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

Friday, March 02, 2007

So Much For That Apology

Governor Kaine hasn't even spoken those precious words yet that we've all been waiting to hear - "We ain't just sorry about slavery, we're, By God, Sorry." Or was it profoundly? Wait, profoundly regretful! We're profoundly regretful that people we don't know, who lived in a land we know nothing about, did unspeakable things to people who all died many years ago, in a time none of us can relate to." (or really give a rat's butt about, truth be known).

What was that profoundly make-believe verbiage again?

Well, after the legislature here in Virginia toiled mightily to hammer out an apology for slavery and sent it to Governor Kaine for impassioned delivery, it now appears that the gov's opportunity to express our profound regret (his second stab at it, by the way) is about to be preempted. The feds may step in and take charge of the matter:

Webb urged to seek apology for slavery
By Peter Hardin, Richmond Times-Dispatch Washington Correspondent

Washington-- A small-town Virginia newspaper editor is urging Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., to seek a congressional apology for slavery.

Webb's spokesman had no reaction yesterday to the proposal by Ken Woodley, editor of the Farmville Herald, other than to list several civil-rights related bills that the lawmaker has co-sponsored. Woodley drew attention to the apology idea last year when he made a similar request of then-Sen. George Allen, a Republican. (link)

There is much for which Jim Webb needs to apologize (he can start with an expression of his profound regret for the blasphemous things one of his paid staff members has said about Christianity), but I have to be honest, I'm not excited over the idea that we need another apology for slavery. I'm actually losing count. Is this six or seven? And didn't Bill Clinton, as president, already jump through this hoop?

But what the hell.

I just hope we do it right this time. That profound regret stuff seemed to be just the trick (not that it is intended to be a trick, of course; bad choice of words; please appreciate my profound regret). And if we could get Oprah to deliver the apology on the Capitol steps; she's really good at the empathy thing; and she's lost so much weight. With ZZ Top playing in the background. And the Swedish Bikini Team doing backup. Flags flying. F-16's overhead. CSPAN shooting it live. Three camera angles. Food. Alcohol.

Shoot. We got us a party. I'll pay to attend this gig.

Like so many others, it seems, I'm getting into this apology thing.

Hat tip to Kilo.

Paul Ehrlich Is Alive And Well

When I was young, the left seized upon the subject of overpopulation and proceeded to scare the beejeebers out of us. The world, in 1968, was coming to an end. For sure.

As you read the following, ask yourself if the tone sounds familiar:
"The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate..."

"Our position requires that we take immediate action at home and promote effective action worldwide. We must have population control at home, hopefully through changes in our value system, but by compulsion if voluntary methods fail." (source)
Woowee. Scary stuff.

That was three decades ago. Today, Paul Ehrlich's mad rants are but a faint memory as the world has found ways - as it always, miraculously, inevitably, does and will - to fix its problems and, in this case, to feed the planet's inhabitants (and do pretty well for America's 130 million pet dogs and cats). In fact, Ehrlich couldn't have been more wrong as a number of countries in Europe and Asia now seek remedies to worrisome depopulation trends.

Here's what's funny. 30 years and the left is still at it. From David Ignatius in this morning's Washington Post:

The Climate-Change Precipice
By David Ignatius

The scientific debate about whether there is a global warming problem is pretty much over. A leading international group of climate scientists reported last month that the evidence for global warming is "unequivocal" and that the likelihood it is caused by humans is more than 90 percent.

The question now is what to do about global warming. This is a political problem more than a scientific one. The solutions ... will require political will and imagination -- and also pain.

A first set of disasters waiting to happen involves stressed ecosystems. Human actions -- deforestation, overfarming, rapid urbanization -- have created special vulnerabilities to catastrophic natural events that are likely as the climate changes globally.

Or take the problem of rising sea levels: Climate scientists are uncertain how fast the icecaps will melt and the seas will rise. But in Bangladesh, where millions of people live at or near sea level ...

