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

Saturday, June 30, 2007

The State Has More Money Than It Needs

How can you tell?

When it spends our hard-earned tax dollars on a local barbecue cookout!
Barbecue championship lands state grant
By Brian Funk, Galax Gazette Staff Reporter

Two years after declaring Galax's annual “Smoke on the Mountain” as the state's official championship barbecue cook-off, Virginia is putting its money where its mouth is.The Virginia Tourism Corporation this week awarded the event a $17,588 grant, which will cover all marketing expenses.

The championship's sponsor, the non-profit Twin County Regional Chamber of Commerce, is the award recipient.“We were surprised and very appreciative ...”
(
link)
... said Chamber Executive Director Judy Brannock as if she were talking to Santa Claus.

In fact, she was.

Money Secured For Trail. Reason Unknown.

Another week goes by. Another trail.
State, federal grant awarded for rail trail
By Nancy Lindsey, The Stuart Enterprise


Patrick County has been awarded $58,000 by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) toward the design and construction of the Mayo River Rail Trail.


The project will be a "three-mile, multi-use trail for the Patrick Springs-Stuart growth corridor along Rt. 58 into downtown Stuart," according to a news release from the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The funds were awarded during the Commonwealth Transportation Board's meeting in Richmond June 21 as part of the federal Transportation Enhancement Program*. The board awarded a total of $17.2 million statewide to support about 85 projects such as biking and hiking trails, crosswalks, pedestrian walkways, sidewalks and streetscaping, the news release stated. (link)
$17 million in transportation funds going to biking and hiking trails, crosswalks, pedestrian walkways, sidewalks and something called streetscaping (for the love of God).

Why that $17 million couldn't be devoted to transportation is beyond anyone's guess.**
__

* My apologies to "anonymous" for doubting him. He had written in a comment recently that this was being passed through the state transportation department and was actually an allocation from the feds.

** Before anyone writes and explains that the federal dollars have to be spent the way the federal government (in the person of Rick Boucher) requires, understand where I'm coming from. If we can call these millions "transportation funds," we can call the Coalfields Expressway a bike path. Problem solved.

How Big Of You

West Virginia, one of the most heavily taxed states in the nation, is taking pity on its poor folk. Legislators there have decided to drop the state tax on food.

Well, no actually it reads that they are dropping the food tax ... 1%.

The tax on food.

In poverty-ravaged West Virginia.

For the love of God:

Food tax dropping to 4 percent
By Greg Jordan, Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Bluefield — A decrease in West Virginia’s food tax could help families living on minimum wage, local human service providers said Friday.

The state’s food tax is scheduled to drop from 5 percent to 4 percent Sunday, said Gov. Joe Manchin. (link)


Read the article. The governor seems quite pleased that he is only taxing bread and milk that go to the starving children at a 4% rate rather than 5.

Joe Marie Antoinette Manchin?

I Have An Idea

This headline (having to do with Pulaski County's use of inmate muscle to clean buildings) got me to thinking:

County: Inmate labor pays off

We need laborers in our farm fields to replace all those illegal Mexicans, right? Hmmm. What say we put their miscreant asses to work pickin' cotton?

Washington County Continues To Grow

If only we could replicate Abingdon around Southwest Virginia:
The Twin City posts modest population gains in 2006
By David McGee, Bristol Herald-courier


Both Bristols posted slight population gains last year, while many smaller towns across the Mountain Empire were stagnant, according to new figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Bristol Tennessee added more than 200 new residents in 2006 ...

Bristol Virginia’s population is estimated at 17,496, a 129-resident increase since the 2000 count.

The populations of most local Tennessee cities and towns continued to grow slowly, but many Virginia communities have experienced no growth or lost residents since the 2000 Census.

Communities in Washington County bucked that trend, as the populations of Abingdon, Damascus and Glade Spring all grew. Abingdon added 153 new residents since 2000, Damascus added 91 and Glade Spring grew by 147. (link)
Nice. Expect to hear how it's attributable to those new hiking trails and bike paths ...

