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

Monday, December 31, 2007

Man Of The Year

General David Petraeus
Photo courtesy of Charles Dharapak, AP

A Nominee For Your Consideration

You may recall a few weeks ago the news about state Senator William Wampler (R-Bristol) having an interest in that open seat on the State Corporation Commission. That news was released just before the news came out that Wampler was, in fact, not interested in pursuing the vacancy.

Well, here's today's bigger news: A popular - and very well-qualified - local Democrat has been recommended for the position. Former Delegate Barnie Day, from Meadows of Dan, will have his name put in nomination when the legislature takes up the issue in coming months.

What many people who read the papers remember about Barnie is that he lost his job in the General Assembly, not by the vote of the people, but by redistricting. After the 2000 census, as these things always play out, a new district was created by the Republican majority that threw three incumbent Democrats and their districts into one - Tom Jackson of Hillsville, Barnie Day of Patrick County, and Ward Armstrong of Henry County - to vie against one another in the then-upcoming contest. Mr. Day chose not to compete against Armstrong and withdrew.

An honorable man.

For those in Richmond who will be making the decision regarding the open seat on the SCC, here's some information to consider about Barnie Day and his qualifications:

A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Mr. Day has an MBA from Duke. That in itself qualifies him for the position and offers a fresh perspective since most SCC members traditionally have been lawyers.

Beyond that, he sits - or has sat - on the following boards and commissions:

Board of directors of the Virginia Tobacco Commission, the board of directors of Virginia Advanced Study Strategies, a National Math and Science Initiative, board of Directors of the Patrick Henry Community College Foundation, and the board of directors of the Martinsville-Henry County chapter of the American Red Cross. Not counting a number of local boards and commissions.

Barnie is at present Vice President - Administration, River Community Bank, and, in past lives, held positions with the following: President, Vesta Supply, 1992-2001; Vice President for Operations, Aerial Machine and Tool Corporation, 1988-1992; County Administrator, Patrick County 1984-1988; Director, Tri-Area Health Clinic, 1980-1984.

They don't come more qualified for the position.

And here's the part that is most refreshing - the perspective he brings to this critical position. A quote from Barnie Day on the SCC, his potential role on the commission, and how the people of Virginia benefit from his unique worldview:
Generally, in the abstract, I believe that an unfettered marketplace is the best arbiter of private transactions between willing individuals. Over the past hundred years or so we, as a society, have collectively decided that our interests are best served by giving some businesses and institutions special status in the marketplace, and, in return, we have empowered the SCC to watch on our behalf these businesses and institutions, largely through the restraint of regulations. I do not have a law degree and do not look at things through a lawyer's set of filters, but rather a consumer's perspective, tempered with appreciation for the vital role stock holders and employees play in our overall well-being. The General Assembly membership may deem that an all-lawyer commission remains the best composition of this agency. I have no qualm if they do. It is a prerogative entrusted to them by our constitution.
To those legislators who will be making the decision, consider his words carefully, then look at the man and his résumé. You'll not find a more qualified - or more honorable - or more trusted by the people - candidate for the seat on the State Corporation Commission than Barnie Day.

Yeah. But.

This should make Southside taxpayers happy:
Virginia's Goode lowest on congressional office expenditures
By Denice Thibodeau, Danville Register & Bee staff writer

Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Rocky Mount, is not one of Congress’s big spenders - in fact, he generally spends the least of any member of Congress on overall office expenses, and nothing at all on mass mail pieces.

“Federal budget spending is too much overall and Congress members should set an example by not spending too much,” Goode said Friday. (link)
We can all applaud that sentiment, right?

"Congress members should set an example by not spending too much." Somehow I'll bet the earmark spending sponsored by Virgil Goode in the 2008 omnibus bill he just voted for and President Bush signed into law doesn't count as "too much."

You decide. Here are your tax dollars at work. A list of pork in the bill with Virgil Goode's name attached:

● Hydrilla Eradication around Lake Gaston, VA - $333,900

● Hydrilla Eradication, Tri-County (Smith Mountain) - $37,100

● Predation Wildlife services in Virginia - $150,000

● High Value Horticultural Crops, VA - $539,000

● Aquaculture, VA - $149,000

● Fish and Shellfish Technologies,VA - $354,000

● Sustainable Engineered Materials from Renewable Sources, VA - $520,000

● Airport Improvement Program, Danville Regional Airport Improvements, VA. - $500,000

● Surface Transportation Priorities Streetscape Project- Town of Scottsville, VA - $400,000

● Bassett Historical Center in Hendry for expansion of a facility - $100,000

● Halifax County Historical Society for installation of the Crossing of the Dan exhibit project - $225,000

● Mecklenburg County Community Service for construction of a community center - $200,000

● Town of Boydton, VA for development of the Walking Tour of Boydton - $100,000

● Town of South Hill, VA for renovations to the historic Colonial Theatre - $300.000

● Jefferson Area Board for Aging, Charlottesville, VA to address nursing assistant shortages in - $97,000

● Bedford Ride, Bedford, VA for a program to assist seniors - $68,000

● Institute for Advanced Learning and Research for a business development initiative - $250,000

● University of Virginia Center for Polttics, Charlottesville, VA for the Youth Leadership Initiative - $419,000

● Southern Virginia Child Advocacy Center - $28,200

● New College Institute to support economic development and small business development - $100,000

● The City of lynchburg for sewer infrastructure improvements - $300,000

● Bedford County, VA Sheriffs Office - Operation Blue Ridge Thunder - $188,000

● Southside Virginia Community College, Alberta, VA for the Heavy Equipment Training Program - $292,000

● Predisaster Mitigation Cumberland County Public Schools, VA - $400,000

● County Community Service for construction of a community center in Mecklenburg County, VA - $200,000

● National Park Service Save America's Treasures, Henry County Courthouse - $100,000

● National Park Service Operations Appomattox Court House National Historic Park, Repairs - $50,000

● Booker T. Washington National Monument, Repairs - $100,000

● For Energy efficient design 01A) - $200,000 [?]

