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

Monday, September 17, 2007

Where Road Construction Pays For Itself

Where else but in Southwest Virginia can we build a road and, in the process, make money off of the endeavor?*


Expressway mining could cut cost in half
Paula Tate, The Coalfield Progress

Abingdon — By combining construction of the proposed Coalfields Expressway with surface coal mining, the project cost could be cut by about 50 percent from earlier estimates. That was among findings of a limited feasibility study by Alpha Natural Resources LLC and Pioneer Group Inc. The two Southwest Virginia natural resources companies are the Virginia Department of Transportation’s private-sector partners in the study. (link requires paid subscription)
And we are waiting why?

***

A free version of the story in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.

* I know. I know. It's not like we'd be making a profit or anything.

A 'Public Health Epidemic' In SW Virginia

Don't we have enough problems here in Southwest Virginia? Crumbling infrastructure. Factories closing. Turds floating in our drinking water. Depopulation. Widespread poverty. Horrendous suicide rates. Do we need to add this to the burden?
Drug deaths in western Virginia up sharply in 2006
By The Associated Press


Roanoke, Va. (AP) - Western Virginia saw more people die from drug overdoses last year than from homicides, house fires and alcohol-related automobile accidents combined.

According to the state medical examiner's office, the region had 264 fatal drug overdoses in 2006. That's up 22 percent from 2005 and up 294 percent from a decade ago.

Most of the deaths were the result of prescription drug abuse, a growing problem in far southwest Virginia. In fact, addiction expert Dr. Martha Wunsch of Blacksburg calls it a public health epidemic.


The 264 drug overdoses in western Virginia accounted for 40 percent of the state's total drug overdose deaths -- even though the area has just 20 percent of the population. (link)
40 percent.

For the love of God.

Before You Smile Too Broadly ...

I'm sure more than a few Democrats took pleasure in former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan's much-publicized attack on the Bush administration last week for its having spent the taxpayers' money like drunken sailors over the last six years and for abandoning core Republican principles. Well, before you let it swell your head, you might want to know that Greenspan holds your guys in low regard as well:

Greenspan's Dismay Extends Both Ways
By Greg Ip, The Wall Street Journal


Washington -- Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan spent much of the past 40 years as an influential economic adviser to both Republicans and Democrats, but today feels estranged from both. News coverage of his memoir has focused on his criticism of Republicans for forsaking their small-government principles. But in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Greenspan expressed just as much dismay with the Democratic Party.

Mr. Greenspan, a self-described libertarian Republican, said he was "fairly close" to President Clinton's economic advisers -- Treasury secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers and Deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman. "The Clinton administration was a pretty centrist party," he said. "But they're not governing again. The next administration may have the Clinton administration name but the Democratic Party...has moved...very significantly in the wrong direction," he said, referring to the Democratic Party's populist bent, especially its skepticism of free trade. (link)
So he's critical of both the Bush administration and of the Democratic Party. And rightly so.

Another Reason I Don't Like Tom Davis

Who is he to be adding legislative districts in Utah? What are we, chopped liver?

D.C. Voting Rights
Washington Post editorial

Supporters of D.C. voting rights have to get 60 votes to advance the bill to the Senate floor for debate and a vote. This cloture motion is technical, but how the senators vote is entirely about principle. It is simply not right that U.S. citizens who live in the nation's capital are denied basic representation in their government. That a procedural gambit would be used to prevent a redressing of this wrong is inexcusable.

The bill would increase the size of the House from 435 members to 437, giving a voting representative to the District and another to the state next in line to pick up a seat, currently Utah.

That the bill was fathered by a Republican member of Congress from Virginia -- Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, who is horrified by the 200-year injustice of D.C. disenfranchisement -- further burnishes its credentials. (link)


The only thing I can figure is that you have to be a Washington insider to understand the thinking behind adding members of Congress so as to be able to give the people of Washington D.C. the franchise, as opposed to the obvious - making the district part of the state that virtually surrounds it, Maryland, and adding the population count to that state's apportionment rolls.

Not being a Washington insider like Tom Davis (III), I view his plan - and its accompanying "burnished credentials" - as simply boneheaded.

Don't we normally hold Republicans to a higher standard?

Don't We Lock Up Republicans For Such Things?

The latest in the Clinton-Hsu scandal:
Hill Bill Footed By Hsu
By Leonard Greene, The New York Post

September 17, 2007 -- Members of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign staff got a nice payoff last year for their work to get her re-elected - a trip to Las Vegas funded by her fugitive former fund-raiser.

Among the Sin City guests of disgraced former fund-raiser Norman Hsu was Patti Solis Doyle, one of Clinton's most trusted advisers who now runs the senator's presidential campaign.

According to The Los Angeles Times, Hsu - who raised more than $850,000 for Clinton before being jailed last month on charges related to an investment scheme - treated the senator's campaign staff to several days at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, complete with free show tickets and dinners at posh restaurants.

Doyle was accompanied by two junior staffers and a New York-based fund-raiser, the report said. (link)
Jack Abramoff sits in prison. Former Congressman Bob Ney - a Republican - went with him. For having done what Norman Hsu and Hillary's people are doing - allegedly.