Lack of water may be as big a problem as flooding. Tens of millions of people may become water migrants. The world's feeble political systems can't cope with existing migration patterns, let alone this human tide.

And finally, there is the problem of maintaining social order in a stressed world. You don't have to go to Baghdad to see how quickly the social fabric can be shredded; just look at New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. (link)

Like a trip down memory lane, isn't it? The world is going to end - if not by overpopulation (or ozone holes or acid rain or nuclear winter or genetically engineered foods or electromagnetic fields emanating from power lines or ...), then by climate change.

This time it's climate change.

30 years from now, when Paul Ehrlich is no longer even a memory and we are all sitting in front of the fireplace in November, trying to get warm, after the planet has once again gone into its cyclical cooling period - as it has since the beginning of time - and David Ignatius is having a raucous discussion down at the local tavern with his buddies about how the planet had been saved back in 2007 had it not been for his, and Crazy Al's, fast action in getting legislation passed in Congress that eliminated the threat of global warming - seemingly overnight - the rest of us will be laughing our asses off over their whimsy.

Overpopulation in 1968. Global warming in 2007. The subject matter may change but the hysteria never will.

You Asked For It ...

... I oblige.

Nobody is ever going to accuse me of being bipartisan but here's my opinion(s) anyway:

1) Emigration to America by those from the far corners of the globe who intend to contribute to the making of a better tomorrow for all of us creates a healthy environment - for all of us. We should continue to encourage the planet's best and brightest to move here and join us in building an even greater USA.

2) Illegal immigration is a cancer. Those whose first act upon entering our country is to break our laws and, in doing so, spit in our faces, should be put on a bus and sent home. Should they decide they still want to be a part of this wonderful adventure we call America, they can get in line and do it the way others have done it throughout history - the legal way.

3) Those trendy guest worker programs that President Bush wants to expand got us into the mess we're in. Expanding the programs will grow the mess.

4) Enforce the law! (or continue to make a mockery of it) Employers knowingly hire illegals with impunity. Imprison them for it. Every one of them.

5) As for those illegals who are already here, the only fair way to treat them - considering all those who are currently waiting in line the legal way - is to return them to their countries of origin and demand, should they wish to return, that they do it in a more honorable, more civilized, and legal fashion. Yes, all 12 million of them.

My partisan opinion - though somewhat less than bi.

OK-To-Intimidate-Workers Bill Passes House

As expected, the Democrats in the House voted yesterday to make it easier for menacing union thugs to organize non-union shops:
House backs bill to ease unionizing
By Sean Lengell, The Washington Times

Organized labor scored a major victory yesterday as House members voted in favor of a measure to make it easier for workers to join unions.

The House voted 241-185 for the Employee Free Choice Act (sic), which would allow workers to unionize by simply signing a card or petition stating their interest in joining a union, as opposed to the long-standing practice of secret-ballot elections.

But the bill faces a tough challenge in the Senate, where Democrats have only a slight majority. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, vowed to fight the bill.

"We will not allow the progress already made on behalf of U.S. workers to be undone, nor will we allow coercion by employers or unions," Mr. McConnell said.

The Bush administration also has vowed to veto the bill. (link)
McConnell I trust to block this gross effrontery. I wish I had as much confidence in the Bush administration ...

In any case, this is wrong. And needs to be stopped.

Let's Talk About That 'Support'

"We support the troops."

If there is any one best way to measure the true level of "support" that Democrats are willing to give our troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is to be found in material support. Bullets. Armor. Weaponry. If not the ability to win, at least the ability to protect themselves from harm.

The depth of that support is now being revealed:
Dems Block $20B War Cut

March 2, 2007 -- Washington - Just hours after floating the idea of cutting $20 billion from President Bush's $142 billion request for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan next year, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad was overruled by fellow Democrats yesterday.

