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

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Just What We Don't Need

The cost of doing business in Southwest Virginia is too high. As evidenced by the dozens of plant closings and thousands of layoffs of area employees in recent decades. There are many contributors to this heartrending problem, including the high cost of transporting manufactured goods out of the area into metro markets north, south, and overseas.

That being the case, this proposed solution to our other transportation problem will only make it worse:
Higher Sales Tax on Gas to be Proposed in Va.

RICHMOND, Va. -- A bipartisan group of senior state senators from Virginia plans to introduce a bill that would count on a sales tax on fuel to fund the building and upkeep of roads.

The new proposal, to be unveiled in the Senate Finance Committee, calls for drivers to pay a 5 percent sales tax on top of Virginia's gas tax of 17.5 cents per gallon, according to The Washington Post, which is quoting unnamed committee sources.

The concept would raise roughly $600 million annually. (link)
Look, solving Northern Virginia's problems by worsening those we face here in Southwest Virginia is not acceptable. And someone needs to send that message to Richmond. But who?

Where are Roscoe Reynolds and Phil Puckett? Where are the cries of outrage and condemnation? Where is our political leadership?

What A Novel Idea

Let the people choose for themselves!
'Smoking permitted' signs eyed for eateries
By Larry O'Dell, The Associated Press

Richmond -- A Republican lawmaker proposed legislation yesterday that would require restaurants that allow smoking to post a sign at the entrance notifying customers.

The bill by House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith, Salem Republican, would eliminate the legal requirement that restaurants provide no-smoking sections, though they still could do so voluntarily. Mr. Griffith said smoke usually drifts into those sections anyway.

Mr. Griffith said his bill would encourage restaurants to go smoke-free without trampling on their property rights. (link)
This won't fly with the cigarette nazis, of course. But it is a breath of fresh air to find a lawmaker who puts such trust in the people, allowing them to decide for themselves what risks they choose to run.

You go, Grif.

Either You Oppose Racism Or You Don't

There are those who argue that Virginia Tech is well within its rights and has the obligation to promote its racial outreach policies on campus (see yesterday's post). Because of past discriminatory acts elsewhere at another point in time long ago, we're always told.

The problem with this dreamy attitude is that it encourages people to be racists and emboldens institutions to continue the practice of discrimination.

Case in point:
Lawsuit accuses black officials of violating whites' voting rights
By Jerry Seper, The Washington Times

A federal court trial is expected to end this week in a Justice Department lawsuit seeking an end to "relentless voting-related discrimination" by black political leaders in a rural Mississippi county -- the first suit brought under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that accuses blacks of suppressing the rights of whites.

The lawsuit targets Ike Brown, longtime political boss of Noxubee County, Miss., who serves as chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee and ...

The two black officials are charged with engaging in a "pattern of discriminatory action" over a period of several years that resulted in the denial of the rights of white citizens of Noxubee County to ... (link)
Many of you will argue that this overt form of racism is justifiable because of the pattern of discrimination that existed for decades in the South. But Ike Brown will be replaced some day by another Lester Maddox, and you'll quickly go back to denouncing racial prejudice.

Then another Ike Brown will come along and ...

We Should Entrust The War To Them?

There are those who would argue that Congress should play a greater role in the battlefield decision-making process, as opposed to the way our system of governance has functioned - marvelously well, I might add - over the centuries, with the president being commander-in-chief and congresspersons serving as court jesters.

When I read such idiocy, I think about circumstances like this:
Advocates of troop surge about-face in Congress
By Charles Hurt, The Washington Times

For many in the Senate, they were for a surge of troops in Iraq before they were against it.

"We don't have enough troops in Iraq," Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, said in 2005. "Number one, we cannot fail," Mr. Kerry said. "I've said that many times. And if it requires more troops in order to create the stability that eliminates the chaos, that can provide the groundwork for other countries, that's what we have to do."

He no longer believes that now. He is among at least a dozen Democratic senators who in the past have called for more troops in Iraq but now support a resolution condemning President Bush's plan to do just that.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph R. Biden Jr. has for years advocated increasing the number of troops on the ground in Iraq. But after Mr. Bush offered his proposal to do that earlier this month, the Delaware Democrat drafted a resolution rejecting the idea as not "in the national interest."

"They're going to need a surge of forces," he said in another interview.

By last week, Mr. Biden had reversed his war strategy. (link)
These fools couldn't manage a McDonald's drive-thru order. And we're going to entrust the lives of our brave men and women in uniform to them? I don't think so.

There is a place, however, where Kerry and Biden and their ilk would fit right in and can influence military strategy to their hearts' content. The French ...

The Democrats Should Be Very Afraid

A movement is afoot to imprison any politician who deceives the public. I should start a list:
Honesty In Elections
New York Times editorial

... two Democratic senators, Barack Obama of Illinois and Charles Schumer of New York, are introducing a bill today that would make deceiving or intimidating voters a federal crime with substantial penalties.

The bill aims at some of the most commonly used deceptive political tactics. It makes it a crime to knowingly tell voters the wrong day for an election. There have been numerous reports of organized efforts to use telephones, leaflets or posters to tell voters, especially in minority areas, not to vote on Election Day because voting has been postponed.

The bill would also criminalize making false claims to voters about who has endorsed a candidate, or wrongly telling people — like immigrants who are registered voters in Orange County — that they cannot vote. (link)
Oh. When it said, "the most commonly used deceptive political tactics," I thought the editorialist was referring to all the promises the Democrats made in the recent election campaign that they never meant to keep, and quickly broke once elected.

That common deceptive political tactic survives unscathed.

Scratch Another One

First I learn that windmills slaughter thousands of birds, many of them rare species, each year. Then I read that it currently takes more than a gallon of fossil fuels to produce a gallon of ethanol, a growingly popular substitute for fossil fuels. Now this:
Once a Dream Fuel, Palm Oil May Be an Eco-Nightmare
By Elisabeth Rosenthal, The New York Times

Amsterdam, Jan. 25 — Just a few years ago, politicians and environmental groups in the Netherlands were thrilled by the early and rapid adoption of “sustainable energy,” achieved in part by coaxing electrical plants to use biofuel — in particular, palm oil from Southeast Asia.

But last year, when scientists studied practices at palm plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia, this green fairy tale began to look more like an environmental nightmare.

Rising demand for palm oil in Europe brought about the clearing of huge tracts of Southeast Asian rainforest and the overuse of chemical fertilizer there.

Worse still, the scientists said, space for the expanding palm plantations was often created by draining and burning peatland, which sent huge amounts of carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

Considering these emissions, Indonesia had quickly become the world’s third-leading producer of carbon emissions that scientists believe are responsible for global warming ... (link)
An eco-friendly alternative fuel is destroying the planet.

Where's Crazy Al when we need him?

Gives One Pause

I drove by this place about an hour before it became no more:

4 Killed in Gas Explosion Near West Virginia Resort
By Ian Urbina, The New Yrok Times

An explosion at a store near a West Virginia ski resort yesterday killed four people and injured five others, the authorities said.

The blast occurred just before 11 a.m. at the Flat Top Little General Store on Route 19 in southern West Virginia, shattering windows about a mile away and toppling a fire truck that had responded to the scene after a 911 call about a propane gas leak, fire officials said.

A local volunteer firefighter, a county building inspector and an emergency medical technician, all investigating the leak, were among the dead, whose names were not released, the police said.

Investigators said they believed the blast was caused by gas that seeped into the store from a propane tank and ignited. (link)
The weather was awful when I drove by. Wind and snow.

Little did I know ...