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

Thursday, February 16, 2006

I Can Now Put a Number To The Nonsense

51. That's the number of hiking trails and bike paths the planners up in Roanoke plan to ultimately build throughout the Roanoke Valley. Of course, I'm still looking for a corresponding number from planners in Pulaski, Montgomery, Washington, Wythe, Smyth, and Giles Counties. The total number of paths to prosperity could exceed 200.

Sing it with me! "We're in the money! We're in the money!"

What? What's this? Instead of bringing us wealth and happiness, the planners need more money?

Seems so:
Greenways need help to keep moving forward
By John Cramer, The Roanoke Times

The Roanoke Valley's greenways are used by thousands of pedestrians and bicyclists each day, but an ambitious expansion plan will continue to move at a slow pace without more contributions of money, in-kind services and volunteer labor, greenway officials say.

Since the first greenway was completed in 1997, only nine trails covering 16.8 miles have been built out of the original plan's 51 trails covering hundreds of miles.

Nationwide, greenways have grown in popularity as a way to reduce traffic congestion; promote economic development; improve public health, water and air quality; protect plant and wildlife habitat; and enhance quality of life. (
link)
And will cure the common cold.

Memo to dimwitted local politicians who are tempted to buy into this nonsense: When you allocate funds for a project that is hyped such that you're told it will "promote economic development," you should expect some kind of economic development. A return on your investment. Here you're being told that your investment in the project has produced ... a need for more investment.

Tell these jokers it's time to put up or shut up. We should gauge their success by the number of employers the planners have brought to Southwest Virginia rather than by the number of "greenways" they have carved across our barren landscape and the amount of hard-earned cash they've squandered.

Listen Up, West Virginia!

Unions have found an effective way to harm non-union Wal-Mart. They enlist the aid of (Democratic) state legislators and obtain punitive legislation that targets only one company - Wal-Mart.

Well, the retail giant has decided to fight back. Let the blood flow.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Retail Rumble

America's retailers announced last week that they aren't especially keen to follow the steel, airline and perhaps the auto industries into bankruptcy court. If Big Labor really wants a fight over mandated health insurance, it now has one.

The announcement came in the form of two federal lawsuits filed by the Retail Industry Leaders Association against the state of Maryland and Suffolk County, New York. At issue are the "Wal-Mart" laws that both jurisdictions recently passed, which would require a few large companies to pay more for their workers' health care. The lawsuits argue the statutes are "discriminatory," which may be the legal understatement of the year since both target only a few employers.

Thanks to the exhortations of the AFL-CIO, some 30 states are now considering so-called "fair share" health-care laws that force companies to devote a certain percentage of their payroll to health care.

The common denominator is that all of these laws largely single out non-union employers.

The union strategy is to force any competitive, non-unionized company to incur the same labor-induced costs as their own beleaguered employers. Unionized grocers such as Safeway, Albertson's and Kroger have been losing the fight against their lower-cost competitors, and shedding jobs in the process. In the past decade, more than two dozen supermarket operators have sought bankruptcy court protection or liquidated. The union goal is to stop this bleeding by dragging the Wal-Marts and Costcos to their cost level.

That agenda was clear in the Maryland and Suffolk County laws, which made no pretense of raising health-care benefits for all workers. Instead, the Maryland statute required employers with more than 10,000 employees to spend at least 8% of its payroll on health care. Only one company fit the bill: Wal-Mart. The Suffolk County law also only applies to large grocery stores, and it specifically exempts union employers. (link requires subscription)

Based on the vast amount of legal training I obtained in graduate school - well, two classes - I predicted that the courts would never allow such an egregious affront to the law to stand; that this is glaringly and conspicuously discriminatory. The Journal agrees:
The good news is that the judiciary isn't likely to let such legal gerrymandering stand. The trade group argues that both laws run afoul of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, widely known as Erisa. The courts have routinely struck down state laws that mandate particular benefits.

The retailers also have compelling discrimination claims. The Maryland Constitution, for instance, includes a prohibition against "special laws," which might include those that confer advantages on, or discriminate against, a particular individual or business.
The most important thing to remember is that Wal-Mart now has more cash on hand than do all of the Democratically-controlled states that are looking to go after Wal-Mart combined, and can, should it wish, hire every lawyer in those states to argue its case.

This is the good fight. Good for Wal-Mart and good for the rule of law.

It's time to draw swords and go at it.

Do They Ever Wonder How They Appear To Us?

With regard to the "Cheney Shoots Harry" story and the bizarre - and completely predictable - reaction of the mainstream media and other Democrats, Deborah Orin writes in the New York Post:
THERE'S NO END IN SIGHT TO POLITICAL 'CROSSFIRE'

VICE President Cheney finally stepped forward to say the buckshot (or birdshot) stops here — and set the stage for the White House to try to move on.


The depth of anti-Cheney hatred was clear on the hard-left Daily Kos blog, where one poster wondered whether to root for the death of shooting victim Harry Whittington so it would hurt Bush-Cheney.

No wonder some analysts say Team Bush is lucky that Democrats tried to score political points off the accident and some White House press reporters looked like bloodthirsty hyenas howling at press secretary Scott McClellan.

"To take a human tragedy and blow it out of all proportion because of their own self-importance is the White House press corps at its worst. It's ridiculous to say the world cannot survive without [NBC's] David Gregory being told right away," said Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.). (link)

Then there's the glaring hypocrisy that I mentioned last night:

Others said Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) was tone-deaf to lecture on the evils of White House secrecy given Bill Clinton's Sexgate cover-ups and the way her own missing legal records turned up in the White House living quarters.

The conservative Lucianne.com Web site [sic] was full of anti-Hillary ridicule — "Pot meet kettle ..."

She would have done well to have kept her trap shut. But we all know that ain't going to happen.

These people don't have a clue.

It's No Panacea

What are the two major problems with our healthcare system, as voiced by people like Hillary Clinton?
  • Medicines are too expensive.
  • HMO's have too much control over decision-making.
And what does Hillary suggest we do to fix these problems?
  • Adopt a British-like universal healthcare delivery system.
And what can we expect from such a system - besides well-documented and unacceptable waiting lists and shortages of equipment and personnel?

Government sanctioned death.
British Clinic Is Allowed to Deny Medicine
By
SARAH LYALL, The New York Times

LONDON, Feb. 15 — When her local health service refused to treat her breast cancer with the drug Herceptin, 54-year-old Ann Marie Rogers sued. But on Wednesday, a High Court judge ruled against her.

In his decision the judge, David Bean, said that although he sympathized with Ms. Rogers's predicament, the health service in Swindon, where she lives, had been justified in withholding the drug.

"The question for me is whether Swindon's policy is irrational and thus unlawful," Justice Bean wrote. "I cannot say it is."

The ruling has potentially serious implications for patients across the taxpayer-financed National Health Service. Despite health officials' contention that decisions about treatment are based solely on clinical effectiveness, critics contend that with drugs growing ever more expensive, cost has become an increasingly important factor. They also say patients are at the mercy of the so-called postcode lottery, in which treatments are available in some postal zones but not others. (link)
Government rationed healthcare. Some bureaucrat deciding who lives and who dies. Is that what we want?

And ponder this: The same people who ran the Hurricane Katrina relief effort will be administering your healthcare program.

Count me out.