● John H Kerr Dam and Reservoir (Replacement), VA & NC - $13,000,000

● Halifax Regional Health System, South Boston, VA for an electronic health records initiative - $390,000

● John H Kerr Dam and Reservoir, VA & NC [again] $281,000


All told,* Virgil Goode's earmarks in this one appropriations bill come to $20,101,200.

But he wants you to know that he saved the taxpayers money on those mass mailings of propaganda that we all routinely throw in the garbage upon receipt. A book of stamps here; a book of stamps there ...

"Congress members should set an example by not spending too much."

Gosh, thanks, Virg.

* If I overlooked a few of Congressman Goode's earmarks, have his office email me the corrections.

With Bated Breath ...

... America looks to the Iowa caucuses on Thursday.

I'm so anxious, I can't control myself.

Say It Ain't So!

This can't be right. The Roanoke Times editorial page comes out against new taxes? Is it possible? It's not possible. These guys are big on tax increases. So what gives?

editorial: Delay new taxes and fees in NOVA

Oh. Wait. No. They just want the manner in which local taxes are raised in northern Virginia to be declared unconstitutional so that we can all pay new taxes to fund road construction in northern Virginia.

Now I understand.

Leave It To The Washington Post

2007 Deadliest for US Troops in Iraq

Words That Will Come Back To Haunt Them

Write down the date. December 31, 2007. The New York Times editorial page expresses the following (in "Looking At America"):

Out of panic and ideology, President Bush squandered America’s position of moral and political leadership, swept aside international institutions and treaties, sullied America’s global image, and trampled ...

We can only hope that this time, unlike 2004, American voters will have the wisdom to grant the awesome powers of the presidency to someone who has the integrity, principle and decency to use them honorably. Then when we look in the mirror as a nation, we will see, once again, the reflection of the United States of America. (my emphasis)

Sometime before November 4, 2008, the same New York Times will endorse Hillary Clinton for president.

So much for integrity, principle, decency, and honor.

Quote Of The Year

From MSNBC "Hardball" personality Chris Matthews:
When I watched [former President Bill Clinton] at Mrs. King's funeral, I just have never seen anything like it . . . There are times when he sounds like Jesus in the temple. I mean, amazing ability to transcend ethnicity - race, we call it, it's really ethnicity - in this country and, and speak to us all in this amazingly primordial way.
And he was sober serious.

England a Muslim Country?

I don't know the circumstances behind this, but whatever is going on, it has columnist Peter Hitchens's undies in a bunch:

So much for our 'way of life' - you know, the one our leaders told us they went to war to save
The Mail

The deeply English, deeply Christian city of Oxford, one of the homes of free thought, is now being asked to accept the Islamic call to prayer wafting from mosque loudspeakers over its spires and domes.

If that is not a threat to our "way of life", then I don't know what is. Allowing the regular electronic proclamation of Allah's supremacy in a British city is not tolerance, but a surrender of the sky to a wholly different culture.

So much for the Great War on Terror, which has neither saved our way of life nor defeated Islamist extremism. What did you expect from the very same people who surrendered to the IRA, a genuine threat that really did exist (and still does) and which we could have beaten? (link)

It is generally accepted these days that Great Britain ain't so great any longer and is now a shell of its former self. Soulless. Feckless. Wimpish. Adrift.

Peter Hitchens certainly reinforces the notion.

On My Wish List

I always wanted to own an AR-15. But I never came up with a good reason why.

Now I have a good reason:


'The Dangerous Years Ahead'

Fred Thompson on our future as a nation:

The stakes are that high.

Double-click on the triangle to activate.

Anti-War Lawyer Defaces Marine's Car

This story about a soon-to-be deploying Marine getting his car keyed by a lawyer in Chicago, apparently because the lawyer has a bug up his butt about the United States military, is eye-opening.

It would make for an even better story if it concluded with the Marine wiping the street with the lawyers's sorry carcass.

But it doesn't. He's only filed a criminal complaint.

A Public Service Announcement

Make that a critical public service announcement:

Representative Jack Murtha (D-al Qaeda) has an opponent in the upcoming election in Pennsylvania. A worthy opponent. Your support in driving Murtha - an evil man - from Congress would be appreciated. Especially those of you in the 12th Congrssional District of Pennsylvania.

To learn more about his opponent, William Russell - and for the opportunity to make the USA a better place in the process - go to: www.williamrussellforcongress.com.

As to why he's running against Murtha? A quote from Mr. Russell, a former Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army Reserve, on his website:
[L]ast March I had the opportunity to meet with some of our Wounded Warriors during their visit to the Pentagon. I have always been impressed by the spirit and good cheer of so many of these wounded heroes but also understand the sullen responses from some. Seeing these Soldiers, Marines, and Airmen with missing and shattered limbs, two with missing eyes and wounded faces, I found myself wiping away the tears as I walked back to my office. I was both sadden and angered that the sacrifices these brave service men and women, like the others I have served with in combat, make for this country and the thought of how they are betrayed by the actions of politicians such as John Murtha.
Betrayal. John Murtha. 'nuff said.

Oh, My

What do you get when you cross a Clinton with a Rodham?

Nice teeth.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

An Honor Bestowed

Southwest Virginia's most powerful voice for change, From On High, is ranked this week as being Virginia's Most Influential Political Blog:

BlogNetNews, December 30, 2007

It's a Matter Of Perspective

The Bluefield Daily Telegraph this morning sings the praises of southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia for its phenomenal economic growth in 2007 (in "Year brought economic growth"). It even cites a number of examples where that growth has occurred.

I've listed those examples and, in parentheses, categorized the various projects in two classes - Private Sector, or business-related, and Government (either government funded or government projects straight out):

● The local King Coal Highway corridor in Bluefield (Government)

● McDowell County’s new 175-acre Copper Ridge Landfill (Government)

● The Indian Ridge segment of the Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreation Trail (Government)

● Funds for the start of construction on the new federal prison project at the Indian Ridge Industrial Park in Welch (Government)

● New school construction with the near completion of the new Southside K-8 School (Government)

● The multi-purpose equestrian park project in Mercer County (Government)

● The Bluestone Regional Business and Technology Park (Government)

● The new Pocahontas State Correctional Center (Government)

● The region’s new high-speed fiber-optic "backbone" (Government)

The economic development that the Bluefield Daily Telegraph failed to mention?

