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

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

On The Mortality Of Will Vehrs

I was reading all the eulogies devoted to Will Vehrs' departure this evening and tears welled up in my eyes. I began to search for the appropriate words for the occasion and decided upon -
To Will: It is a far, far better place to which you set forth ... back to work.
To all others: Blogging is, by its nature, a temporary gig. I doubt that America's best-read bloggers with the highest traffic counts make any real income from it (unless you beg for donations to the tip jar like Andrew Sullivan). I've seen over the last ten years many come and many go. Some just burn out. Others lose interest. Still others are quickly shamed into oblivion. Some find that they really had nothing to say.

And then there are those whose weblog destiny is cut short by employment issues. Those are the unfortunate ones and there are, unfortunately, too many of them.

So Will is gone. He says for good. We'll surely miss him. But 200 new weblogs came online today to take his place ... and mine - when the time comes.

Such is the nature of this medium. Unlike those who write for the ages, we write for this day with no great expectations for tomorrow. And paychecks certainly don't confound things.

Our lot is much like that which Keats came to realize about his own place in the universe as he approached his last days. He took the time to write his own epitaph:

Here lies one whose name was writ in water
The world of the weblog. Bye, Will. We enjoyed you.

Them That Got It And Them That Don't

It came down to this. On Monday I called for the Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates to stand firm in their opposition to our Governor's tax increase proposal (see On That Whole Compromise Thing).

Yesterday the Roanoke Times editorial page called for the Virginia Senate to stand firm behind that same massive tax increase (see "Senators must not cave in budget fight").

We now see who got da juice:
Senate OKs budget bill, minus funds for roads
By Michael Sluss, The Roanoke Times

RICHMOND -- The Virginia Senate abandoned efforts to incorporate transportation-related tax increases into a new state budget Tuesday, a move that could help pave the way for a compromise with the House of Delegates on a spending plan for the next two years. (
link)
I am proud beyond words of the House Republicans - particularly that rookie from Wytheville - who stood up to the mighty host that was arrayed against them and kicked their collective tax-raising, big government, constituent-abusing, priority-ignoring asses.

In all seriousness - Good job. The people of Virginia thank you for being there for us.

In other words ...

The Times-Dispatch says it like it is:

Senate yields on new road funding
House anti-tax stance prevails; budget talks aim to avert shutdown
BY Jeff E. Schapiro and Pamela Stall Smith, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writers

The Virginia Senate yesterday surrendered on new taxes for transportation, likely averting a government shutdown but reducing chances of a long-term fix for roads and transit.

Senators endorsed their downsized plan 24-8 after virtually no debate. Most of the dissenters were Northern Virginia Democrats feeling betrayed over the lack of new money to ease congestion in the region.

The Senate's reversal is a setback for Gov. Timothy M. Kaine. The Democrat had vowed a remedy for transportation in his freshman year as governor, pushing in league with the Senate higher taxes. (
link)

The Governor, in response to the crushing defeat said ... well, it doesn't really matter what he said anymore. He's toast.

How Will We Survive?

I wanted to pick up on the reaction from those who see government as our be-all/end-all to the defeat of the insidious Senate tax increase proposal. Where better to turn for resulting hysteria than Raising Kaine:

Virginia Budget Debacle; Thanks House Republicans!
by Lowell

Yesterday, after a 133-day faceoff, the Virginia Senate blinked first. Unfortunately, for now, the right-wing Republican-controlled House of Delegates got its wish: there will be no new taxes. Unfortunately for the rest of us, there will be no mass transit or roads either. [my emphasis] (link)

Really? Gosh. If I had known that there will be no roads or mass transit, I'd have been more inclined to favor the tax increase.

Lowell goes on to list the predictable quotes in the mainstream press that essentially complete the pattern: WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!

Look. This "transportation crisis" was a political stunt from the beginning. There'll be a few more frightened and angry reactions from those who were led to believe it was a reality but the hysteria will die down over the next several days and the General Assembly will budget for transportation improvements as it has for the last 200 years.

