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

Thursday, October 25, 2007

On That Pitiful Thomas Endorement ...

I heaped derision on the Roanoke Times editorial team yesterday after it made a ridiculously feeble attempt to turn Democratic challenger Bill Thomas (6th District, D-Pulaski) into some kind of larger-than-life John McCain-like maverick, bucking his party at every turn. I still chuckle when I read it.

Having done that, I'll not go there again.

But what I will do is challenge one of the assertions made in that editorial regarding my favorite delegate in all of Richmond, Annie B. Crockett-Stark. That being:

Crockett-Stark has toed the party line and continues to defend egregious legislation such as the transportation bill.

Crockett-Stark is an entrenched loyalist with a majority party that has proved itself incapable ...
Tsk. Tsk. "Loyalty" raises its ugly head. Must be something bad.

Whether it is or not, I was reminded of some work that fellow blogger Waldo Jacquith had performed not long ago on this very subject - party loyalty.

May I refer you to an analysis ** he did of the General Assembly's membership - by party - as it relates to "toeing the party line." Here's Jaquith:
I’ve been working on metrics by which to measure the ideological positions of members of the General Assembly for Richmond Sunlight. Over the past few weeks I’ve been working on a ranking metric to determine how closely that legislators hew to the party line in their voting behavior.
So where does Anne B. Crockett-Stark rank, according to Waldo? On a scale from -3 to 100 (with Republican Majority Leader Morgan Griffith sitting at 100), she racks up a 7.

Seven.

To Griffith's slash-and-burn reactionary neanderthal McCarthyite one hundred.

7.

A mindless tool of the politburo of the central committee if there ever was one.

Want a do-over, Roanoke Times people?

** While I have profound disagreements as to Jaquith's methodology, his efforts are appreciated. I sure don't have time to do such things. Thanks, Waldo.

This Guy's a Keeper

I don't know if the Roanoke Times' resident cartoonist is new to the organization or not but the boy has talent. Copyright laws prevent me from reproducing his latest so I'll just link to it and demand that you check it out.

Chris Obrion has a future.

Too bad he's stuck working for the Times ...

Earth To Tom Davis:

To borrow a phrase, we simply ask that our Republican candidates here in Virginia be from the Republican wing of the GOP. That's all.

This is highly offensive*:

Sources Say Rep. Davis Won't Run for Senate
Discontent With GOP Cited as Factor
By Amy Gardner, Washington Post Staff Writer


Rep. Thomas M. Davis III will not make a run for the U.S. Senate next year, in part because of what he sees as the Republican Party's increasingly narrow focus on candidates who pass conservative litmus tests on taxes and abortion, several people close to his office said yesterday.

... to try to replace Sen. John W. Warner (R), who will retire at the end of next year, at a time when Davis considers Democrats to be strong and Republicans in disarray -- particularly in Virginia -- would be counterproductive, they said. (link)


You can bet your last dollar that it wasn't this reporter who dialed a number and got this scoop. That Davis "source" sought her out and handed her the story proactively in advance of Davis's formal announcement this morning.

Expect Davis to take the high road and talk about his ongoing efforts to provide for his constituency in northern Virginia and how his services are required in the House now more than ever. Critical period in our nation's history, and all that.

The message is received and understood, Tom.

But that works both ways.

Glad you got our message before things got ugly here in the commonwealth. We already have plenty of liberal politicians asking for our vote these days. We didn't need another. Thanks for not forcing us to turn you out.

* Caution: This is coming from the mainstream press.

Come On, Virgil

So I'm looking through a list of House appropriations bill earmarks pork and what do I come across? This:

For those of you who don't have your reading glasses on, or who can't click on the image to enlarge it, the fourth line down reads:

$100,000 Develop a Walking Tour of Boydton, Virginia House Transp-HUD Goode

That's 5th District Congressman Virgil Goode (R-Rocky Mount).

That's a Transportation/Housing & Urban Development bill.

That's a $100,000 appropriation.

For a "walking tour" of tiny Boydton, Mecklenburg County, Virginia. Population 454.

Say it ain't so.

Click on image to enlarge.

America Votes ... At The Box Office

Pay me $250 and I'll watch Robert Redford's new anti-war/anti-America movie, "Lions For Lambs." Otherwise, count me out. I've seen his storyline before. Every night on the evening news.

Apparently I'm not alone in wanting assholes like him to just go away:
Audiences reject Iraq war — at the box office
By Christian Toto, The Washington Times


It doesn't matter how many Oscar winners are in front of or behind the camera — audiences are proving to be conscientious objectors when it comes to this fall's surge of antiwar and anti-Bush films.

Both "In the Valley of Elah" and, more recently, "Rendition" drew minuscule crowds upon their release, which doesn't bode well for the ongoing stream of films critical of the Iraq war and the Bush administration's wider war on terror.

"Rendition," which features three Oscar winners in key roles, grossed $4.1 million over the weekend in 2,250 screens for a ninth-place finish. A re-release of "The Nightmare Before Christmas" beat it, and it's 14 years old. (link)
A 14-year old movie beat out Susan Sarandon's latest. Amusing. Heartwarming. Encouraging.

