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

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Tale Of Two Virginias

I've been highlighting each day data released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation that relates to children, their health, and well-being here in Virginia.

Today, a comparison by county/municipality of poverty rates, from best (most affluent) to worst (poorest). Five of each: Click on the image to enlarge it.

When we debate issues relating to jobs, zoning, growth, health care, transportation, and the like, we (NoVa residents and those from my part of the commonwealth) are coming at the discussion from two completely different reference points.

Whereas Falls Church, Fairfax, and Loudoun worry about rapid expansion (and the creation of too many jobs too quickly!), we here in Southwest and Southside Virginia just want our kids fed and clothed. Educated. Skilled jobs? High tech? We simply want jobs.

Different priorities. Worlds apart.

You Wanted 'Em. You Got 'Em.

From this morning's Wall Street Journal:
Tax Hike Scorecard

With a new Democratic majority, the agenda on Capitol Hill has shifted abruptly this year, and no more so than on taxes. For a decade the focus in Congress was which taxes to cut. Now everywhere you look someone running the Congress, or running for President, is proposing to raise taxes on some industry or group of Americans.

... here's a list of the most notable proposals so far:

● A Senate Finance Committee plan to raise the federal tobacco tax by 61 cents to a total of $1 a pack ...

● The so-called Blackstone tax on private equity partnerships that go public, raising their 15% rate to the regular corporate tax rate of 35%.

● A tax increase on the "carried interest" of hedge funds and private equity to 35% from 15%.

● Higher withholding taxes on the U.S. subsidiaries of foreign companies--in essence a tax increase on foreign investment in America.

● Raise the capital gains rate to 28% from the current 15%.

● Deny the domestic manufacturing deduction to oil producers. This is part of the Senate Finance Committee's energy bill and is estimated to raise $11.4 billion over 10 years.

● A levy on oil and gas produced from deep-water leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

● A tax surcharge of 4.3 percentage points on income of more than $500,000, which would take the top marginal rate to 39.3%.

We're probably overlooking some other tax increase proposals, and ...

But let's look on the bright side. The Democrats may be on to something here. If they can destroy the economy - and in reading the lengthy list above, one has no misconceptions about that being their intent - we won't need all those illegal laborers coming across our border any longer when unemployment rises markedly.

Illegal immigration will be no more!

Of course, the USA will be grievously damaged, but what the heck. This is what you wanted when you voted this bunch into power, right? Right?

Let Me Kick Him One More Time

I had a mess of fun heaping scorn on former Vice President Walter Mondale yesterday for his having written a preposterous letter to the editor of the Washington Post in which he extolled the virtues of the Carter administration and the vital vital VITAL role he played in it.

It appears that James Taranto was thinking along the same lines and had his way with the man in his Best of the Web column on the same day:
Carter Lite

In a Washington Post op-ed, Walter Mondale gives the administration in which he served credit for elevating the role of the vice president:

"But it wasn't until Jimmy Carter assumed the presidency that the vice presidency took on a substantive role. Carter saw the office as an underused asset and set out to make the most of it. He gave me an office in the West Wing, unimpeded access to him and to the flow of information, and specific assignments at home and abroad. He asked me, as the only other nationally elected official, to be his adviser and partner on a range of issues."

The rest of the argument can be summed up as follows: Cheney is bad, so it is bad that he is influential. But we love the conclusion:

"Since the Carter administration left office, we have been criticized for many things. Yet I remain enormously proud of what we did in those four years, especially that we told the truth, obeyed the law and kept the peace."

What do you call it when the U.S. sits idly by as the Soviets invade Afghanistan and a newly radicalized Iran holds Americans hostage?

Walter Mondale calls it "keeping the peace."
Carter-Mondale. The hair bristles on the back of my neck with the mere mention of those two clowns. After all these years.

A Good Choice

I suppose, if I were to be cornered today and asked who my candidate of choice is for the presidency, I'd go with Bill Bolling's guy:

Bolling to back Romney campaign
He will support ex-Mass. governor's bid for president

By Tyler Whitley, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling will endorse Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney today.

Bolling also will be chairman of the former Massachusetts governor's Virginia campaign.

