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

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Why I'm a Conservative

It's idiocy like this that will never make sense to me:
Clinton promises to aid local governments
The Democratic presidential frontrunner spoke at a conference in Richmond on Tuesday.
By Michael Sluss, The Roanoke Times

Richmond -- Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told a national conference of county government officials Tuesday that she would strengthen partnerships between Washington and localities and push to expand child health insurance for low-income families if she wins the 2008 election.

Appearing at the National Association of Counties annual convention, the U.S. senator and former first lady accused President Bush's administration of neglecting the needs of localities and treating those with economic hardships as "invisible."

In a 33-minute speech, Clinton mixed pointed criticism of the Bush administration with promises to help localities with unmet needs in public safety, community development and other areas. (link)
How many of you remember the scheme that was cooked up by the politicians in Washington years ago called "revenue sharing?" That bit of sleight of hand involved the federal government raising tax revenue, with a portion of it being turned over to local and state governments for their use. The same local and state governments that are charged with, among other things, raising the necessary tax revenue on a local and state level to keep afloat.

Look, I don't blame these county officials for applauding wildly when a Washington politician offers to take over that responsibility and raise taxes for their use. But let's stop playing games. We then need to change our name to the Soviet Union and crown Bill's wife Commissar if we are going to do it.

No, I blame you. You allow people like this to raise excessive amounts of revenue - at the point of a gun - so much in fact that she can give a good bit of it away for whatever needs there are out there to be met. There's always more where that came from.

You allow this woman and people like her to get away with this. And it will continue until you put a stop to her. You'll have your chance, should you decide you've had enough.

November 4, 2008. Send her back to the hellish depths from which she came.

There's Going To Be Hell To Pay

Considering the fact that Southwest Virginia is on the verge of losing its last stand of trees, or so we're led to believe, this will not go over well with our many environmentalist nazi friends out there:

Golf course plans removal of 3,000 trees
By Duncan Adams, The Roanoke Times

Chain saws now buzzing around Hunting Hills Country Club will take down about 3,000 trees, many of them healthy, edging the private club's 18-hole golf course.

Exclamation points punctuated reactions by tree lovers in the region. Julia Smith reacted passionately when informed by a reporter about the cutting.

"Holy crap!" she said. (link)

Holy crap! indeed. If these people are allowed to get away with this - the rotten capitalists - that will leave us, at most, 26,365,973,212 trees in the area. Including those little ones just starting out in life. And that's just not enough.

Look for someone to be strung up in the town square ... to the nearest tall oak tree.

Out Of The Chaos ...

God love 'em, Loudoun County, like Prince William County before it, is trying to bring back the rule of law. The law that the United States government should be enforcing but has chosen to ignore:
Loudoun Approves Measure Targeting Illegal Immigrants
By Sandhya Somashekhar, Washington Post Staff Writer

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution yesterday that would limit illegal immigrants' access to county services and penalize employers who hire them, becoming the second county in the region to adopt a hard-line position in the wake of Congress's failure to enact immigration reform.

One week after Prince William County officials took a similar step, Loudoun's supervisors voted unanimously for the resolution, which they said was necessary to stop blight and curb crime, especially on the county's border with Herndon and Fairfax County.

Supervisors also said they wanted to prevent tax dollars in the fast-growing county from going to those who have settled in Loudoun illegally. (link)
From what I gather, in listening to all the complaining coming from liberal Fairfax County residents who are appalled by similar actions taken by those in Prince William, they would welcome with open arms all of Loudoun's illegals should they want to move.

Fairfax has plenty of space. Come on down! The freebies are aplenty!

We Could Learn From Mississippi

Never thought I'd write that ...

In the news, Mississippi is doing what Virginia ought to do. As it relates to political party primaries anyway:
In Mississippi, Ruling Is Seen as Racial Split
By Adam Nossiter, The New York Times

Jackson, Miss., July 13 — A federal court ruling in June that forces voters to register by party could return Mississippi to the days of racially polarized politics, as many white Democrats warn that thousands of white voters will now opt definitively for the Republican Party.

