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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, September 24, 2006

Where's The Fight In The Fightin' 9th?

The following column originally appeared in the Roanoke Times on August 31, 2006

Get ready to rumble
By Jerry Fuhrman

This is an open letter and a word of advice to Bill Carrico, Republican candidate for the 9th Congressional District.

Everyone tells me you're a great guy with a superb track record in the Virginia House of Delegates and that you're right on the issues that matter most.

But you're going to lose if you let your opponent -- a powerful foe with a vast array of resources and a boatload of influential friends -- set the agenda and the tone of the debate. As of this writing, you are doing just that.

Your adversary has already begun the process of framing the contest in the same way he did in 2004 when he ran against Kevin Triplett. He has made it clear to his supporters -- and to his friends in the mainstream press -- that he is going to maintain a "positive campaign."

His intention is to force you to keep your criticisms positive as well or run the risk of being labeled, as Triplett was two years ago, as "having gone negative." Kevin played the game to the end and was positively crushed by 20 points on election night. Do the same, and prepare to meet the same fate.

There is much for which Rick Boucher has to answer relating to realities here on the ground; ground we are slowly, inexorably losing. And making nice will not get us answers. Especially to questions like these:
  • Economic projections for Southwest Virginia -- even when taking into account more robust areas like Blacksburg, Wytheville and Abingdon -- paint a bleak picture. According to the Milken Institute, the nation's premier economic think tank, Bristol, as part of the district's only metropolitan statistical area known as the tri-cities -- ranks 170th in terms of future economic growth potential out of 200 MSAs across the U.S. To put it in terms that can be more readily understood, 170th puts Bristol on a glide path to third-world country status if we stay on course. Does Boucher find something positive in the fact that Bristol beat out Detroit (192nd)?
  • Since he was re-elected in 2004, dozens of employers in Pulaski, Smyth, Scott, Russell, Wise, Wythe, and Giles counties as well as in Galax closed their doors because the cost of doing business here became too great. Why?
  • The largest private employer in Washington County has laid off a fifth of its workers and is up for sale. Why?
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, since Boucher originally took office in 1983, Lee, Dickenson, Tazewell, and Buchanan counties have lost population as thousands of families have left the area to find work. Why?
  • Add to that statistic another census bureau report that estimates a loss of population in Scott, Pulaski, Patrick, Wise, Russell, and Smyth counties between the 2000 census and today. Why?
  • The largest employer in Giles County, one that provided 28 percent of total county tax revenue, has nearly shut down. Why?
  • A quarter of the people in Lee County live below the poverty line. Why?
  • Millions of precious taxpayer dollars have been devoted to developing the tourism industry in Southwest Virginia in recent years with virtually nothing to show for it. Why?
  • Buchanan County has the highest suicide rate in the state, followed by Scott, Russell, Wise and Lee. Double the state average. Why?
  • An estimated 6,000 homes in Southwest Virginia have no indoor plumbing. In 2006. Why?
  • The government has found the drinking water coming out of Callahan Creek and the Powell River to be unfit for human consumption. Yet many citizens of Wise County have no alternative source of potable water. Why?
  • Why substandard housing?
  • Why a shorter life expectancy?
  • Why higher infant mortality rates?
  • Why underperforming schools?

Why?

Mr. Carrico, the people of Southwest Virginia deserve answers. You can choose to keep your campaign on a positive plane and lose, or you can demand accountability. Thunder your demand for all to hear. Convince the people of Southwest Virginia that circumstances here, though deteriorating, can improve. Convince them, and you'll win. Then, once elected, roll up your sleeves and bring positive change to this tortured land.

He Asks, I Answer

Ariel Dorfman, a Chilean American writer and professor at Duke University, asks the following question this morning in an op/ed piece in the Washington Post with regard to the ongoing debate about treatment of terrorists who are now in American custody:
Are we so fearful, so in love with our own security and steeped in our own pain, that we are really willing to let people be tortured in the name of America?
Let me answer that. No.

Nobody is calling for the torture of prisoners being held at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, or anywhere else. But we see as useful such harmless methods of interrogation as loud music (oh, the humanity), sleep deprivation, room temperature extremes, and, yes, "waterboarding."

