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

Friday, February 17, 2006


It has been brought to my attention that Southwest Virginia actually has two MSA's (Metropolitan Statistical Area). See related post below.

The Tri-Cities MSA, which includes Bristol, VA/TN, Kingsport, TN and Johnson City, TN, is ranked 170th by the Milken Institute out of 200 cities nationwide in potential job growth opportunities and economic vitality - down from 102nd last year. (link)

The related statistics are here:

Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol TN-VA
Overall Rank: 170

MSA Population: 300,669

  • 5-yr Job Growth (1999-2004)1 - Score: 96.04 Rank: 169
  • 1-yr Job Growth (2003-2004)2 -Score: 98.26 Rank: 188
  • 5-yr Wages & Salaries Growth (1998-2003)3 - Score: 93.96 Rank: 167
  • 1-yr Wages & Salaries Growth (2002-2003)4 - Score: 100.38 Rank: 102
  • Job Growth (July04 - July05)5 - Growth: 0.34 % Rank: 160
  • 5-yr Relative HT GDP Growth (1999-2004)6 - Score: 125.25 Rank: 21
  • 1-yr Relative HT GDP Growth (2003-2004)7 - Score: 96.34 Rank: 174
  • High-Tech GDP LQ - 20048 - Score: 0.77 Rank: 97
  • # of HT GDP LQs Over 1 - 20049 - Score: 5.0 Rank: 117
These are not encouraging numbers.

1 - Five-Year Job Growth
2 - One-Year Job Growth
3 - Five-Year Wages & Salaries Growth
4 - One-Year Wages & Salaries Growth
5 - Short Term Job Growth
6 - Five-Year Relative High Tech GDP Growth
7 - One-Year Relative High Tech GDP Growth
8 - 2004 High Tech GDP Location Quotient
9 - Number of Highly Concentrated High Tech Industries

You're So Ugly, You ...

If you're "physically challenged," turn yourself in to the authorities immediately.

From the Washington Post:
The Ugly Face of Crime
By Richard Morin

Not only are physically unattractive teenagers likely to be stay-at-homes on prom night, they're also more likely to grow up to be criminals, say two economists who tracked the life course of young people from high school through early adulthood.

"We find that unattractive individuals commit more crime in comparison to average-looking ones, and very attractive individuals commit less crime in comparison to those who are average-looking," claim Naci Mocan of the University of Colorado and Erdal Tekin of Georgia State University. (link)
We now have an explanation for Hillary Clinton's "cattle futures" caper.

Like It Ain't Green Enough ...

Been to Roanoke lately? They are developing some of the region's most attractive weed beds these days. Where once factories rolled out products for the global marketplace and businessmen plied their wares to a burgeoning and thriving populace, "greenways" now can be seen prospering. I particularly enjoy the drive down along the railroad tracks. I find plant formations there - the green kind, not the manufacturing kind - to be breathtaking. It is a scenic drive that I recommend to all those tourists who are contemplating a trip to Southwest Virginia to view our ... well, weeds and bushes.

Apparently, all that greenery abounding throughout the area isn't good enough for the Roanoke Times. The editorial staff wants more:

Greenways to heaven -- well, almost

Grab your checkbook or your work boots, or both.

If you're an advocate for clean air and water, good health, cute critters (or ugly ones), a strong local economy and the good life in general, the Roanoke Valley Greenway Commission needs you.

Its splendid vision for an interlacing network of 51 trails to connect walkers, runners and cyclists to all parts of the valley, from the Appalachian Trail to Roanoke's downtown to Mill Mountain and beyond, has fallen a bit shy of being realized some 10 years after being conceived. The valley has nine trails.

It could use more. (link)
No mention of just how many more weed beds the valley could use.

Look. More of a bad idea is just what the Roanoke Valley and Southwest Virginia don't need.

The Milken Institute has released an exhaustive study evaluating the job growth opportunities and economic outlook for the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area (one of a total of 200 cities around the USA it examined) and determined, if conditions remain the same, that the only metropolitan area in Southwest Virginia will continue to crumble. (link to report)

The area ranks, with all its alluring hiking trails and bike paths, 179th - three notches above Gary, Indiana, for God's sake.

