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

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Stick a Fork In 'Em

The Virginia Senate is flailing, searching frantically for a way out of a fiasco of its own making:

Senators work late on revamped budget proposal

Senators mulled a half-dozen transportation measures Wednesday, preparing one last package of statewide and regional roads, rails and transit measures.

Senate leaders were busy Wednesday evening recasting their statewide transportation proposal. They were also preparing bills to establish regional taxing, tolling and road- and transit-building authorities in northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.

The new proposals were privately viewed as probably the last chance to budge the House, which is against new taxes. (link)
Here's the harsh truth: the House has no reason to compromise now and every reason not to. The people of Virginia have never supported Governor Kaine's stunt - that being his discovering the need for a massive tax increase as soon as he got in office, one that he had opposed prior.

And now that gasoline prices are going through the roof, for the Governor and the Senate to continue to demand an increase in citizens' tax burden, a portion of which involves an increase in the tax on gasoline at the wholesale level, especially at a time when the government is sitting on a massive revenue surplus, the Governor's pals know they've made a grievous error.

The Senate is looking for a way out of this. Soon the members will be begging for one.

A saying from my youth advises: Never kick a man when he's down. What I've learned in my short life calls for just the opposite.

I say, end their shenanigans once and for all. It's time the House called for a tax cut.

Update 04/27/06 7:41pm: Looks like I'm late to the party. Jim (and Chad) had already pounced on this story.

The House Goes On The Attack

It took too many days but finally the Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates read my advice and are linking the Democrats' demand for an increase in gas taxes with the skyrocketing price of gas at the pump:

Gas prices may derail VA Senate plan to raise gas tax

Gas prices have House Republicans calling on the Senate to put a lid on their plan to increase the gas tax. House leaders say adding to the cost of gas right now just isn't right, and at least one senator admits it's a proposal that's becoming increasingly harder to sell. (link)
Now, drive it home, fellas. This is the cornerstone of the Governor's tax proposal. If it goes, his campaign to raise a broad array of taxes crumbles. Stop him now.

The Pack Is Superbowl Bound

Okay, I can dream. Can't I?

But things are looking up for the Green Bay Packers:
Packers, Woodson agree to terms

One day after Brett Favre announced that he was returning, the Packers made their most significant free agent pickup this year. FOXSports.com has learned that the Packers have agreed to terms on a seven-year deal in the $45 million range for Raiders Pro Bowl defensive back Charles Woodson. (link)
Favre and Woodson. This is good. Now if we can get Sharper back. And Desmond Howard. And Reggie White.* And ...

I know. I know. Don't email me. It's my dream and I can dream what I want.

A Quiz To Start Your Morning

I find myself this morning in Emmitsburg, MD. Quick! Here's a quiz for all you Civil War buffs out there. For what is Emmitsburg famous? You have thirty seconds.

The clock is ticking.

No, cavalry battles that took place in the area don't (quite) measure up. And no, troop movements through here don't rise to the level of making it into most history books ( I should mention that Confederate troops moving through here didn't burn down the barns and mills in their path as did the boys in blue when they came through Bland and Wythe Counties, Virginia in 1864 - some wounds never heal). The service provided maimed and dying soldiers by the Sisters of Charity here deserves more recognition, but that's not what I had in mind either.

OK. Time's up.

A hint to the answer to the quiz is provided in the words "Confederates" and "troop movements." I'm about seven miles south - as the crow flies up the old Emmitsburg Pike - of a quaint little Pennsylvania town called Gettysburg.

It's actually the pike itself that has the greatest name recognition among Civil War historians. On the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, the area around the pike became the scene of horrific fighting. Here's a brief excerpt from an after-action report written by a Union officer, Colonel Henry J. Madill of the 141st PA Volunteer Infantry, who was there 143 years ago:

"In the meanwhile our line advanced up the slope and deployed in the oat-field, some 15 rods from the pike, and were ordered to lie down. At this point we sustained a severe fire from artillery for some time, the enemy having a good range. After remaining in this position for some twenty minutes or more, I received an order from General Graham, through the acting assistant adjutant-general (Lieutenant [Charles H.] Graves), to move my regiment out, and place it in front of Clark's battery. This order was in a few minutes countermanded, and I formed my regiment in rear of that battery, and, while supporting that battery, the Second New Hampshire was ordered up to my support. They took position in my rear. Here the fire from the enemy's artillery was very severe, and we sustained a considerable loss in killed and wounded.

At this time it was observed that the enemy was advancing in strong force from across and down the Emmitsburg pike. My regiment, together with two others (the Third Michigan [Colonel Pierce], and Third Maine, Colonel Lakeman), were ordered to the front of the peach orchard, the battery occupying that position having withdrawn and left the field. We advanced, the Third Maine on my right and the Third Michigan (Colonel Pierce) on my left. The enemy was advancing in two columns, one column crossing direction of the position occupied by the Second and Third Brigades, which were to our left and somewhat to our rear. When they advanced below the stone barn, they endeavored to extend their lines to the left.

It was at this time that my regiment, with the two others spoken of, was ordered forward. We engaged the flank of the enemy, and prevented him from extending his lines this side of the small creek that runs through the field near the stone barn. At this time the other column had advanced up to the pike and deployed, and was marching on the point we were occupying. The battery in position near the road and immediately to the left of the log house withdrew. The Third Maine, after exchanging a few shots with the enemy at this point, withdrew. Colonel Pierce's regiment (Third Michigan) withdrew about the same time, or a few minutes before.

I found myself alone, with a small regiment of about 180 men. (link)

Colonel Madill's regiment was nearly destroyed in the fighting along the Emmitsburg Pike:
...I took 200 men into the fight, with 9 officers. Out of that number I lost 145 men and 6 commissioned officers ...
When I awoke this morning, I thought I heard the sound of cannonading off in the distance ...

I'll actually be heading in the opposite direction when the day begins. I'll be driving down what is today Route 15 to Frederick, where I have business to conduct.

Before I leave though, I may toss some litter out my car window, just to get back at the damn yankees who burned those barns not that many years ago.

Today FEMA, Tomorrow The Dept of Education

There is a growing consensus that the United States government is broken and needs to be scrapped. Well, not quite. But a Congressional committee is recommending that one (major) part of the government be abolished anyway. It's a beginning:
Senate panel recommends abolishing FEMA
By Lara Jakes Jordan, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Hurricane Katrina's latest fatality should be FEMA, the nation's disaster response agency, a Senate inquiry concluded in calling for a government overhaul to avoid future failures like those the devastating storm exposed. (link)

Hurricane Katrina exposed the weaknesses inherent in a federal bureaucracy being designed to handles major crises.

Hurricane Drop-out Rate and Hurricane Illiteracy and Hurricane Failing-Schools should be sending the same signal to the same Congresspersons.