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

Thursday, May 04, 2006

On The Moussaoui Verdict

There seems to be a good bit of anger flying around today (such as ...) over the Moussaoui jury verdict. The 20th hijacker has been sentenced to life in prison instead of being executed.

So many people seem to be mad at - well, they're just mad.

I think it's time we pulled ourselves back together and moved forward.

To help achive that goal, I've enlisted the help of John Wayne - to remind us who were and what we are and why we are.

As only The Duke can do it. Click here.

He Is Not The Problem

I've been meaning to address the dust-up that has occurred at Commonwealth Conservative over the now infamous caption contest. Will Vehrs, perhaps the most gifted - and certainly the most insightful - writer in all the Virginia blog world, was having some fun at the expense of the residents in Martinsville and apparently one or more of the locals didn't take it well.

I think it was totally understandable that Will's attempt at humor was taken the way it was by the folks over there. Martinsville, more than any other city in Virginia, has been clobbered by plant closings, and many of the people living there are well beyond joking about their plight.

Still, I think it's time that those of us who have come to appreciate Will Vehrs for his contribution to our efforts at making this state - including Southwest and Southside Virginia - a better place to live (heck, he gets paid to do it), now speak out on his behalf.

Will meant no disrespect. I can say this with certainty - Will Vehrs wants the people of Martinsville to prosper. How do I know? He's come forth on a number of occasions to support us.

It took some digging, but I was able to obtain the following, written by Mr. Vehrs well over a year ago:

As I'm sure most readers know, there's a proposal to either start a new state university in Southside Virginia from scratch or have a consortium of existing universities start one. It's been discussed for years.

... I am totally baffled as to why this university idea is not a total slam-dunk.
There is land and private grant money available in Southside. Southside is a struggling area and a university would bring a welcome shot in the arm economically.

Build it and they will come. If the choice is no state university slot or a slot in Southside, kids and their parents will choose Southside. (
To the people in Martinsville, I offer this: We are struggling to cope with problems most folks outside the area cannot comprehend. The mills are closing. Families are being uprooted. Jobs are still hard to find. We wonder about our childrens' future.

But of all the issues we face, Will Vehrs isn't one of them. He means only the best for us all, whether his jokes read that way or not.

So. Cut him a break. Please. And do as I learned to do years ago.

I met a young man one afternoon at a social gathering about a year ago. We came upon one another at one of the tables heaping with (free) food. As he was scooping out some bean dip, he asked me:

"Where you from?"

"Bland," I replied.

"Oh, that's too bad. I'm sorry," he said with a grin.

Now at this point I could have taken offense at his snide remark and gone off on him. Instead I chuckled and moved off to ...

Actually, now that I think about it, I should have snatched him by his scraggly hair and kicked his skinny little white ass!

Uh, sorry.

To you folks in Martinsville: Don't do as I say, do as I did. And move on. We've got lots of work to do together.

What Does HE Have To Do With It?

Last I saw of our esteemed Congressman (that's my discrete way of avoiding mention of his name; it's been so long since he set foot in Bland County, I've forgotten it), he was at the rostrum in the House (on C-Span) last night ranting about Big Oil gouging us at the pump ... or something really inane like that.

Little did he (or I) know, he would be given top billing in the region's major newspaper for making a success of Bland County's effort to provide its residents and businesses "downtown" free access to wireless internet. From a Roanoke Times editorial:

Bland County joins the digital revolution
Free wireless Internet access will serve residents and provide an essential amenity to visitors.

Today Bland County strides into the digital world as its free, public, wireless Internet system goes live. They get it in Bland.

Today, wireless service covers only downtown Bland, but the county is already thinking about a second phase that would expand service to most of the county.*

U.S. Reps. Rick Boucher, D-Abingdon, and Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke, have long recognized the importance of bringing new technology to Southwest Virginia to promote economic growth. Both have strived to bring home funding for a variety of technology projects. Bland's system incrementally builds on their work. (

Just so you know, neither of these guys had anything to do with the Bland initiative.

The man who made it happen, the guy who would make a great replacement candidate for .. whatshisname ... is mentioned only tangentially. He gets a short quote:
"If they [providers] were aggressive and wanted to invest more in broadband here, there probably wouldn't be a need for this program," explained County Administrator Jonathan Sweet.

