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

Monday, May 14, 2007

On Roscoe Reynolds & Tax Increases

Like Carl said Alton said ...

On Progressives and 'Free-Thinking'

Noun: progressive pru'gresiv
1. A person who favors a political philosophy of progress and reform and the protection of civil liberties


Christian Trejbal, Roanoke Times columnist, likes to think of himself as a progressive. A "free-thinker." Similarly, he characterizes the town of Blacksburg as "a progressive town plopped down in a region brimming with conservative values. Blacksburg is a college town in the purest sense. It attracts people from diverse places and welcomes free thinking."

That comes from a column he wrote for this morning's paper entitled "
Resentment surfaces in the Wal-Mart brawl."

As best I can tell, Trejbal considers a person to be a free-thinker if he opposes - and prohibits - the development of other peoples' property, odd as that might sound for a people who welcome diversity.

A progressive is also characterized by getting his undies in a bunch when criticized by others. Particularly by the knuckle-draggers known as Southwest Virginians.

For undies are clearly abunch in this column:

... many people who live in the rest of the New River Valley seem baffled, even offended by Blacksburg's outrage.

Those Blacksburg whiners take themselves too seriously, the chorus sounds. The snobs scorn Christiansburg. They need to get a grip. If big-boxes are good enough for the rest of us, then they should be good enough for Blacksburg. Don't they want to increase their tax base?

In other words, Blacksburg should stop complaining and let developers do whatever they want, the side effects be damned. That's the Southwest Virginia way.

To hell with that.

Is it so shocking that they oppose turning Main Street into a strip-mall, big-box Hades like the one at the north end of Christiansburg?

It takes a particularly bitter person to fault them for wishing to protect their investment and their community from a perceived threat.
Whew. I don't know this Trejbal character but when he speaks of bitter persons, I get the impression he speaks with authority.

But let's get back to that definition of the word "progressive." It comes from the word progress. Or, in other words, it defines what downtown Blacksburg ain't. Ain't progressing, that is. In Trejbal's own words:

Blacksburg is no Blue Ridge Elysium. It has its problems ... Its downtown is in a rut. And anti-growth sentiments -- some call it smart-growth -- hold dangerous sway over town government. Moderation is one thing, but the current political leadership often appears more dogmatic than cautious.
Seen photos of downtown Havana lately? Fidel Castro is lauded for his progressive ideas too. And his citizens there live in sordid squalor.

Christian Trejbal likes to characterize the people who run Blacksburg as being "free-thinkers." He may be right. Their thoughts are free. Free from reality. Free, as in detached. Free from and impervious to rational argument. Free, as in the value of their thinking.

Hey, all you free-thinking Stalinists up in that progressive wonderland known as Blacksburg: Why not allow that Wal-Mart to go in and let the town's shoppers, the ones you'd rather go over to "the north end of Christiansburg" to buy their gruel and potato sack dresses, vote it up or down with their retail dollars?

Or do you not want them to have a voice in the matter?

Progressives. Spare me.

But Isn't That The Definition Of a Landfill?

A profound headline in this morning's Roanoke Times:

Old Roanoke County landfill home to buried trash

You don't say.

Now, if it said this, it would be news:

Old Roanoke County landfill home to Jimmy Hoffa

That, folks, would be news.

The Do Nothing Congress. Act XIII.

Yeah. Blame it on the war:
War impasse slows Democrats' agenda
By S.A. Miller, The Washington Times

Democrats have floated at least 20 plans to curb or end the war in Iraq since taking control of Congress four months ago, a strategy that has produced one vetoed bill and slowed their domestic agenda to a crawl.

Democratic leaders, responding to their party's vocal anti-war base, repeatedly say they have a mandate to correct Mr. Bush's war policy, but a poll shows their stewardship of the nation's legislative branch is receiving tepid reviews. An Associated Press-Ipsos poll shows 35 percent approve of Congress' job performance, a five-point dip in a month that brings it near Mr. Bush's low job-approval numbers. (link)
Wouldn't it be rich if we went the entire year without that minimum wage increase that everyone has agreed to, including the president, being finalized?

These people are pathetic.

Hagel To Run With Bloomberg?

A liberal Republican as a running mate for a loony Republican. Ain't a snowball's chance in hell, but it might make for interesting TV:
Hagel: Mike's A Hot Ticket
By Geoff Earle, New York Post Correspondent

May 14, 2007 -- Washington - Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel appealed yesterday to Mayor Bloomberg to join him on a 2008 presidential ticket - saying the independent-minded billionaire has what it takes to help run the country.

