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

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Times Finds Its Ethics

The Roanoke Times pauses this morning to kick Republican Congressman Tom Delay one last time:
DeLay's means justify his ending

A ruthless, unethical politician put his party's retention of power above the good of the nation. Good riddance to an unrepentant player.

As former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay resigns in disgrace, pulling out of his 2006 congressional race in part to concentrate on defending against indictments both current and very likely pending, some might argue that it's time to cut him some slack, to avoid kicking the man while he's down.

In his relentless quest to cement power for himself and his party, DeLay abandoned the common good. Any means justified his ends.

With his resignation, DeLay's congressional career has come to a just end. (link)
How commendable.

It is the Roanoke Times, as I recall, that had been consistently denouncing Mr. Delay each time a new accusation surfaced, including:
  • The only president ever impeached on grounds of personal malfeasance
  • First president sued for sexual harassment.
  • First president accused of rape.
  • First president to establish a legal defense fund.
  • First president to be held in contempt of court.
  • Most number of cabinet officials to come under criminal investigation.
  • Most number of witnesses to flee the country or refuse to testify
  • Largest criminal plea agreement in an illegal campaign contribution case
  • Greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions
  • Greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions from abroad (link)

Uh. The Times did offer up scathing editorials when each of these charges surfaced. Right?

Reread the lengthy list above of Bill Clinton's accomplishments while in office and then read the Times' charge against Tom Delay. We're told the latter was consumed with ethics problems.

I'm beginning to think the people who write the editorials at the Roanoke Times are somewhat partisan in their thinking.

It Hasn't Worked. Let's Do It Bigger.

I want to be careful here so that I'm not accused of trying to slam the good deeds of Ted Melnik, Novozymes Biologicals president. He has donated $250,000 to the Roanoke Valley's greenways project (read all about it in the Roanoke Times article "Greenway Project Gets Help From Firm" here). For those of you not familiar with it, the greenways project is an ongoing effort to plaster a network of biking trails and hiking paths across ... well, across all of Southwest Virginia. The purpose is to lure high tech companies and lots of high paying jobs to the Valley.

The impetus for the donation?
... Ted Melnik, Novozymes' president, said he grew impatient with the greenways' slow progress and wanted to set an example for the Roanoke Valley's corporate, government and other leaders to open their pocketbooks.

I know a little about marketing. And a little more about public relations. And a whole lot about bullshit. And my years of experience allow me to declare that this kind of bullshit works.

Ted's business is Big Pharma. Well, his is actually an industrial enzymes company but we all know there's no real difference. Ted needs favorable press (which would be a breath of fresh air since the only time companies in his line of work get in the news is when there's another class action suit somewhere). He offers up a paltry quarter million for some good words in the local paper. He gets favorable press.

You go, Ted.

On the larger issue, however, that of his donation being money flushed down the toilet because the greenways project, much ballyhooed in years past as helping to bring economic vitality to this tormented land, has proven to be an abject failure thus far, well, it's just not achieving the results originally desired:

Nearly a decade after its kickoff, the valley's greenway system has lagged behind expectations that it would help turn the valley into a "green" destination for technology companies, young educated workers, telecommuters and middle-class families.

Let me translate. Trails now crisscross the landscape and the only jobs that have been created are those of a chainsaw operator, a wood chipper operator, a trash hauler, and an asphalt paver.

No matter. We're going to build some more trails. Its the plan.

Still, I admire Ted's calculation. He knows how to invest the corporation's assets wisely.

Whether he'll ever walk one of those paths to nowhere is another matter.

Chasing Windmills

This is such a worthless endeavor, considering the many worthwhile projects area businesses and local government officials could be involving themselves in, that I'm reluctant to even waste three kilobytes on it. But the idea is so meaningless (oh, did I mention that it's Congressman Rick Boucher's idea?), it deserves a moment:

Grayson County looks at extending broadband
Paul Dellinger, The Roanoke Times

An economic development task force being organized in Grayson County may look into extending broadband Internet technology from Galax and Independence throughout the county.

