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

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Another Day, Another Mass Firing

Yesterday we learned that 280 people (and their families) were losing their jobs permanently over in Bassett. Today it's 240 more in Bristol.

The Governor, somehow, considers the latest tragedy a victory for Southwest Virginia:
N.Y. investors buy Bristol Compressors; 240 jobs cut
The deal with KPS assures that the 1,000 jobs left will continue for five years.
By Ray Reed, The Roanoke Times

A news release from Gov. Tim Kaine's office Monday said 1,000 jobs had been saved in Washington County by the sale of its one-time largest employer, Bristol Compressors, to a New York investors' group.

Despite the good-news tone of the release, the company's work force will be trimmed by about 240 jobs, effective March 25, to bring it near the 1,000 level, said Rick Izor, chief executive officer. Those layoffs were announced about two weeks ago.

Bristol Compressors, which makes heating and air conditioning equipment for the markets of 50 countries, has had three layoffs since employment peaked at more than 2,000 a decade ago. (link)
That "deal" allowing for the retention of 1,000 jobs at Bristol Compressor for five years is worth a bit less than the paper it is printed on.

Beyond that, though, I want to personally thank the Governor for losing only 240 jobs here in Southwest Virginia ... today. And for touting the fact, no less.

On The Verge Of Another Meltdown

It's looking more and more like we're going to see the transportation funding compromise that was recently hammered out in the state legislature implode. Again.

The latest:
Kaine Looking for Support on Funding Package
By Michael Laris and Bill Turque, Washington Post Staff

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), looking for allies to justify changes he wants to make to a Republican-engineered transportation package, is planning to meet today in Fairfax County with 13 Northern Virginia political leaders.

Elected officials from Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties say they object to the plan because ...

Kaine, too, has voiced strong objections to the GOP-backed bill, which would ...

Some Republicans say they also will suggest changes.

In interviews this week, Dels. Thomas Davis Rust and David B. Albo, Fairfax Republicans who were key players in the development of the legislation, said they would seek to remove ...

Kaine spokesman Kevin Hall said the criticism from officials in Northern Virginia raises questions about whether the GOP plan would ever be implemented. (link)
Music to my ears.

Meanwhile that budget surplus continues to grow to monumental proportions.

Al Gore Is What? A Hypocrite?

From Mark Steyn, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times:

How Gore's massive energy consumption saves the world

Stop me if you've heard this before, but the other day the Rev. Al Gore declared that "climate change" was "the most important moral, ethical, spiritual and political issue humankind has ever faced.'' Ever. I believe that was the same day it was revealed that George W. Bush's ranch in Texas is more environmentally friendly than the Gore mansion in Tennessee. According to the Nashville Electric Service, the Eco-Messiah's house uses 20 times more electricity than the average American home. The average household consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours. In 2006, the Gores wolfed down nearly 221,000 kilowatt-hours.

No, no, don't worry. Al's massive energy consumption is due entirely to his concern about the way we're depleting the Earth's resources.

...he buys -- and if you're a practicing Ecopalyptic please prostrate yourself before the Recycling Bin and make the sign of the HDPE -- Al buys "carbon offsets," or "carbon credits."

... in fact, in the Reverend Al's case it's even better than that. Al buys his carbon offsets from Generation Investment Management LLP, which is "an independent, private, owner-managed partnership established in 2004 and with offices in London and Washington, D.C.," that, for a fee, will invest your money in "high-quality companies at attractive prices that will deliver superior long-term investment returns." Generation is a tax-exempt U.S. 501(c)3.

And who's the chairman and founding partner? Al Gore.

So Al can buy his carbon offsets from himself. (link)

Al Gore is polluting the planet like no one else can. And he's paying himself handsomely to do it.

We may need to rethink that Crazy Al sobriquet. He's obviously not THAT crazy.

They're Not All Mindless After All

Not everyone at the College of William and Mary has lost his mind, it now appears:
College returns cross to chapel
By Natasha Altamirano, The Washington Times

Administrators at the College of William & Mary, responding to months of harsh criticism from alumni, ordered the immediate return of a cross to the Williamsburg school's historic Wren Chapel yesterday.

Alumni angered by the removal of the cross in October threatened to withhold millions of dollars of donations -- including a $12 million gift.

College President Gene R. Nichol announced the decision at a press conference yesterday afternoon with the co-chairmen of a special presidential committee charged with studying the role of religion at public universities. (link)
Two points:

1) Expect Nichol to screw this up.

2) Expect some nut to come forward and whine about feeling excluded by this harsh act of inclusivity on the part of college administrators.

In any case, sanity returns to W&M. And not one revoked donation too soon.

Here's Why We Have a TSA

You won't remember it but one of the steps that was taken to strengthen our national security after 9/11 was to fire 40,000 baggage screeners at the nation's many civilian airports.

Fired. 40,000. National security.

I know I slept better at the time.

The action had two main goals:

1) To show the American people that the government was responding to the worst act of terrorism ever committed on American soil. With the stroke of a pen, it decreed that 40,000 Americans be thrown out of work, to be replaced with government employees. Thus, the Transportation Security Administration was born. And the American people bought into the ruse.

