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

Friday, November 02, 2007

Here's Why You Shouldn't Get Too Excited

We read on a regular basis these days announcements pertaining to the creation of new industrial parks here in Southwest Virginia. Another rolled out in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph just a few days ago:

Giant step — Bluestone park gets first phase of funding
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

One not-so-small step in funding has led to a giant leap toward economic development in Tazewell County. The announcement last week of nearly $1.8 million for phase one of the Bluestone Regional Business and Technology Park is good news for those across the region.

The proposed 680-acre technology center, which will be located near Bluefield, Va., will incorporate a workforce training center, offices, hotels, a conference center, retail stores, residential units and a nine-hole golf course within a single development complex.

In Tazewell County actions are speaking louder than words, and we are encouraged by the economic development momentum rolling through the region. (link)
Hallelujah.

Only problem is, there's no "economic development momentum" in this. It's nothing more than the construction of a shell building.

Another shell building.

Thinking along those same lines, listen to Jerry Taylor, Lee County Democrat and challenger to 1st District Delegate Terry Kilgore (in "Candidate for Virginia's 1st District says he's willing to listen, work hard to attract jobs," in today's Bristol Herald-Courier):

"I know I can do a better job," the Lee County teacher said. "I’ve seen our young people grow up, go away to college when they turn 18, and then not have a job to come back to when they come home."

[Jerry] Taylor said [Terry] Kilgore talks about bringing jobs to the region, but empty industrial parks in Lee County paint a different picture.

"He talks about bringing in new jobs, but he never talks about how many jobs have left," Taylor said. "We’ve got two industrial parks in Lee County, and there are no jobs in any of them. He’s been in office for 14 years. When will the jobs come forth?"

Taylor said he would actively recruit new industry, even if he has to pay the costs of doing so himself.


He goes on to babble something about the explosive potential of the tourism industry (ugh, it's always spoken of in future tense), but his point here is well-taken. And it's a point that residents in a number of Southwest Virginia counties could make. We have a lot of industrial park buildings, constructed with the best of intentions (see above), that sit empty.

We reach a point in time where we need more than empty buildings and just-as-empty promises. As Taylor says, we need jobs. Employers. Actual (positive) momentum.

Industrial parks are easy. Especially since governments that finance them have money growing on trees these days. Making something of them is the rub. As soon as someone figures that out, we here in Southwest Virginia will be in hog heaven.

There Ought To Be a Law

You learn something every day. Apparently, it's not against the law to dress and smell the way people do who attend the annual festival over in Floyd County that goes by the name of FloydFest. Too bad.

That being the case, the Roanoke Times wants law enforcement to know that, despite their concern for our safety and well-being, not to mention the reputations of all residents of Southwest Virginia, they can't go harrassing people just because they look like freaks, mass murderers, and homeless people:

Editorial: 'Here for Floyd' must mean trouble

A minor traffic infraction turned into a federal court case that confirmed suspicions by FloydFest attendees: Police pulled them over, hassled and searched them just because they looked funny.

On a foggy July evening, Sean Moore of Greensboro, N.C., was driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Floyd with just the pickup's parking lights turned on. Park Ranger Bruce Gagnon pulled him over.

As soon as Moore said he and his passenger "were up here for Floyd," Gagnon ordered him out of the truck and questioned him about drugs, guns and alcohol.

By the time U.S. Magistrate Michael F. Urbanski reaches page 17 of his opinion and dismisses marijuana charges arising from an illegal search,* it's hard not to think that what happened to Moore was repeated throughout FloydFest weekend.

And that's just plain wrong. (link)

The Times is right of course. And the subject matter shouldn't be treated in such a flippant manner as I've done here.

But I can imagine this Volkswagen bus full of wild-haired hippies, dressed in their seedy garb - pimpled, scab-infested, rank - heading north along the turnpike, plumes of smoke roiling out from open windows - a la Cheech & Chong - with the local constabulary watching the vehicle pass. Coming into their county. Defiling their county. What should they have done?

Well, we know what they as officers of the law should have done. And not done.

Still ...

* An illegal search indeed. Illegal as hell. But it says something that this "hippie profiling" paid off. The young man was found to have been in possession of marijuana when he was pulled over and his car was searched. I wonder what tipped off the cops?

This Is Not Good

Any day that finds me agreeing with the Roanoke Times editorial staff makes me question my sanity. But to agree with two editorials on the same day is unprecedented. I've obviously become mentally deranged. Either that or Radmacher and his gang of deviants have finally been bounced and a sane group of opinion-mongers has been brought in.

