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

Saturday, October 13, 2007

All Right. Enough of This.

Three days in a row now we've been confronted with these headlines:
General Dynamics workers laid off
By Dan Kegley, Wytheville Enterprise Staff

About 45 General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products employees in Marion learned Thursday their jobs are being cut over the next few weeks. According to a release from James D. Losse, General Dynamics’ vice president and general manger of advanced materials, the layoffs are “part of a broad program to improve its competitiveness that also includes the introduction of Lean Manufacturing/Six Sigma techniques and other efforts to improve the company’s ability to compete.” (link)
250 jobs in Henry County on Thursday.

Another 70 jobs on Friday.

Now this.

Any more of that happy talk about Virginia being the "most business-friendly state" on the planet and I'm going to scream.

Thought For The Day

Regarding the noose that mysteriously appeared on a racism professor's (not to insinuate that she's a racist; she teaches on the subject) door at Columbia University and the furor and anguish (not to mention the entertainiment value) that have flowed from the incident, from James Taranto:
No institution in America has embraced multiculturalism with anything like the ideological fervor of higher education. It's hard to think of any institution in America that is more beset by strife over race and other distinctions among identity groups. Could there be a causal relationship here?
From "Calm Down, It's Only a Swastika," The Wall Street Journal, October 12, 2007

Bart Gets It Wrong

One of my favorite columnists in all the world blows his credibility this morning with this:
Sorry About the Torture -- We Thought You Were Somebody Else
By A. Barton Hinkle, Richmond Times-Dispatch Columnist

Here's the problem with Guantanamo Bay -- and secret CIA prisons on foreign soil -- in a nutshell: If the prisoners being held there are illegal enemy combatants, then most Americans believe they do not deserve all the procedural niceties afforded by the Constitution. But the only fair way to figure out if a prisoner qualifies as an illegal enemy combatant is to follow the procedural niceties guaranteed by the Constitution. (link)
Uh, Bart. That procedure is in place. And working nicely. *

You make reference to the Military Commissions Act. You should be aware that the U.S. Court of Appeals has found it to be perfectly acceptable - Constitutionally - in its intended purpose and application. It's intended purpose?

"To facilitate bringing to justice terrorists and other unlawful enemy combatants through full and fair trials by military commissions, and for other purposes." (source)

And the concept isn't exactly breaking new ground or doing an end-run around our legal processes. From the White House:

"With The Military Commissions Act, The Legislative And Executive Branches Have Agreed On A System That Meets Our National Security Needs. In the months after 9/11, the President authorized a system of military commissions to try foreign terrorists accused of war crimes. These commissions were similar to those used for trying enemy combatants in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and World War II. After the legality of this system was challenged and the Supreme Court ruled that military commissions need explicit authorization by Congress, the President asked Congress for that authority - and Congress provided it."

Sorry, Bart. Back to the drawing board.

* Despite what the mainstream press wants you to believe, every detainee being held at Guantanamo has had his day in court. Every one.

Memo To Those Who Want to Raise Taxes:

Starting with the Roanoke Times ...

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
Survey Says . . .

A new poll by Christopher Newport University shows that Virginians who are asked how they would prefer to balance the state budget prefer cutting spending over raising taxes by a 3-2 margin. They also prefer making the cuts targeted rather than simply slashing budgets across the board.

Those are encouraging numbers. They suggest citizens have not been taken in by the spurious claim that the state does not tax them enough. Indeed, when confronted by a state budget that grew 20 percent over the past biennial budget thanks in no small part to one of the biggest tax increases in state history, a lot of ordinary citizens find it hard to reconcile such growth with the notion that the state is short of cash. (
It wouldn't hurt for those candidates for public office who have come out in favor of tax increases to heed this survey as well.

Bill Thomas (D-Pulaski), running to unseat sitting Delegate Anne B. Crockett-Stark (R-Wytheville) in the 6th District has proposed a few jaw-dropping tax increases to solve Virginia's many problems - both real and imagined.

And don't take my word for it. You can listen to his proposals here. Pay close attention when he says the following about fixing the commonwealth's "revenue problems":

"I would propose an increase in gasoline taxes ..."

"I think it would be appropriate to put toll stations on the interstate where folks using the interstate highway system, be they local Virginia residents or out-of-state residents, can pay for the use of that road. If it keeps local people from using the interstate system ... then that just frees up more space for the out-of-state traveller ..."

I love his rationale on that second point. He intends to make it more difficult, by making it more costly, for us to use our own I-81.

