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

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Hush Money

Why would the Virginia Department of Transportation shell out three quarters of a million dollars for sidewalks, lighting, bike racks, and interpretive signage in Cedar Bluff and for a hiking trail in rural Buchanan County? Because it calms the restless natives.

Witness:

Grant approved for Cedar Bluff downtown
By Angie Arms, Richlands News-Press Staff


Cedar Bluff – Recently $17.2 million in enhancement grants were approved by the Department of Transportation as part of the Transportation Enhancement Program, the two largest grants being allotted to two local southwest Virginia projects.

Cedar Bluff was granted $350,000 for the construction of sidewalks, lighting, bike racks, and interpretive signage along Old Kentucky Turnpike adjacent to Indian Creek.

Town Manager Jim McGlothlin said this is phase two of a four phase project that will add greatly to the downtown area of the Town.

“It’s very exciting,” said McGlothlin. “It’s very competitive and some don’t get those funds at all.”

The project, said McGlothlin is an endeavor to instill pride, community togetherness and pedestrian safety in the Town of Cedar Bluff.

Receiving the largest amount of grant money was the Jewell Valley Greenway project in Buchanan County. The project will be for the construction of a bicycle/hiking trail on an abandoned railroad in the amount of $400,000. The total cost for this project is estimated at $1,080,000 ... (link)
Very exciting? That depends on your perspective. How does any of this equate to economic growth? In the cases of Tazewell and Buchanan Counties, economic recovery?

Cedar Bluff continues to lose population (1.8% since 2000). Nearby Buchanan County, where that $1 million bike path is being carved into the forest, is estimated to have lost one tenth of its citizens in just the last six years. The poverty rate there is twice the state average. Per capita income is little better than a third of that which the average Virginian earns in a year's time. One third.

Bike paths and interpretive signs may indeed instill pride in people. Those that remain behind. But hope for the future would be even better. Hope brought about by a viable economic recovery plan.

In lieu of that prospect, look forward to our political aristocracy, like that of pre-revolution France tossing coins to the masses from the cal├Ęche, tossing more hush money - bike racks! - at an ever-shrinking, ever-more impoverished, but easily placated populace.

It's All About Cash Flow

From Business 101: What is a corporation's (a sizeable number of corporations anyway) most controllable expense? That's right, payroll. And what's the easiest way to control payroll expenses? By reducing staff. Followed by reducing wages.

But what if reducing either wages or the number of personnel makes your business incapable of competing in the marketplace?

Welcome to Virginia Intermont College.
Increase in salaries and tuition discounts to students blamed for Virginia Intermont's financial woes
By David McGee, Bristol Herald-Courier Staff Writer

The Bristol Herald Courier reviewed seven years worth of records, obtained through GuideStar.org, an online information resource for nonprofit organizations.

During the seven years studied, tuition assistance increased about $2.5 million – from about $2 million in 1998 to $4.5 million in 2004.

But spending for salaries rose even more – increasing from $3.9 million in 1998 to $6.6 million in 2004. (link)
Had Virginia Intermont been able to grow its revenue at the same time it was increasing its payroll, all would have been fine. But it faced the worst of both worlds. While dealing with substantially increased costs, it found itself having to provide deep discounts in order to attract students.

It now faces judgement day.

Virginia Intermont, located in Bristol, employs 280 administrators, faculty, and staff.

43 Years Too Late

Distance runner Roger Bannister electrified the world, and became an overnight celebrity, in 1964 when he broke the four-minute mile barrier. His was a feat never before accomplished by anyone in the history of the human race.

Virginia Tech's Billy Berlin recently reached the same milestone and ... so what's on MTV this evening?

Lest We Forget

From a Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial this morning:

"The Bush-Kennedy immigration bill may be dead; the issue is not settled, however. Almost everyone agrees the status quo remains unacceptable. Reform must occur."

"Fenced In," July 8, 2007

Why The Fair Tax Will Never Fly

There are too many people in this country who believe that the 40% of us who pay no federal taxes is fair to the 60% who pay it all.

Food For Thought

From a landowner in Eagle Rock:

"Jobs are very important to Botetourt County. General Shale is a good, tried-and-true provider of jobs. Be careful how you treat them; the next job under attack might be yours."

(link)

Saving The Planet, One Orgy At a Time

Al Gore has gotten through to the rock world. The planet is doomed. They responded to Crazy Al's admonitions by partying like there's no tomorrow:
Green Groups' 'Trash' Concert Excesses
By Ginger Adams Otis, The New York Post

July 8, 2007 -- The concerts boasted white-hot superstars and a cause that's green, but the Live Earth eco-palooza has some environmentalists seeing red.

Among the excesses were private jets used to fly performers to far- flung places like Johannesburg, where glitterati like Joss Stone and UB40 played.

Miami-based Latin heartthrobs Enrique Iglesias and Shakira traveled to Hamburg, Germany.

London's Wembley Stadium had headliners like Madonna, whose jet-setting, multi-home lifestyle produces more greenhouse gases annually than 14,000 people in Malawi, the African home of her son.

The New Jersey event alone churned out tons of greenhouse gases and created truckloads of trash.

After the shows are over, the Daily Mail estimates that there will be about 1,025 tons of garbage left - which will probably end up in landfills. (link)


The enlightened crowd will be lined up Monday morning - along with Al Gore - at the window to buy their penitence, otherwise known these days as carbon offsets.

And then it's back to their private jets for another preach-to-the-masses-about-what-they-need-to-do-to-save-the-planet event.

Oh, and expect Madonna to adopt another black kid, another "offset" to balance her life's little excesses.

Ron Who?

How humiliating must this be?
Ron Paul Tops McCain in Cash on Hand
ABC News

ABC News' George Stephanopoulos Reports: Though often regarded as a longshot candidate for president, Republican Ron Paul tells ABC News that he has an impressive $2.4 million in cash on hand after raising an equal amount during the second quarter, putting him ahead of one-time Republican frontrunner John McCain, who reported this week he has only $2 million in the bank. (link)
Many conservatives have migrated to Ron Paul as their candidate because of his straight-as-an-arrow libertarian approach to the issues of the day. He is a man of convictions in a field of calculationists.

Of course, Paul has a snowball's chance in the hot place of ever garnering any serious support, but he can at least claim to be doing better than the media's chosen candidate for 2008.

As for McCain, no one can claim that he didn't bring this on himself.

Quote Of The Day

From reporter Glenda Cooper on "Live Earth":

"'If you want to save the planet, I want you to start jumping up and down!' Thus Madonna revealed her plan to combat global warming."

"Live Earth London's Glacial Pacing," The Washington Post, July 8, 2007

Quote Of The Day II

From a Live Earth concert-goer:

"I'm here to, you know, save the Earth, one beer at a time."

(link)