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

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Tale Of Two Cities

The Blacksburg-Christiansburg Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) was ranked 79th among all smaller cities across the country by the Milken Institute in 2005. That ain't bad. In fact, that's darn good. Even more striking is the fact that it ranked number one in terms of its high tech industry presence - 2003 to 2004 - in all the USA. (source)

That, friends, is spectacular.

But, if that's so, how do we reconcile the data (number 1!) with this news?
Downtown Blacksburg vacancy rate called 'shocking'
A consultant team said the leasable-space vacancy rate is three times that of a healthy downtown.
By Tonia Moxley, The Roanoke Times

The vacancy rate for commercial buildings in downtown Blacksburg is shocking, or so two consultants told the town council Tuesday night.

Keith Covington of Third Coast design studio and Philip Walker of The Walker Collaborative -- both based in Nashville, Tenn. -- were hired to conduct a study of downtown Blacksburg zoning and development issues. They found a 17 percent vacancy rate in leasable commercial space in the town's core. Walker told the council that 5 percent is normal in a healthy downtown. (link)
Interestingly, the first recommendation this consulting team made to turn things around for the downtown area is for the Blacksburg town council to provide tax breaks as an incentive to drive economic growth. Where have you heard that before?

Back to the point, how can Blacksburg have a "shocking" vacancy rate and yet the Blacksburg-Christiansburg MSA be number one in the country (in terms of smaller cities) when it comes to high tech industry? Believe me, it isn't downtown Christiansburg that's shouldering the weight here.

Anyone familiar with the area knows the answer. There are two towns in the town of Blacksburg. There's Blacksburg, and then there's the megalopolis of Virginia Tech and its accompanying business offshoots and ancillary endeavors.

In fact, this kind of result seems to be a trend across the commonwealth. Harrisonburg (James Madison University) is ranked 14th overall and 2nd in terms of high tech industry. Charlottesville (University of Virginia), ranked 41st overall, is ranked 5th in high tech industry.

So what does all this mean?

It means, first of all, that prosperity can be a fickle, mysterious creature. But secondly, it also means that the folks in Martinsville who have been campaigning for years to have a four-year state-supported college - hopefully with emphasis on high tech - located there, may be smarter than we thought.

So Woe be unto Blacksburg. All hail Blacksburg. Makes your head hurt, doesn't it?

Next Time You Hear Them Plead Poverty

The governor is on a mission to buy, using your money of course, useless woodland and do nothing with it. The same governor who tells us there is a funding crisis in state government.

The very revealing story:

Kaine stands by land preservation
The governor said he believes the government can protect large parcels of land by buying them.
By Ray Reed, The Roanoke Times

Lexington -- Gov. Tim Kaine said Tuesday he isn't backing off his goal of seeing 400,000 acres of Virginia protected from development during his tenure, despite a $13 million cut the General Assembly made in his land-conservation budget.

"Swift action is needed" to preserve more land, Kaine said, while ...

Although state legislators talked about cutting all of the $20 million Kaine proposed for land conservation in his budget draft, they finally appropriated $6.6 million from the state's general fund through July 2008.

Included was $500,000 annually for two years to the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation and $950,000 the first year for the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. (link)
It is said by some, including our mixed-up governor, that our roads and bridges are in deplorable condition and we have a problem of crisis proportions on our hands.

A crisis of such magnitude that he plans on spending tax revenue that he claims he doesn't have on 400,000 acres of worthless land.

And he demands a tax increase.

When pigs fly, pal.

Leave It To Governor Tentative

A telling quote from our governor, a man who has already gained a reputation for preferring to lurk in the shadows and not involve himself in the down-and-dirty struggle over transportation funding here in the commonwealth. With regard to amendments that Tim Kaine will surely make to the funding compromise that was placed before him by the Virginia legislature:

"Some of them are so critical that if there aren't amendments, there's the
certain possibility of a veto after they leave."

A "certain possibility." A definite maybe. A resounding whimper.

Bold leadership there.

Tut Tut

You thought they were satisfied with banning your right to smoke in the back of the restaurant (and in the privacy of your own car). But you thought wrong.

You now find yourself reading each day about the Al Gores of the world who want to restrict your way of life so as to reduce carbon emissions and save the planet (while they continue to maintain and enjoy their fantastic, profligate - and wasteful - lifestyles.)

But they'll not stop there. They are feeling good about themselves. And they enjoy the favorable press. They are on a roll.

And we're the ones who are going to be rolled:

Prince Charles Says Ban McDonald's Food

London (AP) -- Prince Charles suggested Tuesday on a visit to the United Arab Emirates that banning McDonald's fast food was crucial for improving people's diets, a British news agency reported.

Charles made the comments while visiting the Imperial College London Diabetes Center in Abu Dhabi for the launch of a public health campaign, The Press Association reported.

"Have you got anywhere with McDonald's? Have you tried getting it banned? That's the key," Charles was quoted as asking one of the center's nutritionists. (link)

One might wonder, of course, why Prince Charles, a fair-haired friend of the environment (and now of proper nutrition), felt the need to burn thousands of pounds of fossil fuels just to tour a clinic in far-away Abu Dhabi. And it wouldn't be considered rude to ask the heir to the British throne how much food and drink he consumes in a day's time, and whether or not it is more nutritious, in the end, than a Big Mac.

And we might even ask him what business it is of his what we choose to eat.

But this is another example of who these people are. They (Al Gore, Prince Charles, the entire Democratic Party here in the USA) see us as little people who need looking after. So they've taken it upon themselves to ban guns and cigarette smoke, and soon our SUV's and Quarter Pounders. It's for our own good. And shut up.

As for them? Well, that's another thing all together. They allow themselves the luxury of consuming the planet's limited resources in breathtaking proportions, and that of polluting the atmosphere with their wide-ranging travels (where is Al Gore off to next in his private Gulf Stream V to speak on the subject of conservation?) because they feel obligated to provide us - the great unwashed - proper instruction on how we are to live our lives (was that Cameron Diaz and Gwyneth Paltrow telling us we need to conserve by purchasing energy saving lightbulbs? And which country were they vacationing in when they made this pronouncement?).

I heard the other day that Al Gore has been nominated for a Nobel. And that he has a good shot at being president in 2008. It's my understanding also that Charles will some day be king of the British empire. Paltrow and Diaz? St. Moritz beckons, where energy saving lightbulbs are not to be found, I'll bet, but the wine is great.

