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

Saturday, June 16, 2007

We May Not Have Jobs But We Own a Mountain

Next time someone tries to tell you that the state of Virginia is cash-strapped, remind them that we had enough money on hand in 2007 to buy a freaking mountain in extreme Southwest Virginia, the purpose of which is to include it with the hundreds of other government-owned mountains in the area that bring us absolutely nothing in return.

The disheartening news:
Final funding comes through for land purchase on Brumley Mountain, creating region's first state forest
By Debra McCown, Bristol Herald-Courier

Abingdon – Southwest Virginia will soon have its own state forest.

The final funding came through Wednesday for the Virginia Department of Forestry’s purchase of a 4,800-acre tract of land on Brumley Mountain, where the region’s first state forest will be created.

"The protection of Brumley Mountain is part of kind of a larger conservation effort on Clinch Mountain," said Brad Kreps, director of the Nature Conservancy’s Clinch Valley Program.

"It’s one of the best examples of a bunch of organizations working together and working with landowners to create a large network of conservation lands that will protect the beauty of Clinch Mountain and the wildlife resources on Clinch Mountain for future generations." (link)
Look. I know Brad's heart is in the right place. But those "future generations" of Dickenson and Buchanan and Lee and Wise and Tazewell and Russell and Scott and Washington County natives who are going to appreciate the ownership of this mountain have all moved to D.C. to find work.

$4 million of taxpayer money was spent to buy a mountain. One of at least 200 we have here in Southwest Virginia that are becoming ever-more pristine as the population of Southwest Virginia makes the migration north in search of gainful employment.

How many jobs can you buy for $4 million? It seems we'll never know.

But, by God, we have us a mountain. Remind me to tell my future generations. Via email.

On That 3rd District Primary

I touched on Danny Bowling's win over Mickey McGlothlin in the Democratic House of Delegates primary in the 3rd district (Tazewell, Buchanan, Russell) the other day. The Richlands News-Press has more detail (here) as well.

What I didn't mention was the rather interesting subtext to the race.

In the week before the election, Bowling was running an attack ad on the local radio that denounced McGlothlin for having provided, in previous races, campaign donations ... to Republicans! (say it ain't so, Ma!)

In an increasingly Republican region of the commonwealth, this wouldn't have been all that bright. But you get over into Dickenson County, in particular, and there is a very strong Democratic presence (in fact it predominates) remaining from the glory days of the UMW (which, if memory serves, sponsored the radio spot I repeatedly heard).

So this wasn't, all things considered, a bad ploy. Obviously. Bowling won.

If I could make a suggestion though:

When Danny decides to seek higher office and run against Phil Puckett for the state senate, he might want to broaden his appeal. And downplay that party affiliation.

The rest of Southwest Virginia doesn't hold the Democratic Party, or a UMW endorsement, in nearly such high regard these days.

It's Good To Know, It's Status Quo

Status of hospital remains the same

I'll Bet You Didn't Know This

Next time you have the exhaust system replaced on that aging automobile of yours, you might barter with the repairman before he carts it off. It's not going in the dumpster. At least not all of it. Some of it is worth its weight in gold.

Well, actually platinum:
Catalytic converter thieves strike car lot
By Nate Morabito, Bristol Herald-Courier

Johnson City police are investigating the theft of 10 catalytic converters from a local car lot. Employees with Bo's Auto Sales on Highway 11E say they returned from an auction today, only to find $5,000 worth of converters missing, right off the lot.

Now, most of the cars there sound like race cars. Using a battery-powered saw, thieves hacked off catalytic converters from each car.

Catalytic converters help limit the pollutants in the air. Although that may not sound valuable to a thief, it is. The parts contain small amounts of platinum and other precious metals, which make them easy to sell at scrap yards. For each converter, thieves can take in anywhere from $75 to $250. (link)
You know that old Plymouth out in the back 40 collecting weeds? It may be worth more than you think.

Got a hack saw?

Idiots Among Us

Not only are those smelly hikers who tramp through our forests and pee in our bushes here in Southwest Virginia lice-infested and impoverished, they're half stupid.

Case in point:
AT* hiker's lesson: Don't intervene
By Dan Kegley, Staff, Smyth County News

Finding fawns and other baby wildlife in the forests or fields, or even in backyards, is not an uncommon event this time of year, but it seems to often arouse in the finder both a sense of rare privilege and responsibility.