● The new Pizza Inn in Bland County (Private Sector)

What does all this say about "economic growth" in the area?

How Sweet.

How adorable.

How compassionate.

A race monger makes the cover of today's Richmond Times-Dispatch:
'We are Virginia Tech'

Why you know her: She rallied Virginia Tech with her poetry at a convocation to memorialize the 32 students killed April 16.

What’s new: [Nikki] Giovanni received the prestigious 2007 Carl Sandburg Literary Award from the Chicago Public Library Foundation and the Chicago Public Library. The award pays tribute to a writer who helps the public appreciate the written word. (
"The award pays tribute to a writer who helps the public appreciate the written word."

Let's pay tribute.

The written words of award-winning Nikki Giovanni:

The True Import Of Present Dialogue, Black vs. Negro (For Peppe, Who Will Ultimately Judge Our Efforts)

Can you kill
Can you kill

Can a nigger kill
Can a nigger kill a honkie
Can a nigger kill the Man
Can you kill nigger
Huh? nigger can you
Do you know how to draw blood
Can you poison
Can you stab-a-Jew
Can you kill huh? nigger
Can you kill
Can you run a protestant down with your
'68 El Dorado
(that's all they're good for anyway)
Can you kill
Can you piss on a blond head
Can you cut it off
Can you kill
A nigger can die
We ain't got to prove we can die
We got to prove we can kill
They sent us to kill
Japan and Africa
We policed europe
Can you killCan you kill a white man
Can you kill the nigger
in you
Can you make your nigger mind
Can you kill your nigger mind
And free your black hands to
Can you kill
Can a nigger kill
Can you shoot straight and
Fire for good measure
Can you splatter their brains in the street
Can you kill them
Can you lure them to bed to kill them
We kill in Viet Nam
for them
We kill for UN & NATO & SEATO &

And everywhere for all alphabet but
Can we learn to kill WHITE for BLACK
Learn to kill niggers
Learn to be Black men


"A writer who helps the public appreciate the written word."

Verb: appreciate ə-ˈprē-shē-ˌāt
1. Recognize with gratitude; be grateful for
2. Be fully aware of; realize fully
- "Do you appreciate the full meaning of this letter?"
3. Hold dear
4. Gain in value
-"The yen appreciated again!"
5. Increase the value of
- "The Germans want to appreciate the Deutsche Mark"

I think I'll go with number 2.

Obviously We Need More Gun Control*

Baltimore, state fire deaths highest in years

* We'll call this Virginia Tech logic.

Bush Triumphant

Well, it looks like we won't have to pay for the health care coverage of impoverished 45-year-old upper-middle class children after all.


Bush signs SCHIP extension

Crawford, Texas (AP) — President Bush yesterday signed legislation that extends a popular children's health insurance program after twice vetoing attempts to expand it.

Politically, the move was a victory for Mr. Bush, although Democrats say it will come back to hurt Republicans at the polls.

The extension of the State Children's Health Insurance Program is expected to provide states with enough money to cover those enrolled through March 2009. Mr. Bush and some Republican lawmakers say the program will still serve those who it should: children from families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford private insurance. (link)

Since the Democrats (and more than a few morons in the GOP) were wanting to pay for this bit of idiocy by having cigarette smokers kick in higher taxes, again, we can also breathe a sigh of relief that we won't have to go out and recruit an estimated 22 million new smokers to foot the huge bill.

A good win all the way around.

Dreams Hollywood Is Made Of

Where's the Hollywood producer who will step up and bring to the big screen the story that is unfolding about a President of the United States, pressured from all sides, accused of the most heinous of acts, abandoned by most of the cowards in his own party, ridiculed by a savagely partisan press corps, mocked by televison talking heads and academia, beseiged by an opposition party shouting for his impeachment and worse, seemingly on the verge of losing another war for his country, rising from the depths of defeat - and despair - and winning against all odds?

Act IV, Scene III of the movie yet to be made:

Terror network all but dead, Iraq says
By Bradley Brooks, The Washington Times

Baghdad (AP) — Iraq's Interior Ministry spokesman said yesterday that 75 percent of al Qaeda in Iraq's terrorist network were destroyed this year, but the top American commander in the country said the terror group remained his chief concern.

Maj. Gen. Abdul Kareem Khalaf said the disruption of the terrorist network was a result of improvements in the Iraqi security forces, which he said had made strides in weeding out commanders and officers with ties to militias or who were involved in criminal activities.

He also credited the rise of anti-al Qaeda in Iraq groups, mostly made up of Sunni fighters the Shi'ite-dominated government has cautiously begun to embrace. (link)

In lieu of a Hollywood movie being made chronicling this breathtaking achievement, a sweeping victory over a mighty Islamist terrorist foe, a sincere apology from all those who fought to make us lose this war will suffice.

John Edwards Is a Lowlife

So what do you as a candidate for the country's highest office do when you're confronted by a constituent who wants to know why you voted in favor of a war you say you're vehemently opposed to?

If you're a bottom-feeding trial lawyer, you bring up your wife's fight with cancer:

Edwards Talks About His War Vote
By Julie Bosman, The New York Times

“Even at the time, with all that information, I had great reservations about George Bush.” ... “I didn’t trust him. I thought he had an agenda. And in the end, I decided to defer to him because he was the president. It was a mistake.”

And Mr. Edwards offered some other details about when he began to reconsider his vote: after the election in 2004, he said, when his wife, Elizabeth, was diagnosed with cancer.

While Mrs. Edwards was undergoing chemotherapy and sedated, Mr. Edwards would wait, he said. “I spent a lot of time, just sitting there by myself,” he said “I came to the decision, over a period of months, that I was dead wrong and I had to say so.” (link)

"Why did you vote for the war?"

"Well, you see, my wife has cancer and ..."

How miserable a human being this guy is.