Republican-leaning voters in Mississippi have long been able to cross party lines in primaries, voting for centrist Democrats in state and local races while staying loyal to Republican candidates in national races.

The ruling last month by Judge W. Allen Pepper Jr. of Federal District Court allowed the legal remedy sought by black leaders. Judge Pepper said the Democratic Party in Mississippi had a right to “disassociate itself” from voters who were not genuine Democrats. Most other Southern states also have open primaries. (link)
I'll be accused of supporting the separation of white from black voters (remember, though, I'm here promoting the black cause) when in fact I'm simply hoping to get all the liberal Democrats in the commonwealth of Virginia to vote where they are welcome and where they belong - in the Democratic primary.

Because we have an open primary system, Democrats can cross over and vote in Republican contests, ensuring victory for liberal incumbents like Republican (in name only) Senator Emmett Hanger up in the 24th district.

I may be old-fashioned but it seems that a party primary should be made available to party members.

Anyway, Mississippians, with the help of a federal district judge, have done what we need to be considering.

Mississippi leads. We follow. How humiliating.

With Great Fanfare, They Do Nothing

See above. The perfect metaphor for the current session of Congress. It was actually intended to signify the resolve of the Democratically led senate in getting the war to end. Instead, it serves another purpose.
Somebody wake them when its over.

Yesterday's exciting New York Times headline:

Democrats Plan to Keep Senate in Session All Night for Iraq Vote

A day later. A vote they really didn't want:
Democrats Lack Support to Force Vote on Pullout
By Carl Hulse, The New York Times

Washington, July 17 — A handful of Republicans who have distanced themselves from President Bush on the war in Iraq refused Tuesday to back a plan to withdraw American troops from the conflict, leaving Senate Democrats short of the support needed to force a vote on their proposal.

“You wonder if they are more interested in politics than dealing with the substance of this,” said Senator George V. Voinovich, Republican of Ohio. [a revelation]

Senator Judd Gregg, Republican of New Hampshire, labeled the Democratic plan calling for a troop pullout to begin within 120 days vague and unenforceable.

“If it did pass, it would lead to chaos in Iraq and a dramatic increase in casualties,” said Mr. Gregg, who is backing an alternative plan that incorporates the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group. (link)
So the Democrats get the mainstream media to go along with this "all-nighter" approach to legislating war strategy, and it backfires.

Couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch.

Photo courtesy of Stephen Crowley/The New York Times
Click on image to enlarge

'Spineless Sages' Indeed

Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson comes out swinging this morning. He heaps piles of vitriol on those Democrats - "spineless sages" - who voted for military victory in the war on terror but who now vote for military defeat in the war on terror.

Oops. My mistake. Wrong spineless sages:
Spineless Sages
Top GOP Senators Only Talk Against the War
By Harold Meyerson, The Washington Post

Anyone searching for the highest forms of invertebrate life need look no further than the floor of the U.S. Senate last week and this. These spineless specimens go by various names -- Republican moderates; respected senior Republicans; Dick Lugar, John Warner, Pete Domenici, George Voinovich.

They have seen the folly of our course in Iraq. The mission, they understand, cannot be accomplished. The Iraqi government, they discern, is hopelessly ... (blah blah blah)

It Takes An Expert?

I read the following headline in this morning's New York Times:

Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less

It was accompanied by a photo of what looked to be someone's hand plunged into a bowl of rice crispies.

My thought was: Well, that's certainly a 10 minute - or less - meal. Thanks for the professional advice.

Photo courtesy of the New York Times

It Pays To Be Vigilant

So I'm reading the latest issue of "America's Freedom," the NRA magazine that comes to me monthly, and I come across this sentence written by the editor, Mark Chestnut (August 2007, volume 8, number 8, page 6, "Letter From The Editor):
While the folks at the Brady Campaign, Americans For Gun Safety, American Hunters and Shooters Association and other gun-ban groups skirt the issue [banning guns], bend the truth and outright lie about their desired end-game - prohibition of private firearm ownership - Rosie [O'Donnell] has no problem telling it to the entire world.
Ho. Back up a second.