Ouch

While Washington County basks in the warm sunshine of economic growth, Pulaski implodes:
Jobless rate third highest
Pulaski County increase blamed on plant closing, layoffs
By Melinda Williams, Staff Writer, The Southwest Times


Pulaski County — The closing of Pulaski Furniture and furloughs at Volvo left Pulaski County with the third highest unemployment rate in Virginia in May, according to Virginia Employment Commission.

Bill Mezger, chief economist with the VEC, said Pulaski County’s unemployment rate rose nearly

When compared to May 2006, the county’s unemployment rate has doubled. In May of last year the local rate was 3.4 percent, which represented 628 people out of work. full point in the past month, from 6 percent in April to 6.8 percent in May. (link)
This isn't good. And word has it that things will get worse at Volvo before they get better.

Strap yourselves in.

Which Is The Bigger Story Here?

Naked woman drives van into Culpeper (Va) bedroom

(Read the first comment on this story from a Roshan in Sri Lanka here).

A Twisted Mentality

Segregation
Noun: segregation `segru'geyshun
1. A social system that provides separate facilities for minority groups
2. The act of segregating or sequestering

To divide. To sequester. To set apart. To keep away from others.

Does any of this have anything to do with our public schools in 2007 and the decisions parents make regarding where they choose to live?

In the convoluted minds of those at the Roanoke Times it does. To have a neighborhood that is all black, or nearly all black, with local schools reflecting that same demographic somehow translates into the government forcibly, willfully setting little black kids apart from little white kids.

What idiocy:

A return to segregation
A Supreme Court ruling says race can't be a factor in seeking racial balance. What, do tell, should schools use to achieve equality and diversity?

editorial

A narrow, radical majority on the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a half-century of progress toward integration of minorities. In finding the desegregation plans of Seattle and Louisville, Ky., schools unconstitutional, the justices might as well have said, "Stick with your own kind."

Under this ruling, schools can no longer look at the race of students in deciding which schools they should attend in order to achieve diversity that 53 years of progress under Brown v. Board of Education had hoped to achieve.
(
link)

Let me translate that last paragraph:

The government can no longer discriminate on the basis of race. The world as we know it is coming to an end.

And let me answer that first question:


What should schools use to achieve equality and diversity? Nothing. It's not their charge. Not their job. They are to educate (a concept foreign to many), not engender a brave new world.

That, fellas, is up to the parents. If diversity is what they want (an overrated concept in itself), they can move to the burbs and join the many black families (and Roanoke Times employees) that have already done the same.

It's called freedom. Like it or not.

A Prophesy Fulfilled

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will be remembered over time perhaps for one quote. A powerful one it is. A foretelling:

With regard to the government's (governments') powers to seize the property of one private citizen and hand it to another:

"Now the specter of condemnation hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the State from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory."

She must have had Roanoke in mind when she wrote those striking words in her dissent to the Kelo v. New London decision.

Group files to condemn properties
The housing authority wants two parcels for Roanoke's Riverside Centre for Research and Technology.
By Matt Chittum, The Roanoke Times


The Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority's perfect record of acquiring land for Roanoke's Riverside Centre for Research and Technology without fully flexing its condemnation muscles came to an end Friday.

The authority filed a petition to condemn two properties on Reserve Avenue that are home to Surfaces, a flooring company.

Historically, condemnation has been used for the creation of parks and highways and setting up utilities. (link)


Parks and highways? How quaint.

Not anymore. Today it's used to transfer property from a less fortunate landowner to a wealthier one. In the name of tax revenue. With the support of the United States Supreme Court.

Stalin got away with this using the point of a gun. This is not who we are. This can not continue.

Hmmmm

This is worth a ponder:
Richardson's Campaign Raises $7 Million
By Jim Kunhenn, The Associated Press


Washington -- New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson raised $7 million for his Democratic presidential campaign during the last three months, surpassing his first quarter fundraising, his campaign announced Friday.

The total places Richardson firmly in fourth place in the race for money among Democrats, behind John Edwards and pack-leading Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama. (link)
Bill Richardson happens to be the only "conservative" in a field full of zany liberals in the race for the Democratic nomination for president. Well, conservative by Democrat standards anyway. Which puts him just to the right of Ho Chi Minh.

