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

Monday, September 24, 2007

We're Getting Closer To The Truth

I made mention the other day of the wildly overblown estimates of the number of tourists local residents and cash-averse college kids who walk the Virginia Creeper Trail down in Damascus each year. A quarter million in one published educated estimate guess.

Just as wild have been the estimates of revenue that derives from the trail's existence. If that $3,000,000 figure were accurate, the area would truly be in high cotton. And if frogs had wings ...

Anyway, here's the latest speculation, buried in a story about the dedication of a new pavilion on the trail:

Pavilion along Virginia Creeper Trail dedicated in honor of Abingdon resident
By Amy Hunter, Bristol Herald Courier Reporter

About 40 people gathered at the large wooden pavilion Sunday evening to remember the late doctor. There were several speeches, including touching words from Brillhart’s son, Mike, who said his father enjoyed every aspect of the trail – hiking, biking, and taking pictures of the beautiful country through which it winds.

The trail has an economic impact of about $1.5 million per year for Abingdon and has grown tremendously in popularity since it opened. It begins near the new pavilion and travels 34 miles to the North Carolina line.

More than 100,000 people use the trail each year. (link)

Well, we went from 250,000 to 100,000 visitors a year.

And $1.5 million rather than $3 mil.

Probably still high but we're getting closer.

If 40 people gathered at the pavilion to participate in its dedication on Sunday, that would be about 25 more than I witnessed walking and biking the trail in Damascus on a sunny Saturday, Father's Day weekend a year ago - over a period of a few hours - in mid-afternoon.

I don't begrudge these people their trail. But serious tax dollars have been poured into it. And there are still people around here who think it is some kind of tourist mecca. It ain't.

The Virginia Creeper Trail is a local park, with the occasional impoverished college student coming down from Charlottesville, with his bike, dope, and tent in tow, to camp there one weekend a year. Nothing more.

Enough of our money has been wasted on it. I'm glad it afforded Congressman Boucher a nice backdrop for his wedding, but next time, he can pay for his own setting, and not require that the taxpayers cough up the cash for him.

Quote Of The Day

On Alaska Senator Ted Stevens and his Bridge To Nowhere:
It's time for Senate Republicans to step up to the plate. It's increasingly clear that their Sen. Stevens has ethically compromised himself and brought shame to the Senate. Will his colleagues continue to kowtow to him as a powerful Appropriations Committee member and allow him to serve on other key committees? Or will they send a signal that they are prepared to shun senators who abuse the public trust?
John Fund, "North To The Future," The Wall Street Journal, September 24, 2007

Mark Steyn On HillaryCare 2

As only the master can put it:

Mark Steyn: Bend over for Nurse Hillary

A year ago, I wrote that “the story of the Western world since 1945 is that, invited to choose between freedom and government ‘security,’ large numbers of people vote to dump freedom – the freedom to make your own decisions about health care, education, property rights, seat belts and a ton of other stuff.”Last week freedom took another hit. Hillary Rodham Clinton unveiled her new health care plan. Unlike her old health care plan, which took longer to read than most cancers take to kill you, this one’s instant and painless – just a spoonful of government sugar to help the medicine go down. From now on, everyone in America will have to have health insurance.


And, if you don’t, it will be illegal for you to hold a job.

Er, hang on, where’s that in the Constitution? It’s perfectly fine to employ legions of the undocumented from Mexico, but if you employ a fit 26-year-old American with no health insurance either you or he or both of you will be breaking the law?

That’s a major surrender of freedom from the citizen to the state. (link)

Worse still, there'll be no going back. Once you've surrendered freedoms to the government, those freedoms disappear forever.

That's not who we are. That's not who we will become. Stand up to this woman and her ilk. Liberty is at stake. America is at stake. We will not surrender, now or ever.

On HillaryCare 1.2

The Richmond Times-Dispatch weighs in this morning on that attempt by Congressional Democrats to provide assistance to poor rich kids in something called SCHIP:
No to SCHIP-Plus

What do you call a family that makes $83,000 a year?

When the issue is health care, you call them "poor" -- at least if you're a congressional Democrat or a member of the Democrats' hod-carrying media.

Congressional Democrats claim too many Americans can't afford to buy health insurance in the private market. Americans certainly have a harder time of it when taxes take more money out of their pockets than food, clothing, or shelter. Expanding the current program to cover the upper middle class is a shameless example of trying to buy people's votes with their own money. President Bush should carry through on his veto threat, and sink this SCHIP. (link)
There was a day when the Democrats - with the active assistance of their media lapdogs - could get away with labeling something like this "assistance for the poor." But the left no longer controls thought in this country. We are here to call them on their subterfuge.

