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

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Unemployment Numbers Can Be Deceptive

We all read the good news regarding the latest employment statistics in Virginia. Unemployment, according to the guys who count the beans, is at a five year low. Sounds great and I'll not dispute the stats.

There is, however, a factor that influences those numbers in a major way when jobs data relating to Southside and Southwest Virginia are analyzed. It has to do with the number of available employees in the area (the denominator, if you will). A related story in the news today:
City's population continues to plunge
By Bernard Baker, Danville Register & Bee staff writer

DANVILLE, Va. - Danville is the only metropolitan area in Virginia that has lost population since the 2000 Census.

Danville’s population has dropped about 4 percent since 2000, according to the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. (
link)
According to that same 2000 Census, the majority of counties in Southwest Virginia have lost population as well (see Buchanan, Dickenson, Tazewell) or are now losing population according to statistical projections (see Grayson, Allegheny, Henry, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Wise) (see statistics here)

So, while we can celebrate the improving unemployment numbers, we have to temper that enthusiasm with the understanding that we have a rapidly dwindling workforce. Our unemployed workers aren't waiting around for those bike path jobs to kick in. They're hopping on their bicycles and taking those paths north - never to return - in the hope of finding a job and the opportunity for a future.

On Economic Development Trends

Alton asked the other day about what I-77 has done for the economy and standard of living in Bland County, Virginia. I replied that not a whole lot has changed in the last 34 years since the interstate highway that bisects the county opened, (but it proves to be convenient should I ever want to find civilization). We have a few gas stations and some small, sparsely populated industrial parks that can be directly attributed to the existence of the highway.

To make any analysis really convoluted, it turns out that, despite the fact that we have a four-lane highway with wonderful on/off access to hungry travelers, these two guys (guy 1) (guy 2) get the brand-new Applebee's restaurant in far-off Wise County*, where, trust me, there is no interstate highway anywhere close.

Someone will have to explain this to me. It's enough to confound the most gifted planner.

Not to mention that it's not fair. I happen to like their Santa Fe salad.

* I drove by there on my way into the mountains of eastern Kentucky yesterday.

Where's The Out-of-Control Spending Road Show?

Tim Kaine's first "transportation crisis" road show brought him zilch. So he's going to try it again:
Kaine takes transportation on tour
"I'm going to talk mostly about the need for action," said the governor of his town hall-style meetings.
By
Michael Sluss, The Roanoke Times

RICHMOND -- Gov. Tim Kaine will hit the road next week to promote his transportation funding and reform package, even though a key House of Delegates committee has rejected proposed tax increases that were central to the governor's plan to boost spending for roads and transit.

Kaine will kick off a series of five town hall-style meetings Monday in Norfolk and will hold his second session Tuesday evening at Roanoke College. Kaine will use the forums to promote his own transportation plan and reiterate his opposition to any alternative that relies heavily on dollars from the state's general operating fund. Kaine also hopes to draw support from advocates for education, health care and public safety funding. (link)
Despite mounting evidence that we are not in crisis and that a tax increase - particularly of the size and scope offered up by our Democrat governor - is completely unnecessary, Kaine pushes on. Why? Because this very same ploy worked for his predecessor and it got Mark Warner glowing headlines in the Washington Post. It will most assuredly land Kaine a coveted interview with Katie Couric.

My only question is: Who is going to take the taxpayers' case on the road and begin a discussion about the General Assembly's profligate spending habits?

I Guess It's Easier Than Confronting Sin

Sin runs rampant these days. Murder, rape, robbery, assault, perversion, torture, abuse, and oppression consume the planet. Preachers face a tough task. So how are they preparing to do the Lord's work?
86 Evangelical Leaders Join to Fight Global Warming
By
LAURIE GOODSTEIN, The New York Times

Despite opposition from some of their colleagues, 86 evangelical Christian leaders have decided to back a major initiative to fight global warming, saying "millions of people could die in this century because of climate change, most of them our poorest global neighbors."

Among signers of the statement, which will be released in Washington on Wednesday, are the presidents of 39 evangelical colleges, leaders of aid groups and churches, like the Salvation Army, and pastors of megachurches, including Rick Warren, author of the best seller "The Purpose-Driven Life."

"For most of us, until recently this has not been treated as a pressing issue or major priority," the statement said. "Indeed, many of us have required considerable convincing before becoming persuaded that climate change is a real problem and that it ought to matter to us as Christians. But now we have seen and heard enough." (link)

At least when "scientists'" models are proven wrong and global warming fervor cools, these preachers can declare a victory. Perhaps they'll then go back to doing what the Lord called on them to do.

For the love of God.