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

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

This Takes Nerve

Noun: chutzpah xhootpu
1. (Yiddish) unbelievable gall; insolence; audacity

The Charleston (WV) Gazette has an editorial this morning that warns against the privatization of toll roads around the country. And I think the geniuses there are serious:

Public, not private


Around America, private investors are quietly seeking to take over roads, bridges and airports from government authorities, to reap profits from facilities built by taxpayers. Investors also hope to buy several state lotteries.

By leasing or buying roads, speculators assume huge financial burdens for maintenance and improvements. But those investors also get to charge tolls, which are likely to mushroom quickly.

Toll increases are inevitable when private investors take over. But good maintenance is not. Once public assets are leased or sold, BusinessWeek warns, they are likely to be resold, again and again. New buyers feel pressure to limit maintenance and rake in higher profits. (link)

I somehow missed the BusinessWeek article so I'll not comment on it.

But I will comment on the uproarious notion that government-operated toll roads are somehow better maintained than are private roads. Especially coming from a publication in West Virginia, home of the West Virginia Turnpike.

I'm tempted to say, in response to the editorial - prove it!

But don't think you are going to use the turnpike (I-77) as an example of a well-maintained highway. It is awful by anyone's measure. It is so poorly maintained around Beckley that it has become hazardous to drivers' well-being. The only highway I've ever driven that was as poorly preserved was I-94 in southeast Michigan between Detroit metro airport and the city. It too is a government-maintained highway.

If there is a worse-run system, I don't know where it is. In fact, there can't be a more poorly maintained highway system in this country or the government would shut it down for being hazardous to human health.

So give up the hallucinogenic drugs, leave the bicycle at home, and take a journey southbound out of your cloistered enclave there in Charleston.

But consider yourself forewarned. You'd better be wearing your hardhat and have your life insurance premiums up to date. That publically-owned and maintained turnpike is a killer.

Grasping At Straws

The Richmond Times-Dispatch this morning wants us to believe that global warming is "increasingly more certain." Capitalists and generals say so.

Well. Who could argue with them?

The Changing Climate

There was a time, perhaps a dozen years or so ago, when global warming could be dismissed as a liberal plot by Al Gore and a coterie of greenpeaceniks. The outer fringes of American liberalism have a history of antagonism toward capitalism and big business, after all, and the argument that industrial society was going to kill everybody by heating up the planet sounded like one more anti-business jeremiad in a long string of them.

But then came repeated, and increasingly more certain, reports from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

,,, comes now news that another institution has sounded the alarm about global warming: the U.S. military.

The military follows in the tracks of another sector not known for its liberalism: the insurance industry.

Conservatives might dismiss Al Gore out of hand, but they can't dismiss the captains of capitalism and the generals of the U.S. military. The climate about climate change is changing, too. More and more conservative institutions are coming to the conclusion that just because Al Gore says something doesn't mean it's wrong.

A few points:

1) I am a conservative and I dismiss without hesitation this silly argument because the TD uses non-scientists as a reliable source for its support of global warming science - those "captains of capitalism and the generals of the U.S. military," for God's sake. If that's the best you can do, you lose without reservation or exception.

2) It's a pretty sure bet still that if Crazy Al Gore says it, it is most assuredly wrong.

3) A growing number of scientists - as opposed to generals and businessmen - is rejecting the theory that global warming is caused by human activity. As research continues to pour in and more scientists take a good hard look at it, and weigh their conscience accordingly, that number of skeptics will climb dramatically.

For all these reasons, consider your editorial dismissed as well.

We Are Not Going To Die

I know the world is not going to hell in a handbasket as long as I can get up each morning and read headlines like this:

Poland to probe if Teletubbies are gay

As long as politicians are devoting their time to such idiocies (by the way, isn't it time for ours to issue another empty apology to someone?), the sun will surely come up tomorrow and all will be well.

These People Must Be Stopped

The Washington Times this morning blares a shrill warning about the harsh reality of the immigration bill that is being "debated" in the Senate:

Immigration disaster looming

Judging by what took place in the first hours of the Senate immigration debate last week, critics are deluding themselves if they expect lawmakers to improve the bill when debate resumes after the Memorial Day recess. Most of the organized political pressure on the immigration issue is coming from open-borders advocates intent on enabling more illegals to obtain amnesty and bring their relatives to the United States, and from Washington elites on the left and the right who think anyone who doesn't share their permissive philosophy is backward and xenophobic. Unless the American people rise up en masse and tell their senators in no uncertain terms that they cannot accept amnesty, the Senate bill will easily pass and no one should be surprised if it passes with amendments making it even more harmful to taxpayers and detrimental to hometown safety and homeland security. (link)

"... harmful to taxpayers and detrimental to hometown safety and homeland security." A looming disaster indeed.

And most senators are in favor of it.

They have lost touch with the American people. We need to lose them. Every one.

We Make Progress

Last year the global warming alarmists were screaming:

Warming Will Lead to a Rise in Hurricanes!

A year later, after we saw the calmest no-hurricane hurricane season on record, we get this from the New York Times:

Will Warming Lead to a Rise in Hurricanes?

We're winning this debate, one reality check at a time.

We Favor Gun Control Until Our Lives Are Threatened

The Cleveland Plain Dealer brings us, via NRA.org, an interesting story of an Ohio state legislator - a Democrat - who favored gun control until one evening when he came to the realization that, without one - a gun that is - he was not in control. He had one instead shoved in his face:

Theory Of Gun Control Meets Reality Of Crime

A May 15 story in The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio) serves as a good reminder of how a person’s support for gun control often changes after a personal experience with crime.