And the Democrats? Well, the legislation is stacking up. So much to do. So many restrictions to pass. So many lifestyle changes to affect.

May God have mercy on us.

It Was Always About Unionization

After the terrorists struck on 9/11, the really smart people in Washington who run things, and who provide for our well-being ..., responded by firing all the baggage screeners at America's many airports, by bringing about the Transportation Security Administration, and by creating forty thousand new federal jobs - the TSA baggage screeners. We were all, instantaneously, safer.

I slept better at night. Didn't you?

There were those of us at the time who scratched our heads in bemusement, but recognized that this brazen ploy had nothing to do with national security. It simply gave those in Congress who are beholden to the unions the opportunity to throw them a bone. And they used the threat of terrorism, shamefully, as their straw man.

The Democrats denied it of course. But America saw through the ruse and knocked them down. TSA was created but the screeners were never allowed to organize (in any meaningful way).

Well, the Democrats are in charge again. And the unionization effort has begun anew (without the denials this time):

Call to Expand Union Rights Could Derail Antiterror Bill
By Eric Lipton, The New York Times

Washington, Feb. 27 — Democrats in Congress are pushing to extend union protection to 43,000 federal airport security workers, reviving a debate that stalled the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and could now derail broad antiterrorism legislation.

The proposal has provoked opposition from Senate Republicans and the Bush administration. It is the latest in a series of labor-related fights in Washington as Democrats try to use their new majority to push long-delayed proposals that benefit rank-and-file workers, like increasing the minimum wage.

White House officials made clear on Tuesday that President Bush was prepared to veto a bill that enacted recommendations of the Sept. 11 Commission if the provision granting Transportation Security Administration workers collective bargaining rights was not removed. (link)

There was no reason in 2002 to fire 40,000 employees at our airports and to give employment - and federal pay and benefits - to 40,000 replacements, except to expand the union's (currently very limited) control of the American workplace. What they haven't been able to do in the private sector, they certainly have done exceedingly well with in government.

So we've returned to the same debate. The Democrats still want anti-terrorism legislation to include a provision to allow for union organization. Anti-terrorism legislation.

President Bush should put his veto pen to this measure the moment it hits his desk.

It Means No Such Thing

One fanatical Islamist with a backpack full of explosives does not a military invasion make. Yet the New York Times sees impending catastrophe in the fact that a Muslim terrorist - one - was able to blow himself up in front of a U.S. military facility:

Afghan Bombing Sends a Danger Signal to U.S.
By David E. Sanger, The New York Times

Washington, Feb. 27 — The audacity of a suicide-bomb attack on Tuesday at the gates of the main American base in Afghanistan during a visit by Vice President Dick Cheney underscores why President Bush sent him there — a deepening American concern that the Taliban and Al Qaeda are resurgent.

American officials insisted that the importance of the attack, by a single suicide bomber who blew himself up a mile away from where the vice president was staying, was primarily symbolic. It was more successful at grabbing headlines and filling television screens with a scene of carnage than at getting anywhere near Mr. Cheney.

But the strike nonetheless demonstrated that Al Qaeda and the Taliban appear stronger and more emboldened in the region than at any time since the American invasion of the country five years ago, and since the Bush administration claimed to have decimated much of their middle management. And it fed directly into the debate over who is to blame. (link) [my emphasis]
The bombing demonstrates no such thing. If anything, it and the reaction to it by the Times, highlights the fact that you sure as hell don't ever want to be caught in a foxhole with those cowards.

In a sane world, we might blame the bomber. Perhaps even Al Qaeda. There was a day not long ago that we would even have taken a good hard look at Islam. But today isn't that day. Not by a long shot.

Today our first inclination is to blame Bush.

The 'Hate America' Crowd Gets It Wrong Again

The Chinese stock market took a big hit on Tuesday, losing some 9% of its value - in one day. Most analysts pegged the drop to the volatile nature of that market, what with hundreds of billions of dollars having been poured into it in recent years, and to the fragile nature of China's economy.

U.S. markets responded yesterday by dropping a ton as well (Alan Greenspan's comment from his retirement wheelchair about the possibility of a recession later this year fueled the fire), with the New York Stock Exchange shedding over 400 points.

That being understood, here's today's news in the New York Times:

Asian Markets Fall Again on Worries About U.S. Economy
By Keith Bradsher, The New York Times

Hong Kong, Feb. 28 — Stock markets fell sharply across most of Asia on Wednesday morning.

But most of the worries were not about China, which started a global sell-off on Tuesday, but about the strength of the American economy and the continued willingness of international investors to keep buying shares far from home. (link)

This reads as if it was written before the news broke. Here's the next sentence:

After tumbling almost 9 percent on Tuesday, the Shanghai market bounced back by about 4 percent by early Wednesday afternoon.
So after taking a plunge on Tuesday, the Chinese market actually recovered somewhat on Wednesday. Why didn't today's headline therefore read like this?

Shanghai Exchange Rebounds

It's true that other Asian markets followed the lead of the U.S. and China and experienced similar declines yesterday. But in a global economy, that was to be expected.

But it must be noted that the market upheavel started in Shanghai, not on the NYSE.

The New York Times, hoping to stick a knife in George Bush's robust economy, saw this as an opportunity to do just that. Thus the "most of the worries were not about China ... but about the strength of the American economy."

So typical.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Those Non-Eco-Non-Friendly Nuts In Floyd

The natives over in Floyd County are sure an odd bunch.

When it was announced that a natural gas pipeline was going to be run through the area - buried deep underground - the folks there went apoplectic. Enraged. Embittered. Mad.

... over a pipeline.

... buried underground.

... that wouldn't be noticeable to the naked eye, even if one went out looking for it.

It's the thought, you see, that there's commerce flowing through the thing that set them off. Evil corporations disgorging their vile, polluting gaseous death through the very heart of Virginia's last remaining pristine Garden of Eden.

Or so it appears.

Well, in the end, the natives have won out. How proud they must be this morning:

Dominion abandons gas pipeline
Greenbrier Pipeline was to cross through the center of Floyd County
Roger Mannon, The Floyd Press

A controversial natural gas pipeline approved four years ago has been cancelled. In late January Dominion Transmission, which had been given a permit by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to construct and maintain the Greenbrier Pipeline through the center of Floyd County, filed a motion to vacate its certificate.

When the line was proposed, to travel 279 miles from West Virginia to North Carolina, and passing through the center of Floyd County, property owners reacted angrily.

