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

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Name From The Past

An obituary in the Richmond Times-Dispatch caught my eye this morning:
Edmund Saunders Ruffin dies
A former executive and business owner, he owned Charles City's Evelynton
By Jeremy Slayton, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

Edmund Saunders Ruffin's roots were firmly entrenched in Virginia's deep history.

Mr. Ruffin, whose ancestors trod Virginia's soil in the mid-1600s and include a notable Civil War figure, died of complications from cancer Sunday in his Charles City County home, the historic Evelynton Plantation. He was 77.

He grew up in the Georgian Revival manor house, located on land that has belonged to the Ruffin family since 1847.

Mr. Ruffin carried the name of his great-great-grandfather, Edmund Ruffin, born in 1794 and an innovative agriculturist well-known in the years before the Civil War. But his lasting fame is as one of the Southern "Fire Eaters" who fanned the flames of the secessionist movement.

Some accounts of the Civil War credit Ruffin with firing the first shot of the conflict. (link)
Besides being credited with having fired the first shot of the Civil War, (and for being the most rabid slavery advocate in the antebellum South), Edmund Ruffin provides two other footnotes to our history. He pioneered the use of marl, which is in abundance in Tidewater Virginia, as a fertilizer (to be accurate, it served the purpose that lime serves today as a pH balancer) for his farm fields, in an era when farmers didn't know what a fertilizer was; they simply shut down their operations on played-out fields and moved west, where copious amounts of fertile land were available.

And, for the next time you're thinking up trivia questions, there's this: Edmund Ruffin was (at least to my knowledge) the only man in American history to have committed suicide because the South lost the Civil War. Look it up.

Fair Is Fair

A college student - and non-taxpayer - is all for raising taxes on those who actually pay them. To prevent global warming.

I'm for raising taxes on college students who believe a tax is going to alleviate the threat of global warming.

Imprisonment is another option we might discuss though.

Roanoke Is Number 1!

Roanoke County has claimed a dubious distinction. When it comes to the hated property tax, it leads the league. Numero uno:
Roanoke Co., city trump many areas with real estate tax
By Cody Lowe, The Roanoke Times

Roanoke County has the highest "effective" real estate tax rate of Virginia's 95 counties, and Roanoke's rate is even higher, although it places fifth among the state's 39 cities.

The effective tax rate figures, based on the latest available data from 2004, were computed by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia. The effective tax rate measures the proximity of the city's estimated market value of a house to its actual sale price.
Actually that last line isn't accurate. For the purpose of comparison, the effective property tax rate is determined by taking the amount of property taxes that a person paid in the previous year and estimating the current value that person's home. By dividing the tax payment by the market value, it’s possible to estimate an "effective" property tax rate. That rate is then compared to those of citizens around the state, by county and city.

And having used that formula, the Weldon Cooper Center has ranked Roanoke County number 1.

So, is this and the fact that the Roanoke MSA* is ranked 192nd out of
America's 200 best performing cities causation or correlation?

* Metropolitan Statistical Area

No Need For Tightened Security In Roanoke

Roanoke Regional Airport has the best anti-terror weapon known to western civilization. Airlines flying in and out of there have priced seats on their planes at such a level that few want to - or can afford to - use the facility. Thus, with no passengers using the airport, there's a lessened chance of a terror attack.

Not that that stops the feds from putting in place a lot more restrictions anyway:
Tightened security applies to Roanoke airport
Roanoke Times Staff report

The federal government has tightened curbside security at all U.S. airports in response to recent terrorist incidents in Great Britain. These procedures will affect Roanoke Regional Airport too ... (link)
The most expensive flight I've ever been on - $1500 - five years ago - came out of Roanoke. It was also the only flight I've ever been on out of there. I now use Greensboro almost exclusively.

You want to reduce the threat of a terror attack? Reduce the number of people coming through your facility by making the product you are selling uncompetitive. On that you have succeeded.

This Is Senator Leahy On Drugs ...

I had to laugh when I read this wildly over-the-top analogy from liberal (and obviously psychotic) Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy:
Talking point
Roanoke Times editorial

"Law enforcement can't be partisan. Law enforcement can't decide, 'Well, we'll arrest this person because they're a Democrat but not this person because they're a Republican,' or the other way around."

-- Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, explaining Sunday on "Meet the Press" why he will seek criminal contempt of Congress citations against the White House if it does not give congressional investigators documents related to last year's firing of nine federal prosecutors. (link)
Arrest? Who's been arrested? These attorneys were hired by the Justice Department because of their political connections. They were fired to make room for different politically connected attorneys. This has been going on since the beginning of time.

Leahy needs to get back on his meds. Or sharpen his comedy club routine.

Man, Did This Gal Have a Voice

Opera singer Beverly Sills has died of lung cancer. She leaves behind some wonderful memories.

Photo courtesy of the Women's International Center

It's Warner In a Cakewalk

If the GOP makes what's becoming a common mistake and puts up a liberal candidate for senator, thinking it can win northern Virginia by doing so, Mark Warner will triumph going away.

But that very strategy is now being run up the flagpole:
Warner-Davis matchup seen as 'a battle royal'
Adrianne Washington, The Washington Times

Will the next U.S. Senate race in the Old Dominion be as much a "battle royal" as the last that left both contenders with bloody knuckles? We can only hope if the next candidates are indeed Democrat Mark Warner, the former governor, and Republican Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, as wishful observers predict.

"Tom Davis is going to run, and Tom would be a formidable candidate," said Rep. James P. Moran, Virginia Democrat ... (link)
Formidable indeed. Davis will capture at least 40% of the vote. And will come in a respectable second. In a two man field.