The story of an Argentinian "revolutionary" being tortured at the hands of the Chilean government back in the 70's that Mr. Dorfman cites involved merciless beatings and electric shock. Who's advocating that?

A ridiculous analogy.

Your side doesn't do itself any great good by resorting to hysteria and misrepresentations sir.

Food For Thought

The leftist and liberal throng who cheered Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez at a Harlem church Thursday, a day after he called President Bush "the devil," are just the latest sign of a real problem for the Democratic Party and the nation: Bush-hate is now the opiate of the party's base.

A recent Fox News poll gets at the disturbing truth: A majority of Democrats say they want to see the president fail.

Craig Charney, "The Hate Trap," The New York Post, September 24, 2006 (link)

He's Still A Sick Joke

Bill Clinton indefatigably and relentlessly fought global terrorism when he was in office. That's his story and he's sticking to it:
Clinton Faults Bush Team Efforts to Get bin Laden Before Sept. 11 By Reuters

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 (Reuters) — Former President Bill Clinton, angrily defending his efforts to capture Osama bin Laden, accused the Bush administration in an interview to be broadcast Sunday of doing far less to stop Mr. bin Laden before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.


“I authorized the C.I.A. to get groups together to try to kill him,” Mr. Clinton said.

“Now if you want to criticize me for one thing,” he continued, “you can criticize me for this: after the Cole, I had battle plans drawn to go into Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban and launch a full-scale attack search for bin Laden.” But he said he was not able to follow through with his plans, adding, “We needed basing rights in Uzbekistan, which we got after 9/11.” (
link)

He coulda.

He shoulda.

He woulda.

This is about as feeble an argument as I've ever read. But it's typical Clinton.

Here's the then-leader of the free world, the most powerful man on the planet, the Commander-in-Chief of the largest and mightiest military fighting force in history drawing up battle plans to "to go into Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban and launch a full-scale attack search for bin Laden" but those darn Uzbeks stopped him.

Not to mention that Monica woman with blue dress and heaving bosom distracting him the whole time. Oh, the torment!

God, why can't this miserable excuse for a human being get out of our lives?

Those Darn Machines!

Al Gore lost the election in 2000 because of voting machine errors in Florida.

John Kerry lost in 2004 because of irregularities that arose in Ohio.

Hillary is going to lose in 2008 in God-knows-where because of those same darn machines if we don't do something about it:
Officials Wary of Electronic Voting Machines
By Ian Urbina, The New York Times


WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 — A growing number of state and local officials are getting cold feet about electronic voting technology, and many are making last-minute efforts to limit or reverse the rollout of new machines in the November elections.

Dozens of states have adopted electronic voting technology to comply with federal legislation in 2002 intended to phase out old-fashioned lever and punch-card machines after the “hanging chads” confusion of the 2000 presidential election.

But some election officials and voting experts say they fear that the new technology may have only swapped old problems for newer, more complicated ones. Their concerns became more urgent after widespread problems with the new technology were reported this year in primaries in Ohio, Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland and elsewhere. (link)
When you get down to it, the only real problem with voting machines is in the fact that they just keep spitting out the wrong winners.

So we're apparently going to go back to paper ballots and #2 lead pencils and that will bring about the election of more Democrats.

There's a metaphor lurking in this ....

We Have a Long Way To Go

The New York Times finds some experts this morning who will not go on record to say the terror threat is still growing. The liberal rag blames Bush. Of course:
Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terror Threat
By Mark Mazzetti, The New York Times


WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 — A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document. (
link)
I can't argue with either finding. The threat of Islamist terror has been growing for 30 years (the Munich Olympics attack occurred 35 years ago) and there can be little doubt that our involvement in Iraq has brought many of those in the Arab world together to fight us.

However, it could be argued (and I will) that bringing radical Islam to the fore in the western press is a good thing. At some point we in the civilized world are going to get serious about stopping this menace from spreading by killing all these sunsabitches. Iraq has brought a certain focus to that desperate need.

For that we should be grateful to President Bush.