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

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Birthday Boy

Is it possible that Chase is five years old already?

That's him (deep in thought) next to yours truly in this photo taken at his birthday party in Longwood Park, Salem.

Happy birthday, Chase.

The Bottom Line

You want to stop global warming? It will require that you give up all your worldly possessions, cook meat over a campfire, forage for other foods, and live in a cave. Still interested?

Sure you are.

But here's your future, if you allow it:
Climate Change Debate Hinges On Economics
Lawmakers Doubt Voters Would Fund Big Carbon Cuts
By Steven Mufson, Washington Post Staff Writer

Here's the good news about climate change: Energy and climate experts say the world already possesses the technological know-how for trimming greenhouse gas emissions enough to slow the perilous rise in the Earth's temperatures.

Here's the bad news: Because of the enormous cost of addressing global warming, the energy legislation considered by Congress so far will make barely a dent in the problem, while farther-reaching climate proposals stand a remote chance of passage.

The potential economic impact of meaningful climate legislation -- enough to reduce U.S. emissions by at least 60 percent -- is vast. Automobiles would have to get double their current miles to the gallon. Building codes would have to be tougher, requiring use of more energy-efficient materials. To stimulate and pay for new technologies, U.S. electricity bills could rise by 25 to 33 percent, some experts estimate ... (link)
This is wishful thinking, of course. The Kyoto Protocols, signed with great fanfare by most of the world's member nations as a cure-all to the problem, which called for major rollbacks of greenhouse gas emissions that could potentially do great harm to the world economy, would only reduce global warming by 0.07 degrees Celsius (source). Got that? A whopping 0.07 degrees.

Even dramatically increased electric bills and higher fuel economy standards won't put a dent in it. Life as we know it will have to be brought to an end, if the "experts" get their way.

All this over a theory that is rapidly losing adherents.

May God have mercy on - and bring enlightenment to - the weak of mind who lead us down this path.

George Will On a Tear

"Measured" is how I might describe Washington Post columnist George Will's approach to his subject matter. "Restrained" perhaps.

Usually. But not today.

Today he takes no prisoners. And the word "contemptuous" comes to mind:
Forfeited Glory
By George F. Will, The Washington Post

During the campus convulsions of the late 1960s, when rebellion against any authority was considered obedience to every virtue, the film "To Die in Madrid," a documentary about the Spanish Civil War, was shown at a small liberal arts college famous for, and vain about, its dedication to all things progressive. When the film's narrator intoned, "The rebels advanced on Madrid," the students, who adored rebels and were innocent of information, cheered. Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, had been so busy turning undergraduates into vessels of liberalism and apostles of social improvement that it had not found time for the tiresome task of teaching them tedious facts, such as that the rebels in Spain were Franco's fascists.

That illustrates why it is heartening that Antioch will close after the 2007-08 academic year. Its board of trustees says the decision is to "suspend operations," and it talks dottily about reviving the institution in 2012. There is, however, a minuscule market for what Antioch sells for a tuition, room and board of $35,221 -- repressive liberalism unleavened by learning. (link)
"... the students, who adored rebels and were innocent of information, cheered."

"... repressive liberalism unleavened by learning."

As only George Will can say it.

Poll: We're Not That Stupid

The Washington Post conducted a poll and found out that the majority of Virginia residents can separate out the political doings in Washington from that which takes place in Richmond.

Who would have thought?

Voters Allow a Separation of Blame
Political Discontent Might Not Affect General Assembly Control, Poll Finds
By Tim Craig and Jon Cohen, Washington Post Staff Writers

Virginia residents' negative feelings toward the Bush administration and the national Republican Party have not tarnished state Republicans or broadly diminished their chances to keep control of the General Assembly after the Nov. 6 election.

Although Virginia residents say they strongly disapprove of the war in Iraq, more than half of the state's voters approve of the state Republican Party, and a sizable majority has confidence in the state government to make the right decisions for the future.

The findings stem from a poll conducted by The Washington Post, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University. (link)

Go figure. According to this exhaustive and comprehensive poll of Virginia voters, we won't be thinking about the war raging in Iraq when we go into the polls to vote in statewide or local elections. We're not as stupid as some might think.

No, it's going to take a lot more than war fatigue to influence us.

Now something like an innocuous racial slur that none of us had ever heard before and that only North African nomadic tribesmen can comprehend and take offense at ...

... now that's a different matter altogether.

No, we ain't stupid.

All Rankings Are Relative

Virginia's business climate is ranked first. West Virginia's is ranked last.

But only compared to each other. Add the rest of the global business community, and both suck:

We're Number One, Alas
The Wall Street Journal

Some good news on the tax cutting front: Last week lawmakers approved an 8.9 percentage point reduction in the corporate income tax rate. Too bad the tax cutters are Germans, not Americans.

There's a trend here. At least 25 developed nations have adopted Reaganite corporate income tax rate cuts since 2001. The U.S. is conspicuously not one of them. Vietnam has recently announced it is cutting its corporate rate to 25% from 28%. Singapore has approved a corporate tax cut to 18% from 20% to compete with low-tax Hong Kong's rate of 17.5%, and Northern Ireland is making a bid to slash its corporate tax rate to 12.5% to keep pace with the same low rate in the prosperous Republic of Ireland. Even in France, of all places, new President Nicolas Sarkozy has proposed reducing the corporate tax rate to 25% from 34.4%.

