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

Saturday, January 27, 2007

If It Weren't For Those Pesky Statistics ...

Someone is trying to blow happysmoke up your Fruit-of-the-Looms over in Martinsville:

Consultant sees bright future of growth for city's uptown
By Mickey Powell, Martinsville Bulletin Staff Writer

An expert on revitalizing commercial business districts said Thursday that uptown Martinsville is ripe for economic growth due to changes occurring in the community.

“I cannot ever remember working in a community that’s had so many new opportunities appear, bang, at one time,” said Kennedy L. Smith, co-founder of the Community Land Use and Economics Group LLC (CLUE).

Examples she mentioned include the ... (link)

Now far be it from me to question this expert's highly remunerated conclusions.

So I'll let others do it:
Effects of population drop far-reaching, officials say
By Debbie Hall, Martinsville Bulletin Staff Writer

More job opportunities and better pay elsewhere are root causes of the declining population in Martinsville and Henry County, and the future outlook is “not good.”

Qian Cai, director of the Demographics Unit at the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, said declining population will affect all sectors of the locality.

Between 2000 and 2006, Henry County’s population dropped from 57,930 to 54,506, according to population estimates released by the center this week.

Martinsville’s population also declined, from 15,416 in 2000 to 14,320 in 2006, according to the center.

The decline is not just in Martinsville and Henry County. It extends to other areas of Southside and Southwest Virginia, where populations are both aging and shrinking, Cai said. (link)
So. The economic outlook for Martinsville and Henry county is either "bright" or it's "not good," depending on which expert you listen to.


I'll go with the cheerleader. Seems to be the way we do things around here.

And We Need Gun Control Why?

This (from Great Britain) could be us, if we let the Stalinist left have its way here in the USA:

Gun crime: Labour 'losing control'
The Press Association

Labour has been accused of losing control of gun crime as new figures show a sharp rise in armed robberies.

Guns were used in 4,120 robberies last year - a 10% jump - including a 9% rise to 1,439 in the number of street robberies where guns were used.

There was also a rapid and unexplained increase in the number of times householders were confronted in their own homes by armed criminals.

Residential firearms robberies show a 46% leap, a record 645 cases in England and Wales - up 204 on the previous year and four times the level recorded in 2000-01.

The Home Office report shows that handguns are the most commonly used firearm in robberies, reported in 2,888 cases. (link)

For those of you who haven't been paying attention, Britain has, next to Russia, Cuba, and Iran, the most restrictive gun control laws on the planet, with possession and ownership of handguns - that would be the weapon "most commonly used" in robberies, being completely outlawed.

As we have been saying for decades, and has proven to be the case now in jolly old England:

When Guns Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Guns

Resolve to fight them with your last breath ...

Oops. Not Fulfilling My Duties Here.

I forgot to make my daily empty and utterly insincere apology to those who find comfort in it.

I sincerely apologize.

I Enjoy A Good Line

Although I disagree with those who argue - in the payday lending debate - that we need to prevent citizens from attempting to obtain loans that might be used - shudder - to buy food for the dinner table, I think there is a good point made here, if on a totally different subject, by the Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial staff (in "Systematic"):
In 2005 alone, 90,859 Virginians took out 13 or more payday loans at 391 percent interest. Fairfax Senator Richard Saslaw has said payday lending's large customer base demonstrates a desire for these loans to continue -- which motivated him to introduce legislation "reforming" the industry. Along that line of reasoning, many people on college campuses around the state eagerly await a bill to reform marijuana laws.

Tea Anyone?

I had a perplexing conversation with a friend a few weeks ago about her new church affiliation. She lives in a very upscale part of Northern Virginia and is now a member of one of the Episcopal churches in her neighborhood. Hers happens to be one of those whose congregation has decided to stay within the church and to not break away over the homosexual bishop issue that has torn other congregations away. She is, as you might imagine, very liberal.

She's also an atheist.

An active atheist member of the Episcopal Church USA.

You now understand why our conversation was perplexing. She joined the Episcopal Church to obtain communion ... with others of like mind ... not with God. To her, it isn't so much a church as a social club. A soc...

I was reminded of that conversation by the news that she has a new tea party organizer:

Miss. priest next Va. bishop
Tupelo's Johnston will lead one of the largest dioceses in the Episcopal Church
By Alberta Lindsey, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

A 48-year-old priest from Tupelo, Miss., will be the next bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia.

The Very Rev. Shannon Sherwood Johnston, rector of All Saints Episcopal Church since 1994, was elected bishop coadjutor of the diocese on the third ballot, beating four other candidates. (link)
I wonder if the Very Rev. has a clue as to what he's getting into.

Who knows, though. The Very Rev. Shannon Sherwood Johnston may have been chosen for his ability to lead Pilates classes. Or maybe he plays a mean saxophone. Or perhaps he tells funny jokes. Or ...