So, let's do the math. The Roanoke Valley has thus far built nine "greenways" and worked its way down to 179th place out of 200. Do the calculations and ... in a short six years, the city could be vying with Flint, Michigan for 200th!

Imagine the possibilities if the citizens invest more of their ever-dwindling disposable income on ... more of the same.

The possibilities are staggering.

Quote of the Day

SNOW WHITE: Sportscaster Bryant Gumbel doesn't approve of the Winter Olympics. "The ancient Greeks . . . never heard of skating or skiing," he told viewers of his HBO "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" show last week. And "try not to laugh when someone says these are the world's greatest athletes," he added, "despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention." We hadn't noticed. In any event, Mr. Gumbel, didn't those ancient Greek games look kind of like a GOP convention too?

"Tony & Tacky," The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 17, 2006 (link requires subscription)

Tell Me Again Why We Put Up With This?

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called for an end to the slaughter of innocent civilians in Zimbabwe and for the genocide in Darfur to be brought to an immediate end.

Oh. Wait. No. He doesn’t give a damn about either. He’s concerned about Holiday Inn-Gitmo and the kid glove treatment being afforded those who have pledged to slaughter our children and grandchildren:

Annan says U.S. should close Gitmo prison
By Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press Writer

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Thursday said the United States should close the prison at Guantanamo Bay for terror suspects as soon as possible, backing a key conclusion of a U.N.-appointed independent panel.

Annan told reporters he didn't necessarily agree with everything in the report, but "the basic premise, that we need to be careful to have a balance between effective action against terrorism and individual liberties and civil rights, I think is valid." (link)
How touching.

No word on Kofi's attitude toward the civil liberties abuses taking place in North Korea, Yemen, Cuba, Syria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast, Haiti, Iran, Angola, China, Libya, Tibet, Morocco, Kenya, Sudan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Chechnya, or Algeria.

Where's Kofi Annan?

Headline in this morning's Roanoke Times:
Police tie teenager to double homicide (link)
I need a prosecutor's ruling here. Doesn't this come under the heading of Abuse of a Corpse? - or corpses, as the case may be ...

Something's Missing In All The Noise And Babble

With all the talk, all the jokes, and the heated debate that currently rages with regard to Dick Cheney having shot a hunting companion, a point is being overlooked:

Dick Cheney did a very stupid and unforgivable thing.

There is stupid: Once many years ago I went inside a gas station, paid $10 for gas, got back in my car, and drove on down the road - only realizing many miles later that I had not pumped the gas.

Then there is unforgivable and stupid: Dick Cheney picked up what he knew to be a lethal weapon and accidentally shot someone.

I told the story the other day about my having come close to accidentally shooting a hunting companion’s dog (and his car), pulling back only at the last nanosecond before I drilled both of them.

My mother tells a story (below) about a hunter having almost blasted her out of her golf cart because he was focused on his prey and was oblivious to her being there.

These are powerful and seriously deadly weapons, people. Pick up a gun and go stupid at the same time and bad things will result.

I learned the hard way. Dick Cheney’s lesson is going to forever take its toll on him. Hopefully the rest of you hunters out there will learn from these lessons and not have to recite your own in later life.

Don’t be - unforgivably - stupid.

And Speaking of Stupid Hunters …

This story is told by … my mother:

We heard shots being fired in the back of the woods one morning so I got in the [golf] cart to check on things. When I got to almost the back of the woods about 20 feet from the pond, here were two middle-aged men, dressed to the teeth in camouflage and orange vests and hats with two bird dogs. The dogs and the men just kept walking toward me. By that time the men were no more than 15 feet from me. One of the dogs flushed a quail out of a brush pile and it came towards me. One of the guys raised his gun and shot the quail right over my head. The bird fell beside the cart.

I flew out of the cart and said some words to those men you have never heard me say. I told them to get their [expletive deleted] off of the property. I was livid. They didn't waste time leaving.

I came to the house and called the sheriff and they sent a conservation officer plus a deputy. They did warn me that I should have called them instead of going back there. They looked where the cart was parked, where the shell casing fell and where the bird was and thought I was fortunate that I didn't get hit.

That was a case where the guy knew where I was but when the quail was flushed he just shot.

Completely stupid.