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

Friday, April 13, 2007

More On That Injured Moneta Firefighter

As you may know, we are putting together a benefit book signing event to be held on Saturday, April 28 at the First Due Fire/Rescue Gear store in Roanoke, the proceeds from which will go toward the staggering medical costs incurred by Kevin Jamerson, Moneta firefighter, as a result of injuries sustained months ago at his firehouse.

Learn all about it here.

Roanoke TV station WDBJ channel 7 did a segment two days ago on Jamerson and the upcoming charitable event. Watch the clip here (sorry about the annoying commercial beforehand).

The babe in the video clip, by the way, is my son's wife, Sarah.

We're expecting a good turnout for this gathering. Hope to see you there.

Ever Heard Of Dial-Up?

I've never been accused of being all that bright but on those occasions when I find myself in a hotel room with a lousy wireless internet signal and no LAN line, I don't call my boss and tell him that I can't do any work today. I adapt.

That, apparently, is not the case with my favorite newspaper columnist. He calls it a day and cracks open a cold one.

An announcement in the Wall Street Journal:

"Best of the Web is pre-empted today because James Taranto is unable to connect to the Internet through the local cable monopoly. Things should be back to normal tomorrow. In the meantime ... " (link)

How pathetic.

From Southwest Virginia, With Love

We may have lost tens of thousands of jobs in this area and suffered immeasurably from the ordeal, but at least we can take heart, knowing that someone has benefited from our distress:

'Made in China' overtakes U.S. in global exports
By Patrice Hill, The Washington Times

China surpassed the United States as the world's second-largest exporter last year and now makes more cars than Detroit, among the latest signs that the Asian giant is rapidly ascending to what many analysts expect will be the world's largest and most influential economy as soon as a decade from now.

The road of China's ascent has been paved with exports of a broad range of goods from cars to computers and toys sent to countries around the world, with the U.S. being its top export market. (link)

How did this happen, you ask? The answer is simple. China is doing what we once did:

"China today is much more capitalist than the U.S.," said John Rutledge, a former Reagan economic adviser who now advises China. Competition in China is robust to the point of cut-throat, and surveys show that nearly three-quarters of Chinese think that the free market is the best economic system -- a higher percentage than in the U.S.

"The big words in China are entrepreneurship and innovation," Mr. Rutledge said. Everyone from the humblest workers on factory assembly lines to top managers and government officials have been reaping rapidly growing incomes and profiting from China's engagement with Western market economies.
So, while we deal with pressing pocketbook issues like curlicue lightbulbs as opposed to incandescent, and how we can pump CO2 from our power plants into the ground so as to not give the Chinese workers breathing problems as they make our shoes and underwear, and how we can rape America's corporations for more taxes (they are at present nearly the highest in the "free" world), the Chinese make things - quicker, cheaper, better - with little to no government interference (remember, this is COMMUNIST China). And the people there prosper. Like we once did, not that long ago.

To add insult to injury, they do it in part with raw materials - lumber - harvested in Southwest Virginia. Lumber that once fed American of Martinsville and Virginia House Furniture and Rowe Furniture and Vaughan Furniture and Webb Furniture and Hooker Furniture and Stanley Furniture and Thomasville Furniture and Bassett Furniture and Pulaski Furniture.

We hand them the weapon they use to destroy us.

This is insane.

Return To A Frightening Era

A trip down memory lane:
University Revisits Controversial California Loyalty Oath
By Cathy Cockrell, UC Berkley Office of Public Affairs

Posted October 13, 1999

"We went to oath meetings, and talked oath and thought oath," Berkeley English Professor George Stewart once wrote of the loyalty oath controversy that rocked the University of California in the midst of the Cold War.

The loyalty oath controversy erupted in 1949, in the era of McCarthyism and anti-communist "spy trials," when the board of regents, at the request of UC President Robert Gordon Sproul, adopted an anti-communist oath for all University of California employees to sign.

Many faculty and staff objected on principle to a political test as a condition of employment, while several regents came to see the resistance as a challenge to their authority. Deep division was created as other regents sided with the faculty against the oath.

Thirty-one faculty who refused to sign lost their jobs, as did scores of UC teaching assistants, student employees and staff. (link)
Oh, by the way, on a completely separate note, Virginia Tech's Task Force on Race and the Institution has just released its report with recommendations that are intended to bring about a more acceptable campus environment.

I Knew It Would End Here

Imus has been fired. Not for declining ratings (which he probably would have been fired for), but for saying something he shouldn't have said. Something about nappy-headed hos.

Seems like overkill (in fact it smacks of vigilante justice) but, welcome to America 2007.

The latest:

Off the Air: The Light Goes Out for Don Imus
By Bill Carter and Jacques Steinberg, The New York Times

CBS brought a weeklong confrontation over a racial and sexual insult by the radio host Don Imus to an end yesterday when it canceled the “Imus in the Morning” program, effective immediately.