According to Merz [Beth Merz, Area Ranger of the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area] an Appalachian Trail through-hiker carried a fawn to the NRA headquarters south of Marion after discovering it and thinking it abandoned out on the trail. In spite of the NRA staff’s attempts to educate her to the contrary, and their warning that possessing wildlife is illegal, the hiker attempted to leave the headquarters with the fawn in a taxi
cab, Merz said.
There's no word as to where this dingbat was taking the taxi and the fawn. Back to her insane asylum - or college campus - one would guess.

Memo to idiots hiking the AT: You're idiots. Take up tennis. And quit pestering our wildlife.

For the love of God.

*Appalachian Trail

An Adult Talks About Global Warming

Is the planet on the high side of its warming cycle? Yes.

Will that be a net plus for the planet? Yes.

Silver lining postulated for global warming cloud
By The Associated Press

Ghent, N.Y. (AP) -- It's not in Al Gore's PowerPoint presentation, but there are some upsides to global warming.

Northern homes could save on heating fuel. Rust Belt cities might stop losing "snowbirds" to the South. Canadian farmers could harvest bumper crops. Greenland may become awash in cod and oil riches. Shippers could count on an Arctic shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific. Forests may expand.

"It's not that there won't be bad things happening in those countries. There will be -- things like, you'll lose polar bears," said economic professor Robert O. Mendelsohn of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. "But the idea is that they will get such large gains, especially in agriculture, that they will be bigger than the losses." (link)

When it comes to global warming theory, don't listen to those who lost their minds long ago, (and who may be contemplating another run for president in the future) and to the adolescents out there who automatically go spastic when any mention of change is uttered. Listen to the experts.

Global warming is a reality. And, as long as it lasts, and that won't be all that long, enjoy it. Because of it, the Earth will prosper.

A Bad Omen

I thought this would become a problem long before now. But a problem it is becoming. Check out the accelerating rise in consumer prices over the last several months:

Although the Federal Reserve says everything is peachy, the price of my Bud Lite tells a different story.

Time to go to those short-term CD's again?

Chart courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Those We're Up Against

Have you been wondering how a bill in the United States Senate that is opposed by twice as many Americans as support it, is supported by twice as many senators as oppose it?

An article in this morning's New York Times provides an eye-opening list of those interest groups that Americans are up against in this ongoing amnesty debate:

Broad Effort to Resurrect Immigration Bill
By Robert Pear

... all complained about various provisions of the measure. But when it appeared that the bill might be dying, they were flummoxed. Separately and together, they mobilized scores of lobbyists. They put pressure on the Senate and on Mr. Reid, in particular, to revive the bill.

“We were not happy with the bill,” said J. Kevin Appleby of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “But we did not want it to die.”

... pleas came from groups as diverse as the National Restaurant Association, the National Council of La Raza, the New England Apple Council and the business software company Oracle.

Farmers and ranchers ...

Unite Here, a union representing apparel, hotel and laundry workers ...

Business trade associations ...

The United States Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Federation of Independent Business and the Business Roundtable ... (link) [emphasis mine]

I like that "broad support" line. With the possible exception of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which in reality makes no effort to represent its flock, the sundry groups listed above make up all of five percent of America.


But it's the same 5% that Washington politicians bend over backwards to please.

You're part of the 95% of America who will be left out of this debate? Get with the times:

¿Para una queja, con quiĆ©n tengo que hablar?

Quote Of The Day

From a Palestinian woman in response to the violence she's witnessed in Gaza in recent days:

While the entire world condemns the Jews for the problems in the Middle East ...

Tsk. Tsk.

Another bad sentence slips through the proofreaders and editors at the venerable sloppy New York Times. This from a report on the fighting in Gaza, by Taghreed El-Khodary and Ian Fisher:
While the violence was largely over, people worried not only about daily survival but also about how the round of deadly infighting — killing a reported 116 people — postponed hope for an independent and unified Palestinian state. [my emphasis]
The round of deadly infighting postponed hope? How do you postpone hope?

Or did the violence postpone the likelihood that an independent and unified Palestinian state might come about any time soon?

Hope remains alive and well. As does the bitter disappointment of a people held hostage by a bunch of thugs who should be taken out back and shot.

You guys at the Times need to read that which you write.

Government, Arab Style

There are those who consider the events unfolding in Palestine to be Bush's fault. And there are those who are already calling for dialogue with the new power structure in Gaza.

See the gathering of Hamas government ministers above.

Are you out of your mind?

Photo courtesy of the New York Times

This Is Very Cool

Click below to view a glacier in Argentina slowly melting into the ocean. Al Gore will see it as being another example of global warming. In fact, it's what more sane people in a more sane time called the spring thaw.

Anyway, it's something to watch.

* Media player and decent modem speed required.