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

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Well, Another One Bites The Dust

I was a big fan of Mitt Romney, the current Governor of the state of Massachusetts and rumored-to-be Republican Presidential candidate in 2008. He's a social conservative and, I thought, a fiscal conservative as well. Until, that is, I heard about his universal healthcare program (read all about it here and here).

Today, Romney tries to explain his chicken-in-every-pot pipedream in a letter to the Wall Street Journal:
Health Care for Everyone? We Found a Way.
By Mitt Romney

Every uninsured citizen in Massachusetts will soon have affordable health insurance and the costs of health care will be reduced. And we will need no new taxes, no employer mandate and no government takeover to make this happen. (link)
That may be the most preposterous paragraph I've ever read. And it came from a Republican, for God's sake.

I can only surmise that Romney has had actuaries run the numbers and they determined that the state of Massachusetts can't go bankrupt because of his "free healthcare for all" scheme until after he gains the White House. Either that or he's gone stark raving mad.

Sorry, Mitt, if I want insanity, I'll vote for a Democrat ...

The Day The Earth Shook

A pro-illegal Mexican rally was held yesterday on the Virginia Tech campus and all 25 illegals in Southwest Virginia showed up:

Tech protest supports immigrants
By Greg Esposito, The Roanoke Times

BLACKSBURG -- While thousands of protesters waved flags and led boycotts in cities throughout the country Monday in demonstrations for immigrant rights, Virginia Tech students participated in a more subdued event.

Wearing white and holding a banner that read, "Liberty and justice for all," with emphasis on "all," about 25 people stood in front of the pylons at the Tech War Memorial in hopes of getting their message across without screaming it.

"Even though it's not a loud protest, I think silence can sometimes be more effective," said Monica Raugitinane, a Tech student and event organizer. "We don't want to arouse confrontation." (link)
By the huge turnout (there were more campus revolutionaries cheering on the entertainment over at Southern Exposure, where arousal was uppermost on the agenda), I'd say the protest organizer didn't want to cause long lines at the urinal either.

Good job, Ms. Raugitinane.

Whew. That's a Load Off My Mind.

Good news regarding the Today Show:

Stabilizing 'Today,' Matt Lauer Extends Contract to 2011
By Jacques Steinberg, The New York Times

Just as Katie Couric of the "Today" show was agreeing to go to CBS last week, and Meredith Vieira of "The View" was agreeing to replace her, Ms. Couric's low-key [another word for dull, colorless, lifeless] co-host, Matt Lauer, made a decision securing his own future.

Mr. Lauer and NBC have agreed to add three more years to his "Today" contract, which was to expire in 2008. (link)

What would we have done if we'd lost both of them? The thought is unbearable.

This Is The Best They Could Do?

Here's how the game is played: The Republican administration proposes a budget and the Democrats cry about how draconian it is. How our children are going to starve because of it. How life on earth is threatened. How God is displeased (oh wait, they don't believe in God). How Hillary is displeased. bla blablah blablah.

So President Bush proposes a $2.57 trillion budget and the Democrats are apoplectic. It's too harsh. It's draconian. It's so mean-spirited that it's even going to eliminate stream gauges ...

As only the New York Times can do it (with a straight face):
Experts See Peril in Reduced Monitoring of Nation's Streams and Rivers
By John Schwartz

When Michael Griffin thinks about the stream gauge on the Licking River at Catawba, Ky., he says he has an uncomfortable sense that history may repeat itself.

The stream gauge, one of some 7,400 nationwide, does what its name implies: it measures the level and flow of water in a stream. The data have many uses, most prominently in providing warnings of floods.

... the network has begun to shrink again for the first time since the 1990's. (link)
Oh the humanity.

But wait.

President Bush has allotted the necessary funds to increase the number of stream gauges:
The Bush administration has requested an additional $2 million on top of the roughly $14 million direct federal contribution from the Geological Survey to the program [that will ...] help reinstate as many as 50 gauges ...
But an increase is actually a decrease:
... that does little to replace the number already discontinued or threatened. "It won't solve the problem."
It won't solve our stream gauge problem.

For the love of God.

This Can't Be

I thought the peace-loving Canadians solved their crime problem when they devised that billion dollar gun registry program of theirs.

Apparently not:
Canadian Cops Nab 5 in Deaths of 8 Bikers
By The Associated Press

SHEDDEN, Ontario (AP) -- Five men were charged in the slayings of eight people who were found on an isolated farm in Canada over the weekend, part of what police called an ''internal cleansing'' of a motorcycle gang.

