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

Saturday, November 11, 2006

SW Virginia: Key To The Confederacy

Here's something few of you knew (and even fewer of you care about). Southwest Virginia, in a very important way, was crucial to the survival of the Confederacy in those momentous Civil War years, 1861 to 1865. How? It had to do with the health and nutrition of the troops in the field and with the ammunition they used to kill the enemy. And with area mining operations.

Much of the South's small arms ammunition came from lead mines over near Austinville (in close proximity to a town with the catchy name, Lead Mines) in Wythe County. And salt, a commodity taken for granted these days but considered precious - like sugar, coffee, and tobacco - in those years, came from mines in and around (catchy, once again) Saltville in Smyth County.

I was reminded of this bit of trivia by some local news:
Preserving Saltville's Civil War battlefields
Dan Kegley, Staff, Smyth County News

Saltville took its first step toward adopting a battlefield protection program Thursday in a meeting that explored the importance of the town’s two 1864 Civil War battles sites.

[Dr. Robert Whisonant of Radford University], a geology professor who has led projects to map the Saltville battlefields, told the gathering of local historians, re-enactors, Museum of the Middle Appalachians board members and others that the Confederate earthworks on hills surrounding the vital salt wells and evaporation furnaces is a defensive system important enough to understanding the area’s military actions to deserve national status. (

Lead Mines and Saltville. As important to the South as were Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

News you can use.

On Boucher's 41,000 New Jobs

I think I've finally figured out how Congressman Rick Boucher (D-Abingdon) came up with his preposterous boast of having created 41,000 new jobs since he came into office. He counts those who have been laid off but who are eventually brought back to work. Here's hoping these folks at Volvo count amongst his "new hires":

Dublin plant plans layoffs
Many say the decision by Volvo Trucks and Mack Trucks was expected, but its magnitude was not.
By Angela Manese-Lee, The Roanoke Times

Volvo Trucks North America and Mack Trucks Inc. announced Friday that they would reduce employment at their Dublin plant by about 1,000 people [actually 1,075] -- roughly a third of its current workforce -- beginning in January. (
Volvo is - or was - one of the largest employers in all of Southwest Virginia. So this hurts.

No word on how long these employees will be laid off or if there will be another round of layoffs required at a later date. Let's hope Volvo's turnaround is rapid.

A Tough Climb

With the most powerful and influential newspapers in and around the commonwealth "shaping" the news during an election run (think back to the macaca kerfuffle), this effort by the GOP is going to be of tremendous difficulty:
Va. GOP seeking new victory map
Party seeks direction after Allen's loss; some urge it to move to center, court N.Va.
By Jeff E. Schapiro, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

If one word -- macaca -- sums up the defeat of U.S. Sen. George Allen, then two reflect the dilemma faced by his Republican Party: Now what?

Allen's razor-thin loss this week to Democrat Jim Webb has GOP activists, benefactors and operatives struggling for a remedy to the party's string of statewide reversals, including the past two races for governor. (link)
That struggle comes down to this: How does the Republican Party overcome a relentless barrage of smear (remember the "news" and subsequent hoopla relating to Jerry Kilgore's Southwest Virginia twang and George Allen's ... well, pick from the following - nazi, racist, wife-beating, cowboy, chickenhawk, lawbreaker, bigoted, homophobic, Jewish/non-Jewish past), emanating from the likes of the Washington Post?

Shamefully, at no time in recent weeks was George Allen able to actually compete head-to-head with Jim Webb (still a mystery man when it comes to most issues). Allen found himself instead being pummeled each day by a more powerful opponent - the press. Jim Webb was able to kick back and simply take it all in.

I hope the GOP can figure it out. But when the off-the-cuff utterance of a silly non-word like macaca is made into a national scandal, drowning out all substantive discussion of any issues important to the citizens of the commonwealth of Virginia, I don't hold out much hope.

Smoke And Mirrors

The Washington Post by all accounts (including that of its own ombudsman) conducted itself disgracefully in the recent election, working diligently on its news pages to unseat Senator George Allen. It succeeded in its effort.

Now it moves on to carrying the Democratic Party's water in an article with a jaw-dropping subtitle and a bit of subterfuge:
Alternative Minimum Tax Targeted
Democrats Seek Fix For Middle-Class Families
By Lori Montgomery, Washington Post Staff Writer

Democratic leaders this week vowed to make the alternative minimum tax a centerpiece of next year's budget debate, saying the levy threatens to unfairly increase tax bills for millions of middle-class families by the end of the decade. (link)
Without going into detail, let it be understood that the alternative minimum tax affects only two groups of people - the very rich, and the reasonably rich who live in high-tax states like New York. States which also happen to be heavily Democratic.

