Quote

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

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

This Is Getting Silly

The stale news regarding Will Vehrs, the caption contest, and the Martinsville politicians who appear to have a lot of time on their hands has now made the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

State worker's blog remarks stir ire
Joking comments about Southside spur lawmaker to urge that employee be fired
By Michael Hardy, Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

A state worker's recent sardonic comments about Southside in an online caption contest have prompted a Virginia lawmaker to call on the governor to fire the employee.

Will Vehrs, 53, a business services manager at the Virginia Department of Business Assistance who is well-known among politically conservative "bloggers," said he has apologized for ... (link)

You all know the story.

Oh, and here's more breaking news:

Bloggers are people who write in online journals.
People who "write." Wait til these guys find out we actually use a keyboard.

Anyway, y'all need to lighten up They were JOKES, fellas.

And there've been enough firings coming out of Martinsville. We don't need to be advocating any more.

A Glaring Anti-Military Bias

Boy, it didn't take long for the Roanoke Times to decide that President Bush's nominee to head the CIA is a bad one. Like 99% of America (and most of Congress), I'm withholding judgement until I know more about General Michael Hayden, but a lack of knowledge or understanding never stops the Times.

It appears Hayden is the wrong man for the job because his (extensive) CIA experience is in technological surveillance and not in "human intelligence" -

Reject Hayden for CIA chief

In a post-9/11 world, the U.S. needs the CIA to refocus on human intelligence gathering.

Despite all its spy satellites and the capacity to intercept millions of phone calls and e-mails, America's intelligence community had no idea what U.S. troops would find -- or wouldn't find -- when they invaded Iraq.

The nation still needs human intelligence -- covert spies on the ground who speak the language and can gather information in person.

That need is one reason that Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, former head of the National Security Agency, is the wrong person to head the CIA right now. He has no experience with human spies. (
link)

I wonder if these guys will oppose Hillary Clinton's nomination when she runs for President. Unlike the General and his extensive resume, Hillary has absolutely no experience relating to (either her present job or ...) being Commander in Chief. Somehow I doubt it. But let's wait and see.

Anyway, this is a silly argument. We'd never have a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff if the administration adopted the muddled thinking of the Roanoke Times. After all, someone rising to the top of the military is going to have Air Force experience or Navy experience but never (rarely) both.

And then there is the other reason given, one being tossed about by critics looking in vain for a legitimate reason to oppose the nominee. Hayden is a military man:

Appointing someone in uniform as director of the CIA may be far from unprecedented, but Hayden's appointment would place every American intelligence agency under a military commander.
It's not only far from unprecedented, it's a rather common occurrence. There have been at least six members of the military to run the CIA over the years. Suddenly it's a problem? Only if you have a problem with the military in general.

The Times cites a Republican Congressman to make the argument:
"We need to be able to get the unvarnished intelligence, and we need to be able to get it from a civilian" ...
Why is that? We'll never know. It's left at that. It is because it is.

This all seems so wrong to me. After all, the worst intelligence failure in American history - 9/11 - occurred at a time when the spy agency was under feckless civilian management. For that reason alone, we should be demanding - perhaps - military oversight.

My guess is this has nothing to do with the CIA or Mike Hayden. The Roanoke Times once again demonstrates its hatred for all things military. Trapped in a time warp. 1972. Vietnam.

Roanoke's quaint little anachronism.

Speaking Truth To Ignorance

Today's lesson on high oil prices from the The American Spectator:

Stop the Scapegoating
By Ben Stein

There is something profoundly disturbing about the national craze to blame the oil companies for higher gasoline prices. It's not disturbing that people are upset about having to pay hugely more for gasoline and oil products. It's not disturbing that they are looking for someone to blame. The disturbing part is that we as a nation and as a government are blaming entities that have absolutely nothing or next to nothing to do with causing the high oil prices. It is as if we just arbitrarily decided that all left-handed people were to blame for the oil prices. That's how crazy it is.

Oil companies do not set oil prices. Oil prices are set on gigantic world markets by young millionaire
hedge fund traders, by university endowments speculating in commodities, by Chinese importers seeking new sources of oil for their red hot economy, by India doing the same thing, by us Americans needing cars to make us feel big and tough. (link)
He's right. The uninformed want to cast blame on Exxon Mobil as the villain when it comes to "high" gasoline prices. They would do well to look to the New York Mercantile Exchange instead. And to look into the mirror.

They won't. But they should.

They're Just Finding This Out?

You could have walked across the bridge from El Paso to Juarez fifteen years ago and found this going on:
Cigar makers burned by fakes
By Curt Anderson, The Associated Press


MIAMI -- Cigar aficionados beware: Those handmade Montecristos, Cohibas and Romeo y Julietas aren't necessarily premium smokes.


Law-enforcement and cigar industry officials say counterfeiters are marketing millions of dollars in fake upscale cigars, some even pretending to be authentic Cubans that are illegal to sell in the United States. (link)
The lesson to be learned here is that you either accept those fakes and pay "really low discount prices" for them or do what I did last week.

I was driving east on I-40 in North Carolina and stopped in Burlington (west of Durham) at JR Cigars, where I found what has to be the largest selection on earth (sorry, no Cubans) - from the best (Arturo Fuente) to the rest (bundles, seconds) and picked up a box of the finest the Dominicans have to offer.

For those of you who don't plan on driving down there this afternoon, you can shop JR online
here.

Anyway, be careful. It's easy to produce a fake Cuban cigar band. The cigar on the other hand ...

Shame On Us

This comes from the New York Times of all places. It should tell us something:
The Pretenders

After five straight years of profligacy, Republicans are desperately trying to portray themselves as the defenders of budget discipline. The challenge is driving them to new heights of hypocrisy. (
link)
The rabidly liberal editorialists at the New York Times have never met a spending program - worthy or otherwise - that they didn't like. And here they're chastising the Republican Party for depraved spending.

How embarrassing.