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

Monday, May 21, 2007

Roscoe Reynold Has Got To Go

A new weblog has popped up in recent weeks that is going to focus on bouncing state Senator (and world-class tax-and-spend liberal) Roscoe Reynolds (D-Ridgeway). It is entitled "Roscoe Reynolds Homecoming Party" (I love that) and can be found here.

You'll want to bookmark it. Could be entertaining. Here's the premise:

"I plan to use this blog as a forum to display the shortcomings of my State Senator, Roscoe Reynolds. I may also point out his 'partner in crime', Ward Armstrong from time to time."

Because Reynolds continues to inflict grievous harm on the commonwealth, and more particularly on Southwest and Southside Virginia, we the people who are impacted by his drive to explode the size of our government, his overarching need to raise our taxes, and his penchant for ignoring the growing problems that exist in this area, welcome this voice of opposition to his intolerably long tenure in Richmond.

Here's to their success.

The WSJ - Like No Other

There's a good reason why the Wall Street Journal is one of the few - if not the only - newspaper in America that actually makes a tidy profit off of its on-line edition, with an estimated 931,000 paying internet subscribers. It's the same reason that the Journal is the only paper in the USA that people buy just to read the editorials.

The team there is the best in the business. And their biting wit is something to behold.

Today's offering:
Pride of the Caymans
John Edwards's part-time job.
Review & Outlook

Let us say right up front that it's terrific that John Edwards lives in a country where he can lose an election and still land a $480,000 part-time job as a consultant to an investment firm that keeps its hedge funds in the Cayman Islands as a tax shelter for its clients. This truly is the land of opportunity.

Mr. Edwards did tell the Associated Press that he took the job not merely to make money, but also to learn about the relationship between the capital markets and poverty. How refreshing it would have been, then, for Mr. Edwards to have emerged from his toil in the crucible of high finance to explain that all is not moral darkness in the upper reaches of the investing class; that people who invest in businesses help alleviate poverty and make the economy strong; and that it is risk-taking that offers Americans their best--indeed, their only--chance to have "the opportunities he's had."

It was not to be, alas. Mr. Edwards said instead that if he's elected President he'll still try to abolish offshore tax shelters. At least he'll have already made his money. (link)
Wonderful bit of writing. It don't get better than this.

An Opposing View

A Radford University graduate student, writing in the Roanoke Times, thinks the minimum wage is unfair:

Families need double the minimum wage
Tanisha Nash

Let me start by clearly stating that minimum wage [sic] does not only need to be increased but doubled. As we know, minimum wage has not been increased since 1997 [sic]; however the cost of living has increased by 27 percent.

We should not be looking at a minimum wage but a living wage. What does it take for a family to survive and have the bare minimal? [sic]

I can say with assurance, that it is not $5.15 an hour. (link)

That assurance derives from what authority? Two years of study? Any actual experience in the subject matter? Ever been an employer? Ever had to meet a payroll? Do you even know what a profit and loss statement looks like?

Ever even been an employee?

And why should those of us who will actually be paying those wages be limited to a doubling of the minimum wage? If doubling that $5.15 is compassionate, why not quadruple it? $20.60 oozes compassion. And, as you learned in graduate school, compassion is what we as employers are here to provide our shareholders.

Here's a unique concept. From one who has actually had a real job (and who made minimum wage when I was young). Do what I did when I was 19. Minimum wage didn't meet my needs, so I held down two jobs. I dug ditches by day and worked retail at night.

A person can't make it on $5.15 an hour over 40 hours? Guess what! That's why God granted us an additional 128 hours each week. Use them! Prosper!

If that doesn't suit your fancy, you can always quit that dead-end minimum wage job and hire on as one of those farm laborers that employers are saying are in desperately short supply. But then you'd have to be willing to pick strawberries in the hot sun for that $10 an hour (why do we even need a minimum wage again?).

Or stay in graduate school, avoid the real world, and fulminate about bullshit you know nothing about.

Make The Case!

The Roanoke Times editorial page comes out this morning against toll roads.

Well, sorta. The fellas there don't have a problem with pay-as-you-go traveling per se. They just oppose there being a profit motive involved.
Toll roads take a toll on Virginia

Virginia's transportation crisis led many lawmakers to seek creative ways to pay for roads without directly asking taxpayers for the money.