2001 News Reaches The New York Times

Local Pakistani Militants Boost Qaeda Threat

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Live Here

This goes out to all you UMW members over in Wise and Dickenson and Tazewell and Russell and Buchanan Counties. I want to make mention of the man you enthusiastically support for reelection every two years for Congress. But I should start with a few questions:

First and foremost: Why?

Is it because Rick Boucher throws you a few crumbs each year in the way of such issues as "card check" legislation? Surely it can't be because he supported an increase in the minimum wage. What's that to you? I can see it being important that he helped cut the budget of the agency overseeing investigations into union fraud and corruption. But is that, in the end, sufficient to warrant your unbridled support?

Maybe it's something more substantive, like the Annual Fish Fry over in Clintwood that he enjoys attending.

Well, I want you to consider what it is you are getting for your $34,500 in contributions to his last reelection campaign:

A sellout. An act of betrayal. For those of you still employed, unemployment.

I made reference below to a Democrat congressman from western Pennsylvania who is always knee-deep in earmark controversies. I and many others around the country have treated Jack Murtha unmercifully for the way he has abused the peoples' trust - not to mention the way he abuses their hard-earned income. But what you won't see me criticizing him for is abandoning the people who sent him to Washington. His earmarks are always meant to provide - whether good or bad - for the betterment of his people back in his home district.

Whether it be Senator Trent Lott's efforts to bring jobs to his home-state of Mississippi by capturing funds to move a train track that had just been rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina, or Senator Ted Stevens's notorious effort to build a bridge to nowhere, at least it can be said that these guys were thinking of their constiuents first. And their respective constituents know that they are well-represented. That their interests are protected. That they have champions in Washington fighting tooth-and-nail for them.

They have Lott and Stevens and Murtha.

You have Rick Boucher:
Boucher: Global warming law ‘virtually certain’
By Keith Strange, Coalfield Progress Staff Writer

Norton — Ninth District U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher has announced his intention to author legislation that will both mandate the reduction of greenhouse gases and ensure a viable coal economy for years to come.

Boucher announced his intention during a Wednesday interview with The Coalfield Progress.

The long-term congressman, who chairs a key subcommittee of the House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce committee, said he will have a ringside seat in drafting America’s response to global warming.

“In Congress, I chair a subcommittee on energy and air quality that is responsible for the response our country will make to the challenge of global warming,” he said. “And it’s now virtually certain that within the next three years, Congress will pass a law that will impose mandatory controls on greenhouse gases.”

Although the issue of greenhouse gases has received much publicity in the media over the past several years, Boucher said he intends for the legislation to assist the coal mining industry as well.

“My goal is to have a meaningful control on greenhouse gas emissions, while at the same time enabling a growth in the use of coal,” he said.

Boucher said in the future Americans need to be using even more coal, but encouraged the exploration of methods to produce coal-fired electricity without major damage to the environment.

“Federal funding will be essential to any plan we implement,” he said. “But in 2008, we will work to develop legislation that will simultaneously control emissions through a mandatory program and promote the development of CCS (carbon capture) technology.” (
link requires paid subscription)
Let me cut through the PoliticianSpeak and the annoying have-it-both-ways bullshit and get to the nub here. You're being played for fools.

Congress will, with Boucher's admitted leadership and guidance, cut CO2 emissions. He will accomplish that task by putting the clamps on growth, by putting harsh restrictions on the automotive industry, and as state governments are now doing, by blocking the construction of coal-fired power plants.

What Congress can't do - until it acquires the Good Witch of the North's magic wand - is make the highly dubious and potentially cost-prohibitive carbon sequestration technology work. Chances are great it will never be deployed. Talk of such things is only meant to keep you placated. Distracted. To keep your hopes up.

Leave the very arguable argument about global warming out of this.

Rick Boucher will not be allowed to have it both ways, though he's trying. Coal is the dreaded and professed enemy of the environmental movement, and will remain so.

If Boucher and his pals in Washington succeed in passing their CO2 emission restriction legislation - as the man is now on record as being in favor of - your friends, neighbors, and relatives will be the first to feel its effects.

And those effects I'm referring to won't be in a 0.02° decrease in the temperature up on High Knob Mountain.

The effects will be felt over at the unemployment office. Again. Still.

And U-Haul will continue to benefit as more and more Southwest Virginians pack their bags and head north looking for work.

Surely, you'll agree that you deserve better than this. You deserve to have someone on your side fighting for your interests up in Washington and not for the interests of Rick Boucher's neighbors and friends in the D.C. environmental community. You need a champion now more than ever. Your way of life is under assault.

It's time you woke up and realized it before you are all out of work: This is a cowardly, shameful, and deceitful act of treachery that can only result in harm to your community.

Haven't you suffered enough?

Hat tip to D.J. McGuire.

Just Don't Say He Wasn't Warned

I don't disagree with the governor's logic here, but let it be noted: the man has been warned of impending doom, because of out-of-control state spending and a tax revenue slowdown:
Fight over Va. spending bill looms
By Jeff E. Schapiro, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, a Democrat, is quietly escalating the looming fight with General Assembly Republicans over his proposed $78 billion spending plan for 2008-10.

Kaine dismissed criticism of his revenue projections and calls that he reconvene his economic advisers to reconsider cash-flow forecasts amid recession fears.

Such steps would send the wrong signal, Kaine told Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford, and incoming House Appropriations Committee Chairman Lacey E. Putney, I-Bedford.

Changing the usual timetable for revenue prognostications -- the last was made in mid-November and another is due in February -- "may be interpreted by the public as a sign of panic," said Kaine. (link)
Kaine's probably right that the move would be perceived as a sign of panic.

So we're going to wait until February and then panic.

Earmarks = Waste. At Minimum. Chapter 143.

Representative John Murtha (D- Johnstown, PA) is arguably the king of earmarks, having steered tens of millions of dollars in federal expenditures - not all but mostly through the infamous earmark process - to his home district in western Pennsylvania.

The Washington Post has done some research on one of those companies that benefitted greatly from Murtha's - and the taxpayers' - largesse. The findings are damning, as we all knew they would be:

Millions in Earmarks Purchase Little of Use
By Robert O'Harrow Jr., Washington Post Staff Writer

The National Defense Center for Environmental Excellence opened its doors in 1991 with a $5 million earmark from a powerful lawmaker. Operating in Johnstown, Pa., the privately run center has received at least $671 million worth of federal contracts and earmarks since then to research and develop pollution-abatement technology and other systems for the Defense Department.