We all know about Rosie and what spills out of her mouth, besides yesterday's lunch menu. But what's that about the American Hunters and Shooters Association? I'll admit that I don't keep up on this subject like I should, but then that's what I pay my NRA to do. So who are these gun banners at AHSA?

I went to its website, where I found what may be its mission statement:
AHSA vigorously defends the constitutional right to keep and bear arms, promotes safe and responsible gun use, and supports reasonable public policies, so that all Americans can enjoy the benefits of this crucial and historic liberty.
Seems reasonable. Sounds like an organization I could support. Agreed?

Reading further, though, clouds began to appear:
... an overwhelming majority of hunters support proposals like background checks to purchase guns, keeping military style assault weapons off our streets and the elimination of cop killer bullets.

In recent years, extreme political positions purporting to support gun rights have jeopardized our sport and have hurt the image of responsible gun owners. Unless the sporting community can become unified behind an organization that fights for safe and responsible hunting and shooting practices and sensible gun ownership, future generations may be unable to participate in and enjoy the shooting sports. (link)
"... keeping military style weapons off our streets."
"... elimination of cop killer bullets."
"sensible gun ownership."

These are phrases commonly used by those who see the complete prohibition of firearms ownership as being perfectly reasonable. In the case of those "cop killer bullets," these guys, if they are indeed hunters and sportsmen, should know that there is no such thing. It's just inflammatory rhetoric intended to incite an otherwise ill-informed public.

The same with the notion that "military style weapons" are somehow more deadly than those that are styled differently. A folding stock, or a flash suppressor, or an extended-capacity magazine makes the rifle more powerful? Are you serious? Do you even know what you're talking about?

Not knowing anything about the AHSA beyond what's being written here, it appears that its leadership is trying to position itself as one of those "middle-of-the-road" gun rights organizations. A road, if traveled, in my opinion, that leads to every firearm in the United States being banned permanently.

There is no middle ground on the issue of firearms ownership, fellas. Either we have the uninfringible right to keep and bear arms or we don't. And neither you nor anyone in Washington is permitted - at least as of today - to determine who or what constitutes "sensible gun ownership."

You're either with us or you're against us. Stand in the middle of the road and get run over, either by my NRA or by those who believe - like you do - in sensible gun ownership, and banning military style weapons, and prohibiting the use of "cop killer bullets" and ...

Just In The Nick Of Time

Vatican Pledges to Fight Pedophilia

A Correspondence

I received an email response* to a recent weblog post regarding columnist George Will and Antioch College's (apparent) demise (see "George Will On a Tear"). I'm reproducing it here in its entirety:
Regarding the July 15 Commentary by George Will, one must wonder before setting the record straight why it is that he feels the need to be so thoroughly mean spirited in kicking an institution when it is on the ropes. If Antioch is still alive, he is at least unsportsmanlike; if it is dead (as he would wish) then his behavior amounts to abuse of a corpse. The only possible reason for such action is that he must do anything possible to distract attention from the general disaster being visited on civilization at home and abroad by our current president.

Readers of this paper curious about the actual dimensions of the Antioch story should read the admirable probings of Stephanie Irwin Gottschluh in the Dayton Daily News. They will then see the extent to which Mr. Will has resorted to using selected snippets of the whole story to craft his crude and flawed argument. He neglects to say that Antioch's liberal curriculum has similar counterparts at other small liberal arts schools
which are doing quite well these days. He also fails to note that over the past 35 years which saw upheaval and financial duress at the college, its inspired and dedicated faculty continued to deliver a dynamic program. Large numbers of graduates from this period went on to do graduate work, earn PhD's, win prestigious awards, and in general work for the greater social good.

Finally, Mr Will fails to mention that Antioch's problems have been with its management, not its vision or the caliber of its education. But it was management that failed to establish the lasting relations with alumni that lead to broad-based giving. It was management that failed to identify the unique strengths of Antioch's educational approach and to market this accordingly.