This Was So 15 Minutes Ago

Kaine Requires Labs To Report Staph Cases

When You Have Nothing Cogent To Say ...

... spew.

An anti-war protester confronting the Secretary of State yesterday.

An avid contributor to Daily Kos, no doubt.

Photo courtesy of the New York Post

A Good Line

Gail Collins on Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee:

"[W]hy aren’t the social conservatives rallying around this guy? Unlike any of the major candidates, he’s still on his first wife and first position on abortion."

"Who Doesn’t ♥ Huckabee? " The New York Times, October 25, 2007

Good News. I Hope.

Judging our success at winning (or losing) a war by some statistical trend relating to friendly casualties sustained isn't a smart thing to do, so I'll just throw this out there for your consideration:

Sharp Drop Seen in US Deaths in Iraq
By Steven R. Hurst, AP


Baghdad (AP) — October is on course to record the second consecutive decline in U.S. military and Iraqi civilian deaths and Americans commanders say they know why: the U.S. troop increase and an Iraqi groundswell against al-Qaida and Shiite militia extremists.

As of Tuesday, the Pentagon reported 28 U.S. military deaths in October. That's an average of about 1.2 deaths a day. The toll on U.S troops hasn't been this low since March 2006, when 31 soldiers died — an average of one death a day.

In September, 65 U.S. soldiers died in Iraq. (link)
Some in this country will be disappointed by this news. You know who you are. But let's hope this is an indication that the tortured nation of Iraq is finally coming under control.

Can victory be far down the road? Hopes are high ...

While We Plant Trees ...

... the Chinese are taking over the world:

China beats Germany to take world trade crown
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard and Mark Kleinman, London Telegraph

China has surged ahead of Germany for the first time to become the world's top exporter, prompting ever louder demands from the United States and Europe to revalue the yuan.

Data from the World Trade Organization show that the country vaulted past the US at the beginning of this year and has since moved at lightning speed to eclipse Germany's once indomitable export machine.

Now boasting 8% of global exports – three times the Britain's dwindling share (sic) – China has jumped up the technology ladder. Machinery, equipment and cars now make up 46% of total exports, while textiles are fading from the picture. (link)


All I can say is ... Wow.

Our priorities? Bike paths. Curlicue lightbulbs. Perpetual land conservancies. Dancing With The Stars.

Hope you're up on your Mandarin.

Not a Proud Legacy

My eyebrows went up in 2000 when a certain presidential primary candidate took out after conservatives like me, saying we were insensitive to the needs of those less fortunate in this country, and talked about an alternative to our calls for fiscal restraint, citing something he called "compassionate conservatism." It sounded perplexingly like good-old fashioned Democratic liberalism at the time. And we were awash in that in Washington. So I voted for Alan Keyes.

Looks like, nearly eight years later, my apprehensions have been validated:
Bush a bigger spender than LBJ, study suggests
by Mark Silva, The Baltimore Sun


President Bush, who likes to tout the tight reins he has placed on discretionary spending of late, actually has run up the biggest budget tab since Lyndon B. Johnson, according to a study by the Cato Institute ...

When adjusted for inflation, discretionary spending -- meaning the budget which Congress and the president can control, including defense and domestic programs, but not entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare -- shot up at an average annual rate of 5.3 percent during Bush's first six years, the Cato Institute's Stephen Slivinski calculates.

That tops the 4.6 percent annual rate Johnson logged during his 1963-69 presidency. (link)
Lyndon Johnson was, arguably, the most liberal president in American history. With that ideology came a withering array of poverty programs that have proven, over time at least, to be monumentally expensive (and ultimately a complete waste of 4,000,000,000,000 taxpayer dollars).

And George W. Bush has done us even worse.

Compassionate conservatism. We now know.

Don't Let Him Off The Hook

The Democrats gace birth to a monster called the alternative minimum tax back in the 60's, the intention being to "soak the rich." Now it's drowning their pampered constituencies. The liberal northeast rich. Boy, is it fun to watch them twist in the wind over this one.

Charlie Rangel, New York Democrat, wants to ease his misery:
Minimum-Tax Fix May Cost Hedge Funds, Buyout Firms $48 Billion
By Ryan J. Donmoyer and Alison Fitzgerald, Bloomberg.com


Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) -- House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel said he would propose paying for curbing the alternative minimum tax this year with a $48 billion tax increase on executives of buyout firms and hedge funds.

The New York Democrat said the proposal would more than double the tax rate on so-called carried interest, the compensation that executives at buyout and venture-capital firms, as well as real estate and oil and gas partnerships, receive for managing investments. It would also require hedge fund managers to pay tax on income they defer in offshore accounts, he said. (link)
Here's how I'd respond. Rangel and his New York delegation are over a barrel on the AMT. It is structured such that it slams states like his, with high local and state tax rates, particularly hard. Tens of thousands of New York households are affected now. And many more soon will be.

Rangel needs to kill it. Bad. So the Republicans, as they've been doing to this point in time, need to stand back and let him squirm. Then demand a host of spending cuts. The alternative for Rangel is to maintain the alternative minimum tax. And take on the wrath of constituents.

The darker side of me enjoys this. These guys have done it to themselves.