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

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Quote Of The Day

On the right of the government to confiscate private property through eminent domain:
Let There Be 'Blight'
Welcome to the post-Kelo world.
By William R. Maurer

Seattle--The city of Burien, Wash., recently decided that a piece of property owned by the seven Strobel sisters that had long housed a popular diner-style restaurant was not upscale enough for the city's ambitious "Town Square" development, which will feature condos, shops, restaurants and offices. Rather than condemn the property for a private developer and risk a lawsuit, Burien came up with a plan--it would put a road through the property, and the city manager told his staff to "make damn sure" it did. When a subsequent survey revealed that the road would not affect the building itself, but only sideswipe a small corner of the property, the staff developed yet another site plan that put the road directly through the building. A trial court concluded that the city's actions might be "oppressive" and "an abuse of power"--but allowed the condemnation anyway. The Washington Court of Appeals affirmed, and the Washington Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

Welcome to the post-Kelo world.
The Wall Street Journal, January 11, 2007 (link)

Showing A Weak Hand

Governor Kaine is down to begging:
Kaine implores Va. lawmakers to take action
"The time for solutions is now," the governor said in pleading to end the transportation
By Michael Sluss, The Roanoke Times

Jamestown -- Gov. Tim Kaine urged Virginia lawmakers Wednesday night to "finish the job in transportation" and forge an agreement on a long-term financial and policy blueprint for roads, rail and mass transit.

In his annual State of the Commonwealth address to a joint General Assembly session, Kaine uttered a now familiar refrain in pleading for action on an issue that has stymied lawmakers for more than a year.

"The need is clear," Kaine said. "The time for solutions is now." (link)
In fact the need isn't clear at all.

Somehow these jokers have gotten it in their minds that the commonwealth of Virginia needs to deal with its transportation budgeting problem in a way unlike any corporation on the planet, any small business, any household, even any other department within state government has ever found the need to adopt.

What is so special about transportation?

It's not like businessmen don't have to make long-term plans and investments with annual budgeting. It's not like the bread winner in your family can demand a steady cash flow from his or her employer for twenty years. It's not like the higher education system in Virginia has ever been in jeopardy as the result of a flawed budgeting system that has been in place for two centuries. It's not like the transportation budget can't be modified annually to allow for agreed-upon needs.

And it's not like the government is cash-starved.

We have the money. And the system that has worked for us for 200 years will continue to work just fine.

Plead all you want, Tim. You're not going to raise our taxes again.

When You Lie Down With Dogs

Who needs God when you can have Ted Turner?
How secular donors move church agenda
By Eric Pfeiffer, The Washington Times

The National Council of Churches is becoming financially beholden to secular groups with liberal political leanings, according to a report by a religious watchdog organization.

The Institute on Religion and Democracy, a group formed by members of the NCC, says the group accepted the majority of its charitable donations last year from nonreligious organizations and has been pursuing an agenda that does not mesh with the majority of its church members, including support for abortion and homosexual "marriage."

Politically affiliated groups who donated to the NCC between 2004 and 2005 include the Sierra Club; the Ford Foundation, which advocated for "reproductive rights"; the United Nations Foundation, which is funded by billionaire media mogul and philanthropist Ted Turner; and the Connect US Network, which has ties to George Soros' Open Society Institute ... (link) [my emphasis]
For the love of God.

Who To Believe

The New York Times?

Or the Associated Press?

You decide.

Yeah. The Hurricane Did It.

New Orleans is a violent, crime-ridden city. Guess why:
Storm Left New Orleans Ripe for Violence
By Adam Nossiter, The New York Times

New Orleans, Jan. 10 — The storm of violence that has burst over this city since New Year’s Day can be traced in part to dysfunctional law enforcement institutions, aggravated by a natural disaster that turned the physical and social landscape of New Orleans into an ideal terrain for criminals.

There are a variety of reasons for the descent toward chaos. An automobile-bound police department is reluctant to walk the streets and interact with the city’s residents. It is at war with the district attorney’s office, which is prosecuting seven officers for a deadly shooting soon after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. Judges in the city’s courts regularly rule in favor of criminals.

Completing the grim picture is an already fragile social structure in the city’s poorest wards that has been all but destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. (link)
What you'll never read in these tales of woe is the fact that New Orleans was one of America's most violent cities before Hurricane Katrina, many of its neighborhoods rivaling those of Baghdad on its worst day.

In its headlong rush to blame President Bush for all the city's problems in the storm's aftermath, the mainstream media was forced to expose the perpetually dysfunctional city's massive problems. Having done that, the press now want you to believe the "explosion" in the crime rate is a relatively recent occurrence.

It's not.

New Orleans has been in chaos for years.

Nice try though.

This Is Your Best Argument?

The New York Times tries valiantly this morning to make a case for raising the minimum wage:

Crossing the State Line Is Worth It for $7.93
By Timothy Egan

LIBERTY LAKE, Wash., Jan. 9 — Just eight miles separate this town on the Washington side of the state border from Post Falls on the Idaho side. But the towns are nearly $3 an hour apart in the required minimum wage. Washington pays the highest in the nation, just under $8 an hour, and Idaho has among the lowest, matching 21 states that have not raised the hourly wage beyond the federal minimum of $5.15.

... small-business owners in Washington say they have prospered far beyond their expectations. In fact, as a significant increase in the national minimum wage heads toward law, businesses here at the dividing line between two economies — a real-life laboratory for the debate — have found that raising prices to compensate for higher wages does not necessarily lead to losses in jobs and profits. (link)

Wow. If results from raising the minimum wage to $7.93 were this good, one wonders why they didn't raise it to $27.93.

Here's why:

"Business owners say they have had to increase prices somewhat to keep up." [my emphasis]

Those opposed to a government-mandated minimum wage make this argument, and it's irrefutable: Wages are a cost of doing business. Forcing a business owner to raise that cost requires him to compensate - either by raising prices or by laying off workers (or, if that business is locked in a fight against a foreign competitor that is under no such government restraint and isn't required to raise hourly wages, close its doors forever). There is no alternative.

So wages of this state's poorest and least skilled workers were raised at the point of a gun -- and business owners, consequently, were forced to compensate by raising the prices those poor people pay for food, clothing, and shelter. The poor are where they began.

If it makes you feel good to do such favors, that's one thing. But it's you that benefits from such flippery; not them. Don't for a minute think you really did something righteous for the poor.

Your efforts, in the end, mean squat.