In last month’s motion, Dominion stated “despite the patience extended by the Commission in granting the prior extension, Greenbrier does not believe that current circumstances support a request for further extension of the Commission’s authority for construction of the pipeline. The pipeline does not appear to be economically feasible at this time. Nor has Greenbrier developed the necessary market commitments to support the filed project as required by the commission’s order.” (link)
One can only assume that the residents of Floyd just didn't want the environment disturbed.*

So now the gas will be transported to North and South Carolina the old-fashioned way, by train and truck. Spewing fossil fuels the whole way. Polluting the atmosphere. Warming the globe. Every day. Up and back. Up and back. Up and back.

But at least those nasty trucks won't be going through Floyd. That's what matters most to the friends of the Earth over there. Right? They've done their part to make America ... what... cleaner?

For the love of God.

* Before I'm told by Floydians that I need to walk in their shoes, let it be understood that I once owned property in Bullitt County, Kentucky, through which ran a similar pipeline, buried similarly deep underground. Except for signs posted along the line's route (from Houston to Lake Erie) warning people to be careful when they dig, one had no idea it was even there. It and I and the environment lived in complete harmony.

Speaking In Tongues

Sometimes politicians have their talking points properly memorized. And they often deliver them with great effectiveness. And occasionally, the points are so exquisite that a politician feels impelled to spew all of them in the same paragraph, whether they make any sense, strung together, or not.

Take Delegate Ward Armstrong (D-Martinsville) for example.

He came out in opposition to the transportation funding compromise hammered out by the conference committee the other day - like the dutiful party hack that he is - for the following reason(s):

Armstrong opposes transportation plan
Too much debt, he says
By Ginny Wray, Martinsville Bulletin Staff Writer

Del. Ward Armstrong will recommend that Gov. Tim Kaine veto the transportation package approved by the General Assembly on Saturday if it cannot undergo a major overhaul.

Armstrong voted against the measure that authorizes $2.5 billion in borrowing by 2016, as did state Sen. Roscoe Reynolds. The area’s Republican legislators, Dels. Danny Marshall of Danville and Robert Hurt of Chatham, voted for it.

“It is too reliant on general fund money,” Armstrong said of the fund that also pays for education, law enforcement and other areas.

“It puts road building on our kids and grandkids; it’s not appropriate,” he said, adding that “future General Assemblies would have to provide money from the general fund to pay the debt.” (link)

I understand the "too reliant on general fund money" argument. Armstrong and his Democrat pals would rather we create a whole separate funding source for transportation. That funding source, of course, would be your childrens' Christmas gift fund.

And I understand the "future General Assemblies would have to provide money ... to pay the debt" point as well, although his maintaining that it must come from the general fund in future decades doesn't necessarily have to be the case.

But what does the first point about the general fund being used to finance road repairs have to do with his second - the issuance of bonds (which I think he's referring to) in order to help finance needed transportation upgrades? They are separate funding issues that Armstrong has confusedly tried to blend into one.

Key root word being confused.

And if that isn't confusing enough, try to figure out this response to a criticism from a fellow delegate:
[Del. Danny] Marshall said Saturday that Armstrong’s vote against the transportation bill was a vote against U.S. 58. The bill includes funds for the U.S. 58 bypass at Hillsville.

Armstrong responded that the bypass money would be borrowed and supported by general fund money at least in the next biennium under the bill.

“Maybe there will be money for the debt, maybe not,” he said.
So does that mean he's for it or against it?

It was at this point that I developed a splitting headache.

Ward, you'd do well to stick to the "We're taking food out of the mouths of our children and grandchildren" canard and avoid the mixing of bullet points. You do nothing but confuse your audience and make yourself appear to be, well, confused.

Every Child Left Behind

If this were the private sector, and I was the manager, I'd padlock the doors, liquidate the assets, apologize, and refund the stockholders' money:
A Bad Report Card
New York Times editorial

The news from American high schools is not good. The most recent test results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, commonly known as the national report card, finds that American 12th graders are actually performing worse in reading than 12th graders did in 1992, when a comparable exam was given. In addition, 12th-grade performance in reading has been distressingly flat since 2002, even though the states were supposed to be improving the quality of teaching to comply with the No Child Left Behind education act.

The new scores, based on tests given in 2005, show that only about 35 percent of 12th graders are proficient in reading. (link)
Twelve years of study and 65 out of 100 American high school students can't read. A national disgrace.

Shut 'em down. Now.

There Are Minorities And Then There Are Asians

If I were to involve myself in the argument that's been in vogue since, well, the beginning of time, over the plight of racial minorities in this country, I'd come down on the side of that minority most discriminated against by the United States government - Asians. Public schools of higher learning routinely turn away Asian applicants in favor of less qualified Hispanics and black students in order to meet certain racial quotas (though they'll never admit it). And they do it with the blessing of the USA. In the workplace - public and private - minority development programs are never geared toward cultivating an Asian contingent. They always target blacks and Hispanics (and Aleuts and Native Americans ...).

Well, Asian-Americans are starting to organize. And more power to them:

Asians Flex Muscles in California Politics
By Cindy Chan, The New York Times

California’s 4.4 million Asians constitute the state’s second-largest ethnic minority group (after Latinos) and the largest Asian population in the country, but they have been underrepresented in elected office. Now they are moving beyond fund-raising, where they have long been a force, to elect representatives of their own.

Last year for the first time, Asian candidates across the state were supported by a major political action committee, the Asian American Small Business P.A.C. In addition, the California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus, a coalition of Democratic legislators of Asian ancestry, helped organize crews of bilingual volunteers to knock on doors and make sure Asian voters made it to the polls.

There are now nine Asian-Americans in the State Legislature, compared with one 10 years ago. (link)

So why would I champion this kind of racial politics? Because Asians in this country succeed in spite of the best efforts of our government to block their achievements. And their success makes for a better future for the rest of us.

I've never bought into this whole "diversity enriches us all" horseshit. Give me a leadership team (white, black, or indifferent) every time that is driven to succeed, that has the necessary intellect, that is prepared to overcome fantastic odds to get ahead, that doesn't wait for someone to hand them opportunity in a bottle, that's focused and disciplined, that wins.

While the rest of us turn our attention to (American Idol and ...) issues relating to just how profoundly we regret the institution of slavery that existed 200 years ago, and whether Barack Obama gets to be a black guy or not, and whether we should ever use the n-word or not, Asians strive to succeed.

For that reason, they will take over the world.

I don't know why they would want it, but they certainly deserve it.

