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

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Open-Minded Is Right

The United Methodist Church is trying to keep from losing the rest of its rapidly dwindling membership, not with the proven method of reaching out with the Word of God, but with a billboard campaign.

Good grief:
United Methodist ads posted in Richmond
Richmond Times-Dispatch

The United Methodist Church is testing an outdoor-advertising campaign in 15 cities, including Richmond.


The campaign, to run through June 26, uses billboards along heavily traveled routes to present its "Open hearts. Open minds. Open Doors" message. (
link)
You know what I've always said about that whole "open-mindedness" thing:
Like the birdcage, an open mind is an empty mind.
I have two suggestions for the rabidly liberal United Methodist Church leadership: (1) Take heed of this billboard
and (2) If you'll move away from campaigns relating to government redistribution of wealth and that vast right-wing conspiracy and concentrate on ensuring a place for the flock in heaven, you'll find there'll be no need for a silly billboard campaign. Your churches will be packed to overflowing on Sunday.


Your declining membership is a message from God. Do you have any idea where you are going?

'But I Endorsed Webb Before I Endorsed ...'

Is this a plus or a minus?
Kerry endorses Webb in race for Senate
Ex-presidential candidate says Virginia Democrat has best chance to beat Allen
By Michael Hardy, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer


Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful James Webb has been endorsed by Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate in 2004. (link)
On that "Virginia Democrat has best chance to beat Allen" thing: Isn't that the same sort of reasoning Democrats nationally used in the 2004 primary when they turned away from Howard Dean and toward the hapless senator from Massachusetts?

Shouldn't there be a real reason for supporting Webb? Like maybe he stands for something?

Tourism Cost Accounting

Well, so far this year Bland County's tourism industry is $7,252.48 in the hole:

Ailing hiker rescued on Bland, Tazewell line
By Jim Talbert, Media General News Service

Eyeing half dozen emergency vehicles and a large crowd of people, David Vanderwall grinned and asked, "All this for little ole me?''


Despite several hours of being dehydrated and ill while hiking the Appalachian Trail on Wednesday, Vanderwall seemed in good spirits when he arrived at the bottom of the mountain. Workers from six agencies spent most of the morning searching for Vanderwall after a call from his mother
in Illinois to the Virginia State Police.


Tazewell County Fire and Rescue transported him to Tazewell Community Hospital where he was being treated for dehydration. Caudill said the 32-year-old Vanderwall is from an area near Chicago and had been on the trail since March 18 when he started in Georgia.

[Tazewell County Sheriff H.S.] Caudill said Vanderwall believed that his water filtration system may have failed and caused his illness. (
link)
The hiker gets his drinking water from a creek and runs it through his filtration system. He can't even afford the Aquafina at the Bland Citgo.

Southwest Virginia and its political leadership are basing our economic salvation on tourists like David Vanderwall.

Why am I less than enthusiastic ...

No Wonder I'm Peeing Carbuncles

I drove past this accident on I-77 just after it had occurred:
Wytheville crews clear hazardous materials
By Paul Dellinger, The Roanoke Times


About noon on Thursday, [a] tractor-trailer overturned near the Interstate 81 (sic) Exit 72 ramp leading to the TA Travel Center. This one was carrying about 30,000 pounds of toluenesulfonic acid, but none of it spilled.

"But it's toxic if it's inhaled, so we have to wait until the cleanup contractor gets here so they can do the off-load," Anderson said Thursday.

Members of the Wytheville Police Department, Virginia State Police and firefighters from Wytheville and Max Meadows once more had to secure the area and direct traffic around it ... (
link)
I don't know what toluenesulfonic acid is or does but I'll bet I don't want it in my morning Wheaties. And I drove within a few feet of it.

I feel faint all of a sudden.

Getting Unemployment To A Manageable Level

You folks over in Henry County first read about this last month here:
Unemployment rate continues to drop
by Bill Wyatt, Martinsville Daily


As the population of Martinsville and Henry County decrease (sic), so does the unemployment rate. Henry County dropped from 5.4 percent in February to 4.9 percent in March. Martinsville was down from 8.2 to 8.1 percent in the same period. (
link)
The depopulation continues unabated:
Martinsville, Henry County witness exodus
The community has had the biggest drop in population of any metropolitan area in the state in recent years.
By John Cramer, The Roanoke Times


MARTINSVILLE -- When John Luther, Guy Stanley and Tanya Redd moved away from the Martinsville-Henry County area in the wake of massive manufacturing layoffs, they were part of the largest population loss for any metropolitan area in Virginia in recent years.

The exodus of 3,500 people from the Martinsville-Henry County area in the past five years is significant, further fracturing a blue-collar way of life that existed for generations. (
link)
Unfortunately, the reporter falls into the "unemployment rate" trap with this:
And while the area's 6 percent unemployment rate is still double the statewide rate, it has finally fallen below double digits.
That sounds like a good thing. But after the unemployment rate jumped into double digits when all those layoffs occurred, it has fallen to 6%, not because of the creation of new jobs but because the number of employable people has been reduced as thousands of Martinsvillians have made the migration north looking for a future.

