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

Friday, July 07, 2006

What's The Alternative?

We all want to reduce our dependency on petroleum. But every time an alternative is proposed - be it wind power or coal-fired plants or nuclear energy or even hydroelectric power - it's shot down for one reason or another.

The same thing is happening with mass transit. Everyone in northern Virginia knows of the horrendous highway traffic problems that exist in the Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Washington DC corridor. Among the many proposals put forth to alleviate the problem is light rail. Commuter trains, if you will.

Well, that's not going over well either:
Norfolk neighborhood uneasy about light rail
By Debbie Messina, The Virginian-Pilot

NORFOLK - The first organized opposition to Norfolk's proposed starter light rail line has bubbled up in Ingleside , where some residents now object to a planned walk-up station.

The issue has divided the neighborhood and has sent city and transit officials scrambling for answers as the project awaits final approval from federal authorities.

A decision from the Federal Transit Administration is expected in the coming months as to whether the $203.7 million project can be built.

The 7 1/2-mile rail line would have 11 stations and run from Eastern Virginia Medical Center through downtown to Kempsville Road. It is projected to carry 6,500 to 12,000 riders a day and serve as the initial segment of a regional rail system. (

So light rail is bad too. Pathetic. Just pathetic.

How Times Have Changed

When President Bush announced at a Ft. Bragg rally on Independence Day that 2,527 Americans have died so far in Iraq, there was a general feeling of sorrow for the loss of so many of our best and brightest. I thought of that moment when I read this bit of history from a new book coming out from British historian Martin Gilbert:
On the first day of the battle [of the Somme, WWI], 19,240 British soldiers lost their lives. More than 36,000 were wounded. The battle went on from July 1, 1916, to Nov. 19, 1916.

Ultimately 300,000 lives were lost, counting the casualties of both sides. Twice that many were wounded. (
Nearly a million casualties in one battle. It's almost incomprehensible.

When You Don't Vote, You Deserve This ...

Blacksburg voters - especially those who didn't bother to get off their fat asses and show up at the polls - now have this for which they can take credit:

Longtime activist joins Blacksburg council
By Tonia Moxley, The Roanoke Times

A longtime peace and justice activist, [Susan] Anderson can often be seen striding along Blacksburg sidewalks with a backpack slung over one shoulder and her long brown hair trailing behind her.

She's usually on her way to a meeting of groups such as Amnesty International, the NAACP or the League of Women Voters.

To her great surprise, the newcomer to local politics swept the [town council] election with 2,052 votes, coming in well ahead of incumbents Tom Sherman and Al Leighton.

One of the duties is to lead the council in the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of formal meetings.

Anderson said she's a little concerned about that because she disagrees with the phrase "under God" and omits it when saying the oath.

But the pledge won't be the first uncomfortable situation brought on by Anderson's win.

She and her husband, Radford University philosophy professor Kim Kipling, were so disconcerted when a Blacksburg police officer showed up at their door shortly after the election that they didn't answer the knock.

The self-described "longhairs" later found out the officer came to deliver Anderson's first council information packet. (

The lesson to be learned here? If you don't vote, you are, by default, responsible for goofballs like Susan Anderson making life-altering decisions for you. In this case, you deserve everything she's going to do to you.

Deal Struck. Citizens Lose.

With Democrats running the legislature and a Democrat sitting in the governor's office, it was only a matter of how much taxes in New Jersey were going up. In the end, with the deal struck between all the Democrats in the negotiating parties, they're going up a bunch:

Deal on Sales Tax Ends Shutdown in New Jersey
By Richard G. Jones, The New York Times

TRENTON, July 6 — Gov. Jon S. Corzine and the New Jersey Legislature agreed on a new budget on Thursday that would end a six-day government shutdown that idled nearly 100,000 workers and cost the state millions of dollars.

The agreement reached between Mr. Corzine and Mr. Roberts after almost a week of difficult negotiations calls for raising the sales tax to 7 percent from 6 percent.

A person or family spending $400 a week on taxable goods and services would pay about $200 more a year in sales tax under the increase. (

A $200 tax increase per family brought to you by "the party of the little guy." Hey, your children are obese anyway. Cut out lunch and pay your tax.

Government spending, by the way, is going up more than 10% in this same budget agreement. Call it a lose-lose for the people of New Jersey.

Florida 2000 Redux

How do you whine "They stole the election!" in Spanish? This is shaping up to be the refrain coming from MoveOn.org, Chiapas Branch:
Calderon declared victorious, but foe objects in Mexico
By Will Weissert, The Associated Press

MEXICO CITY -- The ruling party's Felipe Calderon won the official count in Mexico's disputed presidential race yesterday, a come-from-behind victory for the Harvard-educated technocrat. But his leftist rival refused to concede and said he would fight the results in court. (
Expect to see Al Gore getting involved in this soon.

The Courts Are Coming To Their Senses

The homosexual marriage issue should never have been decided by a few aged judges in Massachusetts. It must be decided by the people and their elected representatives. Other judges are coming forward and are reaffirming that notion:
Gays cannot 'marry' in N.Y.
By Cheryl Wetzstein, The Washington Times

New York's highest court ruled yesterday that the state's marriage laws are constitutional and that homosexual couples cannot "marry."

"We hold that the New York Constitution does not compel recognition of marriages between members of the same sex," Judge Robert S. Smith said in the 4-2 ruling by the New York State Court of Appeals. "Whether such marriages should be recognized is a question to be addressed by the
Legislature." (
A ban on gay marriage in Georgia was also upheld by the courts there yesterday. It's good to know that we the people still have some say-so in this country of ours.

Now someone needs to get the message to the very old people who are taking up space on the Supreme Court.

A Different Way Of Looking At Things

I had the opportunity the other day to read blog comments from a few people who refuse to shop at Wal-Mart, preferring, they say, to promote local retailers instead. Seems fair. It's their money.

But something you - and they - might consider, especially those of you who disparage Wal-Mart for being a giant uncaring distant monolith and prefer to shop "locally," are these related Dun & Bradstreet statistics:
In 2005, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc spent $1,859,436,675 for merchandise and services with 1,286 suppliers in the state of Virginia. As a result of Wal-Mart's relationship with these suppliers, Wal-Mart supports 72,148 supplier jobs in the state of Virginia. (source)
Add to that the fact that Wal-Mart currently employs 39,000 Virginians at an average $9.93 per hour (what was that minimum wage fuss all about again? And what does that local merchant of yours pay?).

Anyway, you know where I'm going to be going to buy my undies. I support Virginia manufacturers and suppliers.