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

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Since We Ignore Immigration Laws ...

... why can't we ignore a federal law that has required the Virginia department of transportation (VDOT) to buy and develop a cornfield (at an eye-popping expense of $3.2 million) near Eagle Rock?

Think about it. The breakdown of the laws of the land, starting with the refusal of the government to enforce our borders against illegal immigration, may work to our advantage. We too can pick and choose.

As to that cornfield that's soon to be a mosquito-infested, poisonous snake-breeding swamp:
VDOT creating stream by U.S. 220
The Associated Press

Eagle Rock -- Virginia's highway crews are at work along a busy stretch of U.S. 220 that residents for years have wanted widened to four lanes. But instead of road building, state construction workers are enhancing nature.

The Virginia Department of Transportation began working late last year to create a stream through a low-lying cornfield beside the highway and turn the area into an inviting habitat for plants, insects and wildlife.

While the $3.2 million project won't reduce the state's lengthy list of road projects, there is a payoff for VDOT: an environmental credit that the agency can cash in when it builds or widens a road over a marsh or stream.

When an acre of wetland is lost to development, a federal mandate requires that whoever is responsible must see that at least an acre is created or restored in the same water basin. (link) [my emphasis]
Here's the kicker. Half of Virginia is in the Chesapeake Bay Basin, or watershed. So the people in and around Eagle Rock are going to get a new mosquito habitat, courtesy of VDOT and your Washington congressperson, so that it can destroy some wetland up in Loudoun. That's where the offset comes in.

Think of it as being much the same thing as the prison construction program here in the state. Annandale, Alexandria, and Herndon breed criminals - and lots of 'em - and we get to warehouse them in prisons down here in Southwest Virginia.

Mosquitoes. Snakes. Criminals. It all makes for a more pleasurable living arrangement up in NoVa. Which is really what this is all about.

Welcome to Southwest Virginia. Got your Deep Woods Off and your 45 automatic?

Peering In From Outside

I had the opportunity to visit the Staunton/Waynesboro area a few weeks ago and, in my travels, was struck by one thing. If political yard signs mean anything, sitting state Senator Emmett Hanger (R-Augusta) is in big trouble. There were Sayre for Senate signs (promoting the candidacy of Scott Sayre, R-Rockbridge) everywhere. In contrast, I came across only one pro-Hanger sign the whole day. Startling.

But what does that mean? Well, nothing in itself. But ...
Hanger-Sayre Senate race competitive
By Michael Sluss, The Roanoke Times

The way R. Scott Sayre sees it, his effort to defeat state Sen. Emmett Hanger amounts to "a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party."

And Hanger, R-Augusta County, acknowledges that he has a tough fight on his hands as he tries to hold on to a seat he has held for 12 years.

The Republican primary in the 24th Senate District may be one of the most competitive intraparty contests decided in Virginia on June 12. Sayre, a businessman from Rockbridge County, is mounting an aggressive challenge to Hanger, the affable incumbent who has fallen out of favor with some GOP activists in the sprawling, rural district.
The reason Hanger has become a target for conservatives is because, over the years, he has adopted the political viewpoints of the despised enemy, liberal Democrats, having voted for tax increases to fix an overstated "education crisis" in 2004 and a mythical "transportation crisis" in 2006.

His penchant for looking the other way at the rising problem with illegal immigration (he even proposed that we offer conditional breaks on in-state college tuition to illegals) has turned much of his constituency off as well.

So Hanger is in the fight of his life. And has resorted to appealing to Democrats to save him in the upcoming primary, where they are allowed to cross over and vote a Republican ballot.* That speaks volumes.

Those hundreds of yard signs speak to us as well. Even with liberal Democrat support, expect Hanger to be sent packing next week.

And good riddance. If we wanted a Democrat, we'd vote for a Democrat.

* This has never made sense to me. Democrats voting in the Republican primary and vice versa. If that is permissible, it seems to me I should be allowed to drive up to Staunton and do my part in voting Hanger out too. No political boundaries? No geographic boundaries.

Yeah, But ...

Look, I enjoy trashing Katie Couric as much as anyone. She is, after all, a lightweight sparring in the ring with some mighty big sluggers. And she's known to be rabidly liberal. For that alone, she deserves ridicule.

But this struck me as a bit of a stretch:

The Surprise & Fall Of Katie
By Don Kaplan, The New York Post

June 3, 2007 -- As you can see from the chart above, Katie Couric’s first nine months at CBS aren’t exactly going as planned - in fact, she’s costing CBS an arm and a leg and a whole lot more for each viewer she hangs onto in her shrinking audience.

And last week the $15 million- a-year anchor got even more expensive.

When the ratings for “The CBS Evening News” dipped to 5.9 million for the week ended May 25 - an all-time low, and a smaller audience than former anchors Dan Rather and Bob Schieffer ever saw - it meant CBS was paying $2.51 per viewer.

By comparison ... (link)
Cost per viewer. That's an interesting way of evaluating performance. And I'll bet the bean counters at CBS are doing just that.

But a closer look at the chart referred to above reveals something else as well. Ain't nobody setting the world on fire. Here's the chart:

From this, it's obvious that the perky Katie Couric hasn't percolated any excitement since she launched her ground-breaking newscast last year. Just the opposite.