You Need To Chill

Noun: catastrophe ku'tastrufee
1. An event resulting in great loss and misfortune
2. A state of extreme (usually irremediable) ruin and misfortune
3. A sudden violent change in the earth's surface

This guy, a former Virginia transportation commissioner, needs to get back on his medications. Pronto:

Transportation isn't a crisis; it's a catastrophe
Ray D. Pethtel, writing in the Roanoke Times

It's pretty obvious to most informed observers that Virginia has a transportation funding crisis. Perhaps the word "catastrophe" is more appropriate. Why? Consider these facts:

● There were 153,849 reported crashes on Virginia's highways in 2005 with 76,023 injuries and 948 deaths. Highway crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers. Every year, there are about as many deaths on Virginia's highways as there are on today's battlefields. That's a catastrophe.

● In 2006, reported crashes cost Virginians $100 million in property damage. That's a catastrophe.

● In 2003, according to the urban mobility reports prepared by the Texas Transportation Institute, congestion in Virginia Beach alone cost $367 million in lost productivity. That's a catastrophe. (link)

Look, I understand the need and the urge to scare the crap out of the citizenry. Mark Warner taught us that it is a very effective way to bring about otherwise unwarranted tax increases.

But one can carry it too far, man. Yours is a case in point. You come across like you've lost your mind. The high cost of repairing property damage is a catastrophe? Traffic congestion is a catastrophe?

Let's compare our transportation problem to other very real human catastrophes:

2004 - South Asia - An earthquake causes tsunamis that hit Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India, Thailand and other South Asian nations. The death toll is more than 120,000.

● 1976 - China - A deadly earthquake of a magnitude 8.0 strikes Tianjin, China, on July 27, 1976. The official casualty figure issued by the Chinese government was 255,000 people.

● 1970 - Bangladesh - Bangladesh loses more than 300,000 people in November 1970 from cyclone-induced flooding.

● 1959 - China - In July 1959, massive floods in China kill at least 2,000,000 people.

● 1938 and 1939 - China - Floods kill 1,000,000 people in a two-year period in China.

● 1931 - China - The massive flooding of the Yangtze River in China in 1931 caused more than 3,000,000 deaths from flooding and starvation.

● 1887 - China - In 1887, about 900,000 people died when the country's Yellow River burst its banks in the worst-ever recorded flooding.

● 1556 - China - A quake hits the Chinese province of Shansi on February 2, 1556. It kills 830,000 people.

● 1201 - Mediterranean - The deadliest earthquake in history kills approximately 1,100,000 people in Egypt and Syria.

Feeling a bit silly about now? These are catastrophes. Sitting in traffic on I-95 in Springfield on a Friday afternoon is a pain in the ass. And it wastes petrol. And take-home pay. But it's hardly a catastrophe.

So get a grip. You make yourself look foolish and you're hurting the tax hike cause.

Sources: Discovery Channel, U.S.G.S., BBC

'... but I support the troops'

There is but one Democrat in all the land (outside of Cindy Sheehan's alternate universe) that has the courage to act on his convictions:

Feingold Pushes Plan to Cut Off War Funds
By John Bresnahan. The Politico

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., has scheduled a hearing next Tuesday in his Judiciary Committee subcommittee to explore whether Congress has the authority to cut off funding for the U.S. military campaign in Iraq. The move comes as Congress prepares to vote on a congressional resolution opposing President Bush's escalation of the war.

Feingold, a fierce war critic, will force Democrats to consider an option many consider politically suicidal: cutting off funds for the military campaign in Iraq. Democratic leaders have privately called on members to restrain from seeking any funding restrictions and focus instead on congressional resolutions condemning the Bush policy. The resolutions are nonbinding and therefore symbolic. (link)

There are those out there who will read this and think: There's no way the Democratic Party would cut off funding going to our troops while they are fighting a war against a powerful, well-financed, and well-armed foe. Believe it. Don't ever forget it.

To the Democrats, many of whom have been opposed to our participation in this war from the beginning but were too frightened by the poll numbers early on to be too outspoken, losing has become of utmost importance. And, because they have taken such a determined stand in opposition, they will fight to see that we do not win.

They will do whatever is necessary to bring about America's defeat in Iraq.

Russ Feingold is just the first Democrat to admit it and openly work to make it happen. The first of many.

hat tip to Matt Drudge

Kinda Makes One Question His Sincerity

Next time MopTop starts shedding tears over the plight of the poor in Bush-ravaged New Orleans, I will reflect on this story:

Edwards Home County's Largest
By Don Carrington, Carolina Journal

Raleigh - Presidential candidate John Edwards and his family recently moved into what county tax officials say is the most valuable home in Orange County [east of Burlington; west of Durham]. The house, which includes a recreational building attached to the main living quarters, also is probably the largest in the county.

The Edwards residential property will likely have the highest tax value in the county- Orange County Tax Assessor John Smith told Carolina Journal. He estimated that the tax value will exceed $6 million when the facility is completed.

The rambling structure sits in the middle of a 102-acre estate on Old Greensboro Road west of Chapel Hill. The heavily wooded site and winding driveway ensure that the home is not visible from the road. "No Trespassing" signs discourage passersby from venturing past the gate. (link)
I like that "No Trespassing" twist. Edwards, a man who carries the weight of the country's poor and downtrodden on his shoulders, a man who embraces them with the compassion and sense of purpose of a liberator, wants to make sure he doesn't have to come too close to one of them. After all, they have diseases. Pestilence. Viruses. Filth. Foul language. Wal-Mart clothing ...

hat tip to Matt Drudge