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

Saturday, June 30, 2007

The State Has More Money Than It Needs

How can you tell?

When it spends our hard-earned tax dollars on a local barbecue cookout!
Barbecue championship lands state grant
By Brian Funk, Galax Gazette Staff Reporter

Two years after declaring Galax's annual “Smoke on the Mountain” as the state's official championship barbecue cook-off, Virginia is putting its money where its mouth is.The Virginia Tourism Corporation this week awarded the event a $17,588 grant, which will cover all marketing expenses.

The championship's sponsor, the non-profit Twin County Regional Chamber of Commerce, is the award recipient.“We were surprised and very appreciative ...”
(
link)
... said Chamber Executive Director Judy Brannock as if she were talking to Santa Claus.

In fact, she was.

Money Secured For Trail. Reason Unknown.

Another week goes by. Another trail.
State, federal grant awarded for rail trail
By Nancy Lindsey, The Stuart Enterprise


Patrick County has been awarded $58,000 by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) toward the design and construction of the Mayo River Rail Trail.


The project will be a "three-mile, multi-use trail for the Patrick Springs-Stuart growth corridor along Rt. 58 into downtown Stuart," according to a news release from the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The funds were awarded during the Commonwealth Transportation Board's meeting in Richmond June 21 as part of the federal Transportation Enhancement Program*. The board awarded a total of $17.2 million statewide to support about 85 projects such as biking and hiking trails, crosswalks, pedestrian walkways, sidewalks and streetscaping, the news release stated. (link)
$17 million in transportation funds going to biking and hiking trails, crosswalks, pedestrian walkways, sidewalks and something called streetscaping (for the love of God).

Why that $17 million couldn't be devoted to transportation is beyond anyone's guess.**
__

* My apologies to "anonymous" for doubting him. He had written in a comment recently that this was being passed through the state transportation department and was actually an allocation from the feds.

** Before anyone writes and explains that the federal dollars have to be spent the way the federal government (in the person of Rick Boucher) requires, understand where I'm coming from. If we can call these millions "transportation funds," we can call the Coalfields Expressway a bike path. Problem solved.

How Big Of You

West Virginia, one of the most heavily taxed states in the nation, is taking pity on its poor folk. Legislators there have decided to drop the state tax on food.

Well, no actually it reads that they are dropping the food tax ... 1%.

The tax on food.

In poverty-ravaged West Virginia.

For the love of God:

Food tax dropping to 4 percent
By Greg Jordan, Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Bluefield — A decrease in West Virginia’s food tax could help families living on minimum wage, local human service providers said Friday.

The state’s food tax is scheduled to drop from 5 percent to 4 percent Sunday, said Gov. Joe Manchin. (link)


Read the article. The governor seems quite pleased that he is only taxing bread and milk that go to the starving children at a 4% rate rather than 5.

Joe Marie Antoinette Manchin?

I Have An Idea

This headline (having to do with Pulaski County's use of inmate muscle to clean buildings) got me to thinking:

County: Inmate labor pays off

We need laborers in our farm fields to replace all those illegal Mexicans, right? Hmmm. What say we put their miscreant asses to work pickin' cotton?

Washington County Continues To Grow

If only we could replicate Abingdon around Southwest Virginia:
The Twin City posts modest population gains in 2006
By David McGee, Bristol Herald-courier


Both Bristols posted slight population gains last year, while many smaller towns across the Mountain Empire were stagnant, according to new figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Bristol Tennessee added more than 200 new residents in 2006 ...

Bristol Virginia’s population is estimated at 17,496, a 129-resident increase since the 2000 count.

The populations of most local Tennessee cities and towns continued to grow slowly, but many Virginia communities have experienced no growth or lost residents since the 2000 Census.

Communities in Washington County bucked that trend, as the populations of Abingdon, Damascus and Glade Spring all grew. Abingdon added 153 new residents since 2000, Damascus added 91 and Glade Spring grew by 147. (link)
Nice. Expect to hear how it's attributable to those new hiking trails and bike paths ...

Ouch

While Washington County basks in the warm sunshine of economic growth, Pulaski implodes:
Jobless rate third highest
Pulaski County increase blamed on plant closing, layoffs
By Melinda Williams, Staff Writer, The Southwest Times


Pulaski County — The closing of Pulaski Furniture and furloughs at Volvo left Pulaski County with the third highest unemployment rate in Virginia in May, according to Virginia Employment Commission.

Bill Mezger, chief economist with the VEC, said Pulaski County’s unemployment rate rose nearly

When compared to May 2006, the county’s unemployment rate has doubled. In May of last year the local rate was 3.4 percent, which represented 628 people out of work. full point in the past month, from 6 percent in April to 6.8 percent in May. (link)
This isn't good. And word has it that things will get worse at Volvo before they get better.

Strap yourselves in.

Which Is The Bigger Story Here?

Naked woman drives van into Culpeper (Va) bedroom

(Read the first comment on this story from a Roshan in Sri Lanka here).

A Twisted Mentality

Segregation
Noun: segregation `segru'geyshun
1. A social system that provides separate facilities for minority groups
2. The act of segregating or sequestering

To divide. To sequester. To set apart. To keep away from others.

Does any of this have anything to do with our public schools in 2007 and the decisions parents make regarding where they choose to live?

In the convoluted minds of those at the Roanoke Times it does. To have a neighborhood that is all black, or nearly all black, with local schools reflecting that same demographic somehow translates into the government forcibly, willfully setting little black kids apart from little white kids.

What idiocy:

A return to segregation
A Supreme Court ruling says race can't be a factor in seeking racial balance. What, do tell, should schools use to achieve equality and diversity?

editorial

A narrow, radical majority on the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a half-century of progress toward integration of minorities. In finding the desegregation plans of Seattle and Louisville, Ky., schools unconstitutional, the justices might as well have said, "Stick with your own kind."