In a news release prepared in advance of the endorsement, Bolling said, "We can trust him [Romney] to keep America safe at home by defeating the Jihadists abroad; and keep America strong by reining in government spending, keeping taxes low, protecting the values we believe in and confronting head-on the new generation of challenges facing our nation." (link)

Yes. Yes. And hell yes!

Romney has been roundly criticized - mostly by Democrats and their butt buddies in the press - for having changed his position on certain issues in recent years. Dramatically in some cases.

And then there's that whole RomneyCare thing.

While all that is fact, this can be said without prevarication: The man is right on every issue that is important to America today.

Of course, it's a long way to election day ...

Oh. Sorry, Kilo.

Positive Vibes Coming From Webb

Let's see if, in the end, James Webb decides to hold to his convictions and vote against the middle-class welfare bill working its way through the Senate:

Kaine, Webb wary on cigarette tax jump
By Peter Hardin, Richmond Times-Dispatch Washington correspondent

Washington -- Two of Virginia's top Democratic elected leaders are questioning the proposed, hefty cigarette tax hike that would pay for expanding health coverage for uninsured kids.

To expand children's health-care coverage by $35 billion over five years, a U.S. Senate bill would raise tobacco excise taxes; cigarette taxes would be raised 61 cents per pack to $1.

Sen. Jim Webb viewed "another tax increase on cigarettes to fund the program [as] both unfair and regressive," his spokeswoman, Jessica Smith, said yesterday.

About half of U.S. smokers come from the same income groups as families eligible for the children's health program, which in Webb's view "amounts to 'robbing Peter to pay Paul,'" Smith said. (link)

Or, to put it in terms I've been stating all along, a cigarette tax is essentally a tax, a crushing tax, on the poor. The same people our illustrious senators profess to be helping.

Beyond that though, and far more importantly, the upshot of expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) will be to add middle-class families to the roles of government-funded health insurance. Companies currently providing private health insurance will be encouraged to drop their plans and move their employees to SCHIP.

I know Hillary is a big believer in nationalized health care but I thought the rest of America drove her into hiding when she proposed such a plan back in 1993.

As for Webb, we'll be watching to see how he votes on this measure. He talks a mean streak, but talk is cheap, especially coming from him. The proof will be in his yea or nay. Most Democrats, and even a shameful number of Republicans, are in favor of expanding SCHIP. Will he go along?

Where will Webb be at crunch time? We wait ...

We're Heading Back Down That Road

Democratic candidate for the 22nd District state Senate seat, Michael Breiner, wants the new traffic fees that are going to help finance transportation improvements around the state repealed. Sooner rather than later.

So what does the man want to replace the fees with? Well, he's not saying.

Did I mention the fact that he's a Democrat?

Youre invited to read between the lines:
Va. Senate candidates weigh in on so-called 'abusive driver fees'
By David Harrison, The Roanoke Times

Michael Breiner, the Democratic candidate for the 22nd Senate District, said Monday that he would like to see the General Assembly hold a special session to repeal unpopular new "abusive driver fees."

The fees, which impose stiff penalties on bad drivers, went into effect July 1. Since then, they have drawn outrage from voters and some lawmakers from both parties who say they unfairly target low-income drivers while exempting out-of-state drivers.

"With me sticking up for Virginians, I hope it's going to kick the General Assembly into a higher gear and hopefully persuade the governor to call the General Assembly back into a special session and eliminate these abuser fees," he said.

He said he's "looking at a bunch of innovative ideas" to raise money for transportation but wouldn't discuss those ideas in detail. (link)
Innovative ideas. I wonder what they could be. A "bunch" of them no less.

What's that three-letter word that begins in T and ends in X?

I guess Breiner, if given the chance, will be really innovative with what falls between.

A Winning Strategy

What do these guys know that everyone in Washington D.C., including all those really brainy pundits, seems unable to grasp:
GOP resolution rejects amnesty for illegal aliens
By Ralph Z. Hallow, The Washington Times

State Republican officials from across the country on Thursday will formally break with the desire of President Bush and other top Republican leaders to include amnesty and other benefits for illegal aliens in immigration-reform legislation.