Martinsville could have an effective unemployment rate of 0% when the last person flees the city.

Anyway, the numbers look bad. And all the hiking trails and bike paths in the world aren't going to make them any better.

Google Is Banning Bloggers?

Disclaimer: Google owns this website (blogger.com).

That having been pointed out, this is, at a minimium, despicable:
Conservative sites un-Googled
Washington Times editorial

... recent reports, documented by Newsbusters.org, a sister site of the Media Research Center, that Google is censoring political sites on account of "hate speech" threaten the company's vigorously cultivated standing with the public.

As Newsbusters reports, in March 2005, Rusty Shackleford, who runs the conservative blog the Jawa Report, received an e-mail message from Google informing him that: "Upon recent review, we've found that your site contains hate speech, and we will no longer be including it in Google News." A year later, Jim Sesi, who runs the conservative MichNews.com, received a similar e-mail from Google: "We have received numerous reports about hate content on your site, and after reviewing these reports, decided to remove your site from Google news." Two weeks ago, Frank Salvato, who runs the conservative New Media Journal, also heard from Google that his site was being removed, again because of "hate content."

Aside from each of these three sites being largely conservative in outlook, the offending material cited by Google were articles criticizing radical Islam and Islamists. Upon review, the articles contain language no more -- in some cases far less -- inflammatory than the numerous Muslim Web sites a user can find when searching Google News. (
link)

It's no secret that Google executives are in the tank for the Democratic Party. But this action is outrageous and contemptible.

The Media Hysteria Begins

Nobody knows the facts in the case but that never stops the mainstream media:
Haditha reminiscent of My Lai
Richard Pyle, Associated Press


NEW YORK -- On a March morning in 1968, American troops swept into a village on South Vietnam's central coast in search of communist guerrillas. Instead, they found unarmed civilians -- and gunned
them down, leaving bodies huddled in ditches.


Nearly four decades later, the notorious name of that hamlet -- My Lai -- has been summoned from memory again, as the U.S. military investigates allegations of mass civilian killings ... (
link)
My guess is, knowing the mindset, George Bush's re-election summoned memories of My Lai too.

It's probably unfair to suggest but maybe we should wait until we have the facts in the story before we launch into hysterical rants.

For the love of God.

You See Why I Get So Confused

Roanoke Times, May 13, 2006:

An intrusive NSA looms as 'big brother'
The Constitution protects privacy even if many Americans appear willing to surrender it in the name of security.

The Founding Fathers crafted the Fourth Amendment to protect Americans' private lives from unwarranted government monitoring. The Bush administration's combing through tens of millions of phone records in the name of security disregards that bedrock protection. (
link)
Roanoke Times, June 1, 2006

Progress on tracking drugs
The state's newly expanded prescription database should help rein in drug abuse without making legitimate patients suffer needlessly.

The database is good news for physicians, who are increasingly reluctant to prescribe painkillers to patients for fear of running afoul of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Doctors can draw unwanted police scrutiny when duped by "doctor shoppers," people who go from one physician's office to another, gathering prescriptions to feed their addictions or to sell drugs illicitly.

The database is good news for the police, who can draw on the information as a part of already active investigations into suspected illegal drug use or sales. (
link)
Let's go back to that 4th Amendment thingy. It's been a while since I read it. Does it say anything about it applying only to the evil Bush administration?

Update: Problem solved.

Employers Make A Huge Difference

With all the talk about Toyota possibly building a manufacturing plant outside of Roanoke, I found this article about the transformation that is taking place in tiny Princeton, Indiana - where Toyota built a plant a decade ago - to be interesting:

Auto plants bring change, but it's not fast or furious
By Theodore Kim, The Indianapolis Star

A decade into the marriage between Princeton and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana, the city is both Toyota's prestigious home base and a rusting, rural Hoosier town. The plant employs 4,700 people, property assessments and incomes are up and there are signs of growth. Yet the downtown has struggled, even as the nearby metropolitan Evansville area has boomed.

With a robust network of highways and train lines nearby, plenty of open space and a pool of workers to draw from, Toyota rightly believed the area was a natural site for a large factory ...

A 2004 study commissioned by Toyota and done jointly by the University of Southern Indiana and the University of Evansville offers the broadest look to date of the plant's influence.

The study found annual median household incomes in Gibson County have risen from $27,200 to $32,900 during the past decade. Per-capita personal incomes have increased from $17,500 to $25,500 a year. And the county's total assessed property value has more than tripled from $278 million to more than a $1 billion.

Moreover, the automaker has donated nearly $10 million in charitable grants to the area since it arrived, said Toyota spokeswoman Kelly Dillon.

Pay and benefits at the plant are good, with wages starting at $17.76 an hour ... (link)

We can continue to build worthless hiking trails that will lure a handful of penniless college students to the area. Or we can build $2.7 billion manufacturing plants that will employ 4,700 people and pay out $470 million in wages and benefits - each year.

I have my preferences.