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

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Beer's On Boucher!

"But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.

"Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat. "We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad."

''How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice.

"You must be,” said the Cat "or you wouldn’t have come here.”

Lewis Carroll, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"

It must be the availability of vast amounts of federal dollars that makes the sanest of public officials go stark raving mad. How else to explain this:
Funds to boost Bland tourism initiative
By Charles Owens, Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLAND, Va. — A $800,000 federal funding appropriation could finance a far-reaching tourism initiative for Bland County.

“The county of Bland is looking at a tourism initiative,” County Administrator Jonathan Sweet said. “We feel it is going to take a pragmatic approach to diversify our economy. We are looking at burning the candle at both ends and the middle, and tourism is a logical component of the diversifying of our economy. This federal budget appropriation will go toward basically launching investments in tourism, and those investments are going to look to capitalize upon our existing assets, further our existing assets, and bolster our existing tourism industries.” (
I now know why I'm not our county administrator. I would have phrased that first sentence differently.
The county of Bland is looking for a tourist.
So we're going to put up some more tourist-attracting buildings and wait ...

And wait ...

And ...

Guess who's behind this grand scheme - as if there were any doubt. Boucher:
In a report last week, U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., said the $800,000 federal appropriation would fund a tourism initiative that included a possible Wilderness Visitors’ and Interpretive Center in Bland that could be a focal point for tourists seeking to learn about what the county has to offer, as well as for the creation of new points of access for visitors to the Jefferson National Forest in Bland County, and the enhancement of the assets of the national forest through the creation of networks of multi-use trails, campgrounds and parking and picnic areas.
Here's the plan:
Sweet said the county is still working to determine how the funding will actually be used ...
Great plan. That means Boucher is throwing money at the county and we're scrambling to figure out how to spend it.

How about another hiking trail, Jonathan? Southwest Virginia only has 79 now with 13 more under construction.

I should have known:
“Exactly how those dollars will be spent hasn’t been decided,” Sweet said. “It will be transportation related with a focus on multi-use trail development.
At least he's thinking positively. "Multi-use" means he anticipates more than one tourist taking advantage of our $800,000 trails and tourism stuff.

If I'd been asked by Congressman Boucher for my opinion, I'd have had a better suggestion for that $800,000 in happy money he wants to dole out. I'd have recommended Bud Lite for all the citizenry. It would have at least provided more short-term gratification, and if purchased at the Citgo station in town, would bring more long-term economic stimulus.

And after it's all gone, we could gather together at the park in town for a "Urination Days" festival (now there's a tourist attraction) and we can all pee on the county literally - rather than politically as these our public officials are doing.

$800,000. Our tax dollars at work.

Until I Sprout Wings ...

There are two quick ways to enter and exit Bland County, Virginia (not that anyone would ever want to exit once they enter). Both involve I-77. Both involve tunnels. And this week, both will involve pains in the posterior:

Interstate 77 tunnels-rehabilitation project: A rehabilitation project at I-77 East River Mountain Tunnel and Big Walker Mountain Tunnel is now underway. This week, (June 5-9), be alert to lane closures at both tunnels:
Northbound lane closures at Big Walker from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Thursday; and

Southbound lane closures at East River Mountain from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Monday through Thursday.

Wide loads over 12 feet wide are not permitted during the lane closures. (link)
Backups at the tunnels when a lane is closed rival anything you all up in northern Virginia ever face. We're talking miles of stalled traffic. And the best news of all?
Completion: fall 2008.
Somebody kill me.

I Get Even More Confused

Three days. Three editorials. See if there's any consistency here:

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. (


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)


Roanoke Times, June 5, 2006

Big Brother strikes again

The Bush administration's rush to scrutinize America's private lives continues unabated. The Justice Department now wants Internet companies to record their customers' online activities so that law enforcement can analyze them later. (

Tracking drug prescriptions for the government is good. Tracking web activity for the government is bad. A database to be used by the police in "suspected" criminal activity is good. A database created to allow the government to analyze phone numbers dialed in suspected criminal activity is bad.

Only one thing makes sense of all this; it can be summed up in one word. Bush.

Here's A Shock

Stop the presses. The terrorists rounded up in Canada two days ago are Islamists:
6 Arrested in Canada Raid Attended the Same Mosque
By Anthony DePalma, The New York Times

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, June 4 — At least 6 of the 17 people arrested by Canadian authorities in a sweeping counterterrorism operation over the weekend regularly attended the same storefront mosque in this middle-class Toronto suburb of modest brick rental townhouses and well-kept lawns, fellow worshipers said Sunday. (
Do you get the impression that Islam is devoid of any constructive ideas since the only teachings coming out of mosques these days is how to slaughter innocent human beings?