Take heart, Mr. Sweet. They have issues with which they're trying to cope. As we say in these parts, "We appreciatecha."

* I included this sentence to amuse myself. I still get a kick out of reading about "downtown Bland." It consists of just a few blocks of buildings, half of which are boarded up - and the Taj Mahal, otherwise known as the county courthouse.

Taking No Prisoners

For those of you who thought Governor Kaine's attempt to foist another massive tax increase on the overburdened people of Virginia was going to be a cakewalk, think again:
House puts brakes on transportation bill
GOP lawmakers said the transportation debate should be delayed until a budget is passed.
By Michael Sluss, The Roankoe Times

RICHMOND -- A House of Delegates committee deferred action on a series of Senate transportation measures Wednesday, as House Republican leaders insisted that lawmakers should first pass a new state budget and then debate Virginia's long-term transportation needs.

House Republicans said the transportation dispute should not delay passage of a plan to fund education, public safety and other state services. The finance committee tabled the bills for 90 days.

"We cannot do the people's business because of an attempt to extort tax increases out of one body," said Del. Sam Nixon, R-Chesterfield County. (

"We ... the people." It never loses its magic.

Where's The Outrage?

Didn't the Roanoke Times complain bitterly not long ago about the cronyism that pervades the Bush administration? (Katrina; FEMA, ...) Well, if nepotism is the ultimate form of cronyism, the Times editorial staff must be hopping mad about this:
Sheriff hires her sister as department spokeswoman
By Reed Williams, The Roanoke Times

Roanoke Sheriff Octavia Johnson has hired her sister, a poet, as her public information officer. (

Besides the fact that this smacks of discrimination, a poet?

The article goes on to provide the poet's resume and to provide her rather impressive accomplishments relating to "performance poetry."

I have no idea, having read the article in its entirety, how this gal is qualified for the post she's been handed by her sister but - depending on what performance poetry is - her press conferences will probably be a real hoot.

Real Smart, Fellas

The U.S. auto industry is hanging on by a thread. Sales are down. Inventories are up. Market share is down. Profits (actually losses) are in free-fall. Current and projected outlays for employee healthcare and retirement benefits are staggering.

And the UAW is contemplating a strike ...
U.A.W. Seeks a Strike Vote From Workers at Delphi
By Micheline Maynard and Jeremy W. Peters, The New York Times

DETROIT, May 3 — Under normal circumstances, a request by union leaders to authorize a strike is routine. But the situation between the United Automobile Workers and the Delphi Corporation is anything but normal.

The U.A.W. said Wednesday that it had asked its 24,000 workers at Delphi, the auto parts supplier that is operating under bankruptcy protection, to vote by May 14 whether to give union leaders permission to call a strike. If union leaders were to order a walkout, not only would Delphi be severely affected, but so would General Motors, which could itself be forced to file for bankruptcy protection as a result, analysts say. [my emphasis] (

I've never been able to figure these people out. The auto workers are upset about possible cuts in their pay and/or benefits and they decide, rather than accept it, to shut the company down and lose their pay and benefits entirely.

The world's gone mad.

Another Democrat Feels The Heat

While charges are being dropped against Crooked Politician Of The Century Tom Delay (what was he accused of again?), there is a growing number of Democrats who face hard time in the slammer. In addition to West Virginia Democratic Congressman Alan Mollohan's troubles over sweetheart deals with friends that may have brought him great personal wealth in return, there's this:
Businessman Pleads Guilty to Bribing a Representative
By Philip Shenon, The New York Times

WASHINGTON, May 3 — A Kentucky technology executive pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of bribing a member of Congress in an investigation that has centered on Representative William J. Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat.

The Kentucky businessman, Vernon L. Jackson ... acknowledged that he had paid $367,500 over four years to a company controlled by the family of a member of Congress described in court papers only as "Representative A, a member of the House of Representatives." In exchange, the court papers say, the lawmaker helped promote iGate's technology products to federal agencies, as well as to African governments and companies. (

Democratic Representative Nancy Pelosi, who is ostensibly in charge of this den of thieves, has said little about the growing "culture of corruption" within her own party. Perhaps it's because she has her own alleged problems with the law. Or it may be she's simply overwhelmed by the magnitude of the depravity and is powerless to do anything about it.

In any case, the Democratic Party has a growing problem and needs to take time out from its relentless effort to beat George W Bush in 2008 (...) and get its house in order.