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Sunday, January 01, 2006

More of the Same In Danville

As if Southside Virginia and the city of Danville haven't suffered enough. There's more bad economic news developing:
Jobless rate to hit double digits
By Bernard Baker, Register & Bee staff writer

DANVILLE, Va. - The Dan River Region can expect several months of double-digit unemployment when Dan River Inc. cuts hundreds more manufacturing jobs.

The layoffs could begin to show up in January and run through April, said William Mezger, chief economist for the Virginia Employment Commission.

On Wednesday, City Manager Jerry Gwaltney said he expects that about 500 of Dan River Inc.’s 1,650 jobs will remain in Danville. All manufacturing jobs will move overseas. (
There is a belief amongst the political elite that is pervasive throughout this state that our manufacturing plants are incapable of competing with the Chinese, the Hondurans, and the Indonesians and that it is inevitable that we abandon all our textile, tobacco, and furniture plants in Southside and Southwest Virginia. Cheaper labor is the excuse always given.

Around here the general consensus is that we will assuredly give up many (more) thousands of good paying jobs - but we will compensate for the losses by switching to a tourism economy. We accept this notion and are placated when our elected officials invest a few tax dollars in a cultural museum here and a music festival there; on bike paths and hiking trails that lead to nowhere and will employ noone.

When will we hold the politicians accountable for having created the conditions that have driven the textile industry and the furniture industry and the tobacco industry overseas (and caused the coal industry to have foundered)? When will we demand that they create conditions such that our manufacturers can once again compete by removing the artificial burdens they've legislated over the years (taxation, regulation, mandates, bureaucracies ...)?

Folks, this ain't Maui. And the Dan River Fabrics plant, though imposing, isn't the Taj Mahal. Yes, we have rocks and bushes in abundance. And a few banjo pickers. But it's going to take more than a few Earl Scruggs wannabes, plants, boulders, and our crumbling architecture to lure anyone from Manhattan down here.

We need to turn this situation around. Now.

'Tis the song, the sign of the weary
Hard times, hard times, come again no more
Many days you have lingered all around my cabin door
Oh hard times, come again no more. *
Photo courtesy of The Danville Register & Bee
* From Bob Dylan's "Hard Times"
Click on image to enlarge.

Consistency Would Be a Good Thing

Does anyone at the Roanoke Times read what he or she writes? Does the paper have an editorial page editor?

Here are the titles of two of today's editorials:
Virginia can't afford legislative sidetracks (link)
Recognize Virginia's tribes (link)
The author of the first editorial argues that the state legislature should not waste its time with unimportant "social" issues and should focus its attention on crucial matters like the environment, transportation, and education. In the second editorial, the writer argues for the federal government, in the midst of fighting a war on global terror, to divert its attention to the really pressing matter of recognizing Indian tribes that haven't existed as tribes in 200 years.

Two editorials, back to back, the underlying theme of the second being in complete opposition to the first.

For the love of God.

Quotes of the Year 2005


• "All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you."

-- President Bush, second inaugural address, Jan. 20

• "It is important that those engaged in terrorism realize that our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause death and destruction to innocent people in a desire to impose extremism on the world."

-- British Prime Minister Tony Blair on July 7

• "Judges and justices are servants of the law, not the other way around. Judges are like umpires. Umpires don't make the rules; they apply them. The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. They make sure everybody plays by the rules. But it is a limited role. Nobody ever went to a ball game to see the umpire."

-- Judge John Roberts in his opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sept. 12

• "Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner."

-- Justice Sandra Day O'Connor writing in dissent in the Kelo v. City of New London supreme court decision, June 23

• "You think the Republican National Committee could get this many people of color in a single room? Only if they had the hotel staff in here."
-- Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean (speech to the committee's Black Caucus)
• "George Bush doesn't care about black people."
-- Grammy winner Kanye West (televised post-Katrina fund raiser)
• "I heard from a very reliable source who saw a 25-foot deep crater under the levee breach. It may have been blown up to destroy the black part of town and keep the white part dry."
-- Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, Sept. 12
• "George Bush needs to... pull our troops out of occupied New Orleans and Iraq."
-- Anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan, Sept. 16
• "I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for."
-- Howard Dean, Jan. 29
• "We are a nation that is unenlightened because of religion. I do believe that. I think that religion stops people from thinking."
-- Comic Bill Maher, Feb. 18
• "The day I say Dick Cheney is going to run for President, I'll kill myself."
-- White House correspondent Helen Thomas, quoted in the Hill, July 28
Quotes are from today's Washington Times (link)