The center's researchers have examined scores of software systems and other gear, including groundwater monitoring equipment, gun cleaners and ultrasonic devices, according to its managers. They said the center had delivered nearly 500 technology products and tools to protect the environment, improve safety and cut Pentagon costs.

But a months-long examination by The Washington Post, including a review of documents and interviews with Pentagon officials, found that little of the center's work has been widely used or deployed by the Defense Department. (link)

Is anyone surprised by this?

I started to compile a list of the earmarks that were contained in the 2008 omnibus appropriations bill that passed the House and Senate earlier this month, those earmarks sponsored by Virginia congresspersons anyway, and have yet to reach the end of it. Quite honestly, the list of earmarks is so immense (some 10,000 in total number) - especially the list of earmarks sponsored by our Senators Warner and Webb - that I quit in frustration (and because I had to get back to my life)*.

Be it understood, that which the Post outlines above is the tip of the iceberg. There is perhaps no more corrupt, or more wasteful, process for spending the peoples' hard-earned income than through this earmark skulduggery.

- - -

* Note: The only list I've been able to find thus far relating to the omnibus bill earmarks came from Senator Jim Demint's office and it's in .pdf format, making it "search unfriendly." I exported it to Excel to make it more useful, but the formatting became a problem. I estimate it will take a good 40 hours to sift through the data and provide a list of those egregious earmarks sponsored by our elected representatives. Give me time. I'm not abandoning the effort.

Looks Like She's Had Enough Of Him Too

Wife Files for Divorce From Sean Penn

I Inch My Way Toward A Choice

I claim no party affiliation, so I'll not be voting in either political primary. But if I were, I think this would be my choice, in a very solid field of candidates on the GOP side, for president:

After eight years of "compassionate conservatism," which to me has come to mean "a hair's breadth from rabid liberalism," Fred Thompson seems to be the most genuine - and the most consistently conservative - of all the top-tier candidates.

Here's to Fred Thompson.

Double-click on the triangle to activate.

Bloomberg Helps The Cause

Who said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg wasn't a loyal Republican? If he weren't, would he be running a full-page ad in the Des Moines Register just before caucus day in Iowa that can only boost the chances of those candidates most conservative?

Here's part of the ad:

In Iowa of all places, where every man, woman, and child owns at least one firearm and zealously supports the right to keep and bear arms, a liberal anti-gun northeast politician tries to come in and influence the election with wads of cash.

You go, Mike. We can use all the help - and money - we can get if we are going to keep the 2nd Amendment intact and meaningful.

Deny It If You Dare

That Nixon Comparison Again

You'll be reading a lot about how Hillary comes across as being so much like Richard Nixon. Especially if she gets elected.

Here's the latest, from Peggy Noonan:

Hillary Clinton? I concede her sturdy mind, deep sophistication, and seriousness of intent. I see her as a triangulator like her husband, not a radical but a maneuverer in the direction of a vague, half-forgotten but always remembered, leftism. It is also true that she has a command-and-control mentality, an urgent, insistent and grating sense of destiny, and she appears to believe that any act that benefits Clintons is a virtuous act, because Clintons are good and deserve to be benefited.

But this is not, actually, my central problem with her candidacy. My central problem is that the next American president will very likely face another big bad thing, a terrible day, or days, and in that time it will be crucial--crucial--that our nation be led by a man or woman who can be, at least for the moment and at least in general, trusted. Mrs. Clinton is the most dramatically polarizing, the most instinctively distrusted, political figure of my lifetime. Yes, I include Nixon. Would she be able to speak the nation through the trauma? I do not think so. And if I am right, that simple fact would do as much damage to America as the terrible thing itself.
Be Reasonable," The Wall Street Journal, December 28, 2007

Said The Pot To The Kettle:

John Edwards: Obama 'Living in Never-Never Land'?

Hillary's Talking Tough

Thought I'd record this for posterity. Before she renounces her demand for an investigation, I thought I'd make it known that Hillary is demanding an investigation:

Clinton demands international Bhutto probe

Hillary Clinton Friday called for an independent, international probe into Benazir Bhutto's murder, as turmoil wracking US anti-terror ally Pakistan reshaped debate in the White House race.

The Democratic front-runner weighed into the crisis just six days before first 2008 party nominating contests, as candidates brandished their national security credentials following the ex-Pakistani premier's death.

"I'm calling for a full, independent, international investigation," Clinton said in an interview with CNN.

"I think it's critically important that we get answers and really those are due first and foremost to the people of Pakistan," Clinton said. (link)

Next she'll be demanding that we invade Pakistan.

Then she'll denounce those who sided with her in making that demand.

Then ...

Friday, December 28, 2007

Make Your Words Count, Man

If you're going to influence the gun control debate through your editorial commentary news articles, you need to get to the nut of the issue, avoid the use of indifferent declamations, and twist like hell.

Dear Washington Times, you can do better than this:

Gun law battle gets personal in Virginia

[blah blah blah]

Since the April 16 shootings, in which Cho killed 32 others and himself after a long history of mental illness, several of the victims' families have demanded stricter oversight of gun purchases and a revamping of the state's mental health system. Nine survivors and 16 families of those killed signed a letter of support to Congress urging lawmakers to strengthen the background check system for weapons purchases.

Cho was able to pass a background check and buy two guns despite having been deemed mentally defective by a Virginia court. In response, Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, signed an executive order requiring that anyone ordered by a court to get mental health treatment be added to a state police database of people barred from buying guns.

But people can still buy guns through other means that require no background check in Virginia, such as gun shows — vast firearms bazaars where scores of people sell or swap firearms. (link) (my emphasis)

People? People? That sure ain't gonna get it done.

If you're going to sway the populace - the people - you need to come up with something better than that. If you're going to make people forget that gun shows had nothing to do with the Virginia Tech massacre, you'll need to use some language far more pejorative.

