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

Monday, March 12, 2007

To Those Who Worship At The General Fund Altar


What's this? Virginia's sacrosanct general fund has been used for transportation improvements here in the commonwealth before? Say it ain't so. It can't be so. The Roanoke Times has made such a case for keeping it inviolate.

But such is the case.
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Barnie Day, former delegate to Richmond (and one of the few Democrats who is still trustworthy), says so.
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With regard to the transportation spending compromise now awaiting Governor Kaine's signature, Mr. Day provides this history lesson (in this morning's Roanoke Times):

... this clever bill -- and it is clever ... -- does raid the general fund. Sorta. In a small-potatoes way. But there is precedent for raids like this. The late, great A. L. Philpott did exactly the same thing years ago when he carved out set-aside money for an upgrade of U.S. 58 across Southside Virginia. (link)
I have little doubt that, if we were to do the necessary research, we'd find the history books replete with such instances of general funds being used for "non-essential services." These are politicians we are talking about, after all.
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So enough with the "We have to preserve the sanctitude of the General Fund" claptrap. It is, in fact, a general fund, nothing more, to be used as we see fit.
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Thanks for the history lesson, Barnie.

My Prayers Have Been Answered

Russ Potts is retiring.

Now John Chichester is too.

Is this a dream? Will I wake up to find the two of them still wandering aimlessly through the halls of Richmond conjuring, as they are/were wont to do, new ways to tax us into oblivion?

Somebody pinch me.

No, wait. Let me dream just a bit longer. This is too good ....

When There's No Story There, Move On

It must be frustrating to set out to write an exposé and come up with - to use the author's colorful term - squat.

Such, it appears, is the case for the Roanoke Times' Christian Trejbal.

He set out yesterday to expose the mirky underbelly of concealed carry handgun permitting here in the commonwealth and found, in the end, everything he was looking for. And nothing to write about.
Shucks.

Shedding light on concealed handguns
By Christian Trejbal, The Roanoke Times


Today is the start of Sunshine Week, the annual week in which we reflect on the importance of open government and public records. To mark the occasion, I want to take you on an excursion into freedom of information land. We're going to find out who in the New River Valley has a concealed handgun permit.

I can hear the shocked indignation of gun-toters already: It's nobody's business but mine if I want to pack heat.

Au contraire. Because the government handles the permitting, it is everyone's business. (link)

That, folks, is what's called a red herring (defined as any diversion intended to distract attention from the main issue). Who are them gun-totin' rednecks* who would argue that it ain't none of Trejbal's business that they had been issued a state permit to carry a handgun? We're not told. But he au contraire's them anyway.

The Times columnist then (begrudgingly, I'll bet) has this; "To illustrate the open government process, I set out to acquire permit lists for the New River Valley."

I say begrudgingly because he intended, when he set out on this excursion into the land of government secrecy and right-wing subterfuge, for that word illustrate to actually be expose, as in "To expose the secrecy behind the permitting process ..."

But he found, with some small amount of effort, what he was looking for. If not in the organized fashion he preferred it be assembled

("Only Radford and Floyd County said they could produce a list. Giles County maintains an unofficial list but could not produce an official one. Montgomery and Pulaski counties had squat. The best they could do is determine if a specific individual had a permit. None of that conflicts with the law. The records must be available but not necessarily in the format citizens want.")

So Master Trejbal was left with carping about pricing ("A copy would cost more than $100") and about there being no online database for his convenient perusal ("A state that eagerly puts sex offender data online complete with an interactive map could easily do the same with gun permits, but it does not") and misspelled words ("The list sports a dismayingly large number of typos for an official registry") and tricky names ("Some of the names proved tricky.").

In the end, there was ... nothing, really, to write about. Nothing to expose. No one to condemn. No lack of "sunshine" to denounce.

So he illustrated instead.

Perhaps there's a story to be explored (exposed!) in this saga: How many trees were sacrificed in the printing of this column?

* I went and grabbed my daughter's 9mm Ruger semi-automatic handgun so as to be in the right frame of mind for the writing of this piece. Consider me gun-totin'.

Boucher Gets Pushed Aside Again

9th District Congressman Rick Boucher (D-Abingdon, Virginia) heads up the House Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality. You'd think that would qualify him to chair the newly created Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. Or at least be invited to attend its meetings. Make the group email list?