"He is the mayor of one of the greatest cities on Earth. He makes that city work. That's what America wants," said Hagel (Neb.), a Vietnam vet and party maverick who is considering a run for president. (link)
Hagel is a "party maverick." That's a liberal reporter's way of saying he's a scatterbrain who can oftentimes be counted on to embarrass his party and badmouth the president.

Anyway, putting the ultra-liberal Bloomberg on the ticket with him would be a stroke of genius. They won't win, and they'll have zero support among the party faithful, but they'll be great for developing and expounding upon Democrat talking points during the Republican debates.

Could be fun to watch.

What's Up With the Times?

Yesterday the New York Times had an article on its front page that outlined the rising angst Americans are starting to feel about abortion and the direction it is taking (it has to do with offspring selection), a rather startling slip-up admission of that which the pro-life community has been warning us about for years.

And today, on the front page, some happy news (well, speculation) - and no scary doomsday predictions - about the trade (im)balance.

Did Rupert Murdock take over the Times while I was sleeping?
Rising Exports Putting Dent in Trade Gap
By Jeremy W. Peters, The New York Times

Over half of the 9.1 million vehicles General Motors produced last year were sold in foreign countries. More KFC fast food restaurants are opening in China now than in the United States.

With the slumping housing market taking a toll on its business at home, Caterpillar is counting on sales of equipment and diesel engines in Europe, Asia and the Middle East to keep growing.

American companies have been doing business abroad for a long time, but never before has it been so important. This year, for the first time, Standard & Poor’s expects the 500 companies in its benchmark stock index to generate more than half of their sales in foreign countries. (link)
Two things to be careful of here.

First, it is true that GM produced 9.1 million cars last year, but were all of them made here in the USA? Many GM cars are made in faraway places like Korea. This article doesn't make clear whether the half that were sold overseas were actually made here and shipped overseas.

Secondly, the speculation has to be dampened with this: "...it now looks as if the huge trade deficit, which swelled to a record $765.3 billion last year, could gradually decrease. The trade gap widened in March, mostly because of higher prices for imported oil, but ..." It swelled last year; it swelled last month (the last month for which we have data).

Still, let's hope Mr. Peters is right.

And here's to the New York Times for allowing him to say it.

This Is What We Expect From The Times

A feckless attempt at hit piece:
Ground Zero Illnesses Clouding Giuliani’s Legacy
By Anthony DePalma, The New York Times

Anyone who watched Rudolph W. Giuliani preside over ground zero in the days after 9/11 glimpsed elements of his strength: decisiveness, determination, self-confidence.

Those qualities were also on display over the months he directed the cleanup of the collapsed World Trade Center. But today, with evidence that thousands of people who worked at ground zero have become sick, many regard Mr. Giuliani’s triumph of leadership as having come with a human cost.

Administration documents and thousands of pages of legal testimony filed in a lawsuit against New York City, along with ... (link)
It has become common practice for trial lawyers - especially class-action lawyers - to feed information, including documents obtained in discovery, to someone at the Times who makes a public airing of them, and builds a case around them. You see this occurring routinely with regard to lawsuits pending or in formative stage against Big Pharma.

But this is a bit silly. 9/11 occurred in September of 2001. Rudy Giuliani left office at the end of December of that same year. While the clean-up of the World Trade Center site was still under way and the recovery effort was still uppermost in everyone's mind. To expect a blue-ribbon panel of doctors and scientists to have assembled and to have drawn up recommendations on how to proceed with the removal of debris is a stretch. A big stretch.

But that's what we've come to expect from these guys at the Times.

So We're Back To Chrysler

The name DaimlerChrysler just never sounded right anyway. Which is probably just as well. Because it never worked all that great either.

Problem solved:
Chrysler Group to Be Sold for $7.4 Billion
By Micheline Maynard and Mark Landler, The New York Times

Auburn Hills, Mich., May 14 — DaimlerChrysler reached an agreement early today to sell the struggling Chrysler Group to Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity firm that specializes in restructuring troubled companies, for $7.4 billion.

The deal unwinds a 1998 merger that was meant to create a trans-Atlantic automotive powerhouse. DaimlerChrysler scheduled an 8 a.m. E.T. news conference to discuss the sale. Under terms of the deal, Cerberus would take 80.1 percent of Chrysler, with DaimlerChrysler keeping 19.9 percent. The new company would be called Chrysler Holding LLC, and would become the first of the Detroit carmakers to be privately owned. (link)
The divestiture itself means little to those who are going to be shopping for a new car in the future. But this move may provide the impetus for new ideas and new innovations to flow from Chrysler headquarters in Michigan, as ooposed to waiting for approvals from Germany. Let's hope anyway.

Here's to MOPAR!