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

Sunday, August 06, 2006

So Now I'm a Segregationist

Brack Vewvet Bruce Ree (if you haven't been paying attention, you wouldn't understand) has a wonderful report this morning on an anti-gay marriage amendment rally that took place up in Manassas yesterday (read it here).

The rally was hosted by the last refuge of 60's hippydom, the Unitarian Universalist church. According to BVBL, speakers at the event, sparsely attended by about 100 anti-anti-gays, proceeded to insult most of the western world with rants like this:

“History will judge those who support this amendment, history will judge in particular those who actively espouse support for this amendment, they will be looked at in the same light as the bigots and segregationists of the 20th century.”
So now those of us who decided long ago to not get involved when these people do God-knows-what to each other in the privacy of their own bedrooms but at the same time choose for our society to not sanctify their deviant sexual behavior are all bigots and segregationists.

A cross I'm more than willing to bear.

Skipping Thru La La Land

I find environmentalists to be annoying creatures most times. Like that chigger that finds its way into your armpit, they can be irritating. But they're hardly life-altering. Once they've gotten their fill, chiggers will drop to the ground, and environmentalists will go back to their jobs at Seven Eleven.

But occasionally I find myself put out by their antics. And today is one of those occasions.

I read in the Charleston (WV) Gazette this morning the following:

Men in their prime increasingly out of work
By Scott Finn, Staff Writer

West Virginia leads the nation in the percentage of working-age men who don’t have a job, according to researchers at Queens College in New York.

One in four men in the Mountain State between the ages of 30 and 54 said he did not have a job, according to 2004 Census data — twice the national average. (link)

Alarming if true.

Well, it's alarming only if you give a damn about your neighbors.

I turned the page and read this:

Wilderness designations needed
Allan Tweddle and Jim DiPeso

Mountains, woods, and rivers are the heart and soul of West Virginia. The land embodies our heritage and defines our great state’s culture like nothing else. (
link)
If you live under that rock you hold dear, West Virginia's culture is defined by mountains, woods, and rivers. To the rest of humanity, its culture is defined by widespread unemployment, devastating levels of poverty, an inexorable slide into third-world country status, depopulation, and no hope for the future of its children.

What Tweddle and DiPeso see as being the mountain state as it is might actually be the mountain state as it is to become.

When the last family packs its bags and moves north looking for work, the mountains, woods, and rivers will indeed be the soul of its "culture." They will be what's left - all that remains - of the once-great once-proud state of West Virginia.

The Vortex

Like an unvanquishable extraterrestrial lifeforce that slogs across the galaxy sucking up all energy in its path, higher education in Virginia has an ever-expanding appetite - an insatiable need - for more and more of our hard-earned income.

Take Radford University as an example. One can go to RU's official website and read this:

Virginia's Political Leaders Send $36 Million Over the Next Two Years Home to RU;
New President Heralds Record Funding as Key to University's Future

RADFORD – The Virginia General Assembly and Governor Tim Kaine have good news for Radford University. The budget that Assembly conferees proposed to Governor Kaine, and the Governor has now approved, contains over $17 million in new operating general funds for the 2006-2008 biennium and approval for $19 million in capital projects.

Former Governor Mark Warner’s last budget submission included new funding for RU, but the state legislature’s budget provides substantially greater funding in base budget adequacy, in addition to supporting funds for faculty salaries, student financial aid, capital projects, and institutional initiatives. “That’s significant for us and, in fact, is the single largest increase in recent years,” Kyle said. (link)
Record funding. One might react with a grumble ... followed by a sigh of resignation.

Couple that reality, though, with this nugget that hit the news yesterday:
Virginia tuition increases near double-digit mark
WDBJ7

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees at Virginia's four-year colleges increased this year by an average of 9.3%. That's according to a report this week from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.


The average increase in tuition and mandatory fees at community colleges in the upcoming school year will be 6.3%. Three of the state's four-year institutions raised tuition and fees by 12% or more: Virginia State University, 12.5%; Radford University, 12%; and the University of Virginia at Wise, 12%. [my emphasis] (link)
I'm sure the university's response to all this will be that funding in previous years was inadequate and that RU's role in the community is evolving and that compared to other states, a publicly funded college education here in Virginia is a bargain and that in order to compete with top-tier colleges and universities in the region, it is necessa...

Don't.

If it was difficult for the average Virginian to be able to afford to send his or her children to one of the commonwealth's 4-year institutions in the past, it is rapidly becoming impossible. Those gleaming Taj Mahals we've built around the state are pretty, but they'll be pretty much abandoned when the unlimited needs of higher education get beyond the growingly limited means of the citizenry.

They will then become nothing more than cavernous museums housing exhibits extolling the virtues of what-was-supposed-to-have-been.

Lieberman's Crime

Has there ever been, in the history of the USA, a political saga such as that which is playing out this week in the Democratic primary election in Connecticut? Joe Lieberman, the party's choice for Vice President just six years ago, a nomination that came with great fanfare and earnest praise, is today villified by those who were his most ardent supporters. What has he done that warrants such disloyalty?

Robert Kagan, writing in the Washington Post this morning ("The Last Honest Man"), has the answer:

Lieberman stands condemned today because he didn't recant. He didn't say he was wrong. He didn't turn on his former allies and condemn them. He didn't claim to be the victim of a hoax. He didn't try to pretend that he never supported the war in the first place. He didn't claim to be led into support for the war by a group of writers and intellectuals whom he can now denounce. He didn't go through a public show of agonizing and phony soul-baring and apologizing in the hopes of resuscitating his reputation, as have some noted "public intellectuals."
Kagan also wites an epitaph for this sad state of affairs:

He is the last honest man, and he may pay the price for it. At least he will be able to sleep at night. And he can take some solace in knowing that history, at least an honest history, will be kinder to him than was his own party. (link)
It wasn't that long ago that Joe Lieberman was known - lauded - as "The Conscience of the Senate." When the election results come in Tuesday night, that will be all but forgotten by those who forfeited any semblance of conscience long ago.

So we are Caesar's friends, who have shortened
His time of fearing death. Stoop, Romans, stoop,
And let's bathe our hands in Caesar's blood
Up to the elbows and smear our swords.
Then we will walk forth, as far as the marketplace,
And waving our red weapons over our heads,
Let's all shout, "Peace, freedom, and liberty!"
Shakespeare, "Julius Caesar," Act III, Scene 1.