You're right of course. People show up at gun shows. People swap their guns between themselves. People sell their rifles and shotguns to make a buck. People meet at shows - as they have for hundreds of years (your choice of the word bazaar is revealing; it comes from ancient Persian and means "market"; it's been in place that long) - and do what Americans have done since before there was an America. Even before there was a Virginia Tech. People buy and sell and trade firearms. Good people. Honest people. Law-abiding people. American people.

But your being right is not going to move the gun control agenda.

So let me rework that sentence, just to provide a boost to your effort:
But deranged psychopaths can - and will, unless stopped - buy lethal weapons of mass destruction through other means most nefarious that, because of the machinations of corrupt Republican (make that word drip off the page) politicians over the years, require no background check in Virginia, a legal deathtrap, such as those infamous gun shows — vast assault weapons exchanges where scores of miscreants, child killers, and potential mass murderers meet to sell or transfer their messengers of death and to plot the destruction of our way of life.
Lest the people get the wrong impression, you guys need to make yourselves clear.

Guns bad. Guns kill. Gun shows a malignity. Stop gun shows.

There. See?

A Paladin. A Punic.

I listened to all the presidential candidates yesterday ruminate magniloquently about the life (cut short) and legacy of Benazir Bhutto. Hillary, Edwards, Romney ... all say she'll be missed desperately ... that the world has lost a beacon of light ... that democracy is on the brink because of her assassination ... that she was an inspiration to millions of women worldwide, etc., etc., etc. ...

Then I read this, from Ralph Peters:
For the next several days, you're going to read and hear a great deal of pious nonsense in the wake of the assassination of Pakistan's former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto.

We need have no sympathy with her Islamist assassin and the extremists behind him to recognize that Bhutto was corrupt, divisive, dishonest and utterly devoid of genuine concern for her country.

She was a splendid con, persuading otherwise cynical Western politicians and "hardheaded" journalists that she was not only a brave woman crusading in the Islamic wilderness, but also a thoroughbred democrat.

In fact, Bhutto was a frivolously wealthy feudal landlord amid bleak poverty. The scion of a thieving political dynasty, she was always more concerned with power than with the wellbeing of the average Pakistani.

Educated in expensive Western schools, she permitted Pakistan's feeble education system to rot - opening the door to Islamists and their religious schools. (link)
Don't beat around the bush there, Bud. Tell us what you really think.

My guess is, Bhutto will be remembered in history books as being something less than what Hillary was shedding crocodile tears over yesterday and something more than that which Peters describes above. But assassinations have a way of making regular humans bigger than life, so - only time will tell.

Will Someone Take That Cocaine Away From Him?

Warped thinking like this can - and will - end our glorious American experiment in a heartbeat:

Obama Aide Ties Pakistan to Iraq War
By Jeff Zeleny, The New York Times

Des Moines — The chief strategist of Senator Barack Obama’s campaign said Thursday that the assassination of the Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto “underscores the case for judgment” when voters begin to select their presidential candidates next week.

The strategist, David Axelrod, said voters should take into consideration that the Iraq war led to the rise of terrorist activity and political instability in Pakistan. Mr. Axelrod said that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton backed the Iraq war in 2002, while Mr. Obama did not. (link)

I know we give Democrats wide latitude when it comes to their understanding the world around them. And we can't very well blame Barack Obama for not knowing that the terror threat we face today has been growing since the 1970's. He was, after all, heavily involved in shoving cocaine up his nose at the time. Leon Klinghoffer and the Munich Olympics Massacre would have been just dull irrealities to the dude, no doubt.

But the man wants to be president. A perfunctory understanding of history isn't too much to ask, is it?

"The Iraq war led to the rise of terrorist activity." For the love of God.

Wienies. We're All Wienies.

I was somewhere in Pennsylvania yesterday listening to the car radio - a reporter interviewing a zoo administrator (in Philadelphia maybe), asking if the walls to the tiger enclosure there were secure. In Pennsylvania. Because of that which occurred once in the history of humankind. In California. That tiger getting loose and mauling three people.

Fear sweeps the land.

For the love of God, people.

Breaking News ... To Some

Violence at abortion clinics in Albuquerque makes headlines in the New York Times this morning.

But isn't that an everyday occurrence at abortion clinics? Why just today?

Depends on your perspective, I guess.

Men Who Live Their Faith

You can keep your milquetoasty, wishy-washy, limp-wristed, tiresome, peacey/lovey Episcopal kinda preacher. I'd rather have a man of the cloth who puts his faith where his fists are.

I have only one comment: What would Jesus say?
Priests brawl at Bethlehem birthplace of Jesus

Seven people were injured on Thursday when Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests came to blows in a dispute over how to clean the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Following the Christmas celebrations, Greek Orthodox priests set up ladders to clean the walls and ceilings of their part of the church, which is built over the site where Jesus Christ is believed to have been born.

But the ladders encroached on space controlled by Armenian priests, according to photographers who said angry words ensued and blows quickly followed.

For a quarter of an hour bearded and robed priests laid into each other with fists, brooms and iron rods while the photographers who had come to take pictures of the annual cleaning ceremony recorded the whole event. (link)
Breitbart has video to go with the article.

Broom-wielding priests beating the crap out of each other. On the site where The Son of God was born no less. I've now seen it all.

How Do They Do This?

Computer morphing.

Amazing stuff.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

By Popular Demand

I've been asked by several people about that automatic shotgun that was featured in this video:

Here's some detail on this bad boy (received via email):

Military Police Systems recently unveiled a must-have weapon in the current CQB [close quarters battle] environment. The company out of Piney Flats, Tennessee has come out with a unique selectable (via a unique trigger) 12-gauge shotgun called the Auto Assault 12 Automatic Shotgun or AA-12 Automatic Shotgun. The AA name originally stood for "Atchisson Assault" after the original inventor but has been changed since Military Police Systems purchased the rights to the unique weapon. The weapon utilizes a constant recoil system that reduces recoil by 90% as compared to a traditional 12 gauge shotgun. The reduction in recoil is the primary reason that this shotgun can be fired effectively in the automatic mode.