State Representative Michael DeBose (D-12) of Cleveland was an opponent of Right-to-Carry, having voted against the measure twice. All that changed on the night of May 1, when he was confronted by two men, one of whom was wielding a gun. On that night, Rep. DeBose’s sense of security in his neighborhood changed, as did his view on lawful citizens being able to defend themselves.

When asked how this recent experience may change the prism through which he views Right-to-Carry, Rep. DeBose was crystal clear: "I was wrong. I'm going to get a permit and so is my wife. I've changed my mind. You need a way to protect yourself and your family. I don't want to hurt anyone. But I never again want to be in the position where I'm approached by someone with a gun and I don't have one. There are too many people who are just evil and mean-spirited. They will hurt you for no reason. If more people were packing guns, it might serve as a deterrent.”

We welcome Rep. DeBose to the growing list of Right-to-Carry converts.
We would never wish Mr. Debose's experience on anyone. But it certainly is illuminating. So often Democrats get caught up in political theory in the abstract - gun control being a perfect example - and lose sight of the practical reality of that which they argue.

We saw it in the debate that raged after the Virginia Tech Massacre: "If only there were no guns ..."
And if only there were no bad people ...

Me? I'd be thinking about chambering that first round and returning fire, rather than bewailing the fact that a madman can obtain a firearm too easily in this country and had one thrust in my face.

Call it the actual vs. the ethereal. Call it life and death.

The Ethereal vs. Cold Reality ...

While we're on the subject, that which is ethereal vs. the practical, let's talk about America's beloved environmentalists, who have their heads buried up their asses in the sand and the cold, hard reality that humans need energy to survive, and that it - energy - is in ever-dwindling supply, except for that abundance of raw energy, hundreds of millions of tons worth, a thousand years worth, that we have mountains of right here in By God Southwest Virginia and West Virginia, but they don't want us to touch:

Lawmakers Push for Big Subsidies for Coal Process
By Edmund L. Andrews, The New York Times

Washington, May 28 — Even as Congressional leaders draft legislation to reduce greenhouse gases linked to global warming, a powerful roster of Democrats and Republicans is pushing to subsidize coal as the king of alternative fuels.

Prodded by intense lobbying from the coal industry, lawmakers from coal states are proposing that taxpayers guarantee billions of dollars in construction loans for coal-to-liquid production plants, guarantee minimum prices for the new fuel, and guarantee big
government purchases for the next 25 years.

With both House and Senate Democrats hoping to pass “energy independence” bills by mid-July, coal supporters argue that coal-based fuels are more American than gasoline and potentially greener than ethanol.

“For so many, filthy coal is a dirty four-letter word,” said Representative Nick V. Rahall, Democrat of West Virginia and chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee. “These individuals, I tell you, have their heads buried in the sand.”
In a different America, the need for government subsidies wouldn't be necessary. Manufacturers would have no difficulty in finding the required capital for such construction and development. And much of that capital will be coming their way anyway, regardless what the politicians decide to do. They, at this point, can only hinder the inevitable.

We have a growing need for energy. We have an abundance available. And make no mistake: We will, sooner or later, tap into that vein of black gold known as liquid coal. We will keep our homes warm in the winter.

Environmentalists, meet reality. Survival 101.

Sleepwalking Through Current Events

Barack Obama is calling for universal health care. Why? Because he's a good Democrat and Democrats are driven to spend your money before you do. Nothing more. The news:
Obama Calls for Universal Health Care
By Mike Glover, Associated Press Writer

Iowa City, Iowa - Seeking to add heft to his presidential bid, Democrat Barack Obama is offering a sweeping plan that would require every American to have health coverage and calls on government, businesses and consumers to share the costs of the program.

Obama said putting in place universal health coverage has been debated for decades, but the time has finally come to act. He said his plan could save the average consumer $2,500 a year and bring health care to all.

"The time has come for universal, affordable health care in America," Obama said in remarks prepared for delivery at the unveiling of his plan Tuesday in Iowa City. (link)
His plan would save $2,500 per person? Is he back on hard-core drugs? Besides similar debacles that have taken place in Maine, Tennessee, and (soon) Massachusetts, has Obama been paying no attention to events that are just now unfolding in his own home state of Illinois?

Illinois Tax Implosion
The political limits of "universal" health care.
The Wall Street Journal, May 14, 2007

"Universal" government health care has once again returned as a political cause, with many Democrats believing it's the key to White House victory in 2008. They might want to study last week's news from Illinois, where Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich's tax increase to finance health care became the political rout of the year.

The Democratic House in Springfield killed the proposal, 107-0, after Mr. Blagojevich came out against his own idea when it became clear he was going to be humiliated. Only a month earlier he had said he was prepared to wage "the fight of the century" in defense of his plan to impose a $7.6 billion "gross receipts tax" on Illinois businesses.

But a funny thing happened on this road to Canadian health care. The state's more rational Democrats revolted ... (link)

Legislators in Obama's native Illinois are running in fear from a plan that he is now promoting. Kinda reminds you of the horse that was led from the burning barn, only to see him break loose and run back into the inferno. It leaves one scratching one's head.

Bottom line: There isn't enough money in this country to pay for universal health care. Not if you want decent health care.

It's in moments like these that I try to remember that Barack Obama is a Democrat. It all then makes some bit of sense.