On Those 'Jobs That Americans Won't Do'

Illegal Mexicans are willing to (cheerily) pick strawberries out in the hot sun. Americans aren't. Americans are too good for that because they are all waiting to be the next American Idol. Or so the argument goes.

Well, there is, in fact, another reason - a very simple reason - why Americans don't flock to the farm fields to pick that cotton and tote those bales. It doesn't pay well.

But don't think for a minute that they won't if it did. A case in point:

Labor Shortage Pushes Mining Companies to Recruit and Pay More
By Wayne Arnold and Heather Timmons, The New York Times

Every time Sue Gogilis starts her shift driving the company truck she gives her steering wheel a good rub with a few disinfectant wipes.

Ms. Gogilis, a 34-year-old mother of two, was a dental assistant until last May. Now she drives a mammoth dump truck at one of Rio Tinto’s iron ore mines, hauling 230 tons of rock and dirt across the scorching Pilbara region in the outback of Australia.

“They need the bodies,” she said. “And so if there’s a body, they don’t care if it’s male or female as long as it can drive the truck.”

From the pits of Australia to the coal fields of Wyoming, mining companies like Rio Tinto are hunting for people to address a dire shortage of workers. A decade ago, with prices slumping, the sense of mining as a sunset industry left it with a workforce with a lot of gray hair under its hardhats. But these days the industry is struggling to meet rapidly growing global demand for iron, copper and other essential commodities.

The reason our megafarmers pay such low wages - to illegals - is because they can. Take away the illegals and the growers will have to pay more in wages. It's as simple as that. As evidenced above.

But, you say, that doesn't address the critical shortage of available labor, particularly skilled labor. So boost legal immigration. Inflate the allowable number of green cards. Expand the work visa program.

But stop the migration of lawbreakers crossing our borders. It - and those who turn a blind eye to it - make a mockery of our way of life.

Y'all Don't Have Spell Check?

Headline from the Associated Press:

The question is: Did he trie hard enough?

Monday, February 26, 2007

Now I KNOW He's The Wrong Candidate

My senator, John Warner, is going to throw his support behind McCain. As if the Arizona senator didn't have enough going against him:
Senator Warner to back McCain
By Peter Hardin, Richmond Times-Dispatch Washington Correspondent

Washington -- Sen. John W. Warner intends to endorse Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., today for president in 2008.

Warner's endorsement -- should McCain decide to seek the presidency -- was in a statement dated today from McCain's exploratory campaign, obtained by The Times-Dispatch.

Warner, R-Va. and until recently the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, has a longtime friendship with McCain. (link)
This is huge. Every member of the media who won't be choosing a liberal Democrat candidate in the 2008 race, all of whom value Warner's opinion, will certainly ... uh ...

Never mind. McCain already has those twelve votes locked up.

I Am One Sick Individual

I must confess. The first time I saw this, heading down the interstate, I burst out laughing:
Talking point
The Roanoke Times

"People are making a joke out of it. But I think it's a pretty serious problem. You have body parts hanging from the hitches of cars. We've crossed a line."

-- Maryland Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr., defending his legislation that would make it illegal for motorists to display anything that looks like "anatomically correct" human or animal genitals, human buttocks or female breasts. Maryland, it seems, has an epidemic of plastic testicles hanging from hitches on pickup trucks. (link)
Let me state for the record, because there are little kiddies reading this, that the warped people who do things like this will burn in hell for sure, and normal adults don't ever do this.

Still, it was a hoot. Large male unmentionables dangling from the trailer hitch behind a monster pickup, rumblin' down the expressway. Funny indeed.

I Can Relate

I'm in suburban Washington D.C. last Thursday, standing across the street from the main gate at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (in Greenbelt, MD), and I had no cell phone signal. In a busy part of one of the largest metropolitan areas in the USA. Not one bar.

I'm certainly no expert, but I have to wonder if it had something to do with this:

Near Quantico, A Click, but Garage Door Doesn't Budge
By Timothy Dwyer, Washington Post Staff Writer

Users of one of suburbia's most basic conveniences -- the garage door opener -- are locked in an odd situation with the U.S. Marine Corps.

A strong radio signal coming from the Quantico Marine base in Prince William County is neutralizing perhaps hundreds of the remote controls that move the garage doors up and down. (link)
I've never had a problem with my garage door opener (which also serves as fork holder when I'm at the dinner table), but it struck me as odd that I had no cellular service in metro D.C. (and it's not like I use Ernie's wireless service/bait shop; it's a Cingular phone) in mid-afternoon on a bright, sunny ... well, actually a crappy overcast day.

I chocked it up to 9/11, somehow, got the immediate feeling that I was being watched, and split for safer environs.

Anyway, what's up with that?

Don't Bother

Governor Kaine thinks he can come down here to Southwest Virginia and convince us rubes that another tax increase is in our best interest. Only problem is, all the plant closings in the area long ago convinced us otherwise.

But waste our time he shall:
Kaine Taking Fight on The Road
Public Input Sought On Transportation, Other Priorities
By Tim Craig, Washington Post Staff Writer

Richmond, Feb. 25 -- Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said he will crisscross Virginia starting this week for a "statewide discussion" about the Republican-backed transportation package to decide how it should be changed.

Kaine (D) is vowing to make "very significant changes" to the plan the General Assembly approved Saturday, saying it undermines state services and doesn't do enough to relieve traffic congestion throughout the state. (link)
Public input sought, my ass. What, he just woke up from a drunken stupor after all these years in office?

I gotta tell you, I always enjoy the argument that using the general fund for highway repairs will "undermine state services." Like pothole filling is a service that we leave up to the legislature on planet Neptune.

In any case, Kaine is hell-bent on raising our taxes - again (transportation is just the latest excuse). And the Republican-led House of Delegates is not going to let him do it - again.

So we are headed to a point where we began. Abject stalemate.

Great job, gov.

The Democrats Are Our Friends CLMVIII

Despite the fact that technology in recent years has brought about superclean-burning coal-fired power plants, the Democrats and their allies, the environmentalists, are succeeding in destroying the coal industry here in Southwest Virginia and across the country. The latest example:

Texas utility deal drops new coal plants
The Washington Times

DALLAS (AP) -- Private-equity firms trying to buy TXU Corp. have agreed to drop plans for most of the utility's proposed new coal-fired power plants in Texas if the deal goes through, according to people familiar with the situation.

The new buyers would also support a mandatory national program to cap emissions of greenhouse gases and pledge not to build coal-fired plants outside Texas, the people said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because the sale was not final.

