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

Monday, June 19, 2006

Would It Really Make a Difference?

Well, another day, another call for an apology for ... whatever:

An apology for slavery should flow from the source: Virginia
Michael Paul Williams, Richmond Times-Dispatch Columnist

Last week, in accepting the 2006 George Mason Award from the Virginia Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, [Ken, editor of The Farmville Herald] Woodley urged his peers to push for a congressional apology for slavery. In April, he issued the same challenge to U.S. senator and presidential aspirant George Allen, who embraced the idea as "powerful" before equivocating. (
Swell. Another call for an apology for something that none of us had anything to do with.

You want an empty apology, Michael Paul, call Bill Clinton. He'll accommodate. He wasn't much good to us in any other regard but, man, could he deliver a lip-biting, teary-eyed apology when the occasion called for it.

The good part of this story is that these fools know they're dreaming. So they assign a reason for our not wanting to revisit an issue that was resolved 141 years ago:

For some whites, there's guilt, discomfort. For politicians, there's fear of being held accountable, ...but there is no legitimate reason.
Right. Personally, I feel overwhelmed with guilt about every slave I ever owned.

Good grief.

How about this? Normal human beings feel responsible - and hold others accountable - for THEIR actions, not the actions of nameless, faceless individuals from the distant past. Especially the actions of people we never met who died off a hundred years ago.

You jokers are just as American as the rest of us. You apologize. Let the rest of us deal with issues that matter TODAY.

An apology for slavery ... For the love of God.

We Got Another Trail!

Not to be left out of a good thing, Smyth County is expanding its trail network:
Trail's first phase underway
Joe Geraghty, Bristol Herald-Courier

The first phase of a controversial trail project could be complete by November.

[Saltville] Town officials have begun soliciting bids to build the first quarter-mile of a proposed walking and biking trail linking the town with Glade Spring.

Much of the nine-mile trail would run along a rail bed whose ownership remains in dispute.

The first phase of the trail runs through land whose ownership has not been disputed, Town Manager Jeff Smith said.

A stretch of the trail could be ready for bikers and walkers by July, Smith said.

The first phase should cost about $200,000, although officials won't know the exact total until the bids come back, he said. The money will come from federal grants the town has been working to secure for almost seven years. (
I wonder who it is the town is working with to secure that $200,000 in federal money. I ... wonder ...

It has to be the Virginia Creeper himself. He's always good at throwing more of your tax dollars at hiking trails and bike paths. The area is now littered with them, all paid for with what would have been your childrens' college education fund.

Take care of it, Rick. Can't have enough trails around here.

On Tourism - A Firsthand Report

It was recently reported that 9th District Congressman Rick Boucher (D-Abingdon, VA) took the plunge and recited the marriage vows with his new bride as they stood astride the Virginia Creeper Trail here in Southwest Virginia. Not my idea of sanctity but who am I to judge. I'm Lutheran; he's Methodist.

Buried in the press blurbage about the wedding was a statistic. According to those who have need of the Virginia Creeper trail being considered a good federal tax dollar investment (a huge investment), there are 200,000 visitors who walk or bike the trail annually. You'll also find that statistic cited on Boucher's never-ceasing campaign website:
Virginia Creeper Trail Wooden Trestle Improvement Project—Washington County
At Rick's urging, the federal government has provided $750,000 to perform repair and upgrade work on the trestles of the Virginia Creeper Trail between the Towns [sic] of Abingdon and Damascus. One of Southwest Virginia’s most popular tourism assets, the Virginia Creeper Trail is enjoyed by more than 200,000 visitors annually. (link)
When I first saw that stat, I scoffed. There's no way 200,000 people traverse that trail in a year's time.

Well, yesterday I had the chance to put Boucher's claim to the test - albeit in a very unscientific way. I sat in an open-air restaurant across from the trail in Damascus for an hour and counted people. Also, for the better part of the day, I drove the length of the trail, taking in the sights and enjoying a few unscripted hours with Paula.

