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

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Update

Here's the latest information regarding ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff:
Bob Woodruff starting to walk and talk

NEW YORK, March 7 (UPI) -- ABC News co-anchor Bob Woodruff is speaking with family and doctors and starting to walk, his brother reported Tuesday.

"My brother has been an overachiever his entire life, and none of us expect any less in this (healing) process," David Woodruff told Tuesday's "Good Morning America."

Woodruff and ABC cameraman Doug Vogt were injured in an Iraq roadside bombing Jan. 29. Voght was released from the Bethesda Medical Center and has since returned to France with his family.

Woodruff, 44, has even been able to speak in Chinese and German, his brother said.
The family was working to select a rehab facility so the father-of-four can continue to progress in his recovery. (
link)
I don't watch network news these days but I hope Woodruff continues to progress and is back on the job soon.

This sounds encouraging.

Another Republican Tax

Taxes are going up. Again. With a twist that would make Monty Python proud, now we're calling it "tax fairness."

Bill to streamline communications taxes clears Senate
By the Associated Press


March 1, 2006 RICHMOND, Va. -- The Senate passed legislation Wednesday that would tax satellite television and Internet telephone customers for the first time.


The bill sponsored by Del. Sam Nixon, R-Chesterfield, would eliminate a hodgepodge of local and state taxes and fees on telephone, cable and cell phone bills and replace it with a flat 5 percent tax statewide on all communications services.

The measure is a "step toward tax fairness and equity," said Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan. (link)
No. The measure is a step toward higher taxes - pure and simple.

Interestingly, a Democrat opposed the measure:

Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath, said the measure punishes rural Virginians who rely on satellite TV, which is not currently taxed. The satellite TV industry opposed the bill.
Not to be outdone when it comes to feeling compassion for the little guy, though, Watkins - who professes to be a Republican - had this to say to the voters:

They're not happy, and I understand that.
I have a sneaking suspicion that Senator Watkins doesn't have a clue as to just how unhappy "they" really are.

The Republican Party keeps this up and I may go back to being a Democrat.

And That Ain't All

Raising communications taxes won't in itself ensure a Democratic Party lock on the Virginia legislature, so Republican Senate Finance Committee Chairman John H. Chichester is doing his part to make the GOP a minority party in perpetuity:
Gas tax increase fueling debate
By Seth McLaughlin, The Washington Times


RICHMOND -- As budget negotiations get under way this weekend, the state Senate is driving to increase the gasoline tax -- the region's lowest, at 17.5 cents a gallon for the past 20 years.

"I'm not afraid of [raising the gas tax]," said Senate Finance Committee Chairman John H. Chichester, Stafford Republican and one of five Senate budget negotiators. (link)
He's obviously not afraid of getting his fat ass bounced out of office either.

The Virginia Republican Party, not long ago, stood for something. That something today seems to be higher and higher taxes. How did it come to this?

Goodbye. Good Riddance.

A powerful and influential Republican is retiring. Good.
GOP's Bill Thomas announces retirement
By Charles Hurt, The Washington Times


House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas, one of the most powerful lawmakers and colorful characters on Capitol Hill, announced yesterday that he will not seek re-election to his California seat.


The 14-term Republican -- widely loved and loathed for his bombastic nature and detailed grasp of the federal government's most complex issues -- is credited with guiding through Congress President Bush's tax cuts and writing legislation on Medicare and Social Security. (link)

You'll hear and read a good deal in the next 24 hours about how Bill Thomas did so much for the American people by bringing about those tax cuts and for writing and promoting prescription drug benefit legislation.

As a man who could have stood up for conservative principles, however, Bill Thomas was a major disappointment. The size of government has grown exponentially on his watch, budget deficits have exceeded all expectations, and the tax code is more complex today than at any point in history.

Bill Thomas could have prevented all this. Instead he decided to go along to get along. Just what the Republican Party did not need.

Let's hope his replacement on the Ways and Means Committee fixes what Bill Thomas helped break.

As For Bush's Legacy

Bill Thomas's retirement as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee gives President Bush - and Thomas' successor - an opportunity to bring about profound change in the way the government does business, and to ensure our president a lasting legacy.

The president wasted no time seizing the moment:
Bush calls for line-item veto
By Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times


President Bush yesterday demanded that Congress give him a line-item veto power and sent a bill to Capitol Hill that he said satisfies the constitutional concerns that sunk the last version a decade ago.


Wading into the congressional spending debate, Mr. Bush took a hard line on the practice of earmarks, which critics call pork-barrel spending, and promised to be the sheriff who will enforce discipline.

"Too many bills passed by Congress include unnecessary spending," Mr. Bush said.

"Today, I'm sending Congress legislation that will meet [constitutional] standards and give me the authority to strip special spending and earmarks out of a bill, and then send them back to Congress for an up-or-down vote," he said.

The move thrilled conservative Republicans on Capitol Hill, but Democratic leaders said Mr. Bush was ducking responsibility for budget deficits. (link)
This was tried before, you may recall. In 1994 the president was given the power of a line item veto but the Supreme Court quickly knocked it down, declaring the power to be unconstitutional.

But the stars seem to be in alignment this time. The Supreme Court is shifting to the right and Republicans control both the Senate and the House.

This, along with his successful prosecution of the global war on terror, could be George Bush's greatest achievement.

Sanity Slowly Returns To The Court

This is such encouraging news:
Military ban on campus rejected
By Guy Taylor, The Washington Times


The Supreme Court yesterday ruled against universities that had prohibited military recruiters on campus.

The justices unanimously upheld a 1996 federal law that permits the government to withhold funds from universities that deny military recruiters the same access to students that is allowed other potential employers.

The case grew from a suit brought by a coalition of law schools and professors, who argued that their First Amendment right of free expression was violated by the 1996 law on grounds that it forced them to associate with and promote the activities of military recruiters.

Chief Justice Roberts rejected that argument, saying, "A military recruiter's mere presence on campus does not violate a law school's right to associate, regardless of how repugnant the law school considers the recruiter's message." (link)

For three decades the United States Supreme Court has been lost in the wilderness, drifting from one contradictory ruling to the next, befuddling the legal community and enraging the body politic. This ruling, hopefully, is a harbinger of good things to come. I look for John Roberts to make a lasting mark on American history by providing us with a clear understanding of the Constitution and its place in this our complex society.