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

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Virginia Blog Carnival Is Up

The latest offering from Virginia's best bloggers - the Virginia Blog Carnival - is posted for your reading pleasure over at Virginia Virtucon. Check it out here. I know for a fact that Jim Riley put a lot of time and effort into this. I think it shows in the final product.

You should all send Jim money. Big wads of cash.

Clinging To The Past

Now, I've heard of nuclear-free zones. And drug-free zones. Even gun-free zones. But this is a new one - a tall structure-free zone. And this creative attempt at banning ... tall structures comes not from the hippies who run Berkley, California. Or from the whacked-out, drugged up left in Vermont. This comes from nearby Patrick County, Virginia:
Ordinance prohibits "tall structures"
Supervisors say 60-day measure gives time to study wind turbines
By Nancy Lindsey, The Stuart Enterprise


The Patrick County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 Monday to pass an emergency ordinance prohibiting the construction of structures above 100 feet in Patrick County--a measure aimed at controlling the possible development of 400-foot-high wind turbines on the county's ridges. The ordinance, which is only in effect for 60 days, designates the entire area of Patrick County as a "tall structure zoning district" and exempts telecommunication structures such as cell phone towers.


County Administrator Regena Handy issued a press release last week confirming that the board has been approached by a company interested in building wind farms in Patrick County, but is not in negotiation with the company. (link)
I had to laugh when I read that the Board of Supervisors felt it necessary to conjure up an "emergency ordinance" in order to stop an anonymous company from building an undisclosed number of wind turbines on undesignated property belonging to an unnamed landowner somewhere in the county - perhaps.

And you wonder how people could possibly have panicked after listening to "War of the Worlds" on the radio.

I'm curious to know if, when the information is finally released, it will turn out that an environmentalist - in order to be offended by the degradation of Patrick County's scenic landscape - will have to backpack into the remote and completely isolated area where these offensive-to-the-sensibilities wind turbines will be constructed. You can bet they'll be duly aghast - after their two-day trek - at the destruction of nature's pristine beauty - and all that.

Personally, I find the tall, statuesque windmills to be awe-inspiring. And they would be much more appealing to the eye than are all the abandoned and decaying homes that dot the landscape throughout the county today.

And who knows, maybe someone will make a buck or two off the project - and employ a couple of people in the process. There is an upside to what some will say is capitalism at its worst.

That having been said, my guess is this attempt at stifling private enterprise won't stop with a ban on windmills. There is buried in this story a portent of things to come:
[Supervisor David] Young made motions amending the ordinance to include, not exempt, cell phone towers and to direct the Patrick County Planning Commission to start work on a comprehensive land use plan [my emphasis].
" ... a comprehensive land use plan." I wonder where the politburo stands on the issue of backyard sandboxes.

What To Make Of This?

I've now read in a number of different newspapers that Toyota is considering the possibility of constructing an assembly plant in the Roanoke area. See the Richmond Times-Dispatch take on the story here.

This would be great news if true, but I chose not to comment yesterday when the "news" first surfaced because this is - maybe - one rung above rumor. When something substantive develops, I'll have laudatory things to say.

Will Vehrs, over at
Commonwealth Conservative, finds something peculiar about the Toyota story too:

Here’s an oddity of the story:

Roanoke Valley officials contacted yesterday were unaware of Toyota’s interest. “But I hope it’s true. It would be wonderful,” said Phil Sparks, head of the Roanoke Valley Economic Development Partnership.

Hmmm. Local governments that frequently complain about Richmond keeping them in the dark get another egregious example to cite. (
link)

My limited experience in such matters - I was responsible for site development on the corporate side of things several years ago - suggests that local officials would get wind of such pursuits long before state agencies are approached by company officials. The ducks-in-a-row kind of thing.

There's also the small issue of ... conflicting stories:

Regardless, let's wait and see what develops ... someday.

* Update 04/17/06 11:16am: I have received word from two sources - one reliable, the other totally unreliable - that the Roanoke Times had a front-page article Sunday on the Toyota story - but only in its print version (which makes it tough for those of us who live in areas where the Times refuses to deliver because of our remoteness, to keep abreast of area news, ahem).

Update 04/17/06 11:18am: I received word from another very reliable source that the Indianapolis Star is reporting that Toyota is also considering a site in Indiana. Add it to the growing list.

Update 04/17/06 3:49pm: I'm getting lots of help finding the online version of the Roanoke Times article regarding the Toyota story. It does exist. And it can be found here. It provides no new information though.

'The Most Effective We've Ever Had'

The mainstream press, in lockstep, used a familiar ploy last week to undermine and further weaken the Bush administration. They went after a surrogate. They dragged six generals out of retirement who had widely varying issues relating to the capabilities, style, demeanor, or performance of Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld, and got each of them to voice their complaints in front of a microphone. The execution was flawless. The ex-generals - we're to believe - just happened to come out at the same time to call for Rumsfeld's resignation.

Well, others in the retired general ranks disagree that Rumsfeld has failed us (you'll not see CBS News With Katie Couric reporting this, I'll wager). In fact, these other generals deem his stint at the helm of the 1.4 million man and woman military as being arguably the most productive in history:
In Defense of Donald Rumsfeld
By John Crosby, Thomas McInerney, Buron [sic] Moore, and Paul Vallely, Writing in the Wall Street Journal


Foes of the Bush administration described the recent calls by six retired generals for Donald Rumsfeld to resign or be fired as "growing military pressure" for him to do so.
These retired generals claim he should go for, among other things, ignoring the advice of senior military leaders and bungling the global war on terror in Iraq with poorly planned war-fighting strategies and post-Saddam planning efforts. We strongly disagree.


Despite criticisms, Mr. Rumsfeld is arguably one of the most effective secretaries of defense our nation has ever had. Under his watch, the U.S. military has been transforming; it brilliantly deposed Mullah Omar's barbaric Taliban regime (Osama bin Laden's sanctuary) and Saddam Hussein's ruthless Baathist regime, freeing 50 million people from oppression and placing the countries on democratic paths. With these actions, terrorists have been denied secure home bases. These are a few key factors why terrorists have been unable to attack the American homeland again. The policy and forward strategy implemented by Secretary Rumsfeld has taken the fight to the enemy as did the nation in World War II and the Cold War. (link may require subscription)

... taken the fight to the enemy ..." Yes. After years of inept and half-hearted attempts at making the scourge of Islamist terrorism simply go away (read the history of the Clinton administration and the non-war on terror conducted by Les Aspin and William Cohen), Rumsfeld is actively pursuing terrorists across the globe - and killing them.

And six generals long for us to go back to the good old days - pre 9/11. May they stay retired for a long, long time.