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

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Ever Get This Feeling?

Whenever I read crap like the following, I feel like I'm sitting in the "Voters" section of the political outhouse:
Boucher: Selling national forest land would damage local economy
By Charles Owens, Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLAND, Va. — A proposal by the Bush administration to sell about 5,700 acres of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests in Southwest Virginia would hurt local tourism and economic development efforts, U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., warned Monday.

“At a time when tourism is so important to us, the last thing we should be doing is selling national forest land,” Boucher said.

Boucher said many residents in Bland and Wythe counties are beginning to speak out in opposition to the president’s plan.

“I have recently held town meetings in both Bland and Wythe where people have attended and expressed strong opposition to selling national forest land,” Boucher said. “ The residents are aware and very much opposed.” (link)
I feel soiled.

First, to my knowledge nobody here in Bland County is disturbed by the sale of a few acres of the government's (our) forest land, regardless what Boucher says he's hearing. After all, 70% of Bland County is national forest. We'll survive. And much of what isn't national forest is abandoned business property that we all wish someone would buy. And develop.

Secondly, he hasn't been talking to Bland County Administrator Jonathan Sweet, who said when he learned of the sale:
"It's not necessarily a negative thing," he stated Tuesday morning. "It could add more land to our tax base. The more it adds the better." (link)
So. Who do you believe? A foreigner who (semiannually) visits the area and expects his favorite rocks and bushes to remain undisturbed - in perpetuity - and who is beholden to powerful environmental lobbying groups up in DC, and is oblivious to the economic crisis in his district, or a local man who has the best interests of his constituents at heart?

Having been dumped on too many times by Rick Boucher, I'll choose the latter.

Somebody bring me a shovel.

A Hero's Story

A story - one of many - of heroism in the Iraq War:

Common Name, Uncommon Valor The story of Paul Smith, the Iraq War's only Medal of Honor recipient so far.
By Ralph Kinney Bennett, The Wall Street Journal

Since his days growing up in Tampa, Fla., the lanky kid with the slightly mischievous smile had wanted to be a soldier. By this bright morning, April 4, 2003, Sgt. First Class Paul Ray Smith had more than fulfilled his dream. He had served 15 of his 33 years in the U.S. Army, including three tours of duty in harm's way--in the Persian Gulf, Bosnia
and Kosovo.

Now all his training, all his experience, all the instincts that had made him a model soldier, were about to be put to the test. With 16 men from his First Platoon, B Company, 11th Engineer Battalion, Sgt. Smith was under attack by about 100 troops of the Iraqi Republican Guard. "We're in a world of hurt," he muttered.

That "world" was a dusty, triangular walled compound about half the size of a football field, near the Saddam Hussein International Airport, 11 miles from Baghdad. Sgt. Smith's engineers, or "sappers," had broken through the 10-foot-high concrete-block southern wall with a military bulldozer and begun turning the compound into a temporary "pen" for Iraqi prisoners as U.S. forces pressed their attack on the airport.

While they were working, guards posted at a small aluminum gate in the north corner of the triangle had spotted the large Iraqi force approaching the compound from the north and west. Sgt. Smith had just run up to join the guards when all hell broke loose. They came under furious fire from machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars. (link requires subscription)
I'm not allowed to reproduce the article in its entirety so you need to key up wsj.com and get a 6-month subscription and read it.

Your heart will swell with pride and your eyes will well up with tears when you read about how Sgt. Paul Ray Smith's last moments on this earth were devoted to protecting the men in his charge, completing his mission, and - in the process - making a grateful America proud.

Update 8:15am - It has been brought to my attention that you can link to the story - for free - here.
Thanks, D.

There's Democracy and Then There's The Mob

I'm not all that sure what category this goes in, but it sure isn't democracy in action:

By John Leicester, AP

March 29, 2006 -- PARIS - More than 1 million people poured into the streets across France and strikers disrupted air, rail and bus travel yesterday - even shutting down the Eiffel Tower - in the largest nationwide protest over a youth labor law.

Scattered violence erupted in Paris, and riot police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse several thousand youths who pelted them with stones and bottles after an otherwise peaceful march. More than 240 people were arrested.

Unions and the leftist opposition joined the students for the one-day strike, increasing the pressure on Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin to withdraw the measure, which makes it easier to fire young workers.

Although Villepin held firm, cracks opened in his conservative government. Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, in a clear break with Villepin, suggested suspending the law to allow for negotiations. [my emphasis] (link)

Negotiating with the mob. The political system in France hasn't changed in 200 years.


White House spokesman Scott McClellan should take the hint:
Top Aide Leaves White House Job; Budget Chief In
By David E. Sanger, The New York Times

WASHINGTON, March 28 — President Bush replaced his chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., with another longtime loyalist on Tuesday, a step unlikely to satisfy calls within his own party for fresh thinking to address the administration's troubles. (link)
Leaving aside the reporter's wish that the administration has "troubles," and not having any understanding of the behind-the-scenes contribution that Card brought to the White House, President Bush's press spokesman, who has always been a close confidant of Andy Card, and who has always come across as a poor communicator, will be next to go.

And life goes on.

I Hope You Switched To Short-term CD's

Paula and I moved into short-term CD's a long while ago as we anticipated this being a trend:
Fed Panel Raises Rate to 4.75%
By Eduardo Porter, The New York Times

WASHINGTON, March 28 — At Ben S. Bernanke's first meeting as head of the Federal Reserve's policy-making committee, the watchword was no surprises.

As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee raised the benchmark federal funds rate on Tuesday by a quarter of a percentage point, to 4.75 percent, and suggested that at least one more increase was in the cards. It was the 15th such increase in consecutive meetings of the committee. (link)
I expect this isn't the last upward bump we'll see in the funds rate. I'll get back with you in the Fall.