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

Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Virginia Treasure Indeed

I don't know what this "Virginia Byway" business is all about but the designation is well-deserved.

From the Culpeper Star Exponent:

U.S. 15 named a Virginia Byway
By Allison Brophy Champion, Staff Writer

First came the “Journey Through Hallowed Ground.” Now the naturally and historically rich corridor along U.S. 15 in Virginia has earned acknowledgement from the Commonwealth Transportation Board as an official Virginia Byway.

The approximate 66-mile route begins at the Potomac River in Loudon County ... and into Madison and Orange counties.

“This road, with its beautiful scenic vistas and incredible historic sites, is a treasure,” said Gov. Tim Kaine in a news release Tuesday. “We’re proud to have it as a jewel in the Virginia byway program.” (link)

It is truly a treasure. One worth exploring. Next time you need to get from Gordonsville to Culpeper to Warrenton and beyond, take U.S. 15. You'll never forget it.

I'll Bet This Makes Sense, To Somebody

Regarding that corn field that the cash-strapped Virginia Department of Transportation is buying and upgrading (to the tune of $3.2 million) and turning into ... well, some kind of nature habitat or something, it now seems to be more of a swampland (what a metaphor!) and it isn't going to take money from the department's main goal (once not long ago, before it found all the money in the world, its ONLY GOAL), that being to construct and maintain the commonwealth's roads, bridges, and highways, not buying corn fields or swamps.

So pronounces the editorial staff at the Roanoke Times anyway:

Buying swampland
Behind all the eye-rolling in Botetourt County, residents who need a wider highway might give some thought to the need for wetlands, too.


Drivers who regularly negotiate the two, twisting lanes of pavement that are U.S. 220 north of Eagle Rock in Botetourt County must be sorely tempted to deride Virginia's transportation department.

Yes, the upgrade of that section of U.S. 220 is overdue. Yes, public safety fully justifies the project. Yes, lack of money has delayed it for years.

But the $3 million-plus that the highway department is spending to create 36 acres of wetlands and a 4,500-foot stream bed doesn't take a plug nickel from road-building money.

And the work being done now will pave the way for miles of highway to be built in the future. (link)

Such horse shit.

First, Botetourt needs more swamps like it needs more mosquito-borne Eastern Equine Encephalitis that comes out of them.

Second, VDOT has a defined, limited amount of money to spend. $3.2 million from VDOT's budget going to the purchase of a corn field or a swamp (are these people even sane?) is $3.2 million that won't be spent on roads.

And the statement that the acquisition of a swamp is going to "pave the way for miles of highway" or for anything else other than a swampland full of mosquitoes is asinine.

The Department of Transportation and Swampland Renewal should stick to its mandate. And leave the swamps and corn fields to the snakes and rats.

She Never Did Understand Her Son

Cindy Sheehan, darling of the anti-American left, is finally going away.

The Roanoke Times this morning sends her off with one of her quotes:
"The most devastating conclusion that I reached this morning, however, was that Casey did indeed die for nothing. His precious lifeblood drained out in a country far away from his family who loves him, killed by his own country, which is beholden to and run by a war machine that even controls what we think."
What she has always failed to grasp is that her son wanted to make this world a better place. Spc. Casey Sheehan volunteered in the United States Army to do so and gave his life in the attempt. In his own way, on a scale measurable in lives saved and freedoms gained, he succeeded in his mission.

It's a shame his own mother never understood that. And a shame as well that she has done nothing on her own to do the same. She just whined. And now she's gone.

Goodbye. Good riddance. Your son deserved better.

He's Right

Don't ever take the Troutville exit off of I-81 (north of Roanoke). Not unless you want to watch as your life slowly slips away as you crawl along in a snarl. It's a mess. With the several truckstops there, traffic is, on any given day, at a slow creep.

And a Botetourt County supervisor thinks he can fix it. I wish him luck:
County supervisor says his priority is handling I-81 exit
By Jay Conley, The Roanoke Times

Don Assaid will seek re-election as the Valley District representative on the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors.

Assaid, a Wachovia executive, is the first Republican in Botetourt County to announce his candidacy for one of three supervisors' seats in the November election.

He said Wednesday he will seek a second term in office and that his main concern is to find a solution for heavy traffic at Exit 150.

The Interstate 81 interchange in Daleville is one of the busiest in the Roanoke Valley, located next to U.S. 220 where it intersects U.S. 11. (link)
Nothing is said regarding a plan to fix the problem, but something must be done. Exit 146 doesn't realize the same kind of traffic volume, but that area is experiencing serious growth as well. North of there, exit 156 is a good bet. As is the Buchanan exit at mile marker 162.

The county supervisors, and Mr. Assaid, would do well to concentrate their efforts on steering expansion efforts to that area north of Troutville/Daleville. And leave the truckers to battle it out at the 150.

Competing Views, Same Subject

Sub-headline in this morning's Wall Street Journal:

Conservatives will pay a price for demoting economic forces in immigration.

My response:

America will pay a price for demoting the law on immigration.

When Will They Learn?

What's the number one reason you don't like to drive downtown to go shopping?

We agree. Parking is a pain in the ass.

In Wytheville, down in Wythe County, a person parking in the downtown area will find his tires chalked by the local police. If that person's vehicle is there two hours later, he is fined.

Then in the larger cities there are the parking meters, the pay-for-your-time parking lots and garages, and the myriad tow-away zones.

All that makes for a pleasureable shopping experience, doesn't it?

At the same time, Wal-Mart up the road offers enough free parking to accommodate the 1st Armored Division. With space still available for a tent sale.