The move came a day after the cable television network MSNBC, a General Electric unit that has simulcast Mr. Imus’s radio program for the last 10 years, removed the show from its morning lineup. The two moves, taken together, mean that Mr. Imus, who has been broadcasting the program for more than 30 years, no longer has a home on either national radio or television. (link)

Here's the lesson to be learned from this, one I picked up way back during the Iran-Contra scandal*: Never exude signs of weakness.

When this saga started gaining steam and criticism began to mount, Imus could easily have made light of the issue and told his critics to kiss his ass. As he often and routinely did on his radio show. Sure there would have been howls of protest and indignation. But the attention span of the press is three days. They would have moved on.

Instead he apologized. He groveled. With hat in hand, tear in eye, and tail between legs, he went before and supplicated the most racist man in America - Al Sharpton - for mercy and understanding.

He was doomed the moment he went on that hate-filled bigot's radio show. Sharpton proceeded to eat him alive. And Imus has now lost his multi-million dollar gig. The idiot.

Some will say the lesson to be learned from this shameful episode is to keep your mouth shut when talking about black people. It is, to be sure, a subject about which one has to tiptoe carefully through in this enlightened era of free and open dialogue we find ourselves in.

Me? This only reinforces a lesson that Ronald Reagan forgot (and paid dearly for it). When encircled by a pack of frenzied, snarling, blood-thirsty hyenas, don't signal weakness. They will rip you to shreds.

* When the Iran-Contra scandal broke, I knew President Reagan was in big trouble when he declared to the press and their pals in the Democratic Party that he honestly didn't know anything about Col. Oliver North's dealings with terrorists. The headlines were screaming COVER-UP and Reagan responded by saying he had been kept out of the loop. I have no doubt that he was telling the truth. But the truth wasn't important. The scandal was. He should have done what he had done so many times before - to great effect. He should have looked directly into the TV cameras and told his critics that he was in charge, that the decision was his to make, that it was done with his full support and under his authority, and those who didn't like it would find a place on his backside on which they could plant their lips.

Instead he showed weakness. His enemies had their way with him because of it.

Somebody Get Me a Helicopter

A note on local geography: There is virtually no way to get out of Bland County, Virginia without a pair of wings or four-wheel drive or unfettered access to our two mountain tunnels on I-77. Those of us who live here are not counting on the first, most of us are able but not willing to tackle the second, and the third is shaping up to be less and less favorable as time goes by. It's looking more and more like we may be trapped here till the turn of the next millenium:
Lane closures temporarily dim light at end of tunnels
By Bill Archer, Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Bland, Va. — A few years ago, Bland County developed a marketing slogan based on the concept that the county represented “the light at the end of two tunnels,” but in recent months, at least some motorists passing through Bland have found that light to be rather dim at times.

In May of 2006, the Virginia Department of Transportation launched a $16 million reconstruction project on the Big Walker Mountain and East River Mountain tunnels aimed at replacing tiles, foundation and structural refurbishment, ventilation, drainage, sidewalk repairs and giving the tunnels a much-needed overhaul. The project will continue until the summer of 2008, and while VDOT is aware that the project can cause delays and only closes one out of the four lanes in each tunnel at a time, there are times during the afternoon when traffic on I-77 can back up for miles. (link)
I drove southbound through the East River Mountain Tunnel yesterday afternoon and witnessed the longest (northbound) backup of traffic I've ever seen in the county. It stretched at least five miles.

I've occasionally seen - and have sometimes been caught in - similar traffic jams at the other end of the county, at the Big Walker Mountain Tunnel. This whole project is proving to be a huge mess. And it's supposed to continue into 2008.

But, we're going to have a couple of nice shiny-new tunnels when it's all done. If it's ever done. Something for which we will be proud. Some day. We're told. Repeatedly.

Algeria Yesterday. Iraq Today.

A terrorist bomb went off in Baghdad yesterday. We need to pull our troops out. And send them ... somewhere else:

8 Iraqis Killed in Bomb Attack at Legislature
By Alissa J. Rubin, The New York Times

Baghdad, April 12 — A suicide bomber struck deep inside the heavily fortified International Zone on Thursday, killing eight people when he detonated his explosives inside the Parliament building, just a few feet from the main chamber.

The bomber struck a half hour after the day’s session had closed, in a cafe area where lawmakers were lingering, across from the main chamber. Among the dead were ... (link)
There are those who will see this as a setback. I see it as a call to step up the war on those who plot to kill us all. Starting with Nancy Pelosi's new best friends.

The Do-Nothing Congress. Act V.

While America waits for some kind of action, Congress prefers endless investigations ...
Missing E-Mail May Be Related to Prosecutors
By Sheryl Gay Stolberg, The New York Times

Washington, April 12—The White House said Thursday that missing e-mail messages sent on Republican Party accounts may include some relating to the firing of eight United States attorneys.

The disclosure became a fresh political problem for the White House, as Democrats stepped up their inquiry into whether Karl Rove and other top aides to President Bush used the e-mail accounts maintained by the Republican National Committee to circumvent record-keeping requirements. (link)
And I'll bet all this is important in the big scheme of things ...