But if Katie should be canned, what should be done with Brian Williams over at NBC? His numbers are down from September as well. Yeah, he works cheaper than does Katie. But his numbers still suck.

And Charles Gibson doesn't have much to brag about either. After a meteoric rise, a meteoric fall.

So give Katie a break. And slash her paycheck. Oh, and a clown suit with Mickey ears and a big red plastic nose might help ...

Chart courtesy of the New York Post
Click on image to enlarge.

Surely There's a Better Way

Can you imagine being punished for the actions of your parents? Proud parents, who can't control their adoration, no less.

Who should have gotten a spanking here?
Diplomas Denied Over Graduation Cheers
By The Associated Press

Galesburg, Ill., June 2 — A high school that had warned against undignified behavior at its graduation ceremony denied diplomas to five students after enthusiastic friends or family members cheered for them during the commencement program.

Many schools ask spectators to hold applause and cheers until the ceremonies end but few rigidly enforce the policy.

“It was like one of the worst days of my life,” said Caisha Gayles, one of the five students, who officially graduated, but does not have her diploma to frame and hang on her wall. “You walk across the stage and then you can’t get your diploma because of other people cheering for you. It was devastating.”

The school said the five students can still get their diplomas by completing eight hours of public service, answering phones, sorting books or doing other work for the district. (link)
Shouldn't those who actually broke the rules be punished? Seems bizarre to me.

Which Parallels Americans' View Of Border Security

Pipeline Security a Joke

The Terror Threat Is Everywhere

There are millions of American who have come to the point where they just want the war on terror to go away. It won't:

4 Charged in Plot to Blow Up NYC Airport
By The Associated Press

New York (AP) -- Federal authorities said a plot by a suspected Muslim terrorist cell to blow up John F. Kennedy International Airport, its fuel tanks and a jet fuel artery could have caused ''unthinkable'' devastation.

But while pipeline and security experts agreed that such an attack would have crippled America's economy, particularly the airline industry, they said it probably would not have led to significant loss of life as intended.

Authorities announced Saturday they had broken up the suspected terrorist cell, arresting three men, one of them a former member of Guyana's parliament. A fourth man was being sought in Trinidad as part of the plot that authorities said they had been tracking for more than a year and was foiled in the planning stages.

''The devastation that would be caused had this plot succeeded is just unthinkable,'' U.S. Attorney Roslynn R. Mauskopf said at a news conference, calling it ''one of the most chilling plots imaginable.''
Terrorists. In New York City.

Run from it if you will. But they're going to find you. And try to kill you.

These people must be stopped, wherever they're found.

Update: I wonder what prompted the New York Times to take the story and water it down?

The World Has Turned Upside Down

First, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, generally considered to be on the conservative side, attacks those of us who want our borders protected, calling us "anti-immigrant." Then the president accuses us of being unpatriotic for calling the legislation he supports that will grant citizenship to 12 million lawbreakers amnesty.

Lo and behold, it takes the rabidly liberal - and rarely objective - New York Times to get it right:

Bush’s Push on Immigration Tests His Base
By Jim Rutenberg and Carl Hulse, The New York Times

Washington, June 2 — President Bush’s advocacy of an immigration overhaul and his attacks on critics of the plan are provoking an unusually intense backlash from conservatives who form the bulwark of his remaining support, splintering his base and laying bare divisions within a party whose unity has been the envy of Democrats.

It has pitted some of Mr. Bush’s most stalwart Congressional and grass-roots backers against him, inciting a vitriol that has at times exceeded anything seen yet between Mr. Bush and his supporters, who have generally stood with him through the toughest patches of his presidency. Those supporters now view him as pursuing amnesty for foreign lawbreakers when he should be focusing on border security.
It is that. Nothing more. Or less.

The president is pursuing amnesty for foreign lawbreakers when he should be focusing on border security.

We can say this with confidence in part because there are laws currently on the books that make it illegal for foreigners to sneak cross our borders, and thousands will do it today. And little to nothing will be done about it.

When cornered, the president and his supporters on this issue will tell you that's why we need a law.
We have a law. It is not being enforced. We are not stupid.

If these people intended to enforce the borders - to bring security to our borders - they could do it. Instead, they create an elaborate plan to grant amnesty to those aliens in our midst who broke the law by invading our country in the past. Which will only encourage millions more to make the migration north through our porous southern border. And will make an ever-greater mockery of "the rule of law."

Thank you, New York Times, for getting it right.

New Democrats?

I thought the new leadership in Washington was supposed to have ended this despicable practice:
Democrats Hide Pet Projects From Voters
By Andrew Taylor, Associated Press Writer

Washington - After promising unprecedented openness regarding Congress' pork barrel practices, House Democrats are moving in the opposite direction as they draw up spending bills for the upcoming budget year.

Democrats are sidestepping rules approved their first day in power in January to clearly identify "earmarks" - lawmakers' requests for specific projects and contracts for their states.

Rather than including specific pet projects, grants and contracts in legislation as it is being written, Democrats are following an order by the House Appropriations Committee chairman to keep the bills free of such earmarks until it is too late for critics to effectively challenge them. (link)
Secret earmarks. Have these people learned nothing?