As has the TD this morning. As have I.

The Bottom Line On 'Free' Health Care

You're a big supporter of universal health care? Fine. But you'd better start deciding which part of the current system you want to keep. Because, once it's made readily available to everyone "for free," part of it is - without doubt - going to be sacrificed.

As I've stated here many times, and as the New York Post puts it this morning:

The Price Of "Free Care"

Amid much fanfare, Sen. Hillary Clinton last week became the last of the three top Democratic contenders to offer her plan to fix America's health-care system.

The programs differ in detail, but not one of their sponsors - certainly none on the Democratic side, anyway - has been willing to speak honestly about the fundamental challenge: When patients don't pay the bills themselves, the demand for health care rapidly becomes impossible to fulfill.

Put another way: If individual Americans pay little or nothing out of pocket toward their own health-care costs, they'll quickly wind up seeking more care than what's available and affordable collectively.

And the one question candidates just won't answer honestly is: When that happens, who'll decide who gets what care?

[F]ree - or subsidized - care for all will quickly drive up demand to a point where it can't be fulfilled. At least, not at a cost the nation can afford.

Rationing will become inevitable.

That's not just high-falutin' economic theory - it's precisely what has happened in countries that have adopted universal government-paid care. (link)

You want your health care rationed? Support the Democrats.

And pray you never need medical care.

The Al Gore Mentality

A 15,000 square-foot eco-friendly home? Only in Crazy Al's world.

It seems, though, that a lot of people are buying into the hype. And Robert Frank calls them on it:
The $29 Million Eco-Home
By Robert Frank, The Wall Street Journal

An article on the BornRich blog highlights the many wonders of a new mansion being built near Palm Beach, Fla. The first thing I noticed about the place is that it’s being built by Frank McKinney — the self-described “maverick daredevil real-estate developer.” Frank is a guy who makes Donald Trump look modest. He’s had multiple plans for the same piece of property (which is really in Manalapan, not Palm Beach) and none have caught on. His latest gambit is to turn it “green” and hope to cash in on the anti-carbon craze.

The 15,000 square-foot home ... has everything you’d expect from a fine beachfront estate inspired by the huts of Tahiti: swimable water gardens, water palapa, waterfall spa with fire feature, 24 foot interior water walls, exotic interior tropical hardwoods (coconut, bamboo, etc.), eight bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, two elevators, two laundry rooms, two wine cellars (one for red, one white) and marble garage. (link)
And Frank's reaction:
[E]ven with all the solar panels, I guarantee the home will use up more electricity than two or three average ranch houses combined.

Being green is commendable, and perhaps even urgently necessary. And we should be thankful for any steps that the wealthy make to shrink their carbon footprint. At the same time, if someone wants to build a 15,000 square-foot house, fine by me. The wealthy have the right to live large. They earned it.

Just don’t try to call it environmentalism.
Amen to that, brother.

This Is Surprising

I figured all along that the New York Times, when it gave MoveOn.org that huge discount for that despicable "General Betray Us" ad, had simply shown the world that it had a very nebulous rate schedule. One of those "Here's our fixed price and here are the 310 available discounts you can take advantage of." Like hotels offer.

But no. It turns out the discount that MoveOn received was out of the ordinary. It was a "mistake."
New York Times Says It Violated Policies Over MoveOn Ad
By Howard Kurtz, Washington Post Staff Writer

After two weeks of denials, the New York Times acknowledged that it should not have given a discount to MoveOn.org for a full-page advertisement assailing Gen. David H. Petraeus.

The liberal advocacy group should have paid $142,000 for the ad calling the U.S. commander in Iraq "General Betray Us," not $65,000, the paper's public editor wrote yesterday.

Clark Hoyt said in his column that MoveOn was not entitled to the cheaper "standby" rate for advertising that can run any time over the following week because the Times did promise that the ad would run Sept. 10, the day Petraeus began his congressional testimony. "We made a mistake," Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis was quoted as saying.

The Times also violated its own advertising policy, which bars "attacks of a personal nature," Hoyt reported. He wrote that the episode "gave fresh ammunition to a cottage industry that loves to bash The Times as a bastion of the 'liberal media.' " (link)
One error (the discount) is a mistake. Two "errors" (that plus the violation of its own attack ad policy) does indeed provide "fresh ammunition" that supports the reality that The Times is a bastion of the liberal media.