So far, 47 members of the 168-member Republican National Committee have signed a resolution that unequivocally opposes the Bush-backed policy that would grant legal residency to millions of illegal aliens. (link)
If these Republicans don't waver, if they shout this message without equivocation or apology, they'll bring mainstream America into the fold. A mainstream that is torn right now between wanting to uphold the law and helping all those poor Mexicans among us. We can help them, but not as long as they defy the rule of law in towns and cities across the land.

As that famous lady once said, "Don't go wobbly, fellas."

A Winning Message

Drive it home, big guy!
Sack The 'Nannies' Says Rudy
By Carl Campanile, The New York Post

July 31, 2007 -- Rudy Giuliani yesterday accused Democrats of wanting to create a "nanny government" that "controls your life."

Giuliani, campaigning in New Hampshire, said Democrats are out to siphon wealth from the economy by raising taxes and pitching "socialized" health-care programs.

"Democrats are kind of falling over each other seeing who can raise taxes faster," he said during a campaign stop in Meredith.

Aside from supporting lower taxes, Giuliani said he backs a dramatically different health-care policy that leans more heavily on tax breaks and consumer choice than government edicts. Details of the policy will be released today. (link)
Kiss me, Rudy.

(Sigh) If the man would just come to Jesus on social issues ...

I Get So Confused

If they weren't children, was there a crime?
Bodies of 4 Infants Found at Maryland Home
By The Associated Press

Ocean City, Md., July 30 (AP) — Police officers with cadaver-sniffing dogs, shovels and a backhoe dug in the backyard of a home Monday where the bodies of four infants have been found since last week.

The police say the infants belong to Christy L. Freeman, 37, a taxi company owner and mother of four. Ms. Freeman has been charged with murder in the death of one of the infants, a male fetus in the 26th week of gestation found in a vanity under a bathroom sink.

Two other corpses were found in plastic bags in a trunk in Ms. Freeman’s bedroom, and another in a bag in a small recreational vehicle parked in her driveway. None of the bodies appeared to be full term, the police said.
I'm sure the police are investigating to see if any of these "children" were born and murdered, as opposed to being murdered before they were able to be born, which means, since they weren't born, they were never children, which means they couldn't have been murdered, which means there was no crime.

The little tikes never existed. Just refuse in garbage bags.

Expect a host of feminist groups to put this mother on a pedestal. Woman Of The Year.

I Get So Confused II

But ... But ...
'Gay White Males' Suit
By Kati Cornell, The New York Post

July 31, 2007 -- Three veteran workers at the state's Human Rights Division have lobbed federal lawsuits at the agency, charging a bizarre pattern of discrimination that hurts women and blacks in favor of gay white men.

A recent lawsuit by human-rights worker Veanka McKenzie, claims a "calculatedly sexist dress code" forbids females from wearing jeans, while giving special treatment to gay white men - who are also known to wear cowboy hats in the office. (link)
Let me see if I understand this. Discrimination in favor of white guys is bad. Unless they're gay. Then it's good. Unless they receive preferential treatment to the detriment of women and black people. Then it's bad. Unless the women were white. Then its not quite so bad. Unless they were once men. Then it's really bad.

Okay. I got it.

Can Leavenworth Hold Another Politician?

I can picture it now. Congressman Jack Murtha and Senator Ted Stevens sharing a wet, dank, refuse-littered cell. Both clothed in soiled rags. Bickering over pubic hairs in the commode. Arm-wrestling to see who gets to eat the dead rat. Couldn't happen to a more deserving pair.

Yesterday we were treated to one of the many foul deeds perpetrated by John Murtha (D-PA) that should land him in prison. Today we get this news:

FBI searches U.S. senator's home amid corruption probe

Washington (CNN) -- FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents searched the Alaska home of veteran Sen. Ted Stevens Monday amid a corruption probe that has already snared two oil-company executives and a state lobbyist.

Stevens, 83, and the most senior of Republicans in the Senate, has been under federal investigation for a 2000 renovation project more than doubling the size of his home in Girdwood, Alaska, near Anchorage, The Associated Press reported. (link)
One has to ask:

Are there any honest politicians remaining in Washington?

Do we need to build more prisons? Would executing a few of these jokers serve as a deterrent to others?

Can we get our country back?