I challenge the Post to produce the name of one middle-class person in the state of Virginia who is affected by the AMT.

So stop the "fix for middle-class families" crap. It's a tax break for wealthy Democrats. No more, no less.

What Illegal Immigration Problem?

You thought those fresh faces you sent to Washington were going to solve the problem of illegal Mexicans pouring across the border? Sure they will:
Democrats to 'revisit' law creating border fence
By Shaun Waterman, United Press International

Democrats will look again at the legislation mandating 698 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border and might seek to scrap the plan altogether when they take control of Congress next year.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, Mississippi Democrat, told reporters this week that he expected to "revisit" the issue when he becomes chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee in the 110th Congress.

"We might do away with it, or look at [integrating it into] SBI Net," he said. "A virtual fence rather than a real one." (
A virtual solution to an actual problem.

Democrats. You wanted them. You got them.

They Mock Your New Leadership

Here in Virginia, you elected a fresh face to the United States Senate, a man who is going to end the war on terror. How? The same way we won in Vietnam:
Democratic Senate candidate James Webb said yesterday that it is time for the United States to seek an end to the fighting in Iraq through diplomacy. "What we have to do is to move this into the political, diplomatic environment. (link)

And how do our enemies react to Webb's stratagem?
Al-Qaida In Iraq's Leader Taunts U.S.
Los Angeles Times

[Al Qaeda leader in Iraq Abu Hamza al-Muhajir] gloated over Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's resignation, claimed to have 12,000 fighters under his command who "have vowed to die for God's sake," and said his fighters will not rest until they blow up the White House and occupy Jerusalem. (
So our new senator vows to bring diplomacy to the table. And those with whom he intends to negotiate vow to wipe Israel off the map and destroy the United States.

Jim Webb learned some valuable lessons in Vietnam. What did we call it back then? Surrender with honor? Defeat with honor? Oh, I remember. "Peace" with honor.

It can only get worse now.

Here's Your 'New Direction'

Social Security. The deficit. Iraq. Healthcare. As I understand it, you sent those fresh faces to Washington to deal with such vital issues of the day. If so, you've been duped. Again:
Waxman ponders pursuing opposition
By Erica Werner, The Washington Times

LOS ANGELES -- The Democratic congressman who will investigate the Bush administration's running of the government says there are so many areas of possible wrongdoing that his biggest problem will be deciding which ones to pursue. (
Witch-hunts. Governance. Who cares? You won. Be happy. Enjoy the show.

Social Security. The deficit. Iraq. Healthcare ...

Democrats Win. Terrorists Rejoice.

This speaks volumes with regard to the anti-America stance of the Democratic Party in this country:
Al Qaeda gloats over U.S. election
By Christopher Bodeen, The Associated Press

BAGHDAD -- The head of al Qaeda's Iraq operations yesterday gloated in a new audio tape over the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and praised U.S. voters for punishing President Bush and the Republicans in Tuesday's midterm elections.

In neighboring Iran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also expressed satisfaction with the Democratic gains in the U.S. vote, calling them a boon for Tehran.

"The issue in these elections was not a purely domestic issue for America, but it is the defeat of Bush's hawkish policies in the world," the Iranian leader said in remarks to the ISNA news agency.

"Since Washington's hostile and hawkish policies have always been against the Iranian nation, this defeat is actually an obvious victory for the Iranian nation," the hard-line cleric added. (
You'd think the Democrats would take a good hard look at the people they have jumped into bed with. But no. Winning the election was everything. Winning the war against these terrorist buddies of theirs is unimportant.

Until another 9/11 comes ...

You Will Now Begin To Pay

You all elected this bunch. Now you have to live with them.

Right off the bat, you can expect your fuel costs to go up. And the Saudis will get even richer:
Bill Allowing More Drilling Along Coasts Appears Dead
By Clifford Krauss, The New York Times

Houston, Nov. 9 — Just a few months ago House Republicans and representatives of the energy industry were poised to rewrite a quarter-century of national energy policy and open the seas off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to oil and gas drilling, which environmentalists had fervently resisted.

But Tuesday’s Democratic victory in midterm elections has changed the legislative landscape, obliterating the chances that anything close to the aggressive drilling bill passed by the House of Representatives will be enacted for years to come. (