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

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Put Up Or Shut Up

At some point we need to ask our congressman for an accounting. We (our many localities, the state, the federal government) pour precious tax dollars - by the millions - into what seems perfectly clear to me to be nothing but a rathole, that being the tourism industry in Southwest Virginia, and we have been for years. And when we ask about any results obtained thus far, any yield from that investment, any return that shows we're on the right track, we get horse shit like this (from "Boucher cites his long record in re-election," The Wytheville Enterprise):

Tourism has increased in the past 24 years, said the congressman, who is an outdoors enthusiast. He pointed to such projects as The Crooked Road Music Heritage Trail, the Virginia Creeper Trail and others.

"We are getting a huge amount of visitation from all over the country," he said. "The Virginia Creeper Trail has become a tremendous success. Damascus has been revived and is now a tourism destination."

"It's a clean, non-polluting industry," he said. "It is also recession-proof. We've only begun to tap that potential."

At what point does someone start asking the obvious?:
  • What is that "huge amount," Rick? Can you put a dollar figure to it? We can tally the millions that have been emptied into that hopper; what exactly has it spit out?
  • How can you claim, in the same breath, that "[t]ourism has increased in the past 24 years" and yet we've "only begun to tap" that potential? After a quarter of a century of trying, we've just begun to see results? If this is a long-term strategy, tell us how many centuries from now can we expect to have achieved full "tapping?"
  • Define this for us: "The Virginia Creeper Trail has become a tremendous success." By what standard? According to a study I read, fully 91% of the people who walk the trail are "day-users," meaning they drive in, hike, and drive out at the end of the day. Do we consider it a success if they stop at a lemonade stand along the route? It's time to quantify it for us, Rick. Something with a dollar figure attached and not this "huge" and "tremendous" crap.

At the risk of seeming presumptuous, I'll speak for the taxpayers of Southwest Virginia. You've sold us this bill of goods for years now. Most of the citizenry have bought into the snake oil (we can't very well argue against "a clean, non-polluting industry" that is "also recession-proof") and most patiently await results.

But, there are those of us who look at the demographics and the economics and are growing impatient. We feel we're long past due for a reckoning. And it's coming, pal. Sooner rather than later.

Just speaking for myself, November 7 isn't soon enough.

Richlands News-Press: 'Stay The Course'

Congressman Rick Boucher gets an enthusiastic endorsement for re-election from the Richlands News-Press:
EDITORIAL: Staying the course in the Ninth
Richlands News-Press/Clinch Valley News

Staying the course may have become a poor joke when it comes to the current administration, but its implications for the Ninth Congressional District have a far more pleasant tone when it comes to the November 7 elections.

Voters in Tazewell County and the rest of the 'Fightin' Ninth' have a choice when they enter voting booths and cast their ballot electronically.

... we find it reasonable and rational to endorse Rick Boucher for a thirteenth term as the Ninth District's representative in Washington, D.C. (
For you folks over in Tazewell County, here's what "staying the course" means to you:
  • According to the last official census, your population declined by 3.0% (1990 to 2000)
  • While the state average by county for college graduates is nearly 30%, only 11.0% of you are degreed. These first two statistics go hand in hand.
  • The median value of a home in Tazewell is roughly half that of the rest of the state.
  • Median household income in your county is a little better than half of the state average.
  • 15.5% of Tazewell County lives in poverty.
  • 25% of your county residents are on some form of government assistance, not counting social security.

"Stay the course." Where again is it taking you?

A Pet Peeve

You know what I find annoying? It's the need some people have of using an apostrophe where it isn't appropriate. Take a sentence I read in this morning's Bristol Herald-Courier:
City Manager Pete Peterson said he cannot publicly comment on any discussion’s (sic) had during Thursday night’s closed-door meeting where commissioners talked about a pending settlement with the IRS. (link)
So often people feel the need to take a word and, when utilizing its plural form, to stick a punctuation mark in it. Why?

You sometimes see this on a yard sign that a person has gone to the trouble of planting on the front lawn: "The Smith's." The Smith's what? This is Smith's house? Or the Smiths live here? If you're contracting a word, you use an apostrophe. If you're showing possession, you can use an apostrophe. But simply by typing the plural form of a word doesn't mean you haul out and abuse that little hash mark. Ever.