Under this ruling, schools can no longer look at the race of students in deciding which schools they should attend in order to achieve diversity that 53 years of progress under Brown v. Board of Education had hoped to achieve.
(
link)

Let me translate that last paragraph:

The government can no longer discriminate on the basis of race. The world as we know it is coming to an end.

And let me answer that first question:


What should schools use to achieve equality and diversity? Nothing. It's not their charge. Not their job. They are to educate (a concept foreign to many), not engender a brave new world.

That, fellas, is up to the parents. If diversity is what they want (an overrated concept in itself), they can move to the burbs and join the many black families (and Roanoke Times employees) that have already done the same.

It's called freedom. Like it or not.

A Prophesy Fulfilled

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will be remembered over time perhaps for one quote. A powerful one it is. A foretelling:

With regard to the government's (governments') powers to seize the property of one private citizen and hand it to another:

"Now the specter of condemnation hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the State from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory."

She must have had Roanoke in mind when she wrote those striking words in her dissent to the Kelo v. New London decision.

Group files to condemn properties
The housing authority wants two parcels for Roanoke's Riverside Centre for Research and Technology.
By Matt Chittum, The Roanoke Times


The Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority's perfect record of acquiring land for Roanoke's Riverside Centre for Research and Technology without fully flexing its condemnation muscles came to an end Friday.

The authority filed a petition to condemn two properties on Reserve Avenue that are home to Surfaces, a flooring company.

Historically, condemnation has been used for the creation of parks and highways and setting up utilities. (link)


Parks and highways? How quaint.

Not anymore. Today it's used to transfer property from a less fortunate landowner to a wealthier one. In the name of tax revenue. With the support of the United States Supreme Court.

Stalin got away with this using the point of a gun. This is not who we are. This can not continue.

Hmmmm

This is worth a ponder:
Richardson's Campaign Raises $7 Million
By Jim Kunhenn, The Associated Press


Washington -- New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson raised $7 million for his Democratic presidential campaign during the last three months, surpassing his first quarter fundraising, his campaign announced Friday.

The total places Richardson firmly in fourth place in the race for money among Democrats, behind John Edwards and pack-leading Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama. (link)
Bill Richardson happens to be the only "conservative" in a field full of zany liberals in the race for the Democratic nomination for president. Well, conservative by Democrat standards anyway. Which puts him just to the right of Ho Chi Minh.

Sure, he tries his best to disguise his moderation by spewing the same mindless platitudes as his rabidly liberal opponents (did you hear them all pandering to that black audience in the debate the other day? It was painful beyond tears) but he has governed New Mexico as somewhat of a sane politician. In an asylum full of whackjobs, Bill Richardson stands out as someone who could rise above the maddened crowd, and be a contender the American people could perhaps tolerate.

Methinks we should keep an eye on him.

We'll See About That

Bill's Failure Has Immigrants Down, Not Leaving

Like They Have Any Other Plans?

Democrats Plan to Press GOP on Iraq

Where To Go From Here

I heard someone on TV the other day say that those who were in opposition to the amnesty bill were making a lot of noise but weren't offering any alternatives to the plan. The man obviously wasn't listening. Either that or he decided to tune us out. We've been shouting it from the rooftops for weeks now for all to hear.

To wit:
Bush urged to fund security
By Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times


Democrats and Republicans who blocked the Senate immigration bill this week say it's now time to focus on immigration law enforcement, and say President Bush should still find a way to pump $4.4 billion he promised into border security.

"There is a consensus that we must secure our borders and enforce our laws. So let's start there," said Sen. Elizabeth Dole, North Carolina Republican; while Sen. Wayne Allard, Colorado Republican, said Congress should "find common-sense solutions to the labor concerns we face in the agriculture industry and start doing what we all know needs to be done — secure the border and enforce our existing laws." (link)
It's not written in Greek. And there are no big words in that message so even Barbara Boxer should be able to understand it.

You guys promised to secure the borders in years past. You said you would protect us after 9/11. You paid for a fence. Build it. Secure it. Provide protection.

Make our laws more than a joke.

Then we'll help the nation's wealthy mega-farmers find enough slave labor to keep them in the lavish lifestyle to which they've grown accustomed.

He Was a Marvelous Talent


Joel Siegel dead at 63.
.
Photo courtesy of E! News.

Amnesty Bill Postmortem

More on how an aroused citizenry can stop the government in its tracks:
Phone Call Mutiny
How Citizens Felled The Border Bill
By Rich Lowry, The New York Post

The fight over the immigration bill was the first instance of an insider parliamentary struggle in which bloggers, talk-radio hosts and citizens were able to have a major voice through the synergistic power of the Internet, radio waves and telephone lines. Bloggers picked apart the bill, talk-radio-show hosts broadcast its flaws and ordinary people jammed their senators' phone lines - blocking what had begun as a kind of legislative coup.

The creators of the Senate's so-called Grand Bargain - giving illegal aliens legal status in exchange for new enforcement measures - originally hoped to slam it through the Senate in a matter of days. Even as they held a self-congratulatory press conference about the bargain, no one had seen the text of the 300-page bill. Their implicit axiom was, "Trust us."

It quickly became clear that was impossible. (link)
It's not often that the American people get as worked up over a federal issue as they did with this immigration bill. I think the last time I saw the kind of passions being displayed was when Bill Clinton forced that "assault weapons" ban down our throats.

What will be interesting to watch from here on out is the manner in which Congress reacts to a surly nation, in no mood for Ted Kennedy and his 1960's approach to solving America's problems. Will our august leadership there react as the New York Times editorial page did this morning and view it as nothing more than noise? I dare them.

The Senate ignores us at its peril.

Ya Think?

Failure of Senate Immigration Bill Can Be Lesson for Congress, Experts Say

Breaking News

Kyuma: Atomic Bombs Ended World War II

Why We Fight

There are many Americans who think that we need to walk away from Iraq. Because there are terrorists there hurting people. That if we walk away, we'll be able to avoid the terrorists and, therefore, the bloodshed.

