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

Sunday, August 05, 2007

We'll Keep Changing Them Till We Win

Electronic voting machines? This pretty much represents the Democratic Party mindset:

I'm rather surprised that this is still an issue since they swept into power in 2006. Still, the ghosts in the machines - Diebold! - are manipulating the process such that the GOP candidate in 2008 is guaranteed to win. That, we all know, is a fact.

At least the attendees at the Nutroots Convention being held in Chicago, few of whom are old enough to vote, all know it to be a fact. And don't get them started on Area 51 ...

Words Have Meaning, Sometimes

What's up with the New York Times? I'm reading an article about another Islamist terrorist being reduced to cinders and ash and came across something odd. See if you can pick it out:

Figure in Iraq Mosque Bombing Is Killed, U.S. Says
By Stephen Farrell, The New York Times

Baghdad, Aug. 4 — The insurgent who planned the bombing of Al Askari mosque in Samarra earlier this summer has been killed in an air raid, the American military announced Saturday.

Haythem Sabah al-Badri, who was reputed to be the leader of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia in Salahuddin Province, was killed in a strike northeast of Samarra, the northern city where two minarets at the Shiite mosque were demolished in the blast, on June 13. (link)

What's up with that "Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia" thingy? Since the rest of the human race refers to Osama Bin Ladin's terrorist organization that operates in Iraq as "Al Qaeda in Iraq," does the Times have a different terror cell in mind? Or do the guys there know something we don't?

I look to my trusty dictionary:

Noun: Mesopotamia `mesupu'teymeeu
1. The land between the Tigris and Euphrates; site of several ancient civilizations; part of what is now known as Iraq

Have we pushed the terrorists out of the remainder of Iraq - outside the Tigris-Euphrates region? Kirkuk? Irbil? Anbar? Is the New York Times admitting defeat and coming round to the notion that we are winning the war?

Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. I wonder what's going through their crusty little minds ...

They Make a Good Point

As we strive to become "energy independent," or free from foreign oil imports, are we about to become "foreign corn dependent?"

From the Roanoke Times:

Editorial: High on ethanol

Fuel ethanol euphoria has found its way to Virginia, in the form of a proposed ethanol plant in Chesapeake.

The plant would be the state's first, joining the estimated 120 others operating nationwide and another 90 or so under construction or expansion.

One problem is the Chesapeake plant could require almost twice as much corn as Virginia farmers grew in 2006. Plant developers, aside from encouraging state farmers to step up the plowing and planting, propose to ship it in from the corn-rich Midwest and from South America.

An Earth Policy Institute study found that ethanol plants could use as much as half of the nation's 2008 corn harvest.

Which could leave ethanol plants little choice but to turn to foreign growers. The Chesapeake plant expects to get 60 percent of its corn from Brazil.

Isn't that trading one dependence for another? (link)

The answer to that question would be: Yes, until ...

... until the Brazilians decide to switch to ethanol production as well and they're entire crop is burned locally. Then we're up the crick ...

... and back to using fossil fuels.

It was a nice idea while it lasted though.

Perhaps Congress should pass a law mandating the production of wind and solar energy ...

When Congress Turns To Alchemy

If only we could spin straw into gold, we then might be able to conjure a viable alternative to fossil fuels. But we can't. And, try as we might, we haven't.

Though our elected representatives in Washington think they can:

Energy Bill Adopted by House Requires Utilities to Use Renewable Power Sources
By John M. Broder, The New York Times

Washington, Aug. 4 — The House passed a wide-ranging energy bill on Saturday that will require most utilities to produce 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources like wind and solar power. President Bush has vowed to veto the bill because it does nothing to encourage increased domestic production of oil and gas.

“It’s a big, big deal,” said Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts and a longtime member of the energy committee. “There has been no legislation like this for a generation.” (link)

Before anyone gets excited enough to wet his pants over this breakthrough legislation, it should be known that the champion of this bill demanding that utilities "produce 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources like wind" won't even endorse a major wind project in his own back yard.

So much for it being "a big, big deal."

Decreeing it doesn't make it so. And touting its virtues one minute while running from its practical application another does nothing to boost one's credibility. Ed.

These guys would do as well to mandate an end to old age. And I wouldn't put it past them.

Change Coming To The Journal?