So what do the geniuses who run America's cities do about it? How do our downtown areas respond to Wal-Mart's competitive edge? They make it worse:

Parking fee a loser in downtown group's poll
By Christina Rogers and Mason Adams, The Roanoke Times

Downtown Roanoke Inc. made a push Wednesday to get city hall to reconsider ending after-hours free parking in several of the city-owned garages and lots downtown.

As part of this effort, the downtown business advocacy group launched an informal online survey on whether a new $2 parking fee on weeknights and Saturdays would deter visitors from coming downtown, especially for events. The seven-question survey was initially distributed via e-mail to the organization's governing board, its members and those who receive its city market newsletter.

So far, the results have been overwhelmingly in favor of nixing the after-hours parking fee.
Duh. This required a survey?

You people want to grow consumer traffic in the downtown area? Offer convenience to your potential shoppers. Free parking available in abundance.

Or watch the downtown area continue its decline. And watch from afar as the Tanglewood area continues to grow.

"But we can't do that," you whine. You can't stay in business either. Welcome to the 21st century.

There are many reasons why Wal-Mart rules the world. Price is only one of them.

Fact Checker!

Someone at the Roanoke Times might want to research this stat (from an article in today's paper, "Town works to preserve battlefield" regarding the Civil War "Battle" of Appomattox Station):

The story told at the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park is incomplete because it only shows the picture of the surrender, Thomason said.

"The reason you have the surrender is because of the fighting that took place all around here," he said. "It's not the bloodiest fight, but it's of great strategic importance."

It also was unique because the fighting involved mounted Union cavalry troops attacking about
28,000 Confederate artillery troops, said Appomattox Court House historian Patrick Schroeder. [my emphasis]
I doubt that Patrick Schroeder made such a claim.

Since there were only 27,805 troops in Lee's army the day after this "battle" took place - the day of Lee's surrender at Appomattox - there could have been only a fraction of that number serving as "artillery troops." Perhaps a few hundred. And, considering the fact that the Army of Northern Virginia had lost most of its cannons days before when Petersburg fell, and more still at the Battles of Five Forks and Sayler's Creek, it's fair to assume that few "artillery troops," by the 8th of April, 1865 were actually serving their artillery. By then, they had been transferred, albeit informally, to the infantry.

Thought I'd correct the record for you, fellas.

The 'Surge' Must Be Working

How else to read this attempt at tragi-news out of Iraq?
Violence forces Iraqis to give up meat
By Sharon Behn, The Washington Times

Baghdad -- Once-flourishing middle-class families in Baghdad are now eating meat only sparingly, if at all, as violence across the city prevents people from working and farmers from delivering food to the capital's markets.

Some women are eating less in order to give their food to their children, residents say, while others ... (link)
Time to get out. All is lost. Meat is in short supply in Baghdad.

For the love of God.

This Should Make Paula Happy

Or, when she begins to wonder why the folks at Coke and Pepsi would feel the need to perform tests on those cute little fuzzy animals in the first place, she may not be mollified. The news:
Coca-Cola and PepsiCo Agree to Curb Animal Tests
By Brenda Goodman, The New York Times

Atlanta, May 30 — Under pressure from animal rights advocates, two soft drink giants, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, have agreed to stop directly financing research that uses animals to test or develop their products, except where such testing is required by law.

Researchers at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sought the assurances after discovering studies financed by the companies that used animals like rats and chimpanzees to test taste perception and, in some cases, to bolster support for promotional health claims. (link)
They use chimps for taste tests? What, they work cheaper than illegal immigrants?

Anyway. Animal rights people should be pleased with this decision. Now Coke and Pepsi can put that disclaimer on that 20 ounce bottle of joy that we buy daily: "No rats were harmed in the making of this product."

Not sure what that thought will do for the taste though.

Where Advocacy Damages Our Country

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg's partisan actions on the Supreme Court have become so commonplace, the news that she takes time to lecture from the bench for "women's rights" goes without notice. But it shouldn't.

Just the other day she put Americans' civil rights on a plane one rung lower than women's rights by arguing that a court ruling denying a petition from a woman who claimed she was discriminated against many years ago, with the allowable time to file her claim long past, was wrong and that it would "set back women's rights," arguing, presumably, that if the same case came before the court but the complainant was male, she'd have voted with the majority. So much for constitutional equal protection.

Read David Bernstein's analysis of her comments here.

Make no mistake, Ginsberg's point of view is reprehensible and has no place in American jurisprudence. She blemishes the court.

But the New York Times sings her praises this morning because of it:
Oral Dissents Give Ginsburg a New Voice on Court
By Linda Greenhouse, The New York Times

Washington, May 30 — Whatever else may be said about the Supreme Court’s current term, which ends in about a month, it will be remembered as the time when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg found her voice, and used it.

Both in the abortion case the court decided last month and the discrimination ruling it issued on Tuesday, Justice Ginsburg read forceful dissents from the bench. In each case, she spoke not only for herself but also for three other dissenting colleagues, Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter and Stephen G. Breyer.

But the words were clearly her own, and they were both passionate and pointed. (link)
I heard Ginsberg described once long ago as being a champion on the court for individual rights. The opposite is true. Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of those fossils that hang on from the 60's who believe in group advocacy. In her case, she advocates for what was known then as women's rights, a concept that fell out of favor when the feminists all died off.

Still, this is dangerous stuff.

For a member of the United States Supreme Court to argue that a woman should be given special consideration in the eyes of the law - because she is a woman - putting men on a lesser plane, is not what this country is all about. Not now; not ever.

Shame on her.

Separated At Birth?

Well, maybe not. But it's going to take more than a $400 haircut to outdoo outdo the big guy.