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

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A Glimmer of Hope

Steve over at SW Virginia Law Blog brings attention to an article in the Christian Science Monitor that highlights the growth of tech jobs in Lebanon, Virginia (here). Even though a few small businesses relocating to Russell County cannot be considered unparalleled prosperity, this still must be viewed as a positive development. I've been watching this news for some time to see if we should expect more opportunities arising out of this. Let's hope.

On The Hardship That Is Dickenson County

Kilo and I have been sifting through census and demographic data lately trying to determine just how bad economic conditions are in Dickenson County, Virginia. Bad is a fair description. Very bad is even closer.

Someone who can give us a first-hand account - because he lives there - is Brian Patton. He has joined in and is of the opinion that it is high time for a change in local leadership:
Kilo and Jerry are both right about one thing, though, we have to start doing more in Dickenson County or face the inevitable consequences facing the county.

The good news is that I think folks here in the county are starting to realize something has to change and I would bet they will effect that change by electing a new
Board of Supervisors the first chance they get. (link)
What caught my attention, when reading his reaction to our exchange, was a response from a contributor to the comments section of Brian's weblog (apologies to Brian for brazenly lifting this from his wonderfully entertaining weblog and to "Southwest Virginia" for my requoting him or her here):
I (and my entire family since the Revolution) live in Dickenson County. Now I technically reside in Richmond, but I still “go home” when I travel to Southwest VA. I and a lot of people from the area don’t count in the college graduate and income stats for the county because we have left the area in search of jobs that pay more than minimum wage. If I could send my taxes to there instead of Richmond I would. I know that isn’t something easily measured but I want to point out that the so called “brain drain” contributes to the low depressing stats for our county.
That's really what all the statistical analysis of employment data and unemployment figures comes down to. The answer is not in the percentage of people who are working in the county but in the number of people who haven't packed their bags yet and moved out (more on that here). Dickenson County - and much of Southwest Virginia - are rapidly being abandoned by our best and brightest because they cannot find a future here. Of all the counties that make up the region, the exodus may be most prevalent in Dickenson, where there are lamentably few career opportunities.

Brian's right. It is past time for a change. He wants to start at the county level. I can't argue with that. But I see a more sweeping need for change. All the bums that have been on our payroll and who have done nothing to stem the tide of economic collapse in Southwest Virginia need to resign in disgrace. All of them.

Which Is Worse?

Remember how much trouble we were in for (not) flushing a Koran down the toilet at Gitmo? I wonder if there will be as much outrage over this:
Blast Destroys Dome of Sacred Shiite Shrine in Iraq
EDWARD WONG, The New York Times

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 22 - Insurgents dressed as police commandos detonated powerful explosives on Wednesday morning inside one of Shiite Islam’s most sacred shrines, destroying most of the building, located in the volatile town of Samarra, and prompting thousands of Shiites to flood into streets across the country in protest.

The golden-domed shrine housed the tombs of two revered leaders of Shiite Islam and symbolized the place where the Imam Mahdi, a mythical, messianic figure, disappeared from this earth. Believers in the imam say he will return when the apocalypse is near, to cleanse the world of its evils. (link)
My guess is the Muslim world will be just fine with this. No toilet. No USA to put in it.

That's All You Have To Say?

I've ridiculed the author(s) of the "Briefly put..." editorial segment of the Roanoke Times so often, I'm tiring of it. But when I read the first three sentences in today's paper, I thought the piece would be worthwhile - if only because I had touched on the same subject yesterday. Stupid me. Here is how it starts:

Briefly put...
The Roanoke Times

On vacation in western Kansas in late December, Chesterfield County Administrator Lane B. Ramsey received word that Board of Supervisors Chairman Edwin B. Barber had been arrested and charged with two sex crimes against a minor.

Hundreds of miles from the nearest airport, Ramsey dispatched a charter jet from Chesterfield County Airport to pick him up the morning of Dec. 30 in Scott City, Kan., and return to deal with the crisis. The ticket: more than $18,000 for the 6½-hour round trip. (link)
What words come to mind when you read that? Shocking? Arrogance? Indifference? Profligacy? Extravagance? Thievery? Termination?

Here's the punchline:

And people wonder why budget projections are so unreliable.
Budget projections.

What words come to mind now?

Termination? Termination? Termination? Termination? Termination?

My God, I Agree With The Times!

I must have gone to sleep last night and slipped into a parallel universe. I agree with an editorial in today's Roanoke Times. Somebody wake me from this nightmare:
House leadership throws a tantrum

Republican leaders in the Virginia House of Delegates need some straight talk about their unconscionable threat to reject Gov. Tim Kaine's nominee for secretary of the commonwealth.

Republicans don't like Daniel LeBlanc, former president of the Virginia AFL-CIO, because he's too liberal and pro-union for their taste.

... here's the unvarnished message that the House leadership needs to hear: Kaine won the election, and with it the right to appoint competent people to advise him. LeBlanc is competent and widely respected. The only reasons for Republicans to oppose him are ideological and partisan.

That's a dangerous and irresponsible path for so-called leaders of the General Assembly to head down -- especially as they consider the potential for future, self-defeating mischief arising from such a misguided precedent. (link)
I agree fully. The Republicans in the state legislature don't want to start doing what the Democrats in Congress (and the Roanoke Times for that matter) have elevated to an artform - opposing (Republican Presidential) nominees. The people of Virginia have spoken. If we must have a Secretary of the Commonwealth (could we talk about that?), Kaine should have his man. No matter how poor a choice that man is.

On Football And Its Fans

Don't blame me. I'm just the conduit:.

1) What does the average Alabama player get on his SATs?
... Drool.
(2) What do you get when you put 32 Arkansas cheerleaders in one room?
... A full set of teeth.
(3) How do you get a South Carolina cheerleader into your dorm room?
... Grease her hips and push.
(4) How do you get a Georgia graduate off your porch?
... Pay him for the pizza.
(5) How do you know if a Mississippi State football player has a girlfriend?
... There is tobacco spit on both sides of his pickup
(6) How is the Kentucky football team like a possum?
... They both play dead at home and get killed on the road.
(7) What are the longest three years of an Auburn football player's life?
... His freshman year.
(8) How many Florida freshmen does it take to change a light bulb?
... Trick question! That's actually a sophomore course.
(9) Where was O. J. headed in that white Bronco?
... Baton Rouge. He knew that the cops would never look for a Heisman Trophy winner at LSU.
And finally:

(10) Why did Tennessee choose orange as their team color?
...You can wear it to the game on Saturday, hunting on Sunday, and picking up trash along Interstate 40 the rest of the week!
Go Hokies.

Wolf Blitzer Should Be Next

Why can't we get this kind of excitement out of our local television stations?

City police escort news anchor McGee from TV studio
TV newsman expects to be on air tonight
By Dave Gustafson, Charleston (WV) Gazette staff writer and by Jennifer Ginsberg, staff writer

WB television news anchor Tom McGee was escorted from the WHCP-TV studio in Charleston on Tuesday afternoon by police, but he said he expects to be back on the air tonight.

Station manager Chuck Jones called Metro 911 at 4:05 p.m. and asked for help escorting McGee from the building, according to a 911 recording released late Tuesday.

Jones told a dispatcher that an employee “got up in my face earlier” and “asked me to step outside with him.” He later identified the employee as McGee. (link)
McGee probably decided that he wasn't going to do the "Dick Cheney is destroying America hunting story" for the 71st time. But I'm only guessing.