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

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Politicians Scare Me

Did you know that it is illegal in a number of states for auto manufacturers to sell their vehicles directly to the retail public? It's a fact. Some refer to such legislation as "dealer protection laws."

Well, it appears we have something as bizarre on the books here in the commonwealth:
Rules change for wine sales
A bill has died that would have permitted Virginia wineries to keep self-distributing.
By Rob Johnson, The Roanoke Times

Virginia wineries will soon be receiving a letter from state regulators cautioning them that direct distribution of their products -- bypassing wholesalers -- is illegal.

A self-distribution bill that would have allowed Virginia wineries to continue their longtime practice of eliminating the middleman died earlier in the legislative session in February. (link)
Now before you start calling this a "wholesaler protection law," you need to know the rest of the story. This has come about as a result of our august legislators enacting a Virginia wineries protection law.
The failed legislative push was prompted by a federal court ruling last April that Virginia's law allowing self-distribution by wineries in this state, but not by those beyond its borders, is unconstitutional.
So a Virginia winery protection law has brought about a wine wholesalers protection regulation.

And everyone is going to pay more for their vino. Do I laugh or do I cry?

The point to remember: This is the same bunch that is spending your hard-earned tax dollars ... every ... day.

For the love of God.

But All Our Plans Are Based On Tourism ...

Every politician in Southwest Virginia, from Congressman-for-Life Rick Boucher on down to the soon-to-be-hired tourism director in economically-devastated Galax, will regale you with plans - no, it goes beyond a plan, it's now a fact - for tourism to be the mechanism of our economic salvation.

Despite statistics that reveal tourism to the area being on a dramatic decline, we are still told, over and over again, that it is going to bring prosperity to the area. Some day.

Well, news like the following should give Rick and his cronies pause:

Tourist attractions brace for impact of soaring gas prices
By Charles Owens, Bluefield Daily Telegraph

TAZEWELL, Va. — With gasoline prices soaring once again to highs not seen since Hurricane Katrina, the region’s spring tourism season could get off to a slow start, officials warned Monday. (link)
That's bad.

So what are we going to do now (Rick) since we've given up fighting to keep our manufacturers (and the high-paying jobs that they once brought) from closing their doors?

Well, we've revised "the plan." We are all now officially designated ... tourists:

“Yes, it (the high gas prices) will impact us,” Pocahontas Town Treasurer Greg Jones said. “We are going to have to refocus our thinking on it. We need to start marketing programs toward our local tourists, folks who are in [sic] interested in making one-day trips.”
So when I drive over to the Wal-Mart in Wytheville, I'm now classified as a tourist.

Neat concept, eh? I see Congressman Boucher's contrivance - after decades of unfulfilled promises - to finally come through. There is going to be a momentous explosion of tourism in Southwest Virginia.

Beginning with my trip in to the Dollar General this morning to pick up some deodorant. Get out the bean counter. 1 Bland tourist.

Shrewd, guys. Absolute genius.

Oh Good. I Can't Wait.

I found the Today Show - and Katie Couric - to be insufferably bad long ago. And I gave up on watching any network news in the 90's. So this comes with a big shrug:
A CBS Deal With Katie Couric May Be Near
By Bill Carter, The New York Times

CBS's long courtship of Katie Couric has moved close to a conclusion. A deal to recruit her away from NBC's "Today" show and into the nightly anchor chair at CBS News may be completed as early as this week, people close to the negotiations said yesterday. (link)
I'll bet there are dozens of really old people who find this to be exciting news.

Me? I prefer mine fair and balanced.

Heroes In The Fight To Limit Gov't

I must have referred to the Virginia House Republicans as my heroes recently (If I didn't, let me do it here; they are my heroes) because of the stand they've taken against our tax-happy governor, his tax-craving Democratic Party, and the many Senate Republicans who have become much too comfortable with their temporary jobs in Richmond and have forgotten what the Republican Party (once) stood for.

I received a rather snide email suggesting that it doesn't take a hero to oppose tax increases.

In other circumstances I'd say the emailer might have a point. But when my newly-elected Republican delegate goes up against our governor and every Democrat in the state and most every newspaper editorial board in the state (along with editors who are more than willing to reprint every wild declaration that Southwest Virginia Senator Phil Puckett makes about the Coalfield Expressway project being shut down and the suggestion made by Governor Kaine when he showed up in Martinsville recently that US 58 improvements will never be made) and Republican Senator John Warner and Republican Congressman Tom Davis and every publically funded college and university president in the state. Cabinet members. Religious figures.

Of course the emailer may have been referring only to the people of the commonwealth who are, by and large, wise to the game being played by the above-mentioned. They've seen it all before. They've listened to the dire predictions before. They've heard the threats. It's all been done before.

And it isn't working this time around. The people have not been moved. Or frightened. Because our heroes - Republicans all - have stood up and told the political elite in this state that the game is over. That they will live within their means. That they'll have to make do with the massive amount of cash they have on hand. That they will stop lying to the people.

The little guy (and gal) battling the all-powerful machine. David doing battle with Goliath. The kind of story that made Frank Capra famous. The classic American story. Yes, a story of heroes.

Tax Dollars At Work

Some will find this fascinating. I think the guy should get a job:
Wingless Gliders May Reveal the Origins of Insect Flight
By Elizabeth Svoboda, The New York Times

When Stephen Yanoviak visited the jungles of Panama in 1998 to study how ants forage, he found himself with some unexpected downtime. "Out of boredom, I started flicking some ants off of a tree," he said.

And he saw something extraordinary. Some of the ants fell straight, but others swerved at near-right angles and landed on tree trunks feet from the ground.

Dr. Yanoviak, a University of Florida entomologist, forgot about the bizarre insect gliders until several years later, when he was assaulted by the same ant species, Cephalotes atratus, during a mosquito-collecting trip to the Peruvian rainforest. (link)
Next time you hear a university spokesperson complain about those cruel Republicans who intend to destroy our institutions of "higher learning" by demanding that government spending be minimally controlled, think of the taxpayer-funded professor who was sent to Central America to study ant behavior.

For the love of God.

The Elephant In The Living Room

Sociologists can be such comedians sometimes. Take Princeton's Douglas S. Massey for example:
The Wall That Keeps Illegal Workers In
By Douglas S. Massey, writing in The New York Times

The Mexican-American border is not now and never has been out of control. The rate of undocumented migration, adjusted for population growth, to the United States has not increased in 20 years. That is, from 1980 to 2004 the annual likelihood that a Mexican will make his first illegal trip to the United States has remained at about 1 in 100.

What has changed are the locations and visibility of border crossings. (
I never did understand that new math.

So (legal) Americans are up in arms about illegal immigration because the border crossings are more visible?

It doesn't have anything to do with the fact that there are 11,000,000 (not counting the 500 that will come across today) illegal Mexicans in this country.

For the love of God.