Conrad's trial balloon to cut war funding would have affected the budget year beginning Oct. 1 and was separate from the ongoing debate over Bush's $100 billion request for immediate supplemental funding for Iraq and Afghanistan. (link)
Conrad and his fellow Democrats decided long ago which side they were going to be on in this war on terror. Unfortunately, they've decided, for their own nefarious reasons, to side with the enemy. And they now control the purse strings.

This is only the first attempt to cut off funding to our troops in the field (to their everlasting shame, the only time in American history when this will have been done). There'll be many more attempts.

The terrorists are in dire straits and need all the help they can get. The Democrats will oblige.

It Was Never About Bush

While the mainstream media focused attention on FEMA and what it should have been doing in the hours and days after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf coast, ravaging everything in its path and sending millions fleeing inland, or to the Super Dome, the absolute breakdown of local and state governments, most notably in New Orleans and Louisiana, in that same crisis, went virtually unreported.

It's been a year and a half since disaster struck and those same governments still struggle to bring a semblance of normality to the area. A year and a half. In much of New Orleans, chaos and devastation still reign.

President Bush paid a visit to the area yesterday to check on the progress - or lack thereof - and made the point that should have been made to the press from day one (and every day after as reporters whined about the fact that FEMA wasn't doing what the local police and the Louisiana National Guard should have been doing):
“The federal government’s role has been to write checks,” he said, and the role of state officials is “to expedite the federal money to the local folks.”
“I told the people that I would work with Congress to write a $110 billion check for the people of Louisiana and Mississippi, and that check has been written. Now it’s incumbent upon us to get the money into people’s hands.” (link)
To write checks.

Not to police the streets. Not to provide helicopter transport from the rooftops of flooded homes. Not to prevent or stop the rampant looting that was taking place. Not to provide food and drink to New Orleans residents stranded at the Super Dome (where local officials had instructed residents to seek shelter). Those were the responsibilities of Ray Nagin, New Orleans mayor, and Kathleen Blanco, Louisiana governor.

The media have chosen to largely ignore the fact that two area (Democrat) officials failed the people miserably and chose instead to pummel President Bush. For reasons cited here over and over again. It has to do with deep-seated hatred.

But let this truth go down in history: The man fulfilled his promise and met his responsibilities. He wrote the checks.

Galax Makes The News

Front page. Wall Street Journal. March 1, 2007:

Federal Aid Does Little For Free Trade's Losers
By Deborah Solomon

Galax, VA, - For more than 80 years, the people of Webb Furniture crafted wooden dressers and other furniture here at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. In January, under pressure from Chinese imports, Webb shuttered its Galax plant and fired all 309 employees.

Tonya Graber lost more than her job painting furniture. The single mother also lost health insurance for herself and her 12-year-old son. Under a government program aimed at helping workers harmed by trade, Ms. Graber was eligible for federally subsidized health insurance, but she couldn't afford it.

She isn't alone. The Health Coverage Tax Credit, tucked into a 2002 trade bill to win support in Congress, is supposed to cushion the blow to factory workers hurt by imports by paying 65% of the cost of health insurance. ... More than four years after the program began, just 11% of those potentially eligible for the subsidy are taking it - or about 28,000 of the 250,000 people the government estimates may qualify in a given year. (link requires paid subscription)

The article goes on to describe the aftermath of the free trade push that has been going on in Washington. Tonya Graber being one of millions overwhelmed in that aftermath.

A separate point that I've made before and will make again: Politicians in this area, while they allow the plant closings and layoffs to continue unabated without making an effort to stem the tide, devote precious resources to the development of a replacement industry - tourism.

Does anyone really believe that Tonya Graber is going to get the kind of health benefits she had available to her and her son at Webb Furniture when she hires on at some canoe livery or bicycle shop and she's one of two employees? And yet we promote the canoe renting career with our tax dollars and hopelessly, helplessly wave goodbye to the good-paying jobs with their accompanying benefit packages at our many furniture and textiles factories.

So Galax makes the news again. Another tale of woe.