thinks we should build up the Iraqi forces and let them take charge of their own future.

Which is what President Bush is in the process of doing.

So where does this leave Webb's whiny anti-war supporters? I hear they want a do-over. Harris Miller is looking really good about now.

Win Some, Lose Some

What Rocky Mount gains, Brookneal loses:
Dan River to close Brookneal plant
By Jonnelle Davis, Danville Register & Bee staff writer

DANVILLE, Va. - Dan River Inc. officials announced Friday that the company would end operations at its Brookneal plant.


About 280 workers will be affected by the closing.

The sewing and finishing plant located in Campbell County, northeast of Danville, produces sheets and pillowcases. (
link)
The Danville area has been slammed with this kind of news right and left in recent years. It just keeps coming.

The Right To Property - Ground Zero

Property is surely a right of mankind as real as liberty.
John Adams

What a quaint thought. If only it were so.

The right to ownership of private property is under assault in 2006 like at no other time in American history. Just ask one of those Americans who has been ordered by the highest court in the land to surrender her home to a rich developer:
A castle or a hassle?
By Susette Kelo, writing in The Washington Times


One year ago yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled my home could be taken by the government and handed over to another private party for their private use. The only requirements are that the city must have some plan in place that says another owner could create more jobs and pay more taxes than I do. There went my property rights, and yours too.

Mark Twain once wrote: "Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live." My illusion has been, and will continue to be, that my home is mine. [my emphasis] Had the City of New London needed our homes for a school or a fire station, we would have understood it was truly a "public use" and we would have complied. But there is no public use here. Building a hotel or upscale condominiums so someone else can live there is not a public use or even a public purpose. The sad truth is there are no specific plans for the land where our homes stand. (
link)

Susette Kelo now considers her right to own her home to be an illusion. We've allowed it to get to this point.

There are thousands of stories just like Susette Kelo's playing out in courts around the country. Private property being confiscated from the less well-off and handed over to rich developers.

There are absolutes in this land of ours. One of them is that we have a right to our property. And that the only time government - our government - can seize our property is if its for public use.

What's happening to Susette Kelo - and 10,000 other property owners around the USA - is shameful.

'... From Our Cold Dead Hands'

The U.N. is a waste of our time and money. No secret to that. As long as that's all it is, we'll tolerate its existence.

Go down this road, though, and we'll have to end the fun and games:
U.N. gun meeting draws NRA attention
United Press International


The United Nations reportedly is getting swamped with letters protesting a forum the world body plans to hold next week on illicit small arms.


The Washington Times says U.N. officials have already received more than 100,000 letters, many of them generated by a National Rifle Association campaign. The weeklong forum is scheduled to run June 26 to July 7.

Sri Lankan Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam, who is scheduled to preside over the conference, said ... the meeting will not discuss the legal possession, manufacture or transfer of weapons. (
link)

The U.N. is on record as favoring the confiscation of small arms around the world. So Prasad is to be believed?

Not in this life. Keep 'em locked and loaded, boys. We have always been - and remain - freedom's first line of defense.

Lowering My Standards ... For a Moment

If you have young ones, please divert their attention for a moment. They don't need to be reading this:

400G FOR 10 YRS. OF PAINFULLY HARD TIME
AP


June 24, 2006 -- PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A former handyman has won more than $400,000 in a lawsuit over a penile implant that gave him a 10-year erection.

Charles "Chick" Lennon, 68, received the steel and plastic implant in 1996, about two years before Viagra went on the market.

He said he could no longer hug people, ride a bike, swim or wear bathing trunks because of the pain and embarrassment.

He has become a recluse and is uncomfortable being around his grandchildren, his lawyer said. (link)

I know it isn't funny. But it is.

This is another reminder why I didn't take up the law in my formative years. If I had been the "toolmaker's" lawyer, I would have countersued for $400,000. There is, after all, an upside to Chick's problem.

That was bad, was it?

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Planet Is Getting Warmer ... Or Not

If you ignore the data and the methodology, then, a study reveals, it can be averred with reasonable certainty that the globe has been warming for 2000 years.

Good grief:
Science Panel Backs Study on Warming Climate
By Andrew C. Revkin, The New York Times


WASHINGTON, June 22 — A controversial paper asserting that recent warming in the Northern Hemisphere was probably unrivaled for 1,000 years was endorsed today, with a few reservations, by a panel convened by the nation's pre-eminent scientific body.

The panel said that a statistical method used in the 1999 study was not the best and that some uncertainties in the work "have been underestimated," and it particularly challenged the authors' conclusion that the decade of the 1990's was probably the warmest in a millennium.

But in a 155-page report, the 12-member panel convened by the National Academies said "an array of evidence" supported the main thrust of the paper. Disputes over details, it said, reflected the normal intellectual clash that takes place as science tests new approaches to old questions. (
link)

I especially like that part about "disputes over details" between the "scientists" who conducted the survey and those scientists who believe the "details" matter.

This isn't a scientific study. It's a guess.

Another Day, Another Trail

You know, if we could create jobs in Southwest Virginia like we create useless hiking trails, we'd be realizing economic prosperity around here the likes of which these parts have never known. But no.

Now the folks over in Wise County are clamoring for Congressman Boucher's snake oil medicine:
Boucher negotiates with NS on local trail
Ida Holyfield, Editor, The Coalfield Progress


APPALACHIA — While a host of topics were discussed during Saturday’s two-hour “Town Meeting” with Ninth District Rep. Rick Boucher, the announcement that he plans to meet with Norfolk Southern railroad this week about a local trails project was the highlight for tourism advocates at the event.