What do politicians in these countries understand that the U.S. Congress doesn't? Perhaps they've read "International Competitiveness for Dummies." In each of the countries that have cut corporate tax rates this year, the motivation has been the same -- to boost the nation's attractiveness as a location for international investment. Germany's overall rate will fall to 29.8% by 2008 from 38.7%. Remarkably, at the start of this decade Germany's corporate tax rate was 52%.

All of which means that the U.S. now has the unflattering distinction of having the developed world's highest corporate tax rate of 39.3% (35% federal plus a state average of 4.3%), according to the Tax Foundation. (link)

Those of you who think America's corprorations are the root of all evil will take delight in knowing that the USA has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world, including all those socialist countries of Olde Europe. Your efforts have paid off. Hope you like those Chinese shoes you're wearing, by the way.

As for the more mature among you, that statement of fact - "the U.S. now has the unflattering distinction of having the developed world's highest corporate tax rate" - should frighten the Honduran socks off of you.

And the Democrats are in charge. It's only going to get worse.

May God have mercy.

Another Reason To Oppose The Poor Tax

I made mention yesterday of the efforts in Congress to raise taxes on the poor. Today comes news that President Bush is going to veto that effort, not because the dramatic increase in cigarette taxes that the Democrats are proposing would overwhelmingly impact those least able to afford it, though it would, but because people who don't need a government handout would be benefitting:

Bush Is Prepared to Veto Bill to Expand Child Insurance
By Robert Pear, The New York Times

Washington, July 14 — The White House said on Saturday that President Bush would veto a bipartisan plan to expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program, drafted over the last six months by senior members of the Senate Finance Committee.

The new spending would be financed by an increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco products. The tax on cigarettes would rise to $1 a pack, from the current 39 cents.

White House officials said the president had several other reasons to veto the bipartisan Senate plan.

“The proposal would dramatically expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program, adding nonpoor children to the program, and more than doubling the level of spending,” Mr. Fratto said. “This will have the effect of encouraging many to drop private coverage, to go on the government-subsidized program.” (link)

I can think of another reason why most in Congress support this measure. Neither they nor their family members nor friends (nor contributors) smoke. It's just poor people. So stick it to 'em!

But to the president's point: There's something seriously wrong with us when we encourage middle class America to join the welfare ranks, which this legislation does by enticing people to drop their private health insurance and to sign on to a government handout.

Poor people being asked to support those in a much better financial status.

What are we doing to ourselves?

Don't Believe Me?

O, ye of little faith.

When I tell you that a tax on cigarettes is a tax on the most disadvantaged among us, don't question it. And don't think for a minute that "Big Tobacco" pays it. It's those smelly, disheveled proles in that trailer park that you shield your childrens' eyes from as you accelerate past that get it in the shorts.

Don't believe me? Believe the experts:
New Studies: Cigarette Taxes Rising Fast and Hardest on the Poor
By Nate Bailey, The Tax Foundation

Washington, DC, July 13, 2007 - Rising even faster than property taxes, cigarette taxes are harder on the poor than any federal tax, according to two new publications about the Congress's current effort to raise the federal cigarette tax.

"The burden of the proposed cigarette tax hike on the lowest-earning 20 percent of households is 37 times heavier than it would be if the government raised the money with the federal income tax," asserts Prante. (link)
The burden is 37 times heavier. The poor.

Not that anyone cares.

Said Marie Antoinette about the huddled masses: "They should quit eating anyway."

Sure They Have

I'd like to modify President Reagan's admonition regarding the old Soviet Union:

Distrust and Verify

I'm not buying this news for a second:
North Koreans Say Nuclear Reactor Is Shut
By David E. Sanger, The New York Times

North Korea told the United States yesterday that it had shut down its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon and readmitted a permanent international inspection team, completing its first step toward reversing a four-year-long confrontation with the United States during which the North has made fuel for a small but potent arsenal of nuclear weapons.

North Korea sent the announcement through ... (link)
This is the sort of announcement, backed up with absolutely no proof, that the New York Times editorial page eats up. The folks there have been highly critical in the past of President Bush for not getting a nuclear agreement from the North Koreans. Let's see if there is high praise for him this morning in a gushing editorial of commendation.

... ummmm ...

Nope. Nothing. Go figure.

Gilmore Bows Out

I don't think anyone was surprised by this announcement from Governor Jim Gilmore:
I am today withdrawing my candidacy for the Republican nomination for President. It has been a positive and rewarding experience for me, for my family, and for my supporters.

It has become apparent to me that the combination of my late start, and the front loaded nature of the primary schedule, have made it impractical to continue
to pursue this path towards further public service.

I am proud of the fact that my campaign focused on the issues, worked hard to block amnesty for illegal immigrants, brought attention to the need to protect private property rights, and called for a new path in Iraq that would provide our valiant military men and women with a more clearly defined and achievable mission.

However, I have come to believe that it takes more than a positive vision for our nation's future to successfully compete for the Presidency. I believe ...

A good man's solid conservative voice overwhelmed by the noisy chatter coming from a crowded primary field.

Thanks, Jim. Ya done good.