Welcome to Planet Earth:
London Finds Linked Bombs, a Qaeda Tactic
By Alan Cowell, The New York Times


London, June 29 — London was gripped by a terrorist threat on Friday when the police found two Mercedes sedans packed with gasoline, nails and gas canisters that had been parked near Piccadilly Circus in the bustling West End entertainment district.

The police defused both bombs, but had they exploded “there could have been significant injury or loss of life,” Peter Clarke, Britain’s senior counterterrorism police official, told reporters. (link)
These guys are not fighting us because we are in Iraq.

These animals are fighting us because we are alive.

Friday, June 29, 2007

I Take Full Credit

Richard Viguerie is right:

New Media Beat Old Media on Bush Amnesty Bill, Says Richard Viguerie

(Manassas, Virginia) Richard A. Viguerie, co-author of
America’s Right Turn--How Conservatives Used New and Alternative Media to Take Power (Bonus Books, 2004), said that New and Alternative Media, along with grassroots efforts, were able to prevail over pressure from big business and the White House on the Bush Amnesty Bill.

Viguerie said conservatives using blogs, e-mail messages, websites, radio talk shows, cable TV, and direct mail were able to rally the American people to beat the Bush Administration and the business establishment.


“If this same fight had been waged even 20 years ago, the big boys probably would have won. Today, ordinary citizens were able to have their voices forcefully heard in Washington, D.C. This was a Harriet Miers-type moment,” he said. (received via email)


I think there was another factor involved in this. There was a noticeable lack of interest on the left as the right erupted in indignation. The AFL-CIO whined a bit, as did the usual Latino suspects, but the heavy hitters stayed out of it.

Question: Has anyone seen a quote from Hillary as this debate unfolded?

Roscoe, Say It Ain't So!

This must have a logical explanation. I hope it has some explanation.

From Alton Foley:

Roscoe Reynolds Authored Senate Version Of Civil Remedial Fees

When asked about recent legislation soon to go into effect in Virginia which places very high fees upon certain driving offenses
Jeff Evans, candidate for the 20th Senate District said, "This was evidently not very well thought out. Of course it will place an undue burden on many of our low income citizens, and cause many more to simply ignore the law and place themselves in danger of serving jail time. Even worse, it only
applies to Virginia residents, that is just not right. It must be amended as soon as possible in the next General Assembly, and I will work hard to do just that."


"But more importantly, in a recent interview with the Martinsville Bulletin, Roscoe Reynolds does not acknowledge the fact that he was the sole patron of this legislation in the Senate, claiming instead to oppose the new law."

"What my opponent does not say during that interview ... is the fact that this legislation, which he now claims to abhor, was introduced in the Senate on January 10, 2007 by Senator W. Roscoe Reynolds himself ". (link)


How on Earth do you oppose legislation you proposed?

Roscoe, you're scaring us, man.

Quote Of The Day

"The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts

Now, Take Names

There's Ted Kennedy. Of course. John McCain. Lindsey Graham.

These three need to pay. Two will for sure.

But they weren't alone in this. All need to be hunted down and driven from office.

Oh, and America won a big one:

Immigrant Bill Dies in Senate; Defeat for Bush
By Robert Pear and Carl Hulse, The New York Times

Washington, June 28 — President Bush’s effort to overhaul the nation’s immigration policy, a cornerstone of his domestic agenda, collapsed Thursday in the Senate, with little prospect that it can be revived before Mr. Bush leaves office in 19 months.

Rejecting the president’s last-minute pleas, it voted, 53 to 46, to turn back a motion to end debate and move toward final passage. Supporters fell 14 votes short of the 60 needed to close the debate.

Mr. Bush placed telephone calls to lawmakers throughout the morning. But members of his party abandoned him in droves, with just 12 of the 49 Senate Republicans sticking by him on the important procedural vote that determined the fate of the bill. (link)

Now, maybe the message will get through: Secure the borders! Convince us that you're serious about this issue.

Then we'll deal with the 12 million illegals living in our midst and with our farmers' need for slave labor.

But there also needs to be a reckoning ...

***
To their credit, John Warner and James Webb voted to kill the amnesty bill.

Dear Dan R.

Don't ever question my understanding of American history:

As I said would happen, the executive branch of the federal government has denied Congress's (meaningless) attempt at subpoenaing White House records:
Bush Asserts Executive Privilege on Subpoenas
By Sheryl Gay Stolberg, The New York Times

Washington, June 28 — President Bush moved one step closer to a constitutional showdown with Democrats on Thursday, as the White House asserted executive privilege in refusing to comply with Congressional subpoenas for documents related to the dismissal of federal prosecutors.

The move prompted Democrats to accuse the White House of stonewalling, and seemed to put the legislative and executive branches on a collision course that could land them in court. It was the second time in Mr. Bush’s presidency that he has formally asserted executive privilege, the power first recognized by the Supreme Court in a 1974 Watergate-era case. (link)
As I said previously, the White House and Congress will find some reasonable accommodation on this. But the subpoenas are going nowhere.

Hallelujah

Finally, after all these years, the Supreme Court begins the process of dismantling one of the most loathsome rulings (in fact a series of rulings) ever sent down by a previous court:
Justices Limit the Use of Race in School Plans for Integration
By Linda Greenhouse, The New York Times

Washington, June 28 — With competing blocs of justices claiming the mantle of Brown v. Board of Education, a bitterly divided Supreme Court declared Thursday that public school systems cannot seek to achieve or maintain integration through measures that take explicit account of a student’s race.

Voting 5 to 4, the court, in an opinion by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., invalidated programs in Seattle and metropolitan Louisville, Ky., that sought to maintain school-by-school diversity by limiting transfers on the basis of race or using race as a “tiebreaker” for admission to particular schools. (link)
If we are ever going to get beyond race, we need to move away from government-mandated (including court-mandated) race programs. This gets us down that road to a race-free society.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

What a Great Idea

When the number of turds floating in the lake you enjoy swimming in exceeds safe limits, what do you do?