An obstacle to a TXU sale has been the company's proposal to build 11 new coal-fired power plants in Texas. Environmentalists and civic leaders in some cities, including the mayor of Dallas, are fighting the company's plans. (link)

Those civic leaders who have been pushing to axe the plan for new coal-fired power plant construction, led by Dallas Mayor Laura Miller, are all Democrats, for the record.

You folks over in Dickenson County who still depend on coal for your livelihood, and who vote consistently and overwhelmingly for the Democratic slate, do you have a clue as to who it is your support is going to? These people plot each day to throw you out of work and end your way of life, for Christ's sake.

So smarten up. Before it's too late.

Whew. Just In Time.

Some international court of "justice" has ruled that Serbia committed genocide in Srebrenica. And not a moment too soon. A number of the perpetrators were about to die of old age:
U.N. Top Court Says Srebrenica Massacre Genocide

The Hague (Reuters) - The highest U.N. court said on Monday the massacre of Bosnian Muslim men in Srebrenica in 1995 constituted genocide.

Bosnia has asked the International Court of Justice to rule on whether Serbia committed genocide during the 1992-95 war. It is the first time a state has been tried for genocide, outlawed in a U.N. convention in 1948 after the Nazi Holocaust.

Reading from a lengthy judgment statement ... (link)
Am I the only person who doesn't find encouragement in the fact that it took this U.N. court only 15 years to figure out what the entire freaking planet knew in the first month?

Expect this same court to decide - in the year 2027 - that Saddam Hussein is in fact a mass murderer and military action is in fact desperately needed.

As for those poor schmucks who are being slaughtered by the tens of thousands in Darfur and have turned to the U.N. for protection, 2041? 2077? ...

Global Warming Is For Real!

There can now be no doubt. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences says so. From this morning's New York Times:

On a night in which several top awards came as no surprise, “An Inconvenient Truth,” the documentary featuring Al Gore on global warming, won best documentary feature.

“I made this movie for my children,” said the director, Davis Guggenheim, his arm on Mr. Gore’s shoulder. “We were moved to act by this man.”

Mr. Gore took his moment in the worldwide spotlight to underline the film’s message. “My fellow Americans, people all over the world, we need to solve the climate crisis,” he said, adding that the “will to act” was a renewable resource. “Let’s renew it,” he said. (

And that ain't all. Could anyone doubt the existence of global warming when Gore's scientifically flawed but cinematically creative movie also wins the Oscar for best original song (sung by a lesbian, no less)?

That film also won best original song, for “I Need to Wake Up,” by Melissa Etheridge, upsetting “Dreamgirls,” which had three songs in contention. Holding her Oscar aloft backstage, Ms. Etheridge quipped that it would be “the only naked man who will ever be in my bedroom.”

The theory of global warming having been given Hollywood's seal of authenticity, Gore, Etheridge, and the other climatologists in their midst left the theater to party their brains out at various after-Oscar orgies around L.A., where, it is rumored, drugs, booze, and bluster were flowing freely. And the chicks!

As for me, I confess to having missed the entire affair. After watching some Mexican win some award for some film I never heard of and that nobody in their right mind will ever watch, I went to bed.

Congratulations go out to Crazy Al though. I hear he campaigned hard for his little statue, expending great volumes of greenhouse gases in the effort, and, from everything I hear, he earned it.

The world now sees a bright tomorrow.

Everyone! Sing it with me!

The sun will come out, tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar
That tomorrow, there'll be sun
Jus thinkin about, tomorrow
Clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow
til theres none

When Im stuck with the day thats gray and lonely
I just stick out my chin and grin and say, ohhh
The sun will come out, tomorrow
So you gotta hang on til tomorrow
Come what may...

Tomorrow, tomorrow
I love ya, tomorrow
Youre always a day awayyyyyyyyyyyy

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Make no mistake about it - he pledged to not raise our taxes. We took it as a promise. He now has the opportunity before him to honor that pledge. If he's an honorable man.

Any bets?

Kaine condemns plan for transportation and pledges to rewrite it
By Michael Hardy and Jeff E. Schapiro, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writers

In a closing-day showdown, Virginia lawmakers yesterday approved an election-year fix for transportation that will hit a roadblock in the governor's office.

The road-and-rail plan, which Gov. Timothy M. Kaine vows to rewrite, relies on $2.5 billion in bonds and a $184 million-a-year raid (sic) on the general fund, which finances schools, police and programs for the poor (sic).

"That's too much," Kaine told reporters last night. The use of the funds to pay off the borrowing does "significantly more harm than good." (link)
It's showdown time. Having famously hidden while the titanic struggle was taking place in the legislature, Kaine must now reveal himself. And there are now only two options available to our seemingly chimeral governor:

1) Sign the compromise funding plan with its reliance on bonds and existing general funds (and an increase in taxes on automobile purchases).
2) Gut the plan, raise our taxes dramatically, and go down in history as having been just another lying, scheming Democrat politician.

Tim Kaine can now no longer hide from the electorate. We are about to find out just who he really is.

May God have mercy.

A Beacon Of Light

I made mention long ago of the gem (logistically speaking) known as Wytheville, Virginia, a small town that finds itself strategically located at the convergence of two busy interstate highways. What I should have done at the time was keep my mouth shut and invest in land in the area (about where the new Pepsi distribution center has been located). In fact, I did look into it but I never followed up. My mistake.

In any case, because of its importance, Wytheville is now kickin':
At the crossroads of commerce
At a time when many of its neighbors are struggling over shuttered plants and mass layoffs, Wythe County's success in attracting new business is striking.
By Angela Manese-Lee, The Roanoke Times

Wytheville -- The sign that welcomes visitors at the northern entrance of Wythe County's Progress Park boasts a series of industrial plots located "at the crossroads of commerce."

At a time when many of its neighbors are struggling over shuttered plants and mass layoffs, Wythe County's success is striking. (link)
As I noted early on, there is a simple explanation for Wythe County's growth. It's in the right place at the right time:
In contrast to the traditional, old-line factories that once filled other communities, Wythe's recent acquisitions have been highly automated facilities stocked with high-tech equipment.

The reason such high-tech, and high-paying, facilities are drawn to Wythe County is easy to trace. Just follow the trucks on Interstates 81 and 77.