But no. Once again, Boucher, who should by now be exercising some of that seniority muscle he has accumulated over a quarter of a century in the House (the best he can do is head up an obscure subcommittee), is treated like that proverbial potted plant.

The news:
Pelosi Reveals Who's Who On Global Warming Panel
The Washington Post


The best-kept secret on the Hill -- the full membership of the new committee on global warming -- is no longer secret. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has announced the 15 members of the committee, formally known as the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

Pelosi said that the committee would be designed to raise the visibility of energy and climate-change issues and that it would not have legislative jurisdiction. "Global warming and energy independence are urgent issues that have profound [bah blah blah] (link)
The committee will be comprised of nine Democrats (led by radical liberal Ed Marckey of Massachusetts) and only six Republicans, to ensure the generation and expelation of wacked-out global warming-combatting recommendations coming from its august members.

But Boucher, with all his expertise on the subject of energy and energy independence, will be watching from the sidelines.

As usual.

What's This 'World' Stuff, Pal?

The United Nations thinks "the world" should step up and save the people of Darfur.

Say what?

U.N.: World Must Protect Darfur Civilians
By Alexander G. Higgins, The Associated Press


GENEVA -- A U.N. human rights team on Monday said the world has an urgent obligation to protect civilians in Darfur from war crimes and crimes against humanity in which the Sudanese government is playing a major role.

The team, headed by Nobel peace laureate Jody Williams, said Sudan's government "has manifestly failed to protect the population of Darfur from large-scale international crimes, and has itself orchestrated and participated in these crimes." (link)
Someone needs to get a message to this United Nations team. "The world" has proven, over and over again, to be incapable of dealing with genocide. In fact, the only man on the planet, it now seems clear, to really want to do something about it is George W. Bush. And we see what that got him.

So the people of Darfur are doomed.

And "the world," with its highly remunerated representative members assembled each and every day at the United Nations, will lament their loss. And then move on to other matters on its burgeoning agenda.

Isn't there another ass-kickin' global warming conference coming up in Bali?

On that Looming Mortgage Foreclosure Crisis

An example of that which got us into this mess:
A preventable disaster
By Donna Brazille, writing in the New York Post

In recent years, subprime loans have become a bigger and riskier part of the total home-loan market. Subprime lenders have touted these loans as "expanded credit," but they are adding up to expanded foreclosures. A new study by the Center for Responsible Lending shows 2.2 million families either have lost their homes to foreclosure or hold subprime mortgages that will likely result in foreclosure over the next several years. More than 2 million.

Consider the case of Mr. L., a mechanic who lives in San Leandro, Calif., with his wife and kids. Although their net monthly income was $4,000, a mortgage broker convinced them to sell their home and use the proceeds as a down payment on a much more expensive property in Stockton.

They went from paying a mortgage of $1,700 a month, including homeowner's insurance and property taxes, to paying almost $4,700 -- not including taxes and insurance. The new loan began with an interest rate of 8.6 percent and ultimately it could go as high as 14.6 percent. This family is now struggling to make their payments and keep their home. (link)
Leaving aside the moron who thought he could come up with $4,700 for his monthly mortgage payment from his $4,000 a month earnings, one has to wonder what the lender (not to be confused with this broker) was thinking. This loan was doomed. Yet it was issued anyway.

There can be but one explanation (and global warming isn't it). The bank that took on this guy's loan must have assumed that it would take ownership of his home in a relatively short time and have the opportunity to resell it at a profit. Perhaps to another sucker. Just like those Buy Here; Pay Here used car lots do it.

Amazing.

News From The Nanny State

If it's not calls for government to step in and save consumers from those evil credit card companies that force people to charge to excess, it's idiocy like this:
Council Out To Ban Metal Bats
By Frankie Edozien, The New York Post


March 12, 2007 -- A [New York] City Council committee is expected today to approve a bill banning metal bats from high-school baseball. The full council is expected to ratify it on Wednesday.

"Metal bats pose a risk to student athletes," said Councilman James Oddo (R-S.I.).

Mayor Bloomberg opposes the ban, saying studies have not found metal bats more dangerous than wooden ones. (link)
There were 1,662 murders in New York City between 2003 and 2005. And the rabidly liberal city council there is worried about metal baseball bats.

Want to talk about dangerous? I'd be more concerned about those councilmembers.

