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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Boucher Takes Action

On the very day that Governor Tim Kaine comes to Rick Boucher's congressional district to declare it to be in economic crisis, a move brought about by the many plant closings and employee layoffs that the area has suffered, Congressman Boucher writes to the Roanoke Times pledging his intent to do everything humanly possible to ... save some rocks and bushes. I am not making this up:
Congress should halt national forest sales
Rick Boucher
Boucher, a Democrat, represents Virginia's 9th Congressional District.

Evidencing a continued disregard of the value of national forest land, the Bush administration is now proposing an unprecedented sale of these public assets to finance general government operations. I strongly oppose this unwise proposal and will make every effort to assure that it is rejected by the Congress. [emphasis mine](link)
Well, we all know where Boucher's "every effort" hasn't been. Now we at least know where his "every effort" will be going forward. He's going to do his damnest to preserve those 121 acres of uninhabited, untouched, unproductive, unworthy national forest land up in Roanoke County - in Congressman Bob Goodlatte's district.

I don't know whether to scream or to cry. Or to simply demand his resignation and ask the people of the 9th Congressional District to find someone to replace him who is more in touch with the many problems with which we contend.

Rick, I know your impending marriage has gotten you distracted from the day-to-day but in case you haven't heard, your constituency has suffered another in a long series of plant closings. Galax was already reeling from plant shutdowns at Vaughan Furniture and Webb Furniture, throwing hundreds of people out of work, and Sara Lee announced last week that it is laying off 332 workers at its National Textiles plant there.

I know those 121 acres of weeds up in Roanoke County demand attention but your every effort? Can you spare an effort or two to help us fix the problems that plague your district? Maybe stop the bleeding? Help bring vitality back to this tormented region? Save our few remaining employers?

Let me put it in terms you'll understand, Rick. If this economic trend continues and much of Southwest Virginia continues to depopulate, the result of area residents - your constituents - packing their bags and heading north looking for gainful employment, come 2010 census time the state of Virginia may very well have to redraw its House districts and your ass will be out of a job. Finally. You'll assuredly then be able to devote your every effort to saving those trees to the north.

Until then though, the whole time you focus your "every effort" on saving some wasteland up in Roanoke County, Galax is fast becoming one. Shameful, Rick. Shameful.

The Groundswell That Wasn't

Anti-war activists rally
About 200 people gather for a peaceful demonstration here
By Dena Sloan, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

It was cross-stitching and calling for an end to the war in Iraq for Jessie Jordan.

Jordan was one of about 200 people who gathered in Monroe Park yesterday to listen to speakers, watch street theater and march to show their dissatisfaction with the war. (link)
When I read this news on Monday, my reaction was, "200? Heck, there were more people attending church down the street. Did that make the Times-Dispatch? There were more people at the nearby McDonald's buying a happy meal that morning. Did that make the Times-Dispatch?

No. I looked for either story to no avail.

Well, it turns out I'm not alone in being underwhelmed by the turnout at the many anti-war protests around the country. From the New York Post:

March 21, 2006 -- For all the supposed mounting public outrage over the continuing U.S. involvement in Iraq, the nationwide protests on the third anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom turned out to be more sputter than substance.

In New York, barely 1,000 people turned out Saturday to protest the war; another couple of hundred showed up on Sunday.

Frankly, there are longer lines waiting to buy tickets at the half-price booth. Even the Naked Cowboy in Times Square probably draws bigger crowds.

Celebrity "peace mom" Cindy Sheehan boasted to one rally that "support for this war has dwindled dramatically." But it looks more like support for America-bashers like Sheehan & Co. is what's dropping off. (link)
My thoughts exactly.

Run Out Some More Gun Control Laws

New York City has arguably the most rigorous gun control laws in the nation. Still, all those laws, along with a lengthy list of additional laws that Mayor Bloomberg has proposed to add to the pile, were not able to prevent this:

By Daniel Friedman and Perry Chiaramonte, The New York Post

A madman with a machete chased a man out of his Bedford-Stuyvesant home yesterday and sliced him across the chest before fleeing, sources said. (
Liberal politicians have been promising us for years that gun control laws would stop this sort of violence. Obviously they were wrong. Again.

Not that they'll ever understand that guns - and machetes - don't kill people, people kill ...