And finally, it was management which failed to keep an accurate set of books. It was only in the past year that top management initiated a deep audit which finally revealed the extent of the college's difficulty. In the end what has brought about the projected closure of the college is the same thing that closed ENRON and MCI: inept accounting which prevented informed incisive decision making at every level. If anything, this failed management history, if echoed anywhere, it is by the current administration in the White House. There was never anything seriously wrong at Antioch with the educational philosophy or its implementation in the classroom. Further, the difficulties of Antioch College in no way lead to a valid condemnation of its liberal philosophical underpinnings. Finally, at this time of large problems...political, social, and environmental ... looming across the globe, the world is perhaps in greatest need of diversity of thought. Our most lasting solutions to problems have most often come from the minds of robust thinkers and activists from across the political spectrum bringing their diverse interpretations to bear collaboratively to realize deeply considered outcomes. With this in mind, one would say we need Antioch College now, perhaps more than ever.

Michael Jones
790 Wright St.
Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387
Thank you, Mr. Jones

* It appears to be a form letter sent out to publications that had run, excerpted, or commented on the Will column.

I Responded

I replied this morning to the email correspondence from Michael Jones (above) with this:


Sorry. We disagree. Except on the level of George Will's venom, which I appreciated.

As for the mismanagement of the college and its relationship with alumni, that relationship, in a healthy environment, is driven by the graduates, not by the administration. And you can't blame the management for the paltry (Will calls it risible, I'd call it pathetic) $36 million endowment. There are Boy Scout clubs with more money in the bank. There are reasons for that being the case.

Second, You must have graduated from Antioch. America is not experiencing a disaster of any kind. We're doing just fine. "The general disaster being visited on civilization at home and abroad by our current president"? Take a pill.

Third, Enron didn't collapse because of faulty accounting. The bankruptcy was brought about by fraud, manipulation, and greed. Did Antioch provide history classes?

Fourth, Antioch's problems were not suddenly discovered in a recent financial audit. Antioch College is a shell of its former self, barely hanging on after a long decline in student attendance.

Fifth, "Our most lasting solutions to problems have most often come from the minds of robust thinkers and activists from across the political spectrum bringing their diverse interpretations to bear collaboratively to realize deeply considered outcomes." Nonsense. The kind of nonsense I'd expect from an Antioch graduate. Henry Ford, Jonas Salk, Albert Einstein, Michael Jordan, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Alexander the Great, Lech Walesa, Margaret Thatcher, Mohandas Ghandi, Howard Hughes, Martin Luther King ... were committees of one. They collaborated with nobody. They led. They achieved. And made the world a better place by their efforts.

Antioch herded sheep.

Sixth, "If anything, this failed management history, if echoed anywhere, it is by the current administration in the White House"? The government, is quite healthy, or haven't you noticed? Unfortunately, it's bursting at the seams, it's so healthy.

On one point we agree: "Finally, at this time of large problems...political, social, and environmental ... looming across the globe, the world is perhaps in greatest need of diversity of thought." But the thoughts expressed in your letter about President Bush reveal the fact that your thinking is quite in lockstep with most of the world. And the unique free-thinkers employed at Antioch sing the same tune as faculty members at nearly every college and university in America. Diversity of thought? Not at Antioch.

Thank you for your thoughtful letter. I'll post it to the weblog.

Jerry Fuhrman
Bland, Virginia

The battle for the hearts and minds of America's youth continues ...

The Democrats Are At It Again

I received this legislative alert via email:

House Democrats have brought a bill to the floor today, H.R. 980, that overrides state right-to-work laws and forces state governments to allow their public safety officers to unionize.

Public safety officers work for the public and in the public interest. If they have grievances, they can take their arguments to the public sphere, since their employment conditions and terms are set by a representative government.

Now, even if someone rejects the arguments above, this legislation must still be opposed due to its massive violation of states' rights. This bill overrides the long-standing precedents and decisions of state legislatures and state courts, then imposes a liberal federal policy on the issue. This is bad government and a fundamental violation of the nature of our government.

House Democrats are trying to sneak this bill through the House; help spread the word about this legislation, so the public knows just what they are trying to do. Maybe someone in the Speaker's Office should read the 10th Amendment to the Constitution.
U.S. Constitution: Tenth Amendment

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

No, I can't imagine that the Democrats in Washington have ever read it. But they should.