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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 17, 2006

A Sign Of The Times

While people up in Northern Virginia fret over HOV lanes and "smart growth" and mass transit to Dulles, we here in Southwest Virginia are dealing with a completely different set of problems. Perhaps in the big scheme of things, they are less important than that proposed bypass around Manassas Battlefield Park but to some they are still of concern. Lesser problems like this:

Reasons for high suicide rates remain elusive
Zack Fox, Bristol Herald-Courier Reporter

BRISTOL, Va. – Five Southwest Virginia counties posted the top suicide rates for the state in a four-year period – double the state average.

The state rankings use figures from 1999 through 2002, with Buchanan County having the highest suicide rate of 25 per 100,000 people, more than double the state average of 11, according to the Virginia Health Department.

Scott, Russell, Wise and Lee counties rounded out the top five, all with suicide rates exceeding 21 per 100,000.

Reasons for the high rates remain elusive, but [Bill] Russell believes rural counties suffer the highest suicide rates because of a combination of poor economic conditions and a culture that discourages talking about suicide. (link)

I don't know about the latter reason but the former could be helped by our having a few more employers in the area. Heck, we'd even be ecstatic if we could just keep the ones we've got.

Knowing this, and to alleviate the worsening problem of despair and the complete abandonment of hope, our elected leadership focuses on ... hiking trails and bike paths.

Our trails of tears.

What If An Election Were Held and Nobody Came II

Left-wing bloggers are congratulating each other for bringing about Jim Webb's stunning victory in the Democratic Senate primary here in Virginia this week. I'll leave it to others to determine just how much (self-) praise these guys and gals really deserve.

But before we all decide, based upon this breathtaking success story, to go public with our weblogs and offer shares on the Nasdaq, there is a disquieting truth about this election that needs to be addressed by all. With the hours of hard work, with all the worn-out keyboards, with all the cheerleading, with all the "live blogs," something over one percent (1%) of the Virginia electorate was motivated enough to vote for the winning candidate on Tuesday. And when one begins to look at the details, disquieting trends begin to emerge.

Along with my Thursday story about the meager turnout in Bland County comes this stupefying account from Rockingham County:
Apathy wins by landslide at one precinct
Not one registered voter cast a ballot for Webb or Miller at Rockingham County site
By Tyler Whitley, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer


For 13 hours on primary day, chief election judge Stephen Starkey waited, and waited, and waited, but nobody showed up.

None of the 220 registered voters cast ballots Tuesday at the Ruritan Hall in the Shenandoah Valley town of Mount Crawford. (
link)
Statewide a troubling 3.4% of eligible voters cast a ballot.

Are weblogs to blame for this? Of course not. But bloggers around the state should take a good hard look at the election statistics before bestowing upon themselves the title of kingmaker.

When we're able to get that number up to 4%, we'll talk. And talk. And talk ...

The Many Costs Of Doing Business

I often find myself decrying the continuing loss of employers and worthwhile jobs here in the area and attribute the losses - to some degree - to higher taxes being levied here than in, say, Ireland (for more on Ireland's renaissance and its low corporate tax structure, go to this excellent Times of London article), but there are other factors that contribute to the exodus of employers to foreign lands as well.

Take for example Goodyear's plight over in Danville, as outlined in two articles in the local paper in recent days. First there's this:
Discrimination suit filed against Goodyear
from staff reports, The Danville Register-Bee


PHILADELPHIA -- The U.S. Department of Labor filed suit Wednesday against Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. for alleged hiring discrimination against female applicants at its Danville, Va., plant from January 1998 through June 1999. (
link)
And then there's this:
To strike or not to strike?
By Jonnelle Davis, Register & Bee staff writer


DANVILLE, Va. - Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. employees are voting whether to authorize a strike if necessary.

Negotiators with the United Steelworkers Local 831 and 11 other unions representing Goodyear employees are in Cincinnati conducting contract negotiations, said Dana Dixon, communications coordinator for Local 831. (
link)

It wasn't that long ago that the American tire market was owned by American tire manufacturers. Today American manufacturers Goodyear and Cooper Tire share 75% of the market with foreign companies Bridgestone (which owns Firestone) and Michelin (with the remainder going to Kumho, Yokohama and others). Goodyear is just coming off a near-disastrous period of losses that had analysts predicting the company's imminent demise.

And just as it starts its turnaround, Goodyear gets hammered with federal lawsuits and potentially devastating union strikes.

Taxes. Regulations. Mandates. Strikes. Outrageous lawsuits.

And Ireland is exploding with growth. Is it any wonder ...

Lesson To Be Learned

It's now permissible to assault a police officer if you're:

(a) black
(b) female
(c) Democrat
(e) Congressperson
(f) All of the above
McKinney won't face any charges
By Christina Bellantoni, The Washington Times


Rep. Cynthia A. McKinney will not be charged for striking a U.S. Capitol Police officer who stopped her at a security checkpoint because he didn't recognize her new hairstyle, a grand jury decided yesterday.

The announcement by the U.S. Attorney's Office of the grand jury's decision that assault charges would not be filed against the Georgia Democrat ended nearly three months of speculation after the incident, which generated international attention. (
link)
This is the second Democratic member of Congress who's gotten off the hook in recent days. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) was alleged by police to have reeked of alcohol when he wrecked his car in downtown Washington DC and got off with probation and a Driving Under The Influence Of Prescription Medication charge.

As Pat's father could proudly proclaim, these people are all above the law.

Murtha's Scandalous Charges Unraveling

You can start to see the Haditha massacre story that anti-American Congressman John Murtha gleefully, breathlessly told to the media a few weeks ago crumbling under the weight of emerging facts. Those darn facts again:
Contradictions Cloud Inquiry Into 24 Iraqi Deaths
By John M. Broder, The New York Times


What really happened in Haditha on Nov. 19, 2005?

On that day, marines killed 24 Iraqi civilians, including 10 women and children and an elderly man in a wheelchair. But how and why it happened and who ultimately bears responsibility are matters of profound dispute.

Interviews with marines who were present that day or their lawyers, Iraqi residents who witnessed
the attack and military investigators provide broadly conflicting accounts of the killings. (link)

Now that the (confounding) truth starts to come out, it's instructive to return to the words spoken by the ex-Marine who indicted the Marine Corps and, by association, the United States of America:
... there was no firefight, there was no IED [improvised explosive device] that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood. (link) [my emphasis]
In cold blood. I wonder if Murtha is as ashamed of his actions as all of America is becoming.

For All The Fathers On Fathers Day

Women just don't understand our sense of humor:

Married 39 years, I took a look at my wife one day and said, "Honey, 39 years ago, we had a cheap apartment, a cheap car, slept on a sofa bed and watched a 10 inch black and white TV, but I got to sleep every night with a hot 19 year old brunette.

Now, we have a nice house, nice car, big bed and plasma screen TV, but I'm sleeping with a 58 year old woman.

It seems to me that you are not holding up your side of things."

My wife is a very reasonable woman.

She told me to go out and find a hot 19 year old brunette, and she would make sure that I would once again be living in a cheap apartment, driving a cheap car, sleeping on a sofa bed....