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

Saturday, April 15, 2006

While The Governor Talks Of Tax Increases ...

Here are a few voices - and accompanying statistics - coming out of southern Virginia for Governor Kaine to consider next time he decides to come down to this part of the state to seek support for his broad array of tax increases:

End of assembly line
Losses in key industries put pressure on workers and services.
By Angela Manese-Lee, The Roanoke Times

Already this year, two major employers have shuttered Galax plants and a third has announced it will shut down a majority of its operations in coming months.

The decisions have left ... 840 [area residents] facing current or imminent unemployment.

"People just don't know what's going to happen," said Galax Mayor C.M. Mitchell of his 6,700 constituents. "They're worried about their future and, once the benefits are no longer available, what's going to happen to them." (link)
Galax is dealing with 840 unemployed workers. Just down Route 58, Martinsville is reeling from an even more staggering loss:

From 1996 to 2004, Martinsville and Henry County lost five major operations, its textile industry and a collective 10,000 jobs.
And across southern Virginia the numbers are horrific:

[Economic relief centers] established in Martinsville, Marion, Clarksville and South Boston have served more than 85,000 workers since 2002 ... [my emphasis]
And that number doesn't include many of those who have been thrown out of work in hard-hit Danville.

So how do our political leaders respond? Governor Kaine opens another economic relief center - this time in Galax - to hand out ... pats on the back, and Congressman Boucher does what he does best - he makes sure the unemployment checks come without fail.

Oh, and to show that they can multi-task, the Governor demands a massive tax increase at the same time he decries the plight of those who will have to pay it, and Boucher devotes his "every energy" to saving a bunch of rocks and bushes on federal land up in another part of the state.

85,000 unemployed Virginians turned to these people for leadership. Poor bastards.

Cutting Their Losses

I just mentioned Governor Kaine's economic development plan for southern Virginia - that being to employ all 85,000 displaced workers at his burgeoning "economic crisis centers" that are popping up around the area, and Rick Boucher's contribution to resuscitating the area's collapsing economy - he works diligently to assure ease of unemployment check procurement. But I should also mention one of our many feckless - and failed - attempts at economic development through tax dollar expenditure. That being the highly touted Commerce Park up in Dublin.

Several government entities got together seven years ago and developed a really neat plot of ground near this small town located in Pulaski County for employers to develop. Electricity, sewage, good access. Everything was provided except a good reason for employers to relocate there.

Well, Commerce Park is soon to be no more, it appears:
Roanoke County rethinks part in Commerce Park
Seven years after investors decided to develop Commerce Park, the 900-acre site remains empty.
By Angela Manese-Lee, The Roanoke Times

Seven years into the planning and development of Commerce Park, one of its 11 investors has announced it is rethinking its role in the project.

Doug Chittum, director of Roanoke County's department of economic development, said staff will analyze in the coming weeks the county's investment in the park -- as well as the possibility of selling off its shares.

At the time Commerce Park was envisioned, regional officials hoped it would be able to attract companies large enough to employ thousands of the area's young people, invest hundreds of millions of dollars and pour machinery and tools tax dollars into community coffers.

Seven years on, the park lies empty. (link)
Empty. Much like the hopes and dreams of many area residents - see above - who are packing their bags and moving north to find work. Employers - because of the higher costs of doing business here - won't come to Dublin, so the displaced are going to the employers - in Chicago, in New York, in Washington DC, in ...

Worse yet, the underlying circumstances have not changed. The problem has not been solved.

Want Another Example?

Commerce Park (see post above) isn't the only waste ( of dreams and ...) of taxpayer dollars that our politicians have foisted upon us. Over in Dickenson County, you can be the proud occupant of
this building that has sat empty since the 90's. It has never had a tenant. The structure was built with the best of intentions and a whole mess of taxpayer dollars to lure employers to the area. 40,000 square feet of building. It even comes equipped with Congressman Rick Boucher's secret weapon - high-speed wireless internet (he recently advised the folks in charge down in Grayson County that this would lead to economic successes beyond anything they could ever imagine; I think they bought it).