Raise the limit!

River, lake E. coli limit may be raised
State proposal would increase the allowable level of fecal pollutant
By Rex Springston, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

Rivers and lakes in which people swim and play could contain higher levels of fecal bacteria under a new state proposal.

The State Water Control Board proposed yesterday relaxing the standard, or limit, for E. coli bacteria in fresh water. The bacteria can make you sick.

E. coli is found in the waste of people and other warm-blooded animals. People who swallow water containing it can suffer from vomiting and diarrhea. This E. coli is not the strain that has proved deadly in some foods.
(
link)


Vomiting and diarrhea. Yeah. Let's raise that limit.

Get a Life

Shanna Flowers is a columnist for the Roanoke Times. She's generally entertaining, if always caught up in the fad notions of the day. But this morning, well, all I can suggest is that she needs to lay off the bad mushrooms and find a different hallucinogen.

Get a load of this:
Dick Cheney 'is the devil'
Shanna Flowers


A few bloggers have linked Dick Cheney to the Antichrist.

I'm not willing to say that, but he dang sure is the devil.

Not in a pitchfork-toting, red jumpsuit-wearing kinda way. But in the way Mama would occasionally use it.

"You woke up with the devil in you today."

Mean. Surly.

Dark.

My point being: What Cheney is doing to our democratic principles is just plain sinister. (link)
Good Lord. The devil?

You need to take a pill, babe.

Food For Thought

From the Washington Times:
The Senate immigration bill is huge windfall for illegal-alien absconders — fugitives who ignored an immigration judge's order to leave the country. Following the September 11 attacks, federal immigration officials were troubled by the fact that they did not know the whereabouts of approximately 314,000 immigrants who had been ordered deported. While Congress and the Bush administration have talked tough since then about dealing with such aliens, their numbers have more than doubled to approximately 636,000 today. These aliens run the gamut from persons ordered deported for their involvement in terrorist activities to criminals convicted of everything from shoplifting to DUI to murder.
"Don't Aid Alien Fugitives," June 28, 2007

This Pains Me

Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has always been my hero in the Senate. He has always been a stand-up guy, an oddity in that den of snakes. He's a great conservative. Until now. These days he can be found, sadly, inexplicably,carrying the president's water on the amnesty bill.

Or not:

McConnell avoids immigration bill deliberations
By Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times


As the Senate Democratic leader pushed his immigration bill through the chamber yesterday, Republican leader Mitch McConnell took a pass on the debate and left his rank-and-file members to fend for themselves.

Mr. McConnell finds himself in the crossfire between a majority of his own senators, who oppose the bill, and President Bush, who desperately wants it to pass. The Kentucky Republican's solution has been to go underground, leaving his party's senators to fight among themselves and with Democrats. (link)


This isn't leadership. It's cowardice. And McConnell is better than this. He's acting like a Democrat all of a sudden.

What's going on?

Yeah. We're All Mind-Numbed Robots.

This is infuriating:
Immigration Bill Prompts Some Menacing Responses
By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times


On the eve of a crucial vote on the immigration bill, the Capitol Hill switchboard was deluged again Wednesday as thousands of citizens called their members of Congress — and, perhaps, someone else’s — to weigh in. Not since the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, several Senate aides said, have the lines been so jammed by a single issue.

Republicans who support the immigration bill are facing unusually intense opposition from conservative groups fighting it. This is among the first times, several of them said, that they have felt the full brunt of an advocacy machine built around conservative talk radio and cable television programs that have long buttressed Republican efforts to defeat Democrats and their policies. (link)
85% of America is opposed to the Senate's brazen attempt at delivering amnesty to 12 million illegals currently in this country (and inviting millions more to join them). 85%. And we're all part of some conspiratorial advocacy machine? We're not driven by the fact that this country is awash in illegality? We need Rush Limbaugh to tell us that we're on the wrong track when it comes to border security? And that backhanded slap at Fox News, have you ever even watched it? Thought not.

Give us some credit, pal. We're not as stupid as you and your buds there in Manhattan think.

Webb Gets A Big Smooch From The Press

Odd. I could have sworn that Senator Webb had the chance to show his disapproval for the amnesty legislation that is working its way through the Senate the other day but instead voted to move it forward.

Despite the fact, he gets a glowing ass-kiss from the New York Times this morning for being a maverick on the subject. For having voted with 63% of his colleagues. Say what?

Here's the weird attempt at fawn:

New Senators Resist Overhaul of Immigration
By Carl Hulse, The New York Times

Washington, June 27 — In narrowly winning her seat last year, Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri ran hard against what she saw as a flawed approach in Congress to dealing with illegal immigration. Ms. McCaskill, a Democratic newcomer, says she is not about to change her view now.

“I hope this never wears off, but I like to keep my word,” said Ms. McCaskill, part of a triad of moderate Democratic freshmen balking at the proposed immigration overhaul and complicating efforts by President Bush and Senate leaders to pass it this week.

Her compatriots in opposition are Senators Jim Webb of Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana. All three represent Republican-leaning states and are breaking with their leadership and most of their Democratic colleagues on the legislation, whose fate in the Senate could be determined on Thursday after a day of votes on amendments left the outcome up in the air on Wednesday.
(
link)
Having written this of course, Carl The Reporter realized that Webb's only action in this saga (voting in favor) flies in the face of that which he just tapped out on his keyboard. Thus:

Of these three freshman Democratic senators, Mr. Webb has shown the most willingness to entertain the idea of supporting the measure if it were revised to his liking.