The on-line version of the Wall Street Journal is expensive*. While most other newspaper organizations post their articles - and advertisements - on the internet for all to see - for free - the WSJ charges a semi-annual fee for access to much of its site. Don't get me wrong. It's worth every penny of it. But the paper is still out there charging for something most others give away.

Until now. Perhaps.

In an interview with New York Times business columnist Joseph Nocera, Rupert Murdoch, new head of the Journal's parent company, had this to say about his new toy:

“We have lots of decisions to make. How much should we really spend developing the Saturday paper? What should we do digitally? Should we remain subscription-based on the Web, or should we make it free? How much should we spend beefing up political and international coverage? I want it to be more competitive with The New York Times. But that will be expensive.” (link)
I hope the man doesn't tinker too much with the best newspaper on the planet. But if he wanted to offer it up free to viewers on-line, well, I'll not complain.

* In fact, access won't cost you anything. The content made available to non-members, however, is limited.

I Think I'll Drive

I learned, when waiting for a Southwest flight from Baltimore to Norfolk several months ago, that some people show up really early at the gate so as to get a good seat (Southwest doesn't have assigned seating). Their wait is longer than their flight. What's up with that?

But that, at least, is voluntary. This ain't:
Airport queues longer than flights
By David Millward and Patrick Phelvin, London Telegraph

Holidaymakers are facing such severe delays at airports they are being forced to spend more time stuck in queues than on their flights, research by The Daily Telegraph disclosed yesterday.

Yesterday the average time passengers spent getting through check-in and security at Heathrow was 90 minutes - the time it would take to fly to Barcelona or Nice - according to figures gathered by the independent Travel Counsellors company. (link)
90 minutes. And then you get bumped ...

Thank God for General Motors. As long as we don't have any more bridge collapses ...

Uh Oh. McCain Agrees With Me.

It's somehow comforting to know that a man who once thought he could be president comes out with a statement almost identical to one I posted here days ago.

To wit:
McCain raps Congress for bridge collapse
By Mike Glover, Associated Press Writer

Ankeny, Iowa - Republican John McCain said Saturday that Congress could share in the blame for the Minnesota bridge collapse because lawmakers diverted billions of dollars in transportation money from road work to pet projects.

"We spent approximately $20 billion of that money on pork barrel, earmark projects," said McCain. "Maybe if we had done it right, maybe some of that money would have gone to inspect those bridges and other bridges around the country. Maybe the 200,000 people who cross that bridge every day would have been safer than spending $233 million of your tax dollars on a bridge in Alaska to an island with 50 people on it." (link)
Amen to that, brutha.

For a list of pork projects that received transportation funding from our elected representative that might have otherwise gone toward bridge safety, click here.

Making The World A Safer Place

I'll sleep a lot better at night knowing that those little .22 caliber magazine clips for my Marlin rifle have been banned by eBay.

From the NRA:

eBay Expands Its Anti-Gun Policy

Years ago, eBay banned the sale of all complete firearms on its online auction and shopping website. However, they did continue to allow the sale of parts and many accessories. This week, a spokesman for eBay announced that the company would ban the sale of all gun-and-ammunition-related parts and components.

The ban is set to begin in mid-August, when eBay will prohibit the listing of “any firearm part that is required for the firing of a gun.” This prohibition will include, according to eBay, “bullet tips, brass casings and shells, barrels, slides, cylinders, magazines, firing pins, trigger assemblies, etc.” In explaining the decision to restrict these items, Matt Halprin, eBay’s Vice President, Trust & Safety, said, “After much consideration, the Trust & Safety policy team – along with our executive leaders at eBay Inc.– have made the decision to further restrict more of these items than federal and state regulations require.” [emphasis added]

With this action, eBay sends the message that they don’t want, or appreciate, law-abiding gun owners’ business. By banning these legal products, eBay is adopting the anti-gun movement’s opposition to all legal gun ownership. Fortunately, gun owners and sportsmen have alternatives.
Personally? If executives at eBay were smart, they wouldn't trust this Vice President, Trust & Safety with their safety. And they probably don't. They can afford armed bodyguards.

As a public service announcement:

"The following companies operate websites designed for the buying and selling of firearms and related products:
www.GunsAmerica.com; www.AuctionArms.com; and www.GunBroker.com."