Make room. That prison overcrowding problem is about to get much worse.

The Party Will Never Be The Same

Former RI Sen. Lincoln Chafee Leaves GOP

May The Gods Of Taxation Be Merciful

What are we going to do about global warming? Just wait until the cycle runs its never-ceasing course and let the earth begin to once again cool, like it has since the beginning of time?

Oh, no. We have evolved beyond the days when lesser humans left such matters to God. Or the gods. Or Mother Nature.

No, our 21st century intellect allows us to take a more enlightened approach to such problems.

We are going to tax the problem away ...
One Answer to Global Warming: A New Tax
By N. Gregory Mankiw, The New York Times


IN the debate over global climate change, there is a yawning gap that needs to be bridged. The gap is not between environmentalists and industrialists, or between Democrats and Republicans. It is between policy wonks and political consultants.

Among policy wonks like me, there is a broad consensus. The scientists tell us that world temperatures are rising because humans are emitting carbon into the atmosphere. Basic economics tells us that when you tax something, you normally get less of it. So if we want to reduce global emissions of carbon, we need a global carbon tax. Q.E.D. (link)
In centuries past, humans sacrificed other humans. Then, as the brain evolved, we turned to worshipping graven images and reading tea leaves. Now we tax.

Modern man. We've come so far ...

Boy, Are They In Trouble

A lesson the leadership of the Tuscaloosa, Alabama school system should have learned long ago: You can never be color-blind in this color-blind society of ours.

For having ignored that lesson, boy, are they in trouble:

Alabama Plan Brings Out Cry of Resegregation
By Sam Dillon, The New York Times


Tuscaloosa, Ala. — After white parents in this racially mixed city complained about school overcrowding, school authorities set out to draw up a sweeping rezoning plan. The results: all but a handful of the hundreds of students required to move this fall were black — and many were sent to virtually all-black, low-performing schools.

Black parents have been battling the rezoning for weeks, calling it resegregation.

The schools superintendent and board president, both white, said in an interview that the rezoning, which redrew boundaries of school attendance zones, was a color-blind effort to reorganize the 10,000-student district around community schools and relieve overcrowding. By optimizing use of the city’s 19 school buildings, the district saved taxpayers millions, officials said. They also acknowledged another goal: to draw more whites back into Tuscaloosa’s schools by making them attractive to parents of 1,500 children attending private academies founded after court-ordered desegregation began.

“I’m sorry not everybody is on board with this,” said Joyce Levey, the superintendent. “But the issue in drawing up our plan was not race. (link)

The issue was not race? What planet are you living on, lady? Here in this country, on planet Earth, everything is about race. We'll never be able to escape the issue of race. Race is the basis, whether it makes sense or not, upon which all decisions in this raceless, color-blind America we live in are made.

For the record, and despite what were probably good intentions, I side with the parents - who happen to be black - of the unfortunate kids who would be shunted off to crappy schools in order to implement this plan. Just as my heart went out to those white 1st grade kids in the 70's and 80's who were bused into ghetto neighborhoods in order to achieve "balance" - racial quotas - in school systems around the country, these our children deserve better.

ALL children deserve good schools.

What was that silly quote about not judging people by the color of their skin again? Not in this lifetime.

Schumer Wins Again

We might as well appoint the senior senator from New York to be our president if he is going to continue to call the shots in the White House. As he has - again - here:
Bush Picks Mukasey As Attorney General
By Deb Reichmann, myway.com


Washington (AP) - President Bush has settled on Michael B. Mukasey, a retired federal judge from New York, to replace Alberto Gonzales as attorney general and will announce his selection Monday, a person familiar with the president's decision said Sunday evening.

Mukasey has received past endorsements from Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, who is from Mukasey's home state. And in 2005, the liberal Alliance for Justice put Mukasey on a list of four judges who, if chosen for the Supreme Court, would show the president's commitment to nominating people who could be supported by both Democrats and Republicans. (link)
Let's be honest. That last sentence should end with: "... would show the president's commitment to nominating people who could be supported by ... Democrats."

Republicans were left out of this equation. The President wanted to avoid a fight.

Schumer wins. Again.

How deflating.

Not When Hillary Gets Elected ...

Need a doctor now? You have options

O.J. Simpson Ar ... Uh, I Don't Care

What A Neat Idea

Hillary is unveiling her HillaryCare II plan this morning. Here's the crux of it:

Your health care costs are going to be held in check by your tax dollars.

What?

And 40% of America will say ... What a great idea!

The plan:
Clinton to offer health care plan
By Beth Fouhy, Associated Press Writer

Des Moines, Iowa - For months, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has promised a plan to bring health care to every American.

She was to make good on that pledge Monday, unveiling a sweeping proposal requiring everyone to carry health insurance and offering federal subsidies to help reduce the cost of coverage.

With a price tag of about $110 billion per year, Clinton's "American Health Choices Plan" represents her first major effort to achieve universal health coverage since 1994, when the plan she authored during her husband's first term collapsed. (link)
That's right. The cost of your coverage will be subsidized with "federal" revenue. Federal revenue being your income. And that's good why?

About that cost - $110 billion is only a drop in the bucket compared to what the price tag will actually be.

May God save us from this woman.