“There is a lot of good in this bill,” Mr. Webb said Wednesday. But his proposal to limit the opportunity to gain legal residency to immigrants who have been in the country for at least four years was soundly rejected by the Senate, 79 to 18, making it unlikely that backers of the measure can count on his support.
Talk is cheap. I think Virginians would have felt a whole lot more confident that Mr. Webb would not be supportive if he had voted to stop the legislation in its tracks the one time he had the opportunity. Instead he voted to move it forward. He joined Ted Kennedy and John McCain.

Actions are worth a thousand words. If I were a betting man ...


They Can't Govern, So They Subpoena

The Democrats in Congress issued more subpoenas to the executive branch yesterday. It must be Thursday:
White House Is Subpoenaed on Wiretapping
By James Risen, The New York Times


Washington, June 27 — The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday issued subpoenas to the White House, Vice President Dick Cheney’s office and the Justice Department after what the panel’s chairman called “stonewalling of the worst kind” of efforts to investigate the National Security Agency’s policy of wiretapping without warrants.

The move put Senate Democrats squarely on a course they had until now avoided, setting the stage for a showdown with the Bush administration over ... (link)
Actually, there'll be no showdown. The President will ignore the subpoenas as presidents have throughout history.

The judiciary committee's action is called g-r-a-n-d-s-t-a-n-d-i-n-g.

It's a lot more fun than doing all this serious government stuff.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Let Me Set The Record Straight

On a relatively minor point (except to Jesus, who may have an objection), the Roanoke Times this morning makes what is becoming a common mistake in the reporting on that puppy mill here in Bland County that has been given permission* by the county Board of Supervisors to reopen after a tragic fire claimed the lives of nearly 200 cuddly little bundles of joy in March.

The fallacy occurs in this sentence:

The Schmuckers, a family of nine who are among the 200 Amish people living in communities in Bland and Giles counties, rallied supporters who attested to their concern for animals and their desire to earn a living according to the Amish tradition.


The people who live up 42 in rural Bland County, the ones who wear the funny hats and 19th century clothing (and who smell like that's the last time they were near a bathtub), and whose male membership have the odd haircuts and plenty of facial hair (but no mustaches), and wear those cool suspenders ...

... are Mennonites. Not Amish. They's a difference.

Just thought I'd help.

* The decision comes as no surprise to the locals. Everyone gathered at Lindy's barbershop in Bland on a recent morning knew the deal was done.

Where's Morgan Griffith?

The anti-smoking nazis are at it again:
Kaine pursues smoking ban in restaurants
By Larry O'Dell, Associated Press


Richmond — Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said yesterday that he will continue efforts to ban smoking in Virginia restaurants.


"I think momentum on this is very strong," Mr. Kaine, a Democrat, said on his monthly call-in radio show on WTOP. (link)
Sure it is. Kaine says so. He asked his Democratic caucus, which just reeks of momentum.

However, three short months ago, the momentum was headed in the opposite direction, when the House of Delegates overwhelmingly (59 to 40) slapped down our governor's last attempt at legislating societal mores. He's obviously learned nothing from the defeat, other than to make foolishly feckless statements about momentum.

But what else does the guy have to do? When it comes to his favorite political issues, Kaine has found out that the people of Virginia, embodied particularly in the membership in the House, are in charge on such issues as gun bans, and the death penalty, and gay marriage, and tax hikes, and now smoking bans.

So, let him have his dreams. His delusions.

We can work around him.

***

Oh, by the way, our outgoing senior United States senator is really big on banning smoking too. He was once a Republican, right?

Conservatives Rally round Their Man

Despite the best efforts of a Roanoke Times copy editor recently to make us believe there was dissension within the ranks of the GOP after conservative Ralph Smith defeated "moderate" Brandon Bell in the race for a seat (22nd district) in the state senate (see "Moderate conservatives in the 22nd District, dismayed by the fall of Brandon Bell, could turn to Democrat Mike Breiner."), unity clearly prevails:

Campaign notebook: Republicans rally strong show of unity behind Smith
Despite suggestions of rifts within the party, the GOP marshaled support from across the state.

By Matt Chittum, The Roanoke Times

Republican Ralph Smith boasted about his broad and unified support for his run for the state senate Tuesday, standing before notable party-mates from opposite ends of the 22nd District.

His party has been mocked for internal divisions, said the candidate for the 22nd District seat. "I challenge you to show me where the division is today."

Standing behind him at the Roanoke County courthouse were commonwealth's attorneys, sheriffs, court clerks and others.

His campaign staff handed out a list of book jacket blurb-style endorsements from other Virginia Republicans including former Gov. Jim Gilmore, several state senators, delegates, sheriffs and house majority leader Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, who couldn't attend the event because he was out of town on business.
(
link)

The lessons being learned here - again: Be true to your convictions, be true to your constituents, and they'll rally 'round you.

Another lesson from this saga to take back with you: Betray them, pal, and incur the wrath ...

Talking counterpoint

From this morning's Roanoke Times:
Talking point

"In my judgment, the costs and risks of continuing down the current path outweigh the potential benefits that might be achieved."

-- Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., who has steadfastly supported the war in Iraq, arguing on the Senate floor for a change of strategy. (link)
Ouch. But is that factual? You decide:
Talking Counterpoint:

White House spokesman Tony Snow on Lugar's comment:

"I think if you take a look at what his own people have said, they said it's consistent with what he said in the past." (link)
A shift? Or more of the same?

Are we going to go through this again?

Remember when Bill Clinton, in order to fashion "a legacy" for himself, tried - and almost succeeded - to hand over Israel to Yasser Arafat and the Palestinians?

What is with presidents and their mindless need for legacy these days?

America, it appears, is about to endure, come hell or high water, another such effort:
Immigration push seen as Bush's shot at legacy
By Joseph Curl, The Washington Times


President Bush has invested the bulk of his dwindling political capital to push through an unpopular immigration-reform bill, which is being seen as a last-ditch effort during his remaining 19 months in office to leave behind a domestic achievement.