One popular solution with the anti-government crowd is allowing the private sector to operate state highways as toll roads. Such public-private deals, however, usually do not serve the public interest.

The system works in several ways, but it boils down to the state's contracting with a private firm to maintain and operate a highway. Sometimes the company will even build the road. Virginians save money on construction and don't have to pay higher taxes.

Except someone has to pay for the roads and corporate profits, and that turns out to be motorists who pass through tollbooths.

Companies involved in such projects aim to make money; the public good is secondary.
The Times then goes on to declare this to be "a pitfall," without really explaining why. It seems the use of private firms, to these guys, is inherently bad for the American people because someone might profit from the endeavor (with that kind of reasoning, the Times should be owned by the government). But the editorial makes no such argument. It just declares it so.

What should have been taken into account was whether private firms deliver on their contractual obligations to the taxpayer. Are the roads well-maintained? Is the toll reasonable?

Arguing against their position is the West Virginia Turnpike, that stretch of I-77 that runs from Bluefield to Charleston, the state-run highway that, on any given day, particularly around Beckley, is nearly impassable because it is so poorly maintained.

Nearly as deplorable are the New Jersey Turnpike and the Pennsylvania Turnpike, both of which are toll roads (as is the WV Turnpike) and both of which are run by state governments (and both are extremely expensive, by the way).

Here's my argument. Refute it with facts: Based on the examples cited above (I encourage you to travel southbound on I-77 in West Virginia between mile markers 40 and 46 before the day is out; have four-wheel drive engaged), privately operated toll roads are the worst in the USA - except for all the others.

So. Private companies maintaining public toll roads don't have the market cornered on poor quality or high prices. They simply have a different impetus for delivering a quality product to its end-user.

And those who are in charge of state-run toll road authorities? What is their impetus? As political appointees for the most part, it's to get their party reelected. Nothing more.

Now there's a real driving force for good.

For The Record

On that "Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act" that is going to cost American taxpayers up to $126 million, the bill that sailed through Congress without debate, the bill that grants reparations to the people of Guam (!) in response to hardships experienced by residents there as well as their descendents (!) at the hands of the Imperial Japanese army (!) in World War II,

Congressman Rick Boucher (D-Abingdon) voted in favor.

$126 million in reparations. Guam.

On a separate matter, Boucher believes we should create a higher class of American citizen, exempt from the obligations to the state that the rest of us proles are required to meet. That super-citizen? The newspaper reporter.

The White House Responds

Jimmy Carter, working feverishly these days to maintain his reputation of being the most spiteful and saturnine former President alive today, came out over the weekend attacking the current President, calling George W. Bush "the worst in history," forgetting momentarily that he was President once (read up on it here). And for his vindictive efforts, he got a good bitchslap in response from the White House.

Good for them:
White House Says Carter Criticism of Bush Is ‘Sad’
By Jim Rutenberg, The New York Times

Crawford, Tex., May 20 — It is a relatively genteel club, with a membership that has dwindled to four in number: Those who know, firsthand, the pressures and challenges of being the leader of the free world.

That shared knowledge has traditionally transcended politics to bring together such diverse political figures as President Bush and his predecessor, Bill Clinton; Mr. Clinton and the first President Bush; and Jimmy Carter and the late Gerald Ford.

But, in a break with this norm, Mr. Carter delivered a blistering critique of President Bush in two interviews released Saturday. And, on Sunday, the White House responded in kind, calling his comments “sad” and Mr. Carter himself “irrelevant.” (link)
I might have chosen other words to describe the best friend Muslim terrorists have ever had in the White House, but sad and irrelevant make for a good beginning.

Please, Al! Please!

After releasing its "100 Most Influential People In The World," list on May 14 that included Barack Obama (?) but excluded the most influential man on the planet, George W. Bush, and also included more than a few people that are completely unknown to humankind (Youssou N'Dour?), the magazine this week offers a cover story, entitled "The Last Temptation of Al Gore," that practically begs Crazy Al to run for President.

It's a sloppy wet kiss of a grovel that isn't readable, it's so fawning.

It does however give us an idea as to the point of reference from which the Times is operating, as if we didn't know already.