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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Firefighter Injured

A Hillsville firefighter is lucky to be alive this morning:
Firefighter seriously injured

A Hillsville volunteer firefighter was seriously injured Monday morning while trying to save a house.

22-year-old Chris Hawks had just gone in the front door of a burning home in Fancy Gap when there was a glow and a flash of flames. Hawks got trapped inside. His best friend and fellow firefighter Scottie Turmin actually pulled him to safety.

Hawks suffered first and second degree burns on about 20 percent of his body. He was transported to a Winston-Salem hospital Monday afternoon. (link)
I read somewhere a while back that a firefighting career is actually more dangerous than is that of being a policeman. This incident would certainly back up that theory.

The Left's Skewed Worldview

James Taranto, author of The Wall Street Journal's "Best of the Web Today," had an illustrative piece on the hate-America-first mainstream media yesterday:
Torturing the News

Tom Fox, a member of the anti-American Christian Peacekeeper Teams, has been murdered by terrorists in Iraq who held him hostage for more than three months, the New York Times reported on Saturday. On Sunday, the paper carried a follow-up report that Fox "had apparently been tortured by his captors before being shot multiple times in the head and dumped on a trash heap next to a railway line in western Baghdad."

The story of Fox's death ran on page A8; the story of his torture, on page A10. So what made the Times' front page on Saturday? Yet another story about Abu Ghraib.
The mainstream press, it seems, is going to beat that dead horse (torture pun intended) until someone in the real world starts paying attention. "Another innocent westerner is executed by Islamists? Tough toenails. Let's run with the 680th panties-on-the-head story."

Rick Boucher is ... What?

There is an implication - a subtle hint - to be found in the comments section of Brian Patton's excellent blog with regard to Congressman Rick Boucher's ... inclinations. I'm not sure exactly what the implication is but I'm troubled by the insinuations and uses of innuendo. Those left-wing fanatics should stick to the issues and leave Boucher's sex life alone.

There's Always More To the Story

When I found out that the U.S. Forest Service was going to be selling off some of our national park land, my reaction (and if you have been paying attention on a daily basis, you read it here) was, "fine," even though some of that land may be situated right behind my property (in the Jefferson National Forest). My response to the thought that some developer might come along and build condominiums overlooking my humble little cottage was, "Well, that'll be good for Bland County's tax revenue stream." I'm that much of a team player.

Not so with other folks, it would appear:

Meeting urges protest of forest sale
"This battle will be won or lost in Congress," said the president of the Catawba Valley Civic League.
Cody Lowe, The Roanoke Times

The message was straightforward, Catawba Valley resident Larry Hunt said.

"We want as many people as we can to smother our leaders and the [U.S.] Forest Service with opposition to selling Forest Service land."

Hunt, whose property abuts the 121-acre tract in Roanoke County and who granted one of only two easements to access the property ... (link)
The article doesn't say but my guess is Mr. Hunt is gainfully employed. Which is more than can be said for the tens of thousands of area residents who have witnessed their jobs being shipped overseas. Many Southwest Virginians have packed their bags and moved to less pristine environs to find work - never to return. If a developer could come in and make use of the land - and hire a few needy citizens in the process - we all benefit. But some, it seems, would rather we protect our vacant land - like there is some kind of shortage around here (been to downtown Roanoke lately?).

It would do Mr. Hunt well to heed the many warning signs and demand that the government create conditions such that we protect our area employers rather than waste any more time and valuable resources trying to protect a handful of our millions of acres of rocks and bushes.

Leftist Pulls Censure Stunt

Russ Feingold is a name most people wouldn't recognize. He happens to be a Democratic senator from the state of Wisconsin who will go down in history as having co-authored the anti-First Amendment McCain-Feingold Law (and for briefly harboring the illusion that he could ever be president) .

It is with a high degree of irony that Feingold introduced legislation yesterday calling on the senate to censure President Bush for violating what the senator perceives to be the Constitution:
Feingold Pushes to Censure President
Some Democrats Wary of Resolution On Wiretapping
By Charles Babington, Washington Post Staff Writer

Democrats sharpened their attack yesterday on President Bush's warrantless surveillance of Americans, with a liberal senator introducing a censure resolution and party leaders showing a willingness to debate the matter.

Some party strategists, however, worried that voters will see the move as overreaching partisanship, and Republicans pounced, practically daring Democrats to vote for the measure. (
This is how Democrats launch their presidential campaigns these days. They go out of their way to alienate half the voting public. Expect to see Mark Warner attack President Bush's daughters for avoiding military service soon.

Idiots. They're all idiots.

Americorps Lives!

The New York Times this morning is in a snit over President Bush's proposal that a small segment of Americorps be eliminated. To be honest, I had forgotten about Americorps - Bill Clinton's one and only legislative success in all his eight years in office (I don't count gun control - most of its provisions have already lapsed, and welfare reform was a Republican initiative that Little Willy was dragged into). I thought it had been given a merciful death. But no. It lives.

You may remember Americorps. It was the Democrats' attempt at getting youthful volunteers to serve their country. To provide an incentive, we paid the volunteers quite well to generally do nothing. Paid volunteers; the concept still escapes me after all these years.

Well, President Bush, God bless him, has proposed that the National Civilian Community Corps, a small part of Americorps, be phased out. And the Times will have no part of it:
The civilian corps includes some 1,100 highly motivated full-time volunteers, ages 18 to 24, who are based on five residential campuses for rapid deployment when emergencies arise, like wildfires and hurricanes. Apart from lodging, members receive transportation and a food allowance (typically just $25 a week), plus a daily stipend of $13.60. Upon completing 10 months' service, members receive AmeriCorps's standard educational award, $4,725. (link)
I'll skip the silly "highly motivated" editorializing and simply do the math for you. Leaving out the cost of those "five residential campuses," we pay these "volunteers" $9,805,000 for ten months "work" that involves serving softdrinks to firefighters and First Responders when wildfires and hurricanes infrequently occur.

Yeah. Great idea. But wouldn't it be more cost-effective to just put the "volunteers" on the welfare roles and be done with it?