"Within 12 hours in a tractor-trailer, you can deliver your product to two-thirds of the United States," said Wythe County Administrator Cellell Dalton. "You can go east, west, north, south. In today's transportation world and distribution world, it's probably one [thing] that we've taken advantage of more than anything."
Here's another prediction - and a bit of investment advice - to go along with the one I made years ago about Wytheville's growth opportunity:

There is an explosion of new retail stores taking place along I-81, exit 70, in Wytheville, a shopping complex anchored by Wal-Mart and Lowe's. Right across the street from the Wal-Mart shopping center, bulldozers are clearing hundreds of acres for more retail. That's great.

But fifteen years from now all the growth is going to be one exit down, at Peppers Ferry Road. Where Pepsi and Gatorade have built their facilities (and where the most spectacular Harley Davidson store ever constructed has gone up). Where I-81 meets I-77. And where there are still lots of open spaces and farm fields, and deals to be had.

Want to get rich? Buy there.

A Correlation

We learned three days ago that New York City residents have the highest tax bill of any large city in America. By far.

Though the news didn't come as a shock to anyone, I'm sure, there are probably those out there who wonder how that can be.

Here's one small example of how that can be:
Free To Be He-She
By Janon Fisher and Leela de Kretser, The New York Post

A judge has ordered taxpayers to foot the bill - up to $20,000 - for a sex-change operation that will make a 21-year-old man into a woman.

In a ruling to be released Thursday, Manhattan Family Court Judge Sheldon Rand said the city must provide the subsidized snip because the woman wannabe, identified as Mariah Lopez, had been in the care of the Administration for Children's Services as a youngster.

The judge said the agency has a duty to pay for all "necessary" medical care to the kids in its charge.

Rand ruled that Lopez suffers from a diagnosed gender-identity disorder and that surgery is the recognized treatment. (link)
Don't try to make sense of it. It's New York.

But don't plan a visit there either without taking out a loan.

The Decision Is In

The legislature has come to agreement on just how profoundly we are going to pretend to regret the existence of slavery long, long ago.

First, an education:

Adjective: profound (profounder, profoundest) pru'fawnd
1. Showing intellectual penetration or emotional depths; from the depths of your being
2. Of the greatest intensity; complete
3. Coming from deep within one
4. Situated at or extending to great depth; too deep to have been sounded or plumbed

Noun: regret ri'gret
1. Sadness associated with some wrong done or some disappointment
Verb: regret (regretted, regretting) ri'gret
1. Feel remorse for; feel sorry for; be contrite about
2.Feel sad about the loss or absence of
3. Be sorry

Now the joyous news:
Virginia Apologizes for Role in Slavery
By The Associated Press

Richmond, Va. (AP) -- Meeting on the grounds of the former Confederate Capitol, the Virginia General Assembly voted unanimously Saturday to express ''profound regret'' for the state's role in slavery.

Sponsors of the resolution say they know of no other state that has apologized for slavery, although Missouri lawmakers are considering such a measure. The resolution does not carry the weight of law but sends an important symbolic message, supporters said.

The resolution passed the House 96-0 and cleared the 40-member Senate on a unanimous voice vote. It does not require Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's approval.

The measure also expressed regret for ''the exploitation of Native Americans.'' (link)
Is there a person reading this who truly thinks anyone in Richmond who voted for this silly resolution was overwhelmed with intense sadness over the plight of African-American slaves of two centuries ago?

Verb: dissemble di'sembul
1. Make believe with the intent to deceive
2. Hide under a false appearance
3. Behave unnaturally or affectedly

Profound regret. Whatever.

Ban It? Glorify It?

This may be a morning devoted to words and their meaning. In the next instance, we find ourselves grappling with a word one is forbidden to utter - ever - but must be repeated ad nauseum if one is going to be a gangsta:
In Bid to Ban Racial Slur, Blacks Are on Both Sides
By Anahad O'Connor, The New York Times

Days after Michael Richards’s racist tirade at a Los Angeles comedy club, Leroy G. Comrie Jr., a New York City councilman, seethed as he listened to some black teenagers on a Queens street spewing out the same word Mr. Richards had been using.

“They were saying ‘nigga’ or ‘niggas’ every other word,” said Mr. Comrie, who is black. “I could tell they didn’t get it. They don’t realize how their self-image is debilitated when they use this awful word in public.”

So Mr. Comrie sponsored a resolution for a moratorium on the use of the n-word in New York City, prompting a spate of similar proposals in half a dozen local governments across four states in recent weeks. The New York City Council is scheduled to discuss Mr. Comrie’s proposal tomorrow and vote on it on Wednesday; the City Council in Paterson, N.J., and the Westchester County Legislature both unanimously approved such bans recently. (
This 1,309 word article, so you know, focuses on the derivation and usage of a word that is never revealed. The n-word.

Americans, 200 years from now, will read this and say: Huh?

Perhaps that is as it should be.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

A New Sponsor

Pictured on the left sidebar (scroll down a tad) is the logo of a new sponsor we are particularly proud of here at From On High. First Due Gear, owned and operated by Roanoke firefighter/paramedic, Jarrod Fuhrman, and his wife, Sarah, and located on Thompson Memorial Drive for your shopping convenience, is Southwest Virginia's newest and finest dealer of products tailored to the specific needs of public safety personnel - helmets, boots, gloves, goggles, turnout gear, fire service books, EMS supplies, swift water rescue equipment, collectibles, apparel, etc.

Pictured above is their technical consulting staff - Kaid Fuhrman and Jayla Fuhrman. No question too complex, no problem too great, no issue insurmountable, they are there to provide cutting-edge guidance as you work to outfit your crew with the latest in firefighting and rescue equipment and materiale.

Give them a call. Kaid and Jayla are there to answer your questions (when they're not in advanced training at the nearby Day Care). (540) 375-8850.

Puckett: Not Enough Of a Tax Increase

Our state senator here in Bland, Buchanan, Dickenson, Pulaski, Russell, Smyth, Tazewell, Wise, and Wythe Counties, Phil Puckett (D-Russell County), is now embarrassing us with his obstinacy. And his outrageous lack of loyalty. Taking a page out of Russ Potts's tax-'em-til-they-bleed playbook, or in Puckett's case, tax-'em-til-there-ain't-an-employer-left-in-Southwest Virginia, Puckett is going to vote against the compromise that his committee hammered out to fix the roads up north - because tax increases in the plan aren't egregious enough:
Lawmakers spin their wheels on transportation
Both houses will vote on a compromise bill today in an effort to end the impasse.
By Michael Sluss, The Roanoke Times

RICHMOND -- The General Assembly heads into the final scheduled day of its 2007 session with lawmakers skirmishing over a transportation funding package and Gov. Tim Kaine threatening to keep them in Richmond until both houses agree to a deal.

