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

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I'm In Big Trouble

When I wrote the following yesterday, I was trying to be funny:
"For the record, I do not endorse the slaughter and consumption of dogs. Cats, on the other hand ..."
I received an email this morning from Paula. She seems to be put out with me for suggesting that I might ever kill her cats and eat them. She advised that she will be doing a daily headcount (a two hour process - don't ask) and if any turn up missing, I'm in big trouble.

Note to Paula: I love you. You know that. And I would never eat your cats. As for laboratory experiments, on the other hand ...

Just kidding. Just kidding.

That Was Close

Southwest Virginia has arguably only one identifiable tourist attraction. No, our rocks and bushes don't count. It's the Barter Theater in Abingdon. For a moment, when I read the following, I thought we had lost it as well:
Barter officials forced to make scenery change after fire damages storage building
Samantha Seiber, Bristol Herald Courier

Paint cans and work tables were among the few things recognizable Monday after a weekend fire gutted the Barter Theatre’s scene shop.

While no one was hurt, the State Theatre of Virginia lost a lot of hard work. The 11,500-square-foot steel and cinderblock scene shop has a staff of about eight people who build sets for the theater’s productions.

A rag used for cleaning equipment, still hot from use, apparently sparked the fire, authorities said. (link)
This could have been very bad. Will you all be more careful down there?!

Tax Dollars At Work

There is no connection between the state of Virginia - through its duly elected governor - whining about the world coming to an end if taxes aren't raised again and this story about a county administrator not giving a second thought to blowing $18,000 of taxpayer money to fly from Kansas back to his hometown:
Local official paid $18,000 for flight
He chartered a jet to rush back to the county after supervisor arrested
By Julian Walker, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

Chesterfield County Administrator Lane B. Ramsey last night acknowledged spending about $18,000 in county funds to charter a jet to fetch him from the Midwest and fly back to the county upon learning of the arrest of a county supervisor.

Ramsey said he was on vacation on Dec. 29, driving through Scott City in western Kansas, when around 11 p.m. he learned from Chesterfield police that Midlothian Supervisor Edward B. Barber had been arrested and charged with two sex crimes against a minor.

After speaking with county officials, including Supervisors Renny B. Humphrey and R.M. "Dickie" King Jr., Ramsey said he determined that he needed to return to the county without delay because of the nature of the crisis. (link)

Ramsey needed to blow $18,000 in taxpayer money to do what when he got back? Hold a press conference? Pick up on the gossip? This couldn't wait four hours as he drove to Denver and caught a commercial flight?

There is, in fact, a connection between this glaring example of wanton disregard for the people who pay the paycheck and the transportation "crisis" that consumes our state legislators. In both cases, the government officials making the decisions have no understanding where the money they spend comes from. Personal savings. College education funds. Retirement funds. Food allowances. Money set aside for clothing. Businesses trying to keep their workers employed.

They just see the need and write a check. The taxpayer is nothing more than an afterthought.

The Thought Police

Can a person be imprisoned for holding forth with unpopular ideas - outside the looney Middle East?

It appears so:

Austria Imposes 3-Year Sentence on Notorious Holocaust Denier
By The Associated Press

VIENNA, Feb. 20 (AP) — The British historian David Irving on Monday pleaded guilty to denying the Holocaust and was sentenced to three years in prison. He conceded that he was wrong when he said there were no Nazi gas chambers at the Auschwitz death camp.

Mr. Irving, 67, has been in custody since Nov. 11, when he was arrested in the southern province of Styria on charges stemming from two speeches he gave in Austria in 1989 in which he was accused of denying the Nazis' annihilation of six million Jews. He has contended that most of those who died at camps like Auschwitz were not executed, but instead succumbed to diseases like typhus.

He was denied bail by a Vienna court, which said there was a risk he would flee the country. He was convicted under a 1992 law, which applies to "whoever denies, grossly plays down, approves or tries to excuse the National Socialist genocide or other National Socialist crimes against humanity in a print publication, in broadcast or other media."

Mr. Irving's trial came during a period of intense debate in Europe over freedom of expression, after European newspapers printed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that set off deadly protests worldwide. [my emphasis] (link)

Irving's opinion that the Holocaust never happened was preposterous on its face and was met with (near) worldwide derision and condemnation. That sufficed. And it was proper. However, imprisoning him for his thoughts puts the Austrians in the same league with the Taliban.

Let's now see if all those pundits who condemn the Muslim rioters for their zealotry will also denounce the Austrian court for having imprisoned a man for expressing his beliefs.