Despite the issue tearing apart the conservative movement, the president has courted liberals to support his efforts. (link)
This is new? From his first days in office, when he started kissing Ted Kennedy's fat ass trying to get an education bill approved, Bush has been courting liberals. We can see where that got him (why can't he see it?).

So now we're going to have to deal with a president who is determined to create a legacy for himself with this amnesty legislation, regardless the harm it does our country.

Bill Clinton. George Bush. The legacy disease. Why?

They Won't Take No For An answer

Memo:
From USA to Congress: NOT IN OUR LIFETIME
Senate votes to revive illegal-alien bill
By Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times


The Senate voted yesterday to resurrect its immigration bill, overcoming opposition from conservative Republicans and setting up a week of showdown votes on amendments and passage.

The vote was 64-35 to revive the bill, four more than the 60 needed ... (link)
Do these people live on a different planet? Do they think we were only joking when we sent them the message two short weeks ago that their amnesty bill was not going to fly? That on the subject of illegal immigration, they have no credibility? That for their failure to enforce the last set of laws they gave us, resulting in the importation of 12 million additional illegals, we have decided to remove the issue from their area of responsibility?

We are in charge, you blind, deaf, and dumb people. We'll decide how this is going to be handled.

You had your chance. You blew it. Get out of our way.

Quote Of The Day

From a Washington Times editorial:
After a furious press from a president with some of the lowest popularity ratings in modern times, the Senate, which just 19 days earlier had voted decisively against shutting off debate, reversed itself and voted 64-35 to resurrect the illegal-alien amnesty bill — along with a set of amendments agreed to by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican supporters of the bill to give senators plenty of political cover: They can vote for a bill replete with provisions that undermine our defenses against criminal and terrorist aliens and set the stage for an explosion of the welfare state and massive tax increases in the decades ahead, while approving a couple of amendments in order to give senators political cover.
"Border Betrayal," June 27, 2007

***

Let it be noted, Senator James Webb has been all over the map on this issue. He was against amnesty; now he seems to be in favor. His wandering continues. After having voted against cloture just days before, he voted for cloture yesterday. "Born Fighting?" Please. How about, "Who am I? Why am I here?"

Odd Phraseology

I wonder if this strikes you as peculiar:
SUV Mayhem
By Leonard Blair, The New York Post

June 27, 2007 -- A Brooklyn pedestrian was killed yesterday by an out-of-control SUV that pinned her against a bakery and injured another man.

The vehicle jumped the curb along ...
(
link)
I suppose if guns can kill people, SUV's can jump and be out of control.

Rudy On The Attack

If only he weren't so wrong on social issues, Rudy Giuliani would be my guy.

For this reason:
Rudy Bops Bubba
By Charles Hurt and Carl Camanile, The New York Post


June 27, 2007 -- Rudy Giuliani charged yesterday that Bill Clinton was soft on terrorism when he was president, calling his tenure "the decade of denial."

The Republican White House hopeful and former mayor warned that Hillary Rodham Clinton and other Democratic presidential candidates want to repeat the ex-chief executive's mistakes of the 1990s.

He said Clinton didn't aggressively respond to the 1993 World Trade Center attack, or to subsequent atrocities by Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda before 9/11. Giuliani singled out the bombings of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996 and the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000.

"The United States government - then President Clinton - did not respond," Giuliani said. "Bin Laden declared war on us. We didn't hear it."

Giuliani said that calls by the Democratic presidential candidates to withdraw from Iraq will embolden terrorists.

"I think they are in denial. They can't face this threat. They couldn't in the 1990s," Giuliani said. (link)
He's absolutely right. After being shaken into a momentary period of reality after 9/11, it didn't take long for the Democrats to revert to their collective state of denial. That's why they're all out there demanding that we retreat from Iraq. Like Iraq is the problem and not global terrorism.

Anyway, Rudy has gone after them. More power to him.

But about that abortion thing ...

Yeah, Iraq Is a disaster

A bomb goes off in Baghdad - one a day - and the news media around the world portray the incident as the downfall of American presence in Iraq. Woe be unto Bush. The Iraqi people can't cope. They are unworthy of our largesse. They can't handle democracy or a modern way of life.

And then there is the real world ...

Pointing to Stability, Kurds in Iraq Lure Investors
By Kirk Semple, The New York Times


Erbil, Iraq — It is a measure of soaring Kurdish optimism that government officials here talk seriously about one day challenging Dubai as the Middle East’s main transportation and business hub.

The Kurdistan Regional Government is betting that it can, investing $325 million in a modern terminal at the Erbil International Airport to handle, officials hope, millions of passengers a year, and a three-mile runway that will be big enough for the new double-decker Airbus A380.

“We’re not saying Kurdistan is heaven,” said Herish Muharam, chairman of the Kurdish government’s Board of Investment. “But we’re telling investors that Kurdistan can be that heaven.” (link)

Of course, this being written for the New York Times, the next sentence begins with "As the rest of Iraq has plunged into a downward spiral ..." That's that bomb that went off in Baghdad yesterday. Plunging the country into a downward spiral.

They deserve better than this.

Playing With Fire

For how many decades has OPEC been setting oil prices (at least ostensibly) for its member states? (I'll give you a hint, it was founded in 1965)

So why has our Democratically controlled Congress now decided to pick a fight, disrupt the markets, and destabilize oil prices?
OPEC Head Warns U.S. Lawmakers on Anti - OPEC Bill
By Reuters


Istanbul (Reuters) - OPEC President Mohammed al-Hamli warned U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday they were taking a "really dangerous step" in seeking legislation to sue the oil group.

The U.S. Senate last week approved a plan that would enable the federal government to take legal action against OPEC for price manipulation, but the White House has threatened to veto the measure.

"It's a really dangerous step. We are in the process of fighting that," Hamli said at an oil conference. (link)
At a time when the planet's oil production capacity is maxed out, the Democrats decide to go up against the world's most influential oil producing nations, a boneheaded move that can only end in chaos.

Smart, fellas. Real smart.