You noticed above a supportive blog post dealing with the Times' stance relating to illegal searches. Well, today we have a twin-spin. I'm also very supportive of this:
Editorial: Murtha brings home the bacon

If Democratic Rep. John Murtha represented Southwest Virginia, people around here might be reluctant to criticize his enormously successful efforts to secure federal funding for local projects and employers.

Just imagine how far billions of dollars in federal contracts, and the thousands of jobs that came with them, would go toward transforming this economically stagnant region.

It's certainly done a lot for Murtha's sprawling Pennsylvania district, including his struggling hometown, Johnstown, according to a recent profile in The Wall Street Journal.

Many members of Congress judge themselves -- and are judged by their constituents -- by how well they bring home the pork.

But Murtha's use of earmarks to steer contracts to hometown industry -- however recently arrived -- is the same kind of abuse of authority that brought the nation the Bridge to Nowhere and helped Democrats regain control of Congress.

Doling out hundreds of millions of dollars for projects of questionable value may make Murtha a hometown hero, but it does nothing to convince voters that Democrats are really changing how business is conducted in Washington. (link)
Actually, we've become quite comfortable with this sort of government-induced economic development over the years right here in Southwest Virginia, though perhaps Jack Murtha is better at bringing home the pork than are our area politicians.

For example, the largest employer over in Russell County exists only because a lucrative contract with the state was let that called for it to be located in Lebanon. Then I think of all the government-created government jobs in our burgeoning prison industry. Grayson County, Tazewell County, Bland County, Smyth County, Buchanan County, Pulaski County, and Wise County all now find themselves to have the Virginia Department of Corrections as one of their largest employers. What would we do without our many Jack Murthas - in Washington and in Richmond - creating taxpayer-funded jobs?

In any case, here's to the Times. On this subject, pork, we wholeheartedly agree.

Sorry.

Political Trickster Gets His Due

Scroll down and look to the left sidebar and you'll see that I belong to a loose confederation of bloggers operating here in the commonwealth under the banner - Old Dominion Blog Alliance (ODBA). Membership is made up of - and is restricted to - bloggers who "lean" conservative. It also happens to have in its ranks the most entertaining and informative blogs in Virginia. But then I may be prejudiced.

Something many of you may not be aware of with regard to the ODBA involves a controversy that arose several months ago when the Democratic Party chairman over in Franklin County (and former hack for Senator Roscoe Reynolds, D-Martinsville), one Joe Stanley, pulled a rather despicable stunt, with the purpose, one would presume, being to embarrass us. Or something.

Anyway, it's coming back to bite old Joe. Pranks like that which he attempted are just not tolerated in civilized society.

The news:
Griffith targets redirection of Web sites
"Such practices just should not be allowed," the House majority leader said.
By Mason Adams, The Roanoke Times


House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith said Thursday he plans to file legislation to make unauthorized redirection of Web sites a criminal activity.

"Just last year, there was a case like this in our region, where, without authorization, someone actually redirected the site for the Old Dominion Bloggers Alliance to the North American Man/Boy Love Association," Griffith wrote in a news release. "Regardless of your Internet prowess, such practices just should not be allowed."

Griffith, R-Salem, is referring to a case in August when Joe Stanley, chairman of the Franklin County Democratic Committee and campaign manager for House of Delegates candidate Eric Ferguson, purchased OldDominionBlogAlliance.com and redirected it to NAMBLA's home page. (link)
Stanley's response? Who ...me?

"That absolutely should be a law. And if I knew anyone who'd done that I would be furious. But that's not what I've done."

Obviously, Joe Stanley just doesn't get it. Still doesn't get it. He's supposed to be a behind-the-scenes political operative. And a party chairman, whatever that entails. He's not supposed to be the story.

To deny, Joe, is to prolong. Keep it up and you'll be the headline long after your career with the Democratic Party has gone completely into the toilet. You did wrong. Admit it and get your life back in order.

Hillary Under The Microscope

From Peggy Noonan:
What Mrs. Clinton revealed the other night was more than an unfortunate persona. What I think she revealed was that her baseline thinking has perhaps not changed that much since the 1990s, when she was a headband wearing, power suited, leftist-who-hadn't-been-wounded-yet. It seemed to me she made it quite possible to assume you know who she'll be making war on. And this--much more than the latest scandal, the Chinatown funny money and the bundling--could, and I think would, engender real opposition down the road. The big chink in her armor is not stylistic, it is about policy. It is about the great baseline question in all political life: Whose ox is being gored?