So stop it. Before, by the god's, I go postal.

This Will Give You Sleepless Nights

You have your earthquakes. We have ours:

Officials say light temblor could have been collapse of abandoned coal mine
By A.J. Hostetler, Media General News Service

RICHMOND – The U.S. Geological Survey said a minor earthquake reported Thursday in Southwest Virginia instead could have been the collapse of an abandoned coal mine.

The location could not be pinned down any closer than about seven miles north-northwest of the Raven community and about eight miles northwest of Richlands in Tazewell County near the West Virginia border.

Officials said further investigation showed the event registered greater than a magnitude 4, the equivalent of a light temblor. (

Oh, by the way, about that new cavern in the backyard ...

Iraq Is The Battlefield. Islamism Is The Enemy.

A seemingly intelligent and learned reader had the audacity in a recent email exchange to level the charge that I'm woefully "uninformed" because I routinely and purposely and unerringly link the battle that rages today in Iraq with the terror campaign that continues unabated in Palestine. And Lebanon. And Madrid. And London. And Bali. And ...

To bolster my point, and to bring shame and humiliation upon my email buddy, I provide some fascinating commentary from the Muslim world. Interestingly, this story has to do with the fact that the Democratic Party in this country is receiving broad and hearty support from terrorist organizations in the Middle East as we approach election day next Tuesday. They - America's sworn enemies - are confident that a Democrat win will bring about an American defeat. On this, by God, I and the terrorists agree.

Anyway, some feedback from those who want your children and grandchildren slaughtered in the streets:

Mideast terror leaders to U.S.: Vote Democrat
Withdrawal from Iraq would embolden jihadists to destroy Israel, America
By Aaron Klein, WorldNetDaily.com

JERUSALEM – Everybody has an opinion about next Tuesday's midterm congressional election in the U.S. – including senior terrorist leaders interviewed by WND who say they hope Americans sweep the Democrats into power because of the party's position on withdrawing from Iraq, a move, as they see it, that ensures victory for the worldwide Islamic resistance.

They rejected statements from some prominent Democrats in the U.S. that a withdrawal from Iraq would end the insurgency, explaining an evacuation would prove resistance works and would compel jihadists to continue fighting until America is destroyed.

They said a withdrawal would also embolden their own terror groups to enhance "resistance" against Israel.

"Of course Americans should vote Democrat," Jihad Jaara, a senior member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group ...

Muhammad Saadi, a senior leader of Islamic Jihad in the northern West Bank town of Jenin, said the Democrats' talk of withdrawal from Iraq makes him feel "proud."

"As Arabs and Muslims we feel proud of this talk. Very proud from the great successes of the Iraqi resistance. This success that brought the big superpower of the world to discuss a possible withdrawal."

Abu Abdullah, a leader of Hamas' military wing in the Gaza Strip, said the policy of withdrawal "proves the strategy of the resistance is the right strategy against the occupation."

Abu Ayman, an Islamic Jihad leader in Jenin, said he is "emboldened" by those in America who compare the war in Iraq to Vietnam.

"[The mujahedeen fighters] brought the Americans to speak for the first time seriously and sincerely that Iraq is becoming a new Vietnam ...

Jihad Jaara said an American withdrawal would "mark the beginning of the collapse of this tyrant empire (America)."

"Therefore, a victory in Iraq would be a greater defeat for America than in Vietnam."

Hamas' Abu Abdullah argued a withdrawal from Iraq would "convince those among the Palestinians who still have doubts in the efficiency of the resistance." (

All this from terrorists fighting, not in Iraq, but in Palestine. From terrorists emboldened by the weak-kneed hide-under-a-rock attitude expressed by America's left and by the entire Democratic Party. To Hamas and Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades a victory in Iraq is a victory for Islam and, ultimately, a defeat for both Israel and the USA.

So, friend, consider yourself informed. Better yet, take this information you've gotten and do everything in your power to prevent the global terror network from destroying our western way of life, before it's too late.

Or vote Democratic. It's up to you ...