The mass killings were Canada's worst in a decade, but police did not believe a biker gang war was imminent and insisted there was little reason for public fear. (link)
Who would have ever guessed. Canada has attempted in the last decade to register every firearm and to confiscate every handgun in the country and now crime is rampant there.

Makes you want to arm yourself.

I Like Him. He's One Of Us.

I participated in the bloggers' conference call with Lt. Governor Bill Bolling last night, along with at least a dozen others, including Norm (who proved to be a great moderator) over at One Man's Trash, Romeocat at Cathouse Chat, Jim Bacon at Bacon' Rebellion, Too Conservative, Elephant Ears, and NOVA Townhall.

Let me get the policy stuff out of the way first because my real goal was to get a measure of the man.

Bolling is a good conservative. From the notes I took, he's right on all the issues that matter. He spent the most time talking about the transportation budget impasse in the legislature but also touched on illegal immigration (he rightly believes that Republicans need to separate legal from illegal, that we need to create conditions that allow for more legal immigration while, at the same time, we need to stop the illegal migration across our border), he is going to push to have the same-sex marriage amendment passed, he favors the energy bill but will push for off-shore exploration of natural gas, he favors repeal of the death tax, and he was disappointed that the legislature wasn't able to stop the abuse of eminent domain.

The Lt. Governor believes the Republican Party will be viable in the future as long as its candidates get before the people of Virginia and express their honest views about conservative values and principles. Which is right.

As for Bill Bolling the man, here is what I observed -
  • He was on time, which in my world is important. I attended a meeting not long ago and a Regional Vice President was late to arrive. When he came blowing into the room, he asked, "What did I miss?" The President looked at him and said, "Your presentation on the subject of punctuality." The call with the Lt. Governor was scheduled to start at 6:30. Mr. Bolling came on the line at 6:33.
  • He was friendly and congenial. Some banter; not a lot. I didn't detect any speeches or "bullet point" responses to questions. He was rather matter-of-fact in his delivery.
  • His demeanor (over the phone of course) reminded me of that of Dick Cheney. He went through a laundry list of legislation he favored, another that he opposed. He was straightforward, rather business-like. Confident. At times rather too business-like for my tastes (I had a bottle of wine in front of me and knew, when I popped the cork at 6:49 and took a swig, he was losing me) but he had a lot of ground to cover in a short time.
  • I detected very little passion. The only time I got a sense of commitment - drive - was when he was addressing the transportation mess that is currently before the state legislature. His voice rose when he said, "I am absolutely convinced that we do not have to raise taxes" in order to solve the transportation problem. He needs to do more of that.
  • On the Ability to Lead question, the jury is still out. Bill Bolling is the head of the Republican Party in Virginia and yet, it seems to me, when it comes to the budget showdown that is approaching, House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith is carrying the torch and doing the heavy lifting. In the conference call, as I listened, I heard a man who knows the issues, who says he is working overtime to get legislation passed, etc. but I didn't detect any call to arms. Any fire in the belly (John Nance Garner once said, "You've got to bloody your knuckles!") When asked if he was going to run for governor next time around, he said - matter of factly - yes. And he said his goal for now is to be a good Lt. Governor, whatever that means (I was reminded of Alben Barkley's description years ago of the position of Vice President - that it wasn't worth "a bucket of warm spit") and that opportunity will pave the way to his campaign to win in 2009. At least he said it in so many words. What I didn't hear was a recognition that, being the leader of the state party, Bill Bolling needed to take the conservative cause to the people to win hearts and minds. He's going to be in Abingdon to talk about health care and he's going to be in Wise to talk about the pharmacy school and the law school and he's going to be in Marion and Wytheville to talk about education. Good. Those are the kind of things that politicians do. But leaders have higher goals. A broader scope. A vision. He needs to be shouting from the rooftops the fact that the government is going to grow by 19% in 2006 when the budget gets approved, growth that is harmful and unsustainable. He needs to be pounding the pulpit about natural gas exploration and clean coal resources and the sanctity of marriage and about lawlessness disguised as an immigration plan. About poverty and the loss of job opportunities in whole regions of the state. Instead he addresses each topic as if it were an agenda item.

Still, this was a conference call. With a bunch of bloggers.

If this were a job interview, I'd invite Bill Bolling back for a second round. He's right on all the issues that matter. He's impressive to listen to. He's articulate. I'll bet he's a nice guy. First interviews don't amount to much other than to allow for first impressions. I came away favorably impressed. I hope to hear more.