Vote November 6. At least once.

Want To Know What I Think?

Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne feigns astonishment this morning:
The Trashing of Graeme Frost -- and the Fallout
By EJ Dionne

I have been astonished at the conservative blog and talk radio campaign against Graeme Frost and his family. Graeme is the now famous 12-year-old who spoke for the Democrats in favor of the $35 billion increase in funding for children's health care that President Bush vetoed. I said what I had to say on this in my column on Friday. What astonishes me is that conservative bloggers thought this would be an effective line of attack -- and also that the Frost family's conservative critics are quite ready to violate their own principles in going after this hard working family with a $45,000 annual income. As most of you know, this is all over the web. Do conservatives among you really think this was either smart or justified? What do the non-conservatives among you think of this? (link)
Here's what I think, pal:

1) The Democrats were caught in a lie. This family isn't what it was represented to be. Your astonishment not withstanding, the facts are the facts.

2) The Frost story is a wonderful illustration of that which is wrong with heavy-handed government meddling in our health care delivery system. What conservative bloggers and columnists have pointed out so effectively is the fact that this middle-class family has considerable worldly wealth and is on government relief.

3) If the Frosts represent a microcosm of SCHIP recipients, the program should be abolished, not expanded. Your kind are asking that the poorest among us pay for the care of upper-middle class Americans through an increase in the cigarette tax. The fact that your kind find that to be perfectly acceptable says a lot about your kind.

4) You're truly astonished? We're to believe that?

5) Spare me.

Warner Hasn't Retired Yet?

Hey, guess who's introducing a plan in the Senate next week - already proven to be a miserable failure in Europe - for controlling greenhouse gas emissions?

You win!

From a Washington Post article regarding Al Gore's Nobel award ("Gore v. Bush"):
Fortunately, Congress is beginning to consider climate-change legislation. Support is growing for putting a price on carbon through a cap-and-trade system with mandatory emission-reduction targets. Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John W. Warner (R-Va.) will introduce their climate bill next week. (link)
John Warner.

Much is now being written about the fact that cap & trade doesn't work (Go here to learn more about its inherent failings). But our aged Senator blindly plows ahead with that very plan. And the Washington Post, satisfied with the notion that something - anything - is being done, is all gooshy over the fact.

If that's not aggravating enough, the insufferable Crazy Al now has a Nobel "Peace" Prize.

Somebody wake me when this Halloween flick comes to an end.

Best Headline Of The Day

NASCAR cooties?

Why Not Paper Ballots & A # 2 Lead Pencil?

We are going to keep changing these damn things until Al Gore gets elected. That's all there is to it:
Voting Machines Giving Florida New Headache
By Abby Goodnough, The New York Times

Miami, Oct. 12 — It used to be that everyone wanted a Florida voting machine.

But now that Florida is purging its precincts of 25,000 touch-screen voting machines — bought after the recount for up to $5,000 each, hailed as the way of the future but deemed failures after five or six years — no one is biting.

“I think we are going to have them on hand for a while,” said Arthur Anderson, the elections supervisor in Palm Beach County, which must jettison 4,900 touch-screen machines for which it paid $14.5 million in 2001 and still owes $4.8 million. “They are probably, for the most part, headed to the scrap pile.” (link)

I Was Rather Surprised

Yesterday, as the business meeting I was attending turned to the subject of logistics, my attention turned to this article in USA TODAY (I don't do trucking or rail cars, sorry):
The Enron whistle-blower who wasn't
By Greg Farrell, USA TODAY

Lynn Brewer, author of Confessions of an Enron Executive: A Whistleblower's Story, has become a globally known authority on what went wrong at Enron. Since 2002, she has given close to 200 speeches around the world. At $13,000 per appearance, she has earned hundreds of thousands of dollars for her company, The Integrity Institute. In her presentations, Brewer recounts the wrongs she witnessed at Enron — a company that grossly overstated its earnings and collapsed into bankruptcy six years ago — and exhorts her listeners to act ethically in all of their dealings.

...what makes Brewer's story truly remarkable is that she appears to have fabricated significant portions of her tale, starting with whether she was ever an Enron "executive" and extending to her claims of being a "whistle-blower." (link)
Wow. This is the kind of hard-hitting journalism that I've come to expect never to see in USA TODAY. It's rather shocking. And a good read.

You might do just that.

Flying the Friendly Skies

With all the talk about airline scheduling snafus and cancelled flights, I just thought I'd pass on the fact that I made it to Orlando and back this week on time and without incident.

Thank you, Delta.