The problem for Mrs. Clinton is not that people sense she will raise taxes. It's that they don't think she'll raise them on the real and truly rich. The rich are her friends. They contribute to her, dine with her, have access to her. They have an army of accountants. They're protected even from her.

But she can stick it to others, and in the way of modern liberalism for roughly half a century now one suspects she'll define affluence down. That she would hike taxes on people who make $150,000 a year.

But those "rich"--people who make $200,000 and have two kids and a mortgage and pay local and state taxes in, say, New Jersey--they don't see themselves as rich. Because they're not. They're already carrying too much of the freight.
"Hillary Reveals Her Inner Self," The Wall Street Journal, November 2, 2007

Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton

Charles Krauthammer on the difference between Bush '43 following in his father's footsteps and Hillary (disjointedly) succeeding her husband:
[T]he father-son connection is nothing compared to husband-wife. The relationship between a father and an adult son is psychological and abstract; the connection between husband and wife, concrete and quotidian. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife. George Bush, pere, didn't move back into the White House in January 2001.

Which is why Hillary's problem goes beyond discomfort with dynastic succession. It's deep unease about a shared presidency.
"The Real Hill-Bill Problem," The Washington Post, November 2, 2007.

Why All Those Lefty Movies Are Going Unnoticed

Screenwriter Roger L. Simon offers up an interesting perspective on why all those anti-war/anti-Bush movies are being so poorly received by the public (at least here in the USA) lately. An excerpt from a book in progress:

... I suspect I could do a better job of writing left-wing movies than Hollywood has lately, judging from the box office receipts of those films.

There are many reasons for the failure of these movies, but chief among them is not what the right-wing blogs say – that they are out of touch with the public. That may be true to some degree (issue movies, taking at the very minimum nine or ten months to make, usually considerably longer, are almost always late to market as far as public opinion is concerned). It is that they are fake – these films are not really believed by their makers in any deep sense. They are a cinema of “as if” and all but the most biased sense this on some level. They are a cinema of “as if” and all but the most biased sense this on some level. This is the opposite of a movie like the classic of classics Casablanca, a film that triumphs with its audiences for being heartfelt. Hollywood’s anti-war flicks are essentially posturing. They are cinema made by people who think they are supposed to be anti-war, but don’t really feel anything. No wonder the audience doesn’t respond. (This wasn’t true of a few of the Vietnam War era films that had more genuine passion, just as the demonstrations against the war then were vastly more impassioned and well attended.) Sometimes, as in the case of Brian De Palma’s Redacted, these films seem to have been made to rescue a failing career through having the “correct” political views. This may have been unconscious, or barely conscious, on the part of the filmmaker, but true nevertheless, cynical as that accusation sounds. (link) (emphasis in the original)


Simon goes on to cite some specific examples.

Read the whole thing. Interesting stuff.

Smackdown

I regularly read (past tense) and was a big fan of Andrew Sullivan's weblog a number of years ago. He was entertaining and his blog was informative. But at about the time the war on terror started, a war he supported wholeheartedly (until the war actually began and he suddenly became violently opposed to it), my interest began to wane. He proved himself to be a bit too ... mercurial for my tastes. These days, I never even think about him or his blog.

But Sullivan's name surfaces every now and then. And on those occasions, he's more often than not in someone's gunsights. Yesterday Glenn Reynolds felt the need to discipline him, with this:
I wasn't going to respond when Andrew Sullivan -- deliberately, or in unforgivable cluelessness -- transformed my statement about leaving the Libertarian Party into something about not being a libertarian at all. Andrew says a lot of silly things about me these days, and life is too short to pay attention to them. But now that silliness seems to be spreading. So let me repeat what I said before: "But note that no longer being a member of the Libertarian Party is hardly the same thing as not being a libertarian. If it were, there would be precious few libertarians left." Anyone who can't understand the difference between libertarian ideas and the Libertarian Party probably isn't smart enough to be blogging, and certainly shouldn't have his page topped with the words "Of no party or clique." (link)
"Isn't smart enough to be blogging." Ouch.

A British Member Of Parliament Wants Hillary

Well, actually, he thinks it's a swell idea if we were to get Slick Willy back in the White House. Hillary would then be the obedient wife to the Husband-in-Chief, as she was not long ago.

I don't know if he helped her or hurt her chances with "I want Hillary Clinton to be president."