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

Friday, January 05, 2007

Muscles McGirk

Speaking only for myself here ...

... I'm intimidated right down to my thong underwear.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Johnny One Note

The people of Virginia resoundingly rejected Governor Tim Kaine's tax hike scheme last year. Learning from the experience, he decided to roll out another plan this year that, bewildering though it may be, is identical to last year's stinker:

Kaine will resubmit plan to raise vehicle taxes, fees
By Larry O'Dell, The Washington Times

RICHMOND -- Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said yesterday that the public's response to legislative gridlock on transportation improvements prompted him to renew his proposals to increase vehicle registration fees and the sales tax on new cars.

Anti-tax Republicans, who control the House of Delegates, rejected the proposals during the extended session last year. Mr. Kaine, a Democrat, will ask lawmakers to reconsider during the 46-day election-year session that begins Wednesday. (link)

The public's response, Tim, was at best a yawn and more accurately a clear rejection of your transparent attempt to raise our taxes again and to do it by fecklessly attempting to scare the pants off us.

It didn't work then. It won't work now.

Stick to things you do well, Johnny One Tax. Work on that apology for slavery and for the killing of Injuns way back when. You'll at least be doing no harm.

Headline Of The Day

As only the New York Post can do it:

Funny stuff.

You Need To Learn To Trust My Judgement

When I say I smell a rat, there is in fact a rodent present. Never doubt it. In the case of that elusive Toyota plant that was going to be built in Roanoke (getting everyone's hearts a'pounding) and then in Hampton Roads, I wrote on April 22, "I smell a rat."

Whether that rat walked in the guise of a Toyota representative or a Kaine administration huckster is unclear.

But the hucksterism isn't:
Southeast may be site of Toyota plant
Tennessee, Arkansas and North Carolina are possibilities, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Associated Press

Nashville, Tenn. -- Tennessee reportedly remains a strong contender for Toyota Motor Corp.'s eighth U.S. assembly plant as the Japanese automaker nears a decision on where to locate the facility.

The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, reported Thursday that Toyota has narrowed the candidate sites to locations in Tennessee, Arkansas and North Carolina -- and that it could announce its decision this month.

Gone from the list was Virginia, if indeed it was considered. A New York Times article in April quoted anonymous sources "involved" with Toyota as saying an unidentified site "outside Roanoke" was on a short list of expansion possibilities being considered by the Japanese auto giant. (link)
The Hampton Roads story smelled because the "news" came at the same time that Ford was announcing its closing of its huge assembly plant in Norfolk and Governor Kaine was in damage control mode, flying to Chicago with hat in hand, begging for consideration from recalcitrant corporate types.

As for the rumor that Roanoke was in the running for the new plant, it appeared at the time that Toyota was pushing the idea. But it was in fact pushing a whole lot of similar ideas at the time as well.

In any case, the stench is getting stifling. And apologies to the people of Roanoke and Hampton Roads are in order. From everyone involved.

Jubilation, Meet Reality

The Democrats are in high spirits these days. Big victory in November. Pelosi and Reid have taken charge. The GOP is a shell of its former self.

So much change is in the offing. You can just smell it.

Or not:
Tax Cuts and the Minimum Wage
New York Times Editorial

As the minimum wage moves to the top of the new Congress’s agenda, some politicians — mainly President Bush and Senate Republicans — seem incapable of viewing the issue as anything other than a pretext for more tax cuts. This time the lucky recipients would be small-business owners, who the politicians contend will be unduly harmed by having to pay higher wages. So much for ringing in the new.

It has been more than nine years since the government last increased the federal minimum wage, currently $5.15 an hour ... (link)
Those darn Republicans! Don't they realize that we won the election and can, therefore, do whatever we please? How dare they think we are going to bargain over this issue?

Interestingly, the Democrats have hung their hat on what in reality is a relatively meaningless issue - the minimum wage. As was pointed out here yesterday, it affects a very few Americans, and most of those are teenagers who live in households where someone else is the primary breadwinner.

But the Dems have made this their cause celebre. If they fail at this, they fail utterly. We are going to have an increase in the minimum wage or the world as we know it will be brought to an end.

As they did in the last session of Congress, the Republicans are listening to all this and are responding with a nod of the head. "Sure you can have your increase in the minimum wage. And here's what we want in return - tax cuts."

In 2006 the Democrats assessed that offer and rejected it. They were then able to blame the majority. But now they are the majority and have to produce. The days of whining about Tom Delay are over.

Can this get any better?

The Way Of The Future

I get a bit of enjoyment reading about the worries and woe expressed these days with regard to land management and growth management and "sprawl." It's as if a three-story two-headed monster was out there devouring good cropland, never to disgorge it.

What I know to be true is this: When that land becomes of more value to farmers than it is to developers, and it will be, those homes and businesses will be bulldozed under and the land will revert to its original state - and will be made productive once again. Here's why - a look into the future:

Rise in Ethanol Raises Concerns About Corn as a Food
By Alexei Barrionuevo, The New York Times

Chicago, Jan. 4 — Renewing concerns about whether there will be enough corn to support the demand for both fuel and food, a new study has found that ethanol plants could use as much as half of America’s corn crop next year.

Dozens of new ethanol plants are being built by farmers and investors in a furious gold rush, spurred by a call last year from the Bush administration and politicians from farm states to produce more renewable fuels to curb America’s reliance on oil. But the new study by the Earth Policy Institute, an environmental group, found that the number of ethanol plants coming on line has been underreported by more than 25 percent by both the Agriculture Department and the Renewable Fuels Association, the ethanol industry’s main lobbying group. (link)

It seems like I read once that roughly 10% of the North American landmass is tillable. The other 90% is either too arid, too swampy, too ice-covered, or too rugged (like my world here in Bland). The available acreage that can be devoted to crops is therefore finite and quite limited.

We've had no problem producing needed foodstuffs on that available land to date, making the value of open spaces less to farmers and more to condo builders. But that will change. Crops are going to soon be used for fuel to power your 5 liter Mustang.

As we switch over to non-petroleum based fuels (liquid coal and ethanol), watch the land increase in value and quickly revert to non-home use. That sprawl everyone worries about is going to be directed upward to the heavens and not outward to Loudoun County.

Bank on it.

Quote Of The Day

On Islam, Christianity, and the atheists who view them differently:
There are many themes to the atheist lament. A common worry is the political and social effect of religious belief. To a lot of atheists, the fate of civilization and of mankind depends on their ability to cool--or better, simply to ban--the fevered fancies of the God-intoxicated among us.

Naturally, the atheists focus their peevishness not on Muslim extremists (who advertise their hatred and violent intentions) but on the old-time Christian religion. ("Wisdom dwells with prudence," the Good Book teaches.) They can always haul out the abortion-clinic bomber if they need a boogeyman; and they can always argue as if all faiths are interchangeable: Persuade American Christians to give up their infantile attachment to God and maybe Muslims will too. In any case, they conclude: God is not necessary, God is impossible and God is not permissible if our society--or even our species--is to survive. (link)
Sam Schulman, "Without God, Gall Is Permitted," The Wall Street Journal, January 5, 2007