Now, I need to give foundation to the study. End of Spring/beginning of Summer. Mid-afternoon. Perfect day (though a bit warm). A holiday weekend. Peak season.

Results: 10 hikers; 8 bicyclists. All afternoon.

There were, beyond these 18 souls, quite a few campers here and there and the road traffic going through Damascus was, at times, moderate.

But Gatlinburg it wasn't.

The small restaurant we stopped at (where we contributed to the local economy to the tune of $18) was doing a brisk business but nothing compared to say, the Dairy Queen here in Bland. We drove past the Old Mill restaurant and it looked to be nearly empty. As best I could tell, these were the only two "fine dining" establishments in town. I also stopped by Mount Rogers Outfitters and found myself to be the only customer there (at that point in time) talking to the only employee (or owner).

At one point Paula - as she was munching on what she deemed a fabulous chicken pita - mentioned that she thought there would be more people taking in the wonders of nature in beautiful Damascus on such a fine day.

But no. We weren't stepping over people in order to get to the trail or to the nearby riverbank. No wait in line at the restaurant.

Which gets us back to that 200,000 number. Does that reflect the number of people who walk or bike the trail AND who drive into/through town in a year's time? Does it include those who commute to town to work at the Dollar General each day? Has to. Because I can confidently say that at the peak of the season, the tourist traffic was sparse along the Virginia Creeper Trail in Damascus, Virginia on Fathers Day 2006.

Your Tax Dollars At Work

When you look at the balance in your bank account this evening, take a moment to recall the amount of cash you forked over to the United States government last year that was spent on projects like this:
The Project That Wouldn't Die
Using earmarks, members of Congress kept money flowing to a local company that got $37 million for technology the military couldn't use.
By Charles R. Babcock, Washington Post Staff Writer

Over the past decade Vibration & Sound Solutions Ltd., a small Alexandria defense contractor, has received a steady flow of federal contracts to work on "Project M" -- $37 million in all from annual "earmarks" by congressional supporters such as Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.).

Project M, a technology involving magnetic levitation, was conceived as a way to keep submarine machinery quieter, was later marketed as a way to keep Navy SEALs safer in their boats and, in the end, was examined as a possible way to protect Marines from roadside bombs.

All the applications have one thing in common: The Pentagon hasn't wanted them. (
Earmarks. You may recall, it was that same Jim Moran (D-Northern Virginia) who famously said recently:
When I become chairman [of a House appropriations subcommittee], I'm going to earmark the shit out of it.
Kinda makes those beans and wienies you were forced to serve the kids last night because the food allowance won't stretch far enough a bit unsettled. Yes?

The Dems' Plan: Retreat

John Murtha, poster child of the lunatic left, says the Democratic party is forming ranks behind his plan to retreat from the war on terror:
Murtha claims support for Iraq pullout plan
By Eric Pfeiffer, The Washington Times

Rep. John P. Murtha says Democrats are uniting around his call to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq. The Pennsylvania Democrat's plan was echoed yesterday by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, widely considered one of her party's leading voices on national security.

"Two-thirds of the Democrats agree with my position now," Mr. Murtha told NBC's "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert. "Every place I go, people understand what I'm saying. The public has been way ahead." (
You can always count on the Democrats to be there when the going gets tough.

A Republican party spokesman had this to say in response:
Republicans said withdrawing from Iraq would concede defeat and damage national security, with Republican National Committee spokesman Danny Diaz saying that Mr. Murtha "continued to demonstrate an inability to comprehend that surrendering the central front in the war on terror is not a strategy to defeat the terrorists."
The central front in the war on terror. Either we continue to fight them on the battlefield or we "redeploy" our troops to the World Trade Center and wait for the terrorists to ... Oh wait. That plan has its problems as well.

How 'bout we shield the soldiers in Dubuque, Jack?