Look. Virginia remains a very conservative state. The electorate deserves a Republican candidate who reflects - and is willing to voice - our conservative sentiments. Davis ain't the guy to do that.

Lock 'Em In A Room

This is rich. Filmmaker Oliver Stone, a leftist who never met an authoritarian dictator he didn't like, has been spurned by the biggest one of all. Stone wanted to do a movie - laudatory and slavish one might imagine - about the life of Iranian madman, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but the president of Iran has rejected him. It seems Stone is considered one of us by the Islamist.

Little does he know:
'Great Satan' Oliver Stone

July 3, 2007 -- Tehran - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has rejected a proposal by Oliver Stone to make a film about him because the Oscar-winning director is part of the "great Satan" cultural establishment, a news agency reported.

"I sent a negative answer by Ahmadinejad to Oliver Stone," the Fars agency quoted Mehdi Kalhor, media adviser to the president, as saying. "It is right that this person is considered part of the opposition in the U.S., but opposition in the U.S. is a part of the great Satan."
That's funny. Mahmoud thinks Stone is an American. Such the laugh.

Gittin' 'er Done

What the United States Senate can't do, governors around this great land can:

Arizona Governor Signs Tough Bill on Hiring Illegal Immigrants
By Randal C. Archibold, The New York Times

Expressing frustration with the lack of a federal immigration law overhaul, Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona signed a bill yesterday providing what are thought to be the toughest state sanctions in the country against employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

The bill requires employers to verify the legal status of their employees. If they fail to do so, they risk having their business licenses suspended. A second offense could result in the “business death penalty,” a permanent revocation of the state business license, effectively preventing a business from operating in the state. (link)

This law is similar to one we have here in Virgini ... uh, never mind. We have no such law that takes away a businessman's license to operate should he fail to check the citizenship and work status of his employees. We're waiting for Congress to act. Before the next millenium, one might hope.

Where's Governor Tim Kaine?

Not Your Poor Huddled Masses

How is it those on the left in this country like to characterize their friends in the terrorism world? Oppressed, impoverished, illiterate, forlorn, hopeless?

How about well-educated professionals:
Medical Workers Emerge as Focus in British Inquiry
By Alan Cowell and Raymond Bonner, The New York Times

London, Tuesday, July 3 — British police officials investigating the failed car bombings in London and Glasgow focused Monday on suspects in the medical profession, including a doctor from Jordan, another from Iraq, and medical workers or students. As many as five of the seven people arrested so far in Britain appear to have such links.

The seeming connection to medical personnel troubled many Britons used to seeing the profession as a bastion of trustworthiness and benevolence. Many of the staff at the state-run National Health Service hospitals are foreigners. (link)
When will we finally agree that the reason these animals are trying to kill westerners has nothing to do with the rung they occupy on the economic ladder or with how mistreated they are by us.

They are Islamists. Their mission is to slay all infidels. You included.

Not My Idea Of A Churchill

"It's okay, honey. You go ahead and be commander-in-chief and leader of the free world. I'll be right here behind you to watch over you. They said they'd call when the wash is done."

And this little housewife is going to send armies into battle? Before or after she finishes baking her cookies? Frightening.

Photo courtesy of Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

McCain In Flames

The McCain For President campaign is in ruins. It's a good day:
Pressed for Money, McCain Cuts Campaign Staff
By Carl Hulse and Adam Nagourney, The New York Times

The presidential campaign of Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican who once seemed poised to be his party’s nominee in 2008, acknowledged yesterday that it was in a political and financial crisis as a drop in fund-raising forced it to dismiss dozens of workers and aides and retool its strategy on where to compete.

The campaign said the decline in contributions had left it with $2 million. It said it had raised just $11.2 million over the last three months, despite Mr. McCain’s promise to do better than his anemic $13 million showing in the first three months of the year.

Mr. McCain’s advisers blamed his close association with the recently defeated immigration bill, which was strongly opposed by conservatives already skeptical of his ideological credentials. (link)
The amnesty bill was only the latest stab in the back. McCain's opposition to tax cuts and his opposition to drilling for oil in ANWR made him a marked man within his party as well.

And then there is that legislation of his that will make his mark in history, the greatest assault on the 1st Amendment since this great country was founded. McCain-Feingold.

Bye bye, Johnny.

Libby Unshackled

This, under the circumstances, seems appropriate:

Bush Spares Libby 30-Month Jail Term
By Scott Shane and Neil A. Lewis, The New York Times

Washington, July 2 — President Bush spared I. Lewis Libby Jr. from prison Monday, commuting his two-and-a-half-year sentence while leaving intact his conviction for perjury and obstruction of justice in the C.I.A. leak case.

Mr. Bush’s action, announced hours after a panel of judges ruled that Mr. Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, could not put off serving his sentence while he appealed his conviction, came as a surprise to all but a few members of the president’s inner circle.

The president portrayed his commutation of the sentence, which fell short of a pardon and still requires Mr. Libby to pay a $250,000 fine and be on probation for two years, as a carefully considered compromise.

“I respect the jury’s verdict,” Mr. Bush said in a statement. “But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive.” (link)

The Democrats, who fought tooth and nail to keep Bill Clinton out of the slammer for the exact same offense - lying to a grand jury - are now demanding harsher punishment for Libby. Not that they're being hypocritical or anything.

Those who wanted President Bush to issue a full pardon - because the "crime" originally being investigated turned out never to have been a crime - missed a point as well. Scooter Libby lied to a grand jury. For that he deserved some kind of punishment. Considering his superlative record, a fine and probation seem appropriate. We give hardened criminals less.

Good job, Mr. President.