2) To allow the Democrats to take advantage of the terrorist attack by expanding the AFL-CIO's reach, organizing the replacement TSA employees into a union. Who'da ever guessed?

The Democrats and unions failed to get that second strategy adopted at the time, mostly because the Republicans were in control of Congress. But that's all changed. So they're back at it:

Senate Backs Union Rights for Airport Screeners
By The Associated Press

Washington, March 6 (AP) — The Senate voted Tuesday to give 45,000 [we're up to 45,000 now] airport screeners the same union rights as border patrol, customs and immigration agents, despite a White House threat to veto it.

The vote, 51 to 46, rejected an amendment by Senator Jim DeMint, Republican of South Carolina, which would have removed the union rights from a broad antiterrorism bill to carry out recommendations of the Sept. 11 commission previously rejected by Congress.

The House passed a similar bill with the same union provision for airport screeners in an indication of organized labor’s strength with Democrats now running Congress.

Republicans vowed ... (link)

The vote was almost down party lines (three senators were absent). The only person breaking ranks was one-time Republican Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.

Here in Virginia, it's worth noting that Jim Webb, once a supporter of national defense, has become, overnight, a big union man instead, and backed the measure.

Just as the original effort by the Democrats to unionize airport baggage screeners was attempted under the guise of "homeland security," the bill to which this amendment is being attached is shamefully being referred to as an "anti-terrorism" bill. A union organizing effort.

I know I'll sleep better tonight.

When There Is No There There

It must be tough to assign a crack team of reporters to do investigative work only to find out, after going to great expense and devoting precious time, that they can turn up nothing to report. But report they will anyway.

Regarding Barack Obama and his personal investments, the New York Times offers up a non-story this morning (with an accompanying sneer for a headline):

In ’05 Investing, Obama Took Same Path as Donors
By Mike McIntire and Christopher Drew, The New York Times

Less than two months after ascending to the United States Senate, Barack Obama bought more than $50,000 worth of stock in two speculative companies whose major investors included some of his biggest political donors.

One of the companies was a biotech concern that was starting to develop a drug to treat avian flu. In March 2005, two weeks after buying about $5,000 of its shares, Mr. Obama took the lead in a legislative push for more federal spending to battle the disease.

The most recent financial disclosure form for Mr. Obama, an Illinois Democrat, also shows that he bought more than $50,000 in stock in a satellite communications business whose principal backers include four friends and donors who had raised more than $150,000 for his political committees. (link)

Personally I think we should skip the trial and hang him now.

Oh. Wait. There's this:
A spokesman for Mr. Obama, who is seeking his party’s presidential nomination in 2008, said yesterday that the senator did not know that he had invested in either company until fall 2005, when he learned of it and decided to sell the stocks. He sold them at a net loss of $13,000.

The spokesman, Bill Burton, said Mr. Obama’s broker bought the stocks without consulting the senator, under the terms of a blind trust ...
Obama didn't know that his investment company had made the purchase (believe me - it can happen; I routinely see, after the fact, that I've made investments and sold investments in all kinds of companies when I get my quarterly statements), and Obama lost money on the deal.

The Times killed a forest of trees to print this drivel ...

Libby Headed Up The River

Scooter Libby, former Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, has been found guilty of lying:

Libby Guilty of Lying in C.I.A. Leak Case
By Neil A. Lewis, The New York Times

Washington, March 6 — I. Lewis Libby Jr., the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, was convicted on Tuesday of lying to a grand jury and to F.B.I. agents investigating the leak of the identity of a C.I.A. operative in the summer of 2003 amid a fierce public dispute over the war in Iraq.

Mr. Libby, 56, who once wielded great authority at the top levels of government, is the highest-ranking White House official to be convicted of a felony since the Iran-contra scandals of the 1980s.

The jury rejected Mr. Libby’s claims of memory lapses, convicting him of four felony counts, obstruction of justice, giving false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and committing perjury twice before the grand jury. The 11-member jury acquitted Mr. Libby on an additional count of making false statements to the F.B.I. (link)
In all reality, Libby was found guilty of being stupid. When this case began, I was of a mind with my fellow conservative brothers and sisters in arms. I believed this was much ado about nothing.

But having paid relatively close attention to the court proceedings (as reported by the mainstream press; the potential for bias in this politically-charged case was therefore great), I was struck by the testimony relating to Libby's wild assertions to the grand jury and to the FBI. Assertions that were refuted by a long list of journalists, including Tim Russert, one of the main players in this saga.

Two quick points:

1) The closest I've ever come to having participated in such a proceeding is in giving depositions. Honesty, honesty, honesty. Anything but, and you inevitably make all kinds of trouble for yourself.

2) Libby had no good reason to lie. As has been pointed out, Valerie Plame (along with her husband, she put Libby to shame when it came to telling whoppers) wasn't a covert CIA agent and, as we found out later, she wasn't "outed" by Lewis Libby at all. Columnist Bob Novak, who started all this, got his information from one Richard Armitage, not Libby.

So Libby had a momentary lapse in intelligence. And he's going up the river for it. A lesson for all who think they can lie to Big Brother and get away with it to take to heart.


The Washington Times is in full agreement.

As is the Washington Post, but with an added hand grenade tossed at all those who fueled this inglorious saga.