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

Monday, July 16, 2007

Webb Is Such An Embarrassment

This exchange on NBC's "Meet The Press" (as reported by Yahoo News) sounds like that lunatic, Cindy Sheehan, in debate with Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Instead it's our own Senator James Webb:
"Have you been to Iraq?" Graham demanded.

"I've covered two wars as a correspondent," Webb said. "I have been to Afghanistan as a journalist."

Graham: "Have you been to Iraq and talked to the soldiers?"

Webb: "You know, you've never been to Iraq, Lindsey."

The Republican pointed out he's been there seven times.

"You know," Webb said dismissively, "you can see the dog and pony shows. That's what congressmen do.

"Why don't you go look at the polls, Lindsey, instead of the seven or eight people that are put in front of you when you make your congressional visit?"

Graham tried to ease the tension. It didn't work.

"Let's — something we can agree on," he said, placing his hand on Webb's arm. "We both admire the men and the women in uniform."

"Don't put political words in their mouth," Webb interrupted.
Webb can't even find it in himself to praise the young American men and women who are out there protecting his sorry ass. What a despicable human being.

But What About That Big Elephant In The Room?

A Washington lobbyist, writing in this morning's Roanoke Times, favors the farm bill that is working its way through Congress. Because it will provide funding to certain Virginia farmers so that they can clean up the Chesapeake Bay, he says:

Help for Virginia farmers and the bay
Doug Siglin, director of Federal Affairs for The Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

In the next few days, the House of Representatives will take up the 2007 Farm Bill, which is something it only does twice each decade. Much like farming has cycles, the five-year federal farm bill cycle allows Congress to make needed changes to federal policy in response to new market conditions, new federal budget considerations and many other factors.

Many people, including conservative writer George Will, believe that the cyclical congressional changes to the farm bill have not kept pace with the times. In a recent national column, Will argued that federal farm policy, which began in the 1930s' New Deal, has basically stayed the same while agriculture and society have dramatically evolved. The result is that today, 58 percent of federal payments go to the largest 8 percent of farms.

One modest evolutionary step that the 2007 Farm Bill could take would be to spend more on helping farmers get the tools to control runoff. That would be a win for everyone. Farmers and landowners would benefit from increased access to ... (link)

I had to read this three times. Are we talking about the same farm bill?

Are we talking about the same George Will? The one who wrote in that article cited above:
Agriculture policy -- another manifestation of the welfare state, another contributor to another faction's entitlement mentality -- involves a perennial conundrum of welfare, corporate as well as individual ...
The farm bill we're talking about here doesn't simply involve some environmental mandates or funding of water pollution control programs. That's a very small part of it. It has everything to do with government handouts to farmers. In the last go-round, in 2002, the tab to taxpayers was an eye-popping $248.6 billion. A quarter of a trillion dollars. And, as Will pointed out, 57% of that went to the wealthiest 8% of America's farmers.

So let's get real. Stopping chemical runoff is an admirable endeavor. But it's not what the farm bill is all about. The farm bill is little more than a transfer payment from the American taxpayer to agribusiness. The scope of which, in 2007, may be frightening beyond comprehension.

Rather than support it, we should kill it. Before it breeds.

When The Feds Won't Listen ...

The Roanoke Times editorial page this morning seems to have a problem with Prince William County trying to do something about the serious problem residents there are facing with regard to illegal immigrants (and lots of them) hiding in thir midst. Presumably, those writing the column would prefer that the feds handle it.

Wouldn't we all?

Home-grown immigration reform
States and local governments must consider the consequences of their own immigration measures before rushing forward out of frustration.

State and local impatience with Congress' failure to overhaul immigration law is apparent when a county government openly blames illegal immigrants for crime, spiraling school costs and overcrowded housing, then passes a resolution aimed at "taking back" the community.

We'll set aside the prejudiced overtone and emphasize this: Immigration is a federal issue that warrants a federal response. State and local measures that target illegal immigrants, such as a tough resolution the Prince William County Board of Supervisors passed last week, are open invitations to unintended consequences.
One can only assume, since the Times never mentions what those "unintended consequences" might be, lynchings, home invasions, tar-and-featherings, brandings, whippings, and cross burnings are racing through certain small minds.

Perhaps it would be wise to reread that county resolution.

On the general principle that the federal government should be enforcing federal law, we agree. But when that government proves, over and over again, in the most profound way, that it is not going to enforce its own laws, the people - through their local and state officials - will.

Our intended consequences couldn't be more clear. Our laws will be enforced. Washington had its chance. It blew it. The states are now on their own. More power to them.

Here's to the courageous citizens of Prince William County.

On Those 'Abusive' Driver Fees

I have to be honest. I don't have a problem with the state of Virginia fining the socks off of automobile drivers who habitually break the law.

I seem to be alone in this sentiment though:

Distaste sparks review of new fees
Severe backlash has some lawmakers promising to make adjustments or to get rid of the traffic penalties.
By Michael Sluss, The Roanoke Times

Richmond -- Amid cries of outrage from constituents, Virginia lawmakers appear willing to reconsider severe new traffic penalties that were created to raise money for highway maintenance.