Negotiators from the Senate and House of Delegates on Friday outlined a compromise bill that both houses will vote on today in an effort to end more than a year of legislative gridlock on transportation.

Sen. Phillip Puckett, D-Russell County, was the only transportation negotiator who said he will not support the compromise. Puckett said he opposes the use of general fund money to retire debt and charged that Republicans have failed to include him in discussions of the plan since Tuesday.

"I can only speak for the Democratic caucus, but I don't think this will be received very favorably," Puckett said.

A Senate coalition of 17 Democrats and six Republicans defeated an earlier transportation funding proposal, largely because it relied heavily on general fund revenue. (link)
For those of you who haven't been following this, the general fund is awash in surplus - that is, literally, money that the legislature has been unable find anything to spend it on. Puckett would rather keep that surplus in place and raise your taxes in Tazewell and Lebanon to pay for road repairs up in Fairfax and Hampton Roads instead.

Phil Puckett, it is said, once represented us here in Southwest Virginia. He's obviously moved on to environs more suitable to his ambitions. It's time we bid him a fond farewell.

Killing Children & Feeling Good About It

I mentioned yesterday that half a billion people, most of them children and all of them extremely poor, contract malaria each year because we refuse to allow their parents to use the one really effective tool that will kill the mosquitos that spread the disease - DDT. One million of them, again mostly little children, will die. Every year.

DDT, you see, was thought back in the 60's to be harmful to falcon eggs and, so as to not lose any baby birds out in Colorado, we banned the chemical's use, virtually worldwide. We now accept the deaths of tens of millions of babies in Africa as a necessary byproduct of that necessary policy position. The falcons must be protected. At all costs.

It's not like we are completely unconcerned about those African babies though. We do a lot for them. We are very generous with donations of mosquito repellent, for instance. And we give them nets to ward off a few of the deadly insects:
Mo. Group Donates Nets to Fight Malaria
By Betsy Taylor, Associated Press Writer

St. Louis (AP) -- During Andy Sherman's two-year Peace Corps service in Thioke Thian, Senegal, 9-year-old Salimatou helped him navigate village life and learn the language, telling him words in Pulaar as he'd point at objects. But after returning from a stint working in another village, Sherman learned the girl had died of malaria. And after completing his service in 2002, he learned two women who had been like mothers to him also died of the mosquito-borne disease.

Their deaths, and the deaths of more than 1 million people each year from malaria, prompted Sherman and fellow Saint Louis University medical student Jesse Matthews to start NetLife, a nonprofit organization that distributes mosquito nets in Africa. It's motto: Saving lives one net at a time.

"Previously when we bought them, they ..." (link)
Am I the only person in this country who will read that and feel ashamed?

" [T]he deaths of more than 1 million people each year from malaria," prompted Sherman and ... Jesse Matthews to distribute goddam nets? Why not little coffins to go along with them? Maybe a couple of TV dinners to warm their tiny tummies until they begin vomiting, go into convulsions, and die their inevitable and horrible - and preventable - deaths?

Preventable deaths. Deaths we choose not to prevent. Saving lives? Please.

Turning Her Over His Knee

I have always admired Dick Cheney. For many reasons. This is one:

VP: Quit Whining, Nancy

February 24, 2007 -- Washington - Vice President Dick Cheney refused yesterday to take back his charge that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's opposition to the Iraq war is playing into the hands of al Qaeda.

"If you're going to advocate a course of action that basically is withdrawal of our forces from Iraq, then you don't get to just do the fun part of that, that says, 'We'll, we're going to get out,' and appeal to your constituents on that basis," Cheney said.

The vice president had voiced the same criticism of Pelosi earlier this week during a visit to Japan. The California Democrat accused the vice president of questioning her patriotism.

"I hope the president will repudiate and distance himself from the vice president's remarks," Pelosi said.

During yesterday's interview in Sydney with ABC News, Cheney said, "I'm not sure what part of it is that Nancy disagreed with. She accused me of questioning her patriotism. I didn't question her patriotism. I questioned her judgment." (link)
He's not going to back down no matter how much of a tantrum she throws. The crybaby.

Dick Cheney: The man who should be our next President.

Here's One You Haven't Heard

Three quarters of a million illegals cross our southern borders every year. It's at epidemic proportions and it's a national disgrace. Not to mention a looming security risk.

There are those - myself included - who want it stopped. But we have run into an insurmountable roadblock in our efforts to end the lawlessness. Migratory birds and furry creatures.

Borders Without Fences
By Ted Kerasote, writing in The New York Times

In the debate over how to prevent illegal immigration from Mexico into the United States — armed patrols, electronic surveillance, prison time for first offenders and a 700-mile-long 15-foot-high fence — few politicians have voiced concern over the last option’s profound effects on wildlife.

Authorized by the Secure Fence Act of 2006, this barrier (83 miles of which have already been built) will bisect a border region that has some of the most ecologically diverse landscapes in the hemisphere. It is here — in a land of deserts, mountains, conifers and cactus — that bird species from North and Central America share territories and cross paths during migrations. It is here that endangered wildlife, like the jaguar and gray wolf ... (link)
For those of you who wish to "voice your concern" over the plight of migratory birds should the wall that currently exists along our border (the one that has been there for many years) be extended, you can register your concern here.

I don't know about you but I feel better.

So That's The Reason!

I always knew there had to be an ulterior motive for the ACLU's championing of child pornography. That motive finally surfaces:

ACLU ex-president charged in child-porn case
By Jerry Seper, The Washington Times

Federal authorities yesterday charged the former president of the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, who serves as a leader of youth sports organizations in the state, with receiving and possessing child pornography.

Charles Rust-Tierney, 51, of Arlington, was named in a criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Alexandria and was taken into custody by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and Arlington County police. (link)

In addition to advocating over the years for pornographers' rights, the ACLU has been in the forefront of pushing for the rights of criminals being warehoused in our many prisons. Good thing. Rust-Tierney may very well need it.

It Won't Make Any Difference

The Democratic Party now being held sway by kooks and dolts, this finding by scientists that their candidate really did lose the election won't mean squat:

Panel Cites Voter Error, Not Software, in Loss of Votes
By Christopher Drew, The New York Times

Florida election officials announced yesterday that an examination of voting software did not find any malfunctions that could have caused up to 18,000 votes to be lost in a disputed Congressional race in Sarasota County, and they suggested that voter confusion over a poor ballot design was mainly to blame.