A Growing Cesspool

Can it get any worse for the starving and impoverished people of Zimbabwe?

Soon:
A New Plan for Zimbabwe
By Michael Wines, The New York Times


Johannesburg, June 26 — Zimbabwe’s government has put forward legislation that would require virtually all publicly traded companies to cede controlling interests to “indigenous” citizens, raising the possibility of a sizable redistribution of the country’s remaining wealth at a time when its economy is collapsing.

The draft legislation, which was published Monday, would mandate that a 51 percent stake in the companies be transferred to Zimbabweans who were “disadvantaged by unfair discrimination on the grounds of his or her race” before April 1980, when the nation won independence from white rule. (link)
Apartheid is bad. That's why the world applauded when the white government then running Rhodesia, the second most prosperous nation on the African continent at the time, ceded control of the country in 1980 under relentless pressure from the world community (the name of that country was then changed to Zimbabwe).

If there is anything worse than apartheid, it is Zimbabwe. 27 years after turning control over to its black majority, the country is a shithole. In a country that was once overflowing with food staples and was a net exporter of grain and other life-sustaining commodities, people there haven't enough to eat, the farm fields lay fallow, and the economy has ground to a complete halt.

And not a peep from that same world community.

Fascinating. Tragic. And it will get worse ...

News Flash! Earth revolves around sun!

Those of you who know me know that I lean to the right. What you might find hard to believe is that I once was a fanatic liberal. That was back before I made a living on my own and sponged off my parents. Back then I was in favor of helping solve all kinds of the world's problems ... with other people's money.

It was only when I saw great quantities of my money being confiscated that I became interested in where it was going and on what it was being wasted spent.


Most Americans are that way. Liberal (and ignorant) in youth, more conservative, and more wise, with age.

Well, guess what the New York Times has discovered:

New Poll Finds That Young Americans Are Leaning Left

Good grief.

A Fascinating Artist At Work

If you have a couple of minutes ...



How do they make it look so easy?

What Caused Her to be silent?

Paris Hilton Due to Break Her Silence

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tough Love

Many won't agree but these guys are right:
Speculation
Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial

Officials in Southwest Virginia have asked Gov. Tim Kaine for disaster assistance so farmers can cope with the loss of crops they have endured. Corn and hay have been hit by lack of rain. It's a tough situation to be in.

But is it something cab drivers in New York or waitresses in Seattle should have to pay for?

The farmers want Kaine to ask Washington for federal assistance. Already, federal aid will help them make up for the loss of crops and feed during the previous two years. But why should Washington bail out farmers?

Disasters like Katrina happen rarely. "Disasters" in farming happen regularly: three years in a row, in Southwest Virginia. That's something farmers should plan for -- not something the federal government should pay for. (link)
I lost money last week on my investments when the stock market went south. Should I apply for federal compensation?

I invest in stocks. Farmers invest in their crops. We gamble on success. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose.

Key word being we.

A Question That Needs No answer

A Roanoke College professor asks a valid question this morning of the folks at the Roanoke Times ("A Coming Abortion Earthquake," by Gerald McDermott):

"The Times is well-known for its vigilant concern for women seeking abortions. But where is its "profound respect" for the unborn?"

Perhaps the publisher could provide the answer. She was chair-elect of Planned Parenthood of the Blue Ridge when chosen to run the paper. She should be well versed in the subject. Her little group makes a tidy profit disrespecting the unborn, in the most gruesome manner known to humankind.

I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a response though.

It's a Tax. You guys like taxes.

I must be missing the point here. The Roanoke Times squealed for months that we needed to raise taxes in order to fix all those roads around the commonwealth that were crumbling before our very eyes - or not - and now the boys on the editorial team complain because taxes are being raised for that very cause, but they're being called fees.

Well, spank my backside. That's downright awful.

Read on and tell me if I'm missing some nuance:
Driving fast never cost so much
Traffic fees?! That was the grand plan to fund transportation?

editorial

Attention all demons on wheels: Starting Sunday, jamming down the pedal like you're never coming back will become obscenely expensive. Motorists can thank the General Assembly's anti-tax ideologues in the House of Delegates who refused even to consider tax increases to pay for the state's needed highway improvements.

"Civil remedial fees" kick in on July 1. Virginians caught driving recklessly, under the influence or committing most other vehicle crimes -- but not mundane violations like moderate speeding -- will pay additional fees on top of existing fines and court costs.

These fees have nothing to do with safety. A dysfunctional assembly approved them to fund transportation improvements without doing something sane like raising the embarrassingly out-of-date gas tax. (link)
Wow, these guys seem really pissed.

Tell me though, if taxing speeders isn't viewed as a wise safety measure, why do we fine them at all? Because it's viewed as a deterrent to speeding. The higher the fine, the greater the deterrent. You fellas should be shouting with joy.

Beyond that, there's never been a tax you guys haven't supported; why do you get all contorted and tempestuous over this one? Sour grapes over your failure to get the legislature to do it your way? Are we spoiled little children?

In the end, you have your new tax. Bask in it. Savor the moment. And quit acting like brats.

You Wouldn't Understand

Because the principles are enjoined in the Bible, and the geniuses in the Charleston (WV) Gazette editorial department come across like they've never read the Book (or any book for that matter), the fundamental concepts of right vs. wrong, good vs. evil, and innocence vs. guilt escapes them.

Thus they write crap like this:

"Longtime legislator John Overington of Martinsburg wants to restore the death penalty in West Virginia. It’s remarkable that so many pro-life Republicans are also pro-death."

Why even try to explain it to them.

the question we all want answered

All Right. Who's pooping in the lake?

High E. coli levels found at Smith Mountain Lake
High levels of the bacteria were found in the water near Bernard's Landing. The resort's manager suggested a houseboat was the culprit.
By Ruth L. Tisdale, The Roanoke Times


E. coli bacteria is common in the areas of Smith Mountain Lake where ducks and geese congregate.

But not at Bernard's Landing.

