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

Monday, January 01, 2007

Sifting Through The Cow Plop

I had to chuckle when I read what was supposed to be a puff piece extolling the virtues of our Congressman-for-life, Rick Boucher, in one of the local papers this morning. It started with this odd bit of phraseology:
Boucher maps plan for prosperous year
By Bill Archer, Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Bluefield — After a dozen years of sitting on the sidelines, U.S. Rep. Frederick C. “Rick” Boucher, D-Va., said he is ready to get back in the game in a major way. (link)
Now I've been known to suggest on occasion that Boucher has been sitting on the sidelines, getting nothing done all these many years. But this article is intended to provide him with a sloppy kiss on the lips. If this is a compliment ...

Recognizing, apparently, how that appears, the reporter then tries to recover with what is clearly an attempt at painting Boucher's inconsequential years in some favorable light:
Boucher, 60, of Abingdon, Va., is entering his 12th term in the House of Representatives — 12 with the majority party and the last 12 in the minority. Although he effectively developed legislation to serve his district, he appears to be anxious to get back into a leadership role.
What that second sentence is supposed to mean is anybody's guess. Although he was effective ...?

Then there's this valiant effort at making a sow's ear look a whole lot like a silk purse:
Although he is not ready to shout it from the rooftops yet, Boucher noted that since he is the ranking member on the Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee it is “very probable” that he will be called on to chair that vital subcommittee.
Woo hoo. Next step the White House.

Two points:

1) The Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee is about as vital to our way of life as is that Bland County sticker I am required by law to purchase for my car that serves absolutely no purpose.

2) There are 24 committees (including joint committees) in the House of Representatives (not counting the "Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina"). If memory serves, Rick Boucher is 12th in seniority in the House Democratic ranks. As Michael Barone reminds us, "House Democrats' choices for committee chairmen in the 110th Congress are in almost every case the most senior Democrats on the committee ..." Yet none of those 24 committees will be chaired by Rick Boucher.


He gets a subcommittee. And a pat on the head.

Making matters worse, he isn't even going to chair a truly vital subcommittee. No defense subcommittee. No budget or appropriations subcommittee. No homeland security. No Ways and Means.

Rick Boucher is going to head up the subcommittee monitoring ... air quality.

Do the words potted plant come to mind? Could he be any less vital?

The Telegraph piece goes on to show just how it is that our congressman has been shunted to the side in Washington. His grandiose plans for the coming term include such nearly "vital" irrelevancies as "the creation of ethanol from biomass" and the development of "more diesel engines in the United States," and to "make interest on student loans tax deductible" and a real biggie - "legislation ...that will protect reporters from being forced to disclose their confidential sources in federal courts."

The New York Times, I'm sure, is holding its presses for the outcome of these initiatives.

Terrorists? What terrorists? Jobs? What Volvo layoffs? What furniture plant closings? What devastation in the textile industry?

No. Our guy is going to be focused like a laser beam on ... the particulates floating in our air.

Someone help me. I need some oxygen.

Kiss Her Goodbye

Some people are meant to be life-long prison inmates:
Woman charged in plot to kill judge
By Wayne Quesenberry, Staff, The Wytheville Enterprise

A 28-year-old Wytheville woman is charged with three counts of soliciting someone to kill Wythe County Circuit Court Judge Josiah Showalter. Casey Joannah Dunford was arrested Thursday night by the Wythe County Sheriff's Office following several months of investigation.

According to Sheriff Doug King, the offenses occurred between Sept. 1 and Dec. 28. They came to light after September, he said.

"During that time, she solicited several people to kill the judge," King said. "We're continuing our investigation to see if she acted alone." (link)
Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Quote Of The Day

On liberal courts and their meddling in legislative affairs:
Contempt in Massachusetts
Suddenly the Supreme Judicial Court can't tell the legislature what to do.

Nearly three years ago, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts read between the lines of the state constitution to discover a right to same-sex marriage previously undetected across the decades. The court then gave the legislature six months to rewrite state law to accommodate its diktat.

On Wednesday, however, the same court suddenly rediscovered the humility so lacking in its previous foray into the marriage debate.

In its ruling last week, it agreed that the legislature's duty to vote on the measure was "unambiguous." But it claimed to be powerless to compel a vote. So the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, whose own arrogation of power created this mess, has suddenly discovered the limits of its power to clean it up.

All in all, this is quite the political spectacle. First judges usurp the power of the legislature to dictate their own social policy. Then the legislature uses a procedural ruse to deny voters a say on the gay-marriage issue. And these are some of the same people who say Iraqis aren't ready for democracy. (link)
The Wall Street Journal, December 31, 2006

A Good Economic Indicator

As Wal-Mart goes, so goes the nation:
Wal-Mart Same-Store Sales Rise in Dec.
The Associated Press

Bentonville, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said December sales at its stores open at least a year were higher than expected, following a bleak November for the world's largest retailer.

Sales rose 1.6 percent for the December reporting period, which included the busy holiday shopping time of Nov. 25 through Dec. 29, the company said Saturday.

Earlier this month, the Bentonville-based retailer said it anticipated December same-store sales to be flat to 1 percent. (link)
This number not being adjusted for inflation, unit sales were actually down slightly from a year ago. But it's better than was initially anticipated.

So 1.6 cheers for Wal-Mart.

Time To Cut And Run

Looks like we need to retreat from Bangkok, Thailand. There are terrorists there:
Bombs in Bangkok Kill 2 and Wound More Than 30
By Seth Mydans, The New York Times

Bangkok, Monday, Jan. 1 — Nine small bombs exploded around Bangkok overnight, killing two people and wounding 34 people in a city that remains under martial law after a coup three months ago. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

New Year’s celebrations were officially canceled in Bangkok and in the northern city of Chiang Mai. But when midnight struck, cheers went up in Bangkok and the sky was filled with bursts of fireworks.

Six of those wounded were foreigners, the police said, including one American. (link)
It's getting to be difficult for the Democrats to find a place where they can fight our war on terror what with terrorists seeming to be everywhere these days.

Okinawa is looking better and better as time goes by.

Walking The Plank

Just what the Democrats need to do. Nominate another northeast liberal to be their candidate in 2008. We should be so lucky:

That's Christopher Dodd. Far-left liberal. Connecticut. Close friend of John Kerry. A man with a long history of befriending Central American and South American anti-U.S. thugs and murderers.

What are the chances? We can only hope ...

Crocodile Tears

The left this morning pauses from its relentless attacks on the valiant efforts of our troops in the field to mourn the loss of troops in the field. Here we see the obligatory mention of a soldier killed in Iraq, followed closely on by the more important stuff:
3,000 Deaths in Iraq, Countless Tears at Home
By Lizette Alvarez and Andrew Lehren, The New York Times

Jordan W. Hess was the unlikeliest of soldiers.

He could bench-press 300 pounds and ...

In many ways, the third 1,000 men and women to die in Iraq faced the same unflinching challenge as the second 1,000 soldiers to die there — a dedicated and ruthless Iraqi insurgency that has exploited the power of roadside bombs to chilling effect. These bombs now cause about half of all American combat deaths and injuries in Iraq.

Over all, the casualty rate has remained relatively steady since 2005, dipping only slightly. It took 14 months for the death toll to jump to 2,000 soldiers from 1,000. It took about two weeks longer ... (link)
The article goes on to analyze the numbers. And quote experts who analyze numbers. This is to be expected from those who have no real interest in the human beings who are sacrificing their lives - and who are willing to sacrifice their lives - other than to use them to make a point.

Point made, New York Times. Point made.