The finding, reached unanimously by a team of computer experts from several universities, could finally settle last fall’s closest federal election. The Republican candidate, Vern Buchanan, was declared the winner by 369 votes, but the Democrat, Christine Jennings, formally contested the results, claiming that the touch-screen voting machines must have malfunctioned. (link)

Can you imagine? The report states - in so many words - that it ain't the machines, fellas. Y'all just have a lot of stupid Democrats wandering the streets who can't figure out how to touch a Touch Screen. But then we all knew that.

As one might expect, the Democrat in the race has decided to continue to contest the election. She can be counted on to do so until the end of time. And her supporters will continue to believe either that those tiny little gremlins lurking in the machines were responsible for her loss or that the Republicans who manufactured the machines scammed the voting public - somehow.

In any case, this ruling by the leading computer scientists on the planet will quell none of the hysteria. It's what they do. It's what they live for. They're all mad.

Case In Point

If we don't do it, it won't get done. That's the reality.

Take, for instance, the tragedy that has been playing out in Darfur. There are those, like Nat Hentoff who regularly writes on the subject for the New York Post, who have been pleading for international action in the matter and for a U.N. force to be sent there to stop the slaughter. To no avail.

Another day, another plea. This one from a Hollywood type:
Farrow Urges UN to Send Forces to Darfur
By The Associated Press

N'Djamena, Chad (AP) -- Actress Mia Farrow said that the United Nations is responding too slowly to the Darfur crisis, and the Security Council must deploy peacekeepers to the war-stricken region of western Sudan without the government's consent if necessary.

Finishing a two-week tour of refugee camps on the Chadian border with Darfur, Farrow said Friday that world leaders should commit a peacekeeping force to the frontier as soon as possible. Militia currently cross the border and attack civilians with impunity.

More than 200,000 people have died in Sudan's remote Darfur since 2003, and hundreds of thousands of the region's 2.5 million refugees have fled to the Central African Republic and Chad, where they are attacked by other militia. (link)
These people have tied themselves (and us) in knots with their opposition to intervention in Iraq, where there is, arguably, more suffering, more death, more degradation taking place on a daily basis, but at the same time they plead for military intervention in Darfur.

Thanks mostly to their own twisted actions, their pleas now fall on deaf ears.

Such is the world they've created. Now they have to live with it.

Too bad the children of Darfur won't.

Friday, February 23, 2007

America Loses One Of Its Finest

And Southwest Virginia honors a fallen hero:

Covington man killed in Iraq
Shawn M. Dunkin, 25, loved Army, had 'sense of duty,' his father says
By Peter Bacque, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

Army Sgt. Shawn M. Dunkin was born in Petersburg and graduated from Alleghany High School in 1999.

Army Sgt. Shawn M. Dunkin, who called Covington home, died in Iraq on Monday.

Dunkin and two other soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division were killed in Baghdad when their vehicle was attacked with an improvised explosive device, the New York-based division said in a statement yesterday.

"He loved what he was doing," his father, Micheal Dunkin of York, S.C., said yesterday. "He felt like it was important and he was going to continue to do it." (link)

Our best. Our most promising. Our hero. A salute.

Too Good To Be True

It is being reported that one-time loyal and by-all-appearances sane Republican Russ Potts (I'll let you parse that phrase in any way it suits you) (R-Winchester) is on his way into permanent ignominy.

From the incomparable VCAP:
Victory for conservatives–Potts announces retirement

Russ Potts announced on the floor of the Senate today his retirement. This announcement could not come soon enough given Potts’ unquenchable thirst for spending and his persistent demand for tax increases every year…just so he can spend more. Potts completely betrayed his constituents and Virginia when he campaigned on being pro-life, and has since done everything possible to kill all pro-life legislation in Committee. (link)
Not to be left out is Potts' longstanding love affair with our hard-earned income. Or tax revenue as he prefers to think of it.

Retirement is too good for this turncoat. But we'll celebrate just the same if we can't force him into a straightjacket.

"This day is a day that the Lord has made and we can rejoice in it and be glad."

The Man Who Would Be Legend

Six days after he was elected governor, Tim Kaine announced that we needed to do something about our transportation woes here in Virginia. The key word being after. He said nothing about raising our taxes before he was elected. Odd how that got by him - and the media.

Since then, the legislature has descended into internecine warfare over the issue, with our ostensibly brave and visionary governor only venturing out from the confines of his self-imposed seclusion to make the occasional comment, and to take the stray - and pitiable - potshot at the House Republicans who chose to not do his bidding. But beyond that, to do nothing on his own to bring about a solution to the road repair funding problems in NoVa.


Tim Kaine's failed leadership
By Ed Gillespie, writing in the Washington Times

Citizens across Virginia are watching with interest as Republicans in the General Assembly work to solve the pressing problem of traffic congestion in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia, but one who should be doing more than simply watching is Gov. Tim Kaine.

You'd be hard pressed to find anyone in Richmond who thinks Mr. Kaine has been even marginally relevant in the ongoing debate over Virginia's most vexing policy challenge. He has followed a self-marginalizing path on transportation — and he's running out of time to change his course.

He's been awaiting a sign of a breakthrough so he can race in and take credit, but otherwise has meekly avoided doing anything to irk the Senate's increasingly isolated advocates of higher taxes.

At their behest, Mr. Kaine last year jettisoned his no-new-taxes campaign commitment with embarrassing haste and ease, jeopardizing both his credibility and long-term political viability in the process. He ended up with nothing for the commuters stuck in traffic and nothing for his legacy. (link)
It wasn't supposed to work this way. The liberal press here in the commonwealth, particularly the Washington Post, did all the heavy lifting for the governor to get him elected. Kaine took it for granted that the mainstream media would get his massive tax increase passed as well, and he focused his attention on Katie Couric's sure-to-be-scheduled-soon interview on national television.

But what he and they failed to consider were the new media (with all required modesty, I take only partial credit), our courageous Republican Delegates, and the people of the state of Virginia who saw through this mockery from the beginning and refused to go along with it.

Thus Tim Cane ... er, was it Kane? er ... Kaine fades into inglorious obscurity.

Katie will have to look elsewhere for that towering political figure who rises above the fray and is prepared to lead America into that bright, shining tomorrow. Only Democrats, of course, need apply.


More on what the governor "appears" to be doing from the Washington Post this morning here.