And all that ongoing road and bridge construction in Northern Virginia will continue - as normal.

More On Crazy Al's Bad Timing

Al Gore's new global warming horror flick, "An Inconvenient Truth" opens today during unseasonably cold weather:

Big Chill Hits Gore Global Warming Movie
Newsmax.com

Monday, May 22, 2006 11:37 a.m. EDT

In just two days, former Vice President Al Gore's blockbuster global warming movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," hits theaters nationwide. But the weather doesn't seem to be cooperating.

Instead of the sweltering late-May temperatures that might give the impression there was something to Gore's claims that the planet is melting, New Yorkers turned up their thermostats Sunday night to fend off an unusual pre-Memorial Day chill.

In the lower Hudson Valley, frost warnings were issued, as the overnight temperature dipped to a chilly 38 degrees Fahrenheit.

The rest of the country was enjoying unseasonably cool weather as well, with Dallas and Atlanta - where the temperature often tops 90 degrees by late-May - coming in 10 degrees below seasonal norms.

Chicago's temperature had climbed to just 55 degrees by mid-morning. (
link)

Al Gore gets no respect. Not even from Mother Nature.

Hat tip to James Taranto

I'm Holding My Breath ...

They're serious this time:
House, Senate to tackle pork
By Amy Fagan, The Washington Times


House and Senate leaders take a major spending test this week as they try to complete a hurricane and war emergency-funding bill, but face tough negotiations over billions of dollars in extra, unrelated items that the Senate added to its version of the bill. (
link)
I guarantee you that railroad project (appropriately dubbed "The Railroad To Nowhere") stays in the bill. Some things - like fiscal discipline, or the lack thereof - never change.

The Pot And That Black Kettle

Here's an original idea: Hillary Clinton wants to tax the profits of Big Oil:
Hillary urges tax on oil profits
By Eric Pfeiffer, The Washington Times


Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday called for a two-year tax on oil company profits to help amass $50 billion for the creation of an energy research fund, saying dependence on foreign oil weakens national security.

"We need to reform our energy taxes so that large oil companies who reap huge benefits from unexpectedly high energy prices over the next two years will be required to pay a portion of their profits into the strategic energy fund," the New York Democrat said while outlining her energy plan at the National Press Club. (
link)
I have an idea that goes along with hers. How about we put a tax on huge profits reaped on the sale of books* that the author didn't write.**

* $8 million advance for "Living History."

** Hillary made far more profit off each book sold than Exxon Mobil makes off of a gallon of gas. We can call it a Tax On Unearned Benefits.

It Didn't Work Then. It Won't Work Now.

Former Attorney General Ed Meese explains our reasons for being skeptical with regard to all the talk about guest worker programs and paths to citizenship for illegal aliens:
An Amnesty by Any Other Name ...
By Edwin Meese III, Writing in The New York Times


Two decades ago, while serving as attorney general under President Ronald Reagan, I was in the thick of things as Congress debated the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. The situation today bears uncanny similarities to what we went through then.

Like the amnesty bill of 1986, the current Senate proposal would place those who have resided illegally in the United States on a path to citizenship, provided they meet a similar set of conditions and pay a fine and back taxes. The illegal immigrant does not go to the back of the line but gets immediate legalized status, while law-abiding applicants wait in their home countries for years to even get here. And that's the line that counts. In the end, slight differences in process do not change the overriding fact that the 1986 law and today's bill are both amnesties.

There is a practical problem as well: the 1986 act did not solve our illegal immigration problem. From the start, there was widespread document fraud by applicants. Unsurprisingly, the number of people applying for amnesty far exceeded projections. And there proved to be a failure of political will in enforcing new laws against employers.

After a six-month slowdown that followed passage of the legislation, illegal immigration returned to normal levels and continued unabated. (
link)
We are going to do again what didn't work then.

If we want to end this, we need to start by securing the border. Then we can deal with the illegals who are here.