"We just don't have that type of thing here," said Carl Smith, general manager for the luxury resort. "We keep a pristine place. In my two and a half years of being here, this is the first time that we've had a problem like this."

Smith said the contamination might have come from a houseboat that was in the area during the weekend before the testing. (link)
Aha! It was one of those damned houseboats.

Time for another law. "Pooping on houseboats is hereby ..."

How To Judge a Columnist's Veracity

I read the first sentence of a Sally Quinn column in the Washington Post this morning ("A GOP Plan To Oust Cheney") and made the following declaration:

If she doesn't name those who are behind the "plan," she's just blowing smoke.

I then proceeded to read the column.

Except for a plea to our own Senator Warner to step up and lead the putsch (he being a usually reliable stooge on such occasions), Quinn names no one.

So much for credibility.

Here's her silly - and contrived - conspiracy theory:
The big question right now among Republicans is how to remove Vice President Cheney from office. Even before this week's blockbuster series in The Post, discontent in Republican ranks was rising.

As the reputed architect of the war in Iraq, Cheney is viewed as toxic, and as the administration's leading proponent of an attack on Iran, he is seen as dangerous. As long as he remains vice president, according to this thinking, he has the potential to drag down every member of the party -- including the presidential nominee -- in next year's elections.
Cheney is viewed as "toxic." By Republicans. She says.

Discontent in GOP ranks is rising. She says.

A plan is afoot to oust him. She says.

Because not one Republican is quoted in this fable, a dime is worth ten cents more than anything she says.

The Find of the millenium

Breaking news on the ancient history front:

Mummy Dearest Found
Reuters


June 26, 2007 -- Cairo - Egyptologists think they have identified with certainty the mummy of Hatshepsut, the most famous queen to rule ancient Egypt, found in a humble tomb in the Valley of the Kings, an archaeologist said yesterday.

The archaeologist said Egypt's chief archaeologist, Zahi Hawass, would present at a news conference tomorrow new evidence for an identification. (link)
Great stuff.

Why Should they be any different?

Salem electric bills will increase

The Rules Don't Apply If You're Gay

I read the story yesterday about the public school that had redacted a photo in its yearbook that showed a gay teenager* kissing his boyfriend. My thought was, well, there has been a rule regarding such things (kissing in yearbook photos) since the beginning of time. It's called decorum.

My thought was that the school administrator had done the right thing.

I forgot the "gay" part.

Today's follow-up story:

School Official Apologizes for Removing Photo of Kiss
By Kareem Fahim, The New York Times


His high school apologized for blacking him out, but Andre Jackson, a graduating senior whose kissing summoned the censors, remained unsatisfied.

Last week, a picture of Mr. Jackson kissing his boyfriend was deemed “suggestive” by the superintendent of the Newark public schools and redacted, with black marker, from the yearbook of East Side High School. Yesterday, the school district reversed course, and released a statement apologizing to Mr. Jackson and saying the yearbook would be reissued with the picture unmarked.

“Superintendent Marion A. Bolden personally apologizes to Mr. Jackson and regrets any embarrassment and ... (link)
Superintendent Marion A. Bolden would have done this kid a favor by getting him counseling. But society dictates that he grovels instead. Apologizes. Begs forgiveness. You don't screw with homosexuality.

It's the age in which we live.

* In reality, this kid doesn't have any idea yet who he is. He has just come of an age where he's learning that that appendage he's holstering has other uses beyond that which he grew to accept in babyhood but is still way too young to know exactly what it means - or what he is. But he has, for now, decided he's gay.

How Many of them choose to be?

That's the question that always goes unasked and therefore unanswered in this worn-out story:

Survey Finds 43.6 Million Uninsured in U.S.
By Reuters

Washington, June 25 (Reuters) — About 43.6 million people in the United States, or 14.8 percent of the population, had no health insurance in 2006, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Monday.

The finding, based on a survey of 100,000 people, is lower than previous federal estimates of 46 million.
(
link)
It's fair to say that those who need it most - the elderly through Medicare and the disabled through SSI - have (or should have) health care being afforded them by the taxpayer today. 100%.

Of those remaining, a huge block consists of young, healthy people in the workforce who'd rather spend their money on bungy jumping and dope than health insurance. And, if one studies the actuarial tables, one comes to understand that they are probably not wrong in doing so (except for the marijuana part). They by-and-large don't need insurance. Chances are great that they will not use it.

The notion that they do need coverage, want it or no, gives the Democrats in Washington something to do, though, so it's not a complete waste of time.

Expect this story to appear again next month. Same time, same venue.

The Illegals Must Be Laughing

We may not have nearly as many border guards as we need to keep tens of thousands of illegal Mexicans from crossing our southern border each day but, by God, we'll soon have the most sophisticated equipment money can buy in place to count them as they cross. And maybe provide each with an 8 by 10 glossy on his way past.

Is it any wonder we have a problem:

28-Mile Virtual Fence Is Rising Along the Border
By Randal C. Archibold, The New York Times


Sasabe, Ariz., June 21 — If the effort to catch people illegally crossing the border here in the southern Arizona desert is a cat-and-mouse struggle, the Homeland Security Department says it has a smarter cat.

It comes in the form of nine nearly 100-foot-tall towers with radar, high-definition cameras and other equipment rising from the mesquite and lava fields around this tiny town.

Known as Project 28, for the 28 miles of border that the towers will scan, the so-called virtual fence forms the backbone of the Secure Border Initiative, known as SBInet, a multibillion-dollar mix of technology, manpower and fencing intended to control illegal border crossings.

If successful, hundreds of such towers could dot the 6,000 miles of the Mexican and Canadian borders. (link)

The downside: The article isn't clear as to how these hundreds of towers actually reach out and snatch those breaking the law. It's fair to expect that it will be business as usual along our borders.

The upside: Should make for some cool footage on YouTube.