U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Abingdon, said Monday that he and Grayson County Board of Supervisors Chairman Ralph Tuggle want the task force to develop a plan to make the county a wireless technology site. It will make its report next fall. Tuggle had contacted Boucher's office in January to help in convening such a group. (link)
They "want to ... make the county a wireless technology site." And "if wants were wills, we'd all be rich."

Why stop at a wireless technology site? Let's want it to be a NASA launchpad. What say we want it to be the next home of the United Nations? The home of the Grayson (nee New York) Yankees?

What purpose does this serve? If companies are leaving the area in droves because the cost of doing business is too high and others that might relocate to the area won't for the same reason, what good does wireless technology do? It's like touting the area's marvelous drinking water (and hiking paths). It will result in nothing.

Create conditions that ease the burden. When corporate heads receive news from their numbers crunchers that profits will increase if they were to relocate to Grayson County (it's working for Ireland), they'll relocate to Grayson County and prosperity will flow. Wishing isn't going to make it happen.

And Rick Boucher sure as hell isn't either.

Does Jesus Play ANY Part In Their Lives?

The rabidly liberal leadership of the United Church of Christ, not to be outdone by the outrageously liberal doorknobs who run the Episcopal Church (see the latter's most recent example of idiocy here), have come up with a TV ad campaign that - apparently - is intended to lure parishioners into its empty pews by attacking America's evangelical Christian denominations (the ones that still have parishioners, ahem):

UCC’s newest, ‘edgy’ TV ad begins airing April 3
Written by J. Bennett Guess

“Ejector seat,” the UCC’s newest television commercial, will begin airing nationally on April 3, just in time for Easter.

Playing to church’s expressed concerns about alienation — first emphasized in the UCC’s controversial “bouncer” ad that aired on cable networks in December 2004 and March 2005 — “ejector seat” employs a bit of humor to underscore one of the campaign’s central themes, “God doesn’t reject people. Neither do we.”

The 30-second commercial begins with a shot of an African-American mother trying to calm a crying baby. Sitting in a church pew, the mother fidgets anxiously, as she endures disapproving looks from fellow worshippers. Eventually, someone in the wings pushes an “ejector” button to rid the church of her — and her noisy baby. Into the air they go flying.

In similar fashion, a gay couple, an Arab-American, a person using a walker, among others, get “ejected.” Finally, when a homeless person wanders in and takes a seat, nervous parishioners — expecting she’ll get the boot for sure — scoot away from her. (link)
For the love of God.

I read this kind of thing and can only conclude that the United Church of Christ, with a plummeting membership base, came up with its slogan (“God doesn’t reject people. Neither do we.”) in a last gasp effort - a pleading - for converts.

How does this inane commercial bring sinners to Jesus? That's not the point. In fact it's fair to say: Jesus is not the point.

Which is the point.

This Is Not Good News

Hillary may be in trouble:
By Dick Morris, The New York Post

April 6, 2006 -- HILLARY may need to break into a sweat after all.

In the wake of Jeanine Pirro's awkward withdrawal from the race, many assumed that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's only re-election challenge would be trying to beat the New York blowout record set by Sen. Chuck Schumer in 2004. But the latest poll by John Zogby indicates that Hillary suddenly has a food fight on her hands.

In his first poll after Pirro dropped out on Jan. 13, Zogby had Hillary ahead of GOP challenger John Spencer by 61 percent to 31 percent. But in his most recent survey, conducted March 27, her margin had fallen to 54-33.

Hillary's drop did not reflect any aggressive paid media push by Spencer. He has yet to run his first ad. Rather, Hillary is losing the key contest of Hillary vs. Hillary - her negatives are rising. (link)

You people up in New York who are abandoning Hillary Clinton in her reelection bid need to reconsider. If she is defeated in her effort to keep her Senate seat, her presidential run in 2008 is doomed.

And I so want to be able to vote against her - just once.