There are no computers in this empty shell to take advantage of that high-speed service of course. Or employees for that matter. But its got a great wireless network. Come see. I hear they're willing to do a deal.

Nice building. Another great - vacant - structure to house broken dreams.

Time To Go On Offense

There are 9000 retired generals living here in the USA as I write this. So says the Pentagon. You wouldn't know it, though, by reading yesterday's headlines or watching Katie Couric and the rest of the mainstream press on TV. You'd think there were only six.

Well, others are coming forward, along with their Commander in Chief, to defend the embattled Secretary of Defense after the six (shamed the military and the country as they ...) declared their (belated) opposition to Don Rumsfeld's continued employment:
Generals defend Rumsfeld
By Rowan Scarborough, The Washington Times

Several retired generals who worked with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, including a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, yesterday decried calls for the secretary's resignation from other retired officers.

President Bush repeated his support for his point man in the war against terrorists.

"I think what we see happening with retired general officers is bad for the military, bad for civil-military relations and bad for the country," retired Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs under Mr. Bush, said ... (link)
Let's see if these generals who support Rumsfeld get as much attention from the Bush-hating press as have those six retired generals who have dishonored the men and women still in harm's way, each of whom they once took an oath to protect.

That's Saying a Mouthful

The New York Times editorial page has it right - at least in part - regarding Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's attempt at "universal healthcare":
Mandatory Health Insurance

The federal government has done such a miserable job of providing health insurance for the 46 million Americans who lack it that states around the country have been forced to step in with their own plans. The latest and boldest effort was signed into law this week in Massachusetts. It is a carefully crafted plan with elements that could serve as a model for elsewhere, provided Massachusetts finds sufficient funds to make it all work [my emphasis]. (link)
It's a great idea and the state of Massachusetts can pull off its healthcare-for-all scheme if manna starts raining down from heaven.

These people crack me up.

We Lose a Friend

Silvio Berlusconi has lost his bid for reelection:
Berlusconi Suffers Setback Over Recount
By Ian Fisher, The New York Times

ROME, April 14 — Silvio Berlusconi's fight to remain prime minister suffered a possibly fatal blow on Friday when the Interior Ministry announced that there were not enough contested ballots to overturn the thin victory of his challenger, Romano Prodi. (link)
Such a shame. Berlusconi was one of the good guys, and he was a stand-up friend in the war on terror. Hopefully he'll be back in the future.

Human Waste

Another headline, another pervert has murdered another little girl:
Missing Okla. Girl's Body Found Near Home
By The Associated Press

PURCELL, Okla. (AP) -- The body of a 10-year-old girl missing for two days was found in a neighbor's apartment Friday, and the man who lives there has been arrested, authorities said.

Jamie Rose Bolin was reported missing Wednesday night when she didn't return home.

The girl was last seen Wednesday afternoon at the library in Purcell, about 20 miles south of Oklahoma City.

A tip from the FBI, one of several agencies that helped in the search, led authorities to Kevin Ray Underwood's apartment. (link)

You can bet the FBI tip had to do with the fact that this scum has a history of sexual predation. Why was he walking the streets?

A Step Backward

What's up with Nebraska?
Law to Segregate Omaha Schools Divides Nebraska
By Sam Dillon, The New York Times

OMAHA, April 14 — Ernie Chambers is Nebraska's only African-American state senator, a man who has fought for causes including the abolition of capital punishment and the end of apartheid in South Africa. A magazine writer once described him as the "angriest black man in Nebraska."

He was also a driving force behind a measure passed by the Legislature on Thursday and signed into law by the governor that calls for dividing the Omaha public schools into three racially identifiable districts, one largely black, one white and one mostly Hispanic. (link)
Segregated schools? Look you people, we are going to get beyond this silly fixation with skin color - in my lifetime. And I don't have that many years left.

So stop it.