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

Saturday, June 23, 2007

More On That 'Transportation' Funding

"Anonymous" asked the following question after I posted yesterday a link to the just-released VDOT 6-year budget plan, a bewildering portion of which involves allocations to everything under the sun except roads and bridges:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe all of these items are funded through TEA-21 pass throughs. These are federal dollars that can only be used for enhancment projects, e.g. trails.
Well, I won't say you're wrong. But you appear to be less than right.

From the Virginian Review:

I-64 Project In Statewide Plan
Compiled From Staff and Associated Press Reports

Covington will receive funding for a pedestrian and bicycle project that will involve the construction of sidewalks to link residential areas to the downtown area and commercial centers.

The estimated cost is $668,000 with construction scheduled to begin next year. Construction is expected to cost $589,000, with an additional $80,000 for preliminary engineering. Covington must provide $25,000 in matching funds.

The Commonwealth Transportation’s Board action Thursday came as funding legislation approved by the General Assembly is about to take effect. The six-year transportation plan is sweetened by about $500 million a year that will be generated by the General Assembly’s three-part transportation bill. (link)

The way I read that, it's the state of Virginia (uh, you and me) that is putting up the money - through the department of transportation - for all those hiking trails, bike paths, interpretive centers, blockhouses (!), and now sidewalks.

That would be our cash-strapped department of transportation. A blockhouse.

And let's not let it go unnoticed that a million of our hard-earned tax dollars (over and above what's already been spent) are allocated to repair that damned bridge along the Virginia Creeper Trail that Congressman Boucher and his new bride like to stroll across every year or so.

Sourcing may be something of an issue. But the expenditures themselves are the bigger one. Why can't we take the money being wasted here and devote it to that Coalfields Expressway that Delegate Danny Bowling (D-Tazewell) wants to move forward on? The same Coalfields Expressway that has been languishing for years.

Instead we're putting $1.6 million into a walking bridge that few human beings will ever traverse.

Where are our priorities?

The Kids Must Be Out Of School

How much fuel do you suppose will be expended, how much carbon dioxide spewed into the atmosphere, how much energy wasted on this get together of children with stars in their eyes and mush for brains?
Planned Wise County, Va., coal-fired power plant will be focus of Monday protest
By Amy Hunter, Bristol Herald-Courier

A parcel of land in Southwest Virginia has become the focus of a statewide debate, and on Monday protesters will take their message to Richmond – No new power plant in Wise County.

Up to 200 people are expected to gather in front of Dominion Power’s Richmond headquarters on Monday to protest construction of a coal-fired plant in Wise County they say would pollute the community and do more harm than good.

But Dominion officials maintain the plant’s benefits outweigh its negatives.

"It will create hundreds of jobs," said Dan Genest, Dominion spokesman.

Protest organizer Hannah Morgan, and fellow protesters, want Dominion to take the estimated $1 billion allocated for the plant and invest it in conservation efforts and renewable energy. (link)
Which "renewable energy" resource Hannah has in mind wasn't made clear. The only one we have in abundance around here is timber. But I somehow suspect that Ms. Morgan and her teenage friends weren't thinking of having Dominion Power burn wood so as to be able to provide her with air conditioning and electricity. Heaven forefend.

Biofuels are the fad of the moment. But we're now learning that they aren't so cool. Hydro? No no. How about solar? Great, if you want to power your pocket calculator. During daytime hours.
Wind? YOU explain it to the little orphaned birdies.

So where does that leave us?

With kids who have time on their hands and a world they think they need to save.

If only they had solutions bouncing around in those skulls ...

This Is Troubling

I knew there was something about presidential candidate-perhaps Fred Thompson that made me uncomfortable. Something about his past. Something that made me feel that he was less of a conservative than all the conservatives around the country were telling us he was.

That something, I'm now reminded, had to do with John McCain (naturally) and the most egregious affront to liberty that Congress - with the full support of the Supreme Court and President Bush - has foisted upon this great nation in my lifetime. In a Washington Times editorial ("How conservative is Fred Thompson? ") that is dizzying with statistics, we learn this:
Probably Mr. Thompson's most serious and most repeated transgression against conservative orthodoxy was his habitual embrace of the various renditions of the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance "reform" legislation, which he not infrequently characterized as "McCain-Feingold-Thompson." Indeed, in his June 18 Newsweek column, "Of Tulips and Fred Thompson," George Will described Mr. Thompson's fascination with campaign-finance "reform" as follows: "Although Thompson presents himself as a strict constitutionalist and an advocate of limited government, he voted for, and still supports, the McCain-Feingold law, which empowers the government to regulate the quantity, content and timing of speech about government."
This is very troubling. McCain-Feingold is a gross assault on our precious 1st Amendment. How many other amendments is Mr. Thompson willing to throw over the side in order to fashion a nation that he and John McCain will find acceptable?

Do we really want to find out?

Feeling The Heat

We make progress, but ...
Bloggers, radio reshaping bill on immigration
By Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times

The top Senate Republican negotiator on immigration said he has heard the complaints of conservative talk-radio show hosts and bloggers, and will try to change the immigration bill to accommodate them.

Sen. Jon Kyl, the Arizona Republican who wrote the bill with Democrats and the Bush administration, said he is making moves to stiffen immigration law enforcement when the Senate bill returns to the floor next week.

"All of the concerns from our constituents and some in the media have been listened to, and incorporated," said Mr. Kyl, who is drafting new provisions in an amendment he hopes to offer. (link)
Senator Kyl is coming around. Slowly. But he's still not getting the message.

Jon: End it! Don't mend it!

We don't want any part of that McCain-Kennedy bill to go forward. We want you guys to live up to the promises you've already made. Remember that 700 mile fence you committed to? Build it.

Stop the lawlessness along our southern border and then we'll talk about z-visas, amnesty, and guest workers. Until then, forget it.

On The Press & 'Ethics'

It doesn't get any better than this. A member of the mainstream media writes a column on ethics, of all things, and gets dumped for, of all things, performing a clearly unethical act.

The sordid tale:

'Unethical' Writer Told: Move On
By Ian Bishop, New York Post Correspondent

Washington - A newspaper in Washington state announced yesterday it was dumping the "The Ethicist" column of New York Times writer Randy Cohen after he was fingered for forking over campaign cash to the liberal MoveOn.org.

"It would by hypocritical of us to run an ethics column by a journalist in violation of our own ethics policy," editor Steven Smith wrote online.

"Had he been a Spokesman-Review staff member, he would have faced suspension, at least . . . So we're dropping the column. We'll look elsewhere for a publishable ethicist."

Cohen was named this week in an MSNBC report detailing the political donations of 144 reporters, editors, TV producers and other workers at media organizations, nearly 90 percent of whom were found to have given money to Democrats and other left-leaning political outfits. Cohen gave $585 in 2004 to MoveOn.org as it worked to replace President Bush with Democrat John Kerry. (link)

When asked about his obvious lapse in judgement, Cohen at first didn't see a problem with his actions but then fessed up: "That said, Times policy does forbid my making such donations, and I will not do so in the future."

I didn't do anything wrong but I'll never do it again. From the New York Times' ethicist.

Good grief.

Wishful Thinking

Why does this headline in the New York Times this morning read like nothing more than gossip?

North Korea Is Said to Agree to Shut Reactor Soon

Is said to ... soon. From a National Enquirer wanna-be.