Lawmakers from both parties said Friday that the General Assembly may change at least some of the so-called "abuser fees" that will be imposed on Virginia motorists who commit serious traffic offenses or compile bad driving records. The fees are only applied to drivers with Virginia licenses. (link)

Here's how the fines are described:
Violators must pay the fees in three installments over a 26-month period. A reckless driving conviction for an offense such as driving 20 mph over the posted speed limit will cost $1,050. A first offense for drunken driving will cost $2,250. And drivers who amass eight or more demerit points on their licenses will pay fees as great as $700.
First-time offenses involving reckless driving and drunk driving. Repeat offenders. This isn't the stuff the average law-breaking motorist gets pinched for.

With the carnage that takes place on our highways each weekend, I'd think there'd be more people looking for a viable way to get the attention of the idiots who get behind the wheel of their coffins-on-wheels and head down the road, either drunk or stupid or both.

I may be a support group of one.

Let me say this: I see an ulterior motive to a good bit of the noise. A lot of it is coming from those who wanted desperately to have our taxes jacked up in 2007 and were bitterly disappointed when the legislature chose the traffic fine method of paying for highway improvements instead (and you know who you and you are). They would like nothing better than to have these driver fees overturned and increases in income tax rates and property tax rates and state sales tax rates considered as alternatives - again.

In any case, consider me to be in favor of the plan that calls for beating knots on the heads of those who drive dangerously on our highways. If it saves lives, it is a good thing.

It All Becomes a Joke

If a child can have two mommies, or two daddies, it seems logical that a child can have ... well, just about anything.

And so it goes:
When 3 Really Is a Crowd
By Elizabeth Marquardt, The New York Times

Sometimes when the earth shudders it doesn’t make a sound. That’s what happened in Harrisburg, Pa., recently.

On April 30, a state Superior Court panel ruled that a child can have three legal parents. The case, Jacob v. Shultz-Jacob, involved two lesbians who were the legal co-parents of two children conceived with sperm donated by a friend. The panel held that the sperm donor and both women were all liable for child support. (link)
If there are going to be such amorphous boundaries, why not total strangers off the street? If one of the parents can have absolutely nothing to do with the kid's conception and another can be so committed as to take time out from his daily grind - once - to provide a deposit at the local sperm bank, why can't the courts just pull people in at random and decree them to be parents?

I now understand what the Wicked Witch of the East meant when she wrote It Takes a Village.

Marriage? Parenthood? Ain't you the old-fashioned one.

Edwards Seeks Out a Poor Person

Since he doesn't allow them to come near his new 26,000 square foot mansion in Orange County, North Carolina, lest they risk being shot (excluding those who will be mowing his lawn and cleaning his wife's three toilets), John Edwards has decided purely as a shallow political ploy to go out and meet a poor guy:

Edwards Embarks on Tour in South to Focus on Poverty
By Leslie Wayne, New York Times

New Orleans, July 15 — John Edwards came back on Sunday to a rainy New Orleans, the city where he kicked off his presidential bid last December, to start a three-day tour of poverty-stricken parts of the rural South and the urban Midwest in a bid to draw attention to one of his main campaign issues: the elimination of poverty.

The Edwards campaign billed the event as “a break from his normal campaign schedule,” although it was anything but. At the last minute, the campaign announced that Elizabeth Edwards, the candidate’s wife, was joining the tour.

The campaign also lined up more than 40 news organizations for the trip, and reporters and the Edwardses will travel in a chartered jet. And on Monday morning, Mr. and Mrs. Edwards are scheduled to be on “Good Morning America” on ABC before hitting the road. (link)

John Edwards is reported to have a net worth of $30 million (source). He'll fly in his chartered jet to New Orleans and offer the starving masses there ... a handshake and a chance to be on TV. Oh, and he'll tell the poor people assembled what he's going to require everyone else do for them.

That's called compassion. Caring. Magnanimity, Democrat style.

When It Comes To War Strategy ...

... who are you going to listen to? Some junior senator from Virginia who isn't even decisive enough to know which political party he wants to belong to or a general commanding an army on site?

Me? I choose to listen to this guy:

U.S. General in Iraq Speaks Strongly Against Troop Pullout
By John Burns, The New York Times

Baghdad, July 15 — An American general directing a major part of the offensive aimed at securing Baghdad said Sunday that it would take until next spring for the operation to succeed, and that an early American withdrawal would clear the way for “the enemy to come back” to areas now being cleared of insurgents.

Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, commanding 15,000 American and about 7,000 Iraqi troops on Baghdad’s southern approaches, spoke more forcefully than any American commander to date in urging that the so-called troop surge ordered by President Bush continue into the spring of 2008. That would match the deadline of March 31 set by the Pentagon, which has said that limits on American troops available for deployment will force an end to the increase by then.

“It’s going to take us through the summer and fall to deny the enemy his sanctuaries” south of Baghdad, General Lynch said at a news briefing in the capital. “And then it’s going to take us through the first of the year and into the spring” to consolidate the gains now being made by the American offensive and to move enough Iraqi forces into the cleared areas to ensure that they remain so, he said. (link)

The alternative? Well, there isn't one. Run and hide our troops somewhere else, I guess, is the closest the get-out-now crowd can come up with.

Hardly a strategy for keeping the terrorists at bay.