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

Friday, April 21, 2006

On Shad Planking

I made mention of the 58th annual Shad Planking extravaganza the other day. But really only a mention. If you want details, all the details, go over to Kilo's Spark It Up! He's all over the event.

Calling On The Multitudes

What happens when a Governor invokes the will of the people but ... the people will not have any of it?

has the answer. And photos to punctuate the much-deserved humiliation that accompanies this debacle.

The juiciest aspect to this story is the Washington Post's pre-event headline: "Kaine Tries To Flood Capitol With Supporters." As it turned out, Kaine's massive turnout of supporters couldn't flood the urinal in the men's room at the Richmond Marriott where the crowd assembled if they'd tried en bloc.

Cut your losses now, Tim. This is as good as it's going to get.

On a side note - If you read Chad's post in its entirety, you come away with an understanding of the power of the weblog. A civilian attended the rally and took meticulous notes. The notes, and photos, were forwarded - probably by design - to Chad Dotson, where the event was summarily blogged. There was no byline. There'll be no accolades showered upon the "reporter." There'll be no Pulitzer. He or she was motivated by an interest in bringing us the news that the mainstream press would not. And we are better for it.

More Tourism Data Comes In

At the same time that Congressman Rick Boucher makes the rounds telling infatuated local bureaucrats to gear their efforts toward the tourism industry (read the latest example here) if they wish to improve the bleak employment problem in the area, there is mounting evidence that the tourism industry is in precipitate decline. Another example:

Outfitters seeking state tourism help
By Phil Kabler, Charleston Gazette Staff writer

West Virginia’s whitewater rafting industry has been in sharp decline since 1995, and the state outfitters association is asking the Tourism Commission for help to try to reverse the trend.

From its peak year of 225,580 rafters on the New and Gauley rivers in 1995, turnout has dropped 18 percent, to 185,460 rafters last year — the third consecutive sub-200,000 year for the industry, according to figures provided by the West Virginia Professional River Outfitters Association.

The drop-off has occurred in spite of aggressive advertising and marketing efforts by outfitters, association executive director Eric Pories told the commission. (link)
Southwest Virginia and West Virginia are tied at the hip when it comes to the New River rafting and canoeing industry. If similar figures become available out of Giles and Montgomery Counties, I'll pass them along.

Regardless, it's bad enough that tourist traffic appears to be in rapid decline; it's worse yet that our political leadership is putting all its emphasis on tourism as being our economic salvation.

I'd rather they - starting with Boucher - focused on keeping manufacturers from closing their doors and on enticing new ones to the area. Don't let anyone kid you - manufacturing is booming across the USA. It should be here as well.

Good. But Can You Do It Up In Fairfax?

Governor Kaine excited the crowd at Environment Virginia 2006 yesterday:
Governor vows to preserve Va. land
In a policy speech at an environmental conference, Kaine said he would protect more land from development.
Tim Thornton, The Roanoke Times

LEXINGTON -- Gov. Tim Kaine vowed Thursday to shield 400,000 acres of Virginia from development before his term ends in 2010.

That's 70,000 acres more than the commonwealth has protected since 1968. (
As soon as I read that, I thought, "Uh oh. Another assault on our effort to halt the slide into economic depression here in Southwest Virginia. I hope those 400,000 acres to be set aside are up in Northern Virginia."

You see, over-development is a big issue with urban environmentalists. In response to the concerns of the folks up there, Democrats make speeches demanding zero-growth down here. So they set aside more land down here that will never be put to productive use, and that somehow pleases the urbanites up there. Oddly, they never set aside large swaths of land in Arlington or Chantilly or Woodbridge.

And here is what you usually get as a reason for requiring our bushes and rocks to remain undisturbed until the end of time:
Kaine said he learned the attraction of Virginia's land long ago, when he and his then-fiancee Anne Holton were trying to decide whether they should set up housekeeping in Virginia, near her parents, or in Kansas, near his.

Holton invited him to a friend's cabin near Goshen Pass, west of Lexington. It was fall and the trees were bursting with color.
The trees were bursting with color in the fall. An epiphany.

It's always the same story. Affluent urbanites from DC want to be able to come down here (or over there to Goshen Pass) and look at the colorful leaves - once a year. The fact that they have to drive past a landscape dotted with abandoned homes and factories, well, that just adds to the ambience. In their own way, they provide color too. And make for an enjoyable weekend.

Swell. But I vote we make a state park out of Alexandria.

False Alarm

Al Gore has never been able to catch a break. Just when he starts his national tour promoting the end of the world - and his new global warming documentary* (more on that here) - scientists studying the earth's temperature have released their latest pronouncement on the subject - they were all wrong all along:
Scientists cool outlook on global warming
By Jennifer Harper, The Washington Times

Global warming may not be as dramatic as some scientists have predicted.

Using temperature readings from the past 100 years, 1,000 computer simulations and the evidence left in ancient tree rings, Duke University scientists announced yesterday that "the magnitude of future global warming will likely fall well short of current highest predictions." (link)
Whether it relates to the carcinogenic characteristics of butter or man's influence on global temperatures, I've learned over the years that, if you wait long enough, the idiots who make silly life-as-we-know-it-is-coming-to-an-end predictions will be exposed - and we'll go back to our normal existence. As I've been predicting all along, the fervor behind the Theory of Global Warming is rapidly cooling.

As for Crazy Al, don't feel too sorry for him. I'm sure he'll find another crisis that's sure to end life as we know it.

* A thought - What if Crazy Al doesn't get paid his residuals before the world ends? Bummer.

Those Democrats Should Tell Our Democrats

This is rather bemusing:
Democrats Eager to Exploit Anger Over Gas Prices
By Michael Janofsky,
The New York Times

WASHINGTON, April 20 — Democrats running for Congress are moving quickly to use the most recent surge in oil and gasoline prices to bash Republicans over energy policy, and more broadly, the direction of the country. (
Someone should get with Governor Kaine and tell him to get with the program. Fuel tax increases are the order of the day here and the only organized opposition to state government-mandated gasoline price increases is coming from those brave House Republicans.

For that matter, someone should tell the state Republican Party that they have a major issue of their own here. "Why are gas prices so high in Virginia? Kaine did it!"

I could have been a politician ...