Obama Not Black Enough, It Appears

This is the end-product of our twisted race politics here in America in the 21st century. Barack Obama, according to one of the most racist men in the country today (and one of the leading 2004 Democratic presidential contenders, ahem), isn't black.

It pains me ...
'Jealous' Rev. Al Blasts Barack
By Fredric U. Dicker, The New York Post

March 12, 2007 -- The Rev. Al Sharpton has launched a "big-time" effort to tear down Illinois Sen. Barack Obama as a candidate for president, The Post has learned.

"He's saying that Obama never did anything for the community, never worked with anybody from the community, that nobody knows the people around him, that he's a candidate driven by white leadership," said a prominent black Democratic activist who knows Sharpton. (
link)
Good grief.

Stop. You're Embarrassing Yourselves.

I wonder if, twenty years from now, these scientists will be too ashamed to admit that they got sucked up in such silliness:

Top Scientists Warn of Water Shortages and Disease Linked to Global Warming
By The Associated Press


Washington, March 11 (AP) — The harmful effects of global warming on daily life are already showing up, and within a couple of decades hundreds of millions of people will not have enough water, top scientists are likely to say next month at a meeting in Belgium.

At the same time, tens of millions of others will be flooded out of their homes each year as the earth reels from rising temperatures and sea levels, according to portions of a draft of an international scientific report by the authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Tropical diseases like malaria will spread, the draft says. By 2050, polar bears will mostly be found in zoos, their habitats gone. Pests like fire ants will thrive.

For a time, food will be plentiful because of the longer growing season in northern regions. But by 2080, hundreds of millions of people could face starvation ... (link)

For the love of Christ. The planet, according to scientists' best guess, has warmed 0.6°.

It's one thing to make wild predictions about the future. It's a whole different thing to start blaming events happening in the present on such things as global warming - and that 0.6° increase. Scientists (real scientists, not these frightened children with advanced degrees) can quantify such things. And prove you wrong.

This just makes you all look like wild-eyed lunatics. Or worse. Politicians.

It Continues

I mentioned yesterday that the favorite tactic used by the liberals and their pals in the press to attempt to discredit conservatives is to single one out and go after him, ruthlessly, relentlessly, until he is driven into exile. I also mentioned that Alberto Gonzales has been picked as the latest candidate for immolation.

Chuck Schumer, who can always be counted on to do the dirty work, and a complicit press go after Gonzales again this morning:
Gonzales Should Quit, Senator Says
By Raymond Hernandez, The New York Times


Washington, March 11 — A leading Senate Democrat demanded on Sunday that Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales step down, saying he had politicized his office at the expense of the nation’s laws.

The call by Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, came as the Justice Department faced growing criticism over the ouster of eight United States attorneys and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s use of expanded surveillance powers to improperly obtain personal records of citizens.

In an interview on the CBS News program “Face the Nation,” Mr. Schumer, the Senate’s third-ranking Democrat, said Mr. Gonzales had shown more interest in carrying out President Bush’s agenda than in upholding the law and protecting the rights of citizens. (link)
A few things should be noted here:

(1) Schumer, over time, has called for the resignations of nearly every member of the White House cabinet and administration. So this isn't a shock. Just more of the same from this sleezy politician.

(2) When then-President Clinton fired nearly every U.S. attorney in the land, the mainstream media confronted the news with a yawn. And Schumer didn't bat an eyelash.

So this is just more of the same. More of the underhanded, filthy, shameful politics routinely practiced by liberal Democrats and their butt buddies in the press.

It's Going To Be a Long War

For those of you who want to bury your head in the pillow and wish the terrorism away, this news won't make your day:
Years of Strife and Lost Hope Scar Young Palestinians
By Steven Erlanger, The New York Times


Nablus, West Bank — Their worried parents call them the lost generation of Palestine: its most radical, most accepting of violence and most despairing.

They are the children of the second intifada that began in 2000, growing up in a territory riven by infighting, seared by violence, occupied by Israel, largely cut off from
the world and segmented by barriers and checkpoints.


To hear these young people talk is to listen in on budding nihilism and a loss of hope. (link)
It was the intifadas, first and second, that radicalized hundreds of thousands in the Islamic world. We combat that radicalism in twenty countries around the globe today.

As President Bush said, after 9/11, It is going to be a long war, unlike any we've ever fought before.