For several years, Jack McClanahan, of Big Stone Gap, has been lobbying for a “Rails to Trails” project on the track bed that goes from Big Stone Gap to Appalachia through Bee Rock Tunnel.

“I think the NS line from Norton to Big Stone Gap would be a great “Rails to Trails” beginning,” Boucher said. “From that, we could look at a possible link to the Guest River Trail. It will be a challenge, but where there’s a will, there’s a way,” he noted. (
link)

In addition to the Wise County trail linking eventually to the Guest River Trail, Boucher made note of the fact that "efforts are under way to link the Virginia Creeper Trail to the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail, then over to the New River and down into North Carolina at Todd and West Jefferson, and over to Boone. Then, the effort will start building to the west ..."

The article doesn't give a reason for all this. Collective hysteria is suspected.

And While We're On The Subject

At the same time we savage our pristine forestland here in Southwest Virginia, constructing willy nilly all those hiking trails and bike paths, the intention of which is to lure tourists to the area - some day, the National Forest Service is closing facilities for lack of interest.

The Wytheville Enterprise reported yesterday (no online version as yet) the following:
Dark Horse Hollow Closed
By Justin Harmon, Wytheville Enterprise Staff

A lack of use forced the National Forest Service to axe some of the developed areas in Jefferson National Forest, including Dark Horse Hollow in Wythe County, according to a spokeswoman for the agency.
JoBeth Brown, public affairs officer for George Washington and Jefferson National Forests said Dark Horse Hollow failed for several reasons, one of which was its meager user count.

So. While every politician and much of the populace in Southwest Virginia has bought into the idea that trails and bike paths will bring about our economic salvation, the rest of the planet has not. In other words, the tourists are not flocking to the area, as certain 9th district congressmen would have you believe.

Creating conditions such that our employers can prosper and hire more workers is the key to our success. Not all the many forest paths we're building that are leading us ... into oblivion.

A Minimum Wage Reality

I had forgotten until I read several of Virginia's whining-left blogs that the minimum wage is still an issue - in their circles. To the rest of America, it became a non-issue long ago, for this reason:

Labor Lost
The Wall Street Journal

Only a tiny fraction of Americans -- perhaps 3%-5% -- get paid the current minimum of $5.15 an hour.

... the vast majority of minimum-wage earners are not, in fact, poor. Of an estimated 87% who are not, many live in households where two or more people work and where combined incomes may be two or three times the poverty level. Then there are young people and teenagers, who are more likely to earn the minimum wage than any other group. A significant number of them have high-income parents. [my emphasis] (
link)
It always feels good when one can take a brief moment to decry the plight of the poor. Assuages the feelings of guilt, I hear. Daryl Hannah sitting in a tree kinda thing.

In reality minimum wage laws serve no other purpose.

Not that seeing Hannah's skinny ass being dragged down from that tree wasn't a worthwhile moment.

Stop! There'll Be No Honesty Here!

A Maryland official said what most of us know to be true (and is statistically irrefutable) and got the boot for it:
Ehrlich slammed for firing official
By Jon Ward and Tarron Lively, The Washington Times


Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. is receiving criticism nationally and locally for his decision last week to fire a Metro Board member who said in a public forum that he thinks homosexuals are "persons of sexual deviancy."

"Mr. Ehrlich is using his power as governor to declare that a tenet of the Catholic faith is a form of bigotry. (
link)
A lot of people don't want to deal with it but there is no denying the fact that homosexual behavior is deviant from the norm. The norm being the behavior of the other 98% of the planet.

Can't be saying such things though. Not in this USA.

All Hope Is Lost

I remember entering a cave once in my spelunking youth that was chock full of swarming mosquitoes. As much as I wanted to plow deeper into the cave, I realized my best bet was to turn and run.

I'm beginning to get the same feeling when I read this kind of thing:
Free ride for illegals on way to Manassas
By Nathan Bomey, The Washington Times


Local authorities say they can't stop a van full of illegal aliens that's on its way from Ohio to Manassas, Va., because they don't have the authority to detain them.

"We run into that situation daily," Manassas police Sgt. Tim Neumann said. "There's so many of them out there."

A sheriff's deputy in Belmont County, Ohio, detained the aliens for about two hours early Tuesday after stopping the van on Interstate 470 for a traffic violation.

A passenger in the van told deputies that they were illegal aliens and heading to Manassas to find work.

The deputies released the group after federal immigration authorities said via telephone they could not interview the aliens. (
link)
There are too many. Run for your lives.

Senate Rejects Dems' Surrender Plea

John Kerry wants to do for the USA what he did to his Swiftboat crew in Vietnam - cut and run. The United States Senate, however, wants no part of it:
Senate Rejects Calls to Begin Iraq Pullback
By Kate Zernike, The New York Times


WASHINGTON, June 22 — The Senate on Thursday roundly rejected two Democratic proposals to begin pulling troops out of Iraq, as Republicans and Democrats staked out starkly different positions heading into Congressional elections this fall.

The more far-reaching measure, calling for all United States combat troops to be withdrawn within a year, failed 86 to 13, with no Republican supporters.

The Democrats' first amendment, sponsored by Senators John Kerry of Massachusetts and Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, would have required all combat troops be pulled out by July 2007. The senators argued that only a firm timetable would prod the Iraqis to take control of their own country.

"All of us support the troops," said Mr. Kerry ..." (
link)
Leaving the war half finished, as he did when he "redeployed" from Vietnam after just four months, is not supporting the troops. It's surrender.