With little or no barrel rise, this weapon is a monster when clearing rooms! The weapon will definitely become a force multiplier with its ease of operation and massive firepower in both the law enforcement and military arenas.

Technical Data -

* Caliber - 12 Gauge (2 3/4" Shells)

* Rate of Fire - 300 Rounds per minute/fires a 20 round drum in about 4 seconds

* Operations - Long Stroke Gas Piston with constant recoil

* Length - 33 Inches with 13 Inch Barrel (same size as an M4 with stock extended). 38 Inches with 18 Inch Barrel

* Weight - 10.0 lbs with 13 Inch Barrel. 10.5 lbs with 18 Inch Barrel

* Feeding Device - 8 round magazine, 20 round drum magazine, 40 round drum magazine (in development)

* Safety - Thumb Safety* Sights - Front: Protected Post which is adjustable for Elevation. Rear: Protected Ring which is adjustable for W/E.

* Stock - Glass filled nylon available in: Urban Grey, Desert Tan, Olive,Drab, Black, and Various other Camouflage Patterns.* Finish - Matte Stainless Steel

* Made of corrosion-resistant, high impact, heat-treated stainless steels and high-impact plastics

* Low Maintenance - During a Blackwater shoot, 5000 ROUNDS were fired through a single weapon WITHOUT cleaning or a drop of Lube.

I'm not sure. The Auto Assault 12 may be available down at your local Wal-Mart. Give 'em a call.

Let's Go Even Further

The Roanoke Times pleads: "Let localities make the smoking call."

I say: Why stop there? Let business owners and consumers make the smoking call.

So Now He's a James Carville?

Two short years ago now-Senator James Webb was sitting at home picking his teeth, contemplating a change of underwear, looking forward to Oprah in the afternoon, and planning his big trip down to Big Lots to buy himself some new socks, white ones with those cool racing stripes around the top, with nothing better to do.

That was then.

Today Professor Webb's political wisdom is eagerly sought by a sycophantic and idolatrous press. A regular Machiavelli he's become. He da man.

How an inadvertant twist of fate can change one's lot in life.

The vision and insight the mainstream media have been anxiously waiting for:
Webb: State is 'in play' in 2008
By Seth McLaughlin, The Washington Times

Democratic victories in Tidewater last month and Mark Warner's return to politics give the party a good shot at winning Virginia's 13 electoral votes in the 2008 presidential election, says Sen. Jim Webb.

"Virginia is definitely in play," Mr. Webb, a Democrat, told The Washington Times. "We took seats in areas that were strongly Republican." (link)
If those areas were strongly Republican, Jimbo, Democrats wouldn't have won. Weakly Republican perhaps would be more apt.

But never mind.

Jim Webb spake. Hold the presses.

How You Can Tell We're Winning The War

By the number of times the mainstream media reported - and analyzed - the story about the tiger who killed the hapless zoo-goer.

On television. On the radio. In the papers. Throughout the day. For two days. Ad nauseum.

The alternative was for the press to report the good news coming out of Iraq.

Thus ...

Story Of The Year, 2007

As Michelle Malkin would have it:
There should be no question what the top story of the year was: America's counterinsurgency campaign in Iraq, the Democrats' hapless efforts to sabotage it and the Western mainstream media's stubborn refusal to own up to military progress.

... Democrats tried and failed repeatedly to undermine this military strategy and starve the war of funding. Their poisonously partisan allies at MoveOn.org attempted to smear surge architect and patriot Gen. David Petraeus as a traitor. The New York Times and Associated Press fought tooth and nail to obscure the successes of the surge with their relentless "grim milestone" drumbeat.

But by year's end, with Shiites and Sunnis marching and praying together for peace, even anti-war Democrats and adversarial media outlets alike were forced to acknowledge that undeniable military progress and security improvements had been made.
"Surge & Denial," The New York Post, December 27, 2007

A Problem. A Reason Given.

Leave it to the weblogs to provide "the rest of the story."

You may have read this bit of news in the New York Times before Christmas:
Sales of women’s clothing, a traditional pillar of the holiday shopping season, are unusually bleak so far this year, according to a major credit card company, an ominous sign for the retail industry. (link)
Retail experts seem to be perplexed as to the reason for the decline.

Blogger Rachel Lucas is not:
[H]ave you ever seen an Old Navy store right before Christmas? It looked like New Orleans after the flood. It looked like a Biblical plague had struck. Clothes were strewn all over the floor, and the line to the checkout was at least 50 feet long.

But that’s not the biggest issue. The biggest issue is WHO IN THE HELL IS MAKING THESE CLOTHES? I mean for f**k’s sake, people. I haven’t seen such ugliness in all my life, even the 1970s. Everything is orange and pink and bright red, covered in ridiculous patterns that make you have a migraine. Nobody wants this sh*t! You can tell because of every item, there are 50 each of the orange, pink, and bright red left, but maybe one green and one blue remaining, either in extra-small or extra-large. Get a clue, designers. A goddamn CLUE. (link)
Kinda makes me want to go over to Old Navy just to check out the oranges, pinks, and bright reds.

Anyway, sales of women's clothing are down. As they should be, it would appear.

Quote Of The Day

From Mickey Kaus:
Are you impressed with a drop in home values of 6.6% over a year? It doesn't seem like such a big correction, given the dramatic run-up in prices over the last decade or so. ... And don't declining prices make housing more... what's the word? ... affordable? ... This evening NBC Nightly News billboarded a "housing CRISIS." (Link available here.) I thought a "housing crisis" was when people couldn't find housing, not when it got cheaper. (NBC's expert: "It's very, very difficult to find any silver lining." No it's not.) ...
"One Hed Fits All," Slate, December 27, 2007

Clinton Sets Foreign Policy Course

Unfortunately, it's the wrong Clinton.

Just days after telling an interviewer that, should we still be in Iraq when she becomes president in 2009, Hillary Clinton will begin the process of extricating us from what she perceives to be a quagmire, her husband has other ideas entirely.