Sure, he tries his best to disguise his moderation by spewing the same mindless platitudes as his rabidly liberal opponents (did you hear them all pandering to that black audience in the debate the other day? It was painful beyond tears) but he has governed New Mexico as somewhat of a sane politician. In an asylum full of whackjobs, Bill Richardson stands out as someone who could rise above the maddened crowd, and be a contender the American people could perhaps tolerate.

Methinks we should keep an eye on him.

We'll See About That

Bill's Failure Has Immigrants Down, Not Leaving

Like They Have Any Other Plans?

Democrats Plan to Press GOP on Iraq

Where To Go From Here

I heard someone on TV the other day say that those who were in opposition to the amnesty bill were making a lot of noise but weren't offering any alternatives to the plan. The man obviously wasn't listening. Either that or he decided to tune us out. We've been shouting it from the rooftops for weeks now for all to hear.

To wit:
Bush urged to fund security
By Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times


Democrats and Republicans who blocked the Senate immigration bill this week say it's now time to focus on immigration law enforcement, and say President Bush should still find a way to pump $4.4 billion he promised into border security.

"There is a consensus that we must secure our borders and enforce our laws. So let's start there," said Sen. Elizabeth Dole, North Carolina Republican; while Sen. Wayne Allard, Colorado Republican, said Congress should "find common-sense solutions to the labor concerns we face in the agriculture industry and start doing what we all know needs to be done — secure the border and enforce our existing laws." (link)
It's not written in Greek. And there are no big words in that message so even Barbara Boxer should be able to understand it.

You guys promised to secure the borders in years past. You said you would protect us after 9/11. You paid for a fence. Build it. Secure it. Provide protection.

Make our laws more than a joke.

Then we'll help the nation's wealthy mega-farmers find enough slave labor to keep them in the lavish lifestyle to which they've grown accustomed.

He Was a Marvelous Talent


Joel Siegel dead at 63.
.
Photo courtesy of E! News.

Amnesty Bill Postmortem

More on how an aroused citizenry can stop the government in its tracks:
Phone Call Mutiny
How Citizens Felled The Border Bill
By Rich Lowry, The New York Post

The fight over the immigration bill was the first instance of an insider parliamentary struggle in which bloggers, talk-radio hosts and citizens were able to have a major voice through the synergistic power of the Internet, radio waves and telephone lines. Bloggers picked apart the bill, talk-radio-show hosts broadcast its flaws and ordinary people jammed their senators' phone lines - blocking what had begun as a kind of legislative coup.

The creators of the Senate's so-called Grand Bargain - giving illegal aliens legal status in exchange for new enforcement measures - originally hoped to slam it through the Senate in a matter of days. Even as they held a self-congratulatory press conference about the bargain, no one had seen the text of the 300-page bill. Their implicit axiom was, "Trust us."

It quickly became clear that was impossible. (link)
It's not often that the American people get as worked up over a federal issue as they did with this immigration bill. I think the last time I saw the kind of passions being displayed was when Bill Clinton forced that "assault weapons" ban down our throats.

What will be interesting to watch from here on out is the manner in which Congress reacts to a surly nation, in no mood for Ted Kennedy and his 1960's approach to solving America's problems. Will our august leadership there react as the New York Times editorial page did this morning and view it as nothing more than noise? I dare them.

The Senate ignores us at its peril.

Ya Think?

Failure of Senate Immigration Bill Can Be Lesson for Congress, Experts Say

Breaking News

Kyuma: Atomic Bombs Ended World War II

Why We Fight

There are many Americans who think that we need to walk away from Iraq. Because there are terrorists there hurting people. That if we walk away, we'll be able to avoid the terrorists and, therefore, the bloodshed.

Welcome to Planet Earth:
London Finds Linked Bombs, a Qaeda Tactic
By Alan Cowell, The New York Times


London, June 29 — London was gripped by a terrorist threat on Friday when the police found two Mercedes sedans packed with gasoline, nails and gas canisters that had been parked near Piccadilly Circus in the bustling West End entertainment district.

The police defused both bombs, but had they exploded “there could have been significant injury or loss of life,” Peter Clarke, Britain’s senior counterterrorism police official, told reporters. (link)
These guys are not fighting us because we are in Iraq.

These animals are fighting us because we are alive.