From the Huffington Post:

Exclusive - Clinton: We Need To Stay in Iraq to Protect the Kurds From The Turks
By Blake Fleetwood

Bill Clinton, in prescient talks to 50 wealthy supporters at a fundraiser, off limits to the press, said:

"The two wrinkles in her policy that some of the purists won't like, but I think she is absolutely right, are that she would leave some troops in the Kurdish area in the north because they have reconciled with each other and they enjoy relative peace and security...And if we leave them...not only might they be gone into a long civil war...the Turks might be tempted to attack them because they don't like the fact that the PKK guerrillas sometimes come across into northern Iraq and hide after staging attacks in Turkey."

"We don't want that," the former President went on to say. (link)

Get the impression that the other half of that "we" has no say in the matter? Did Bill even consult with his wife on this? Will Hillary be the dutiful housewife and let the old man run things for her?

It's enough to give one pause ...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Haunting Similarity

A Korean-American student at Virginia Tech, one with emotional problems that campus administrators were (allegedly) well aware of and that friends were deeply concerned about, grabs a gun and starts killing.

Seung-hui Cho on April 16, 2007?

No. Daniel Sun Kim, less than three weeks ago. The death toll? One.

From Collegiate Times, the Virginia Tech student newspaper:
Tech student found dead in vehicle
By Ashley Oliver, Collegiate Times associate news editor

A Virginia Tech student was found dead in his car in the parking lot of the Christiansburg Target on Sunday, Dec. 9.

Junior math major Daniel Sun Kim suffered a single gunshot wound to the head, the cause of which both the medical examiner and the Christiansburg Police Department suspect to be suicide.

In early November, Tech received an e-mail from a person claiming to be Kim's friend, the content of with (sic) contained a concern about Kim possibly having a gun, and being a potential danger to himself or others.

The e-mail was directed to the university's Care Team, a group of officials whose responsibility is to meet weekly and discuss individual troubled students, and appropriate courses of action. (link)
Out of deference to the family of the troubled youth, I would have avoided posting this bit of news. But the family of the slain student has spoken out.

From one Jeannette Kim, who claims to be Daniel's sister, writing in the COMMENTS section trailing the article (I've made no alterations to the text-messaging style, punctuation and grammar used):

let me introduce myself... i am daniel's sister. he was my only brother and he left me on december 9th. to the person who posted on december 25th ("what was tech supposed to do? lock this kid up..."): do you even understand how i might be feeling right now? how my family might be feeling? when we had absolutely NO IDEA about any of this when tech knew all along? they received TWO to THREE warnings about my brother's depression and his suicidal thoughts but they failed to do anything about it. the least they could have done was called US, his FAMILY, and told us about it so that we could have brought him home. their first mistake was not even informing us and letting us find out in this way... with his death. it wasn't a random tip - they were both sent from his friends. HIS FRIENDS. that's not a random tip. they each said to tech "i have a friend at tech who is extremely depressed and suicidal and i am very worried about him." the email that was sent to tech's health center had some disturbing information, a direct quote what my brother said about committing suicide. that is something that you don't take lightly or as a joke. have you ever experienced going through something like this? having your own brother or your own sister, someone who's looked over you for as long as you've been alive, take their own life? HAVE YOU? if you haven't, please don't even say anything. IF it is for the benefit of the student to have their family be notified THEN tech should not even have to worry about getting sued. if anything the family would be grateful towards the school. IF tech continues to take action in this way then they should expect more problems to bark up their alley. THE FACT IS - we were not notified of my brother's depression. tech was first notified in october. that was TWO months ago. then again in november. do you realize that my brother could have been saved? DO YOU REALIZE ANY OF THAT?
Meanwhile, Virginia Tech administrators are high-fiving one another for having taken the second floor of Norris Hall, the classroom building where sociopath Seung-hui Cho did most of his mass-murdering on April 16, and renamed it the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention.

Violence prevention. Virginia Tech.

A Richmond newspaper columnist, gooshing with praise for the university's decision, recently held forth the following quote and follow-on comment about the news:

"Our students will benefit for years to come, and we believe it honors the students and families of those slain on April 16," Provost Mark McNamee said.

Perhaps a life -- or many -- might someday be saved as a result of what comes out of this new endeavor. As a society, we could all stand to devote more time to the pursuit of peace and nonviolence.

Perhaps a school known for a day of unspeakable violence can earn renown as a center of peace.
Or perhaps it can't.

Daniel Sun Kim is dead. Time to rename another floor of Norris Hall.

Britain Goes The Way Of Virginia Tech

The British in recent years have banned - almost completely - the private ownership of firearms, so as to eliminate crime. It is now nearly gun-free.

You can guess the all-too predictable result.

First, the headline:
Gun crime on the rise as number of armed police falls
by Benedict Brogan, London Daily Mail

The number of firearms officers working in areas where gun crime is soaring has fallen sharply, figures released reveal.

And despite a steep overall rise in firearms-related offences, the total number of weapons-trained officers has dropped. (link)
Here are some sobering statistics (1997 to 2006) from the article for those of you who praised Virginia Tech's becoming a "gun-free zone" and who now want to inflict the same on the rest of the commonwealth:

[S]tatistics released by the Home Office show the number of individuals found guilty of possessing weapons rose by 43 per cent from 2001 to 2005.

Over the same period, the number of crimes involving firearms recorded by police rose by 11 per cent, from 10,023 in 2001 to 11,084 in 2005.

On Merseyside, where Liverpool has been ravaged by violence, ... the area has recorded a 183 per cent rise in the number of persons found guilty of possessing or distributing prohibited weapons or ammunition between 1997 and 2005.

And Merseyside has seen the number of crimes where firearms were used soar by 62 per cent, from 299 in 2002 to 485 in 2006.

A similar picture emerges in Avon and Somerset, where the number of firearms officers has fallen by 29 per cent, from 165 in 1997 to 117 in 2006, while the firearms crimes soared by 62 per cent, from 131 in 2002 to 167.
The upshot of it all, from police spokesman David Ruffley:

"This is yet further evidence that this Government, despite imposing a ban on handguns and pledging to tackle violent crime, has presided over a steady increase in the everyday use of weapons on Britain's streets."
Great Britain is now a gun-free zone. May God have mercy on the British people.