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

Friday, November 23, 2007

Just When Prosperity Seemed A Certainty ...

That darn Virginia Creeper Trail keeps raising its ugly head. Local and state experts cheerleaders have convinced (gullible) area politicians (with cash on hand) that the trail is actually a mecca for affluent tourists and has brought economic vitality to an as yet unaware populace living in that corridor from Damascus to Abingdon.

The Creeper Trail's unbelievable success was noted in an article in the Dickenson Star the other day that had to do with similar riches being guaranteed Dickenson County now that authorites there have begun work on their Cranesnest Trail.

Now today, we learn that the city of Bristol, not to miss out on the gravy train, got in on the action too, citing that same success story - the Virginia Creeper Trail.

Wiser heads may be prevailing though. Someone there put pencil to paper, did some preliminary calculation, and asked a valid question: At what expense is this prosperity to come?

In today's news (from the newspaper that has the distinction of constructing the longest headlines on the planet):

Obstacles may cause Bristol Virginia to abandon its plans for the Mendota Trail project after spending more than $600,000 on it
By David McGee, Bristol Herald-Courier Staff Writer

Bristol, Va. – Despite a recent favorable court ruling, city leaders may opt to abandon the controversial Mendota Trail project.

The proposed hiking and biking trail from the city limits to the Scott County, Va., line has already cost the city more than $600,000, City Manager Bill Dennison said. The council is expected discuss the stalled project at its next meeting.

"An item is on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting," Dennison said. "It’s a terribly convoluted, complicated, very expensive proposition. Continuing a project, with no end to the expenses in sight, doesn’t seem very prudent to me."

City leaders had originally envisioned replicating the popular Creeper Trail in Damascus when they bought 12 miles of a former Southern Railway line in western Washington County in 2000. The project was expected to provide recreation, be a tourist destination and enhance economic development.

In the nearly seven years since, the city has invested about $635,000 to acquire the land and in legal and engineering fees, amid a six-year legal battle with property owners along the proposed route.

"A half-million dollars will not touch what needs to be done to that trail and that doesn’t include annual maintenance," Dennison said. (link)

To prove that the trail will probably go forward anyway, despite Mr. Dennison's very legitimate concerns and the realities on the ground all around Southwest Virginia, and despite the up front and ongoing costs cited by the current city manager, a former Bristol mayor had this to say:

"It seems a shame to not do it," [Doug] Weberling said. "Everyone around us is doing trails and reaping the economic benefits, and Bristol is going to be left out."

Yes, they are. But are they?

A Tortured Linkage

Facts can be so annoying sometimes. Especially when they get in the way of the perfect argument.

Take the massacre that occurred on April 16 of this year on the Virginia Tech campus. A crazed gunman by the name of Cho Seung-hui had purchased two handguns - over the counter at a gun store in one instance, through the internet in another - and used them, in machinelike fashion, to slaughter 32 innocent men and women.

A fact: there is no evidence that this psychopath ever attended a gun show, much less made a handgun purchase at one.

Within hours after the murders occurred, and before the slain students and professors were even given their proper burials, the cold, calculating anti-gun crowd began a frenzied attempt to use that tragic circumstance to push for more gun control. They wanted desperately to find fault with existing gun laws as they impacted Cho's actions before that fateful day. Where did he get those guns? Were the proper forms filled out? Did someone cut corners? Was he able to game the system?

Yet they came up empty. Cho Seung-hui jumped through all the necessary hoops; he followed the letter of the law; he had purchased his firearms in the manner that law enforcement and the anti-gun left had demanded of him.

(The fact that this asshole was a sociopath who should have been committed to an asylum long before he went on his rampage didn't fit their template so they have conveniently ignored that gem.)

Again, that pesky fact, an inconvenient truth: Gun shows played no part in this story.

But do you think that's going to stop these creeps from trying to link the Virginia Tech Massacre to the "gun show loophole" controversy? You underestimate the mendacity of this bunch.

From this morning's Roanoke Times:

Editorial: Close the gun show loophole
Cho didn't buy his guns at a gun show. The next Cho could if background checks aren't required.

Gun rights advocates reacted strongly to former state police superintendent Gerald Massengill's call for the General Assembly to close the gun show loophole in response to the massacre at Virginia Tech.

Tech gunman Seung-Hui Cho didn't get his guns at a gun show, bloggers and others argued. The massacre shouldn't be used as an excuse to restrict private dealers from making sales at gun shows without first conducting a background check.

Massengill, who headed the panel appointed by Gov. Tim Kaine to investigate the tragedy, anticipated that response in a speech before The Virginia Center for Public Safety.

Cho, Massengill said, should not have been able to purchase his guns legally at local gun shops. He could because the fact that he had been judged a danger to himself or others and referred for mental health treatment never made it into the state's database.

But had Cho been blocked, as he should have been, from purchasing a gun through a registered dealer, it would have been too easy for him to go to one of the numerous gun shows around the state to buy a gun from an unlicensed dealer, Massengill said. (link)

The logic is breathtaking. And dumbfounding, if not utterly contemptible.

This psychopath should not have been able to legally buy his hanguns through registered gun shops, therefore unrelated unregistered dealers need to be registered? Are you serious?

Look. Let me give you and this gun control poster boy, Gerald Massengill, a bit of advice. Quit trying to link the Virginia Tech Massacre to gun shows. There's no association, now or ever. You come across as being desperate - and more than a bit foolish - when you try to analogize one with the other.

There will be plenty of other tragedies for you to exploit. Just be patient and watch the headlines. There are an estimated 200 million guns in private hands here in the USA. More than a few of them are probably in the possession of madmen like Cho Seung-hui. Bide your time. The deaths you seek will occur. Wave then the bloody shirt.

When Guns Are Outlawed, Only ...

A quote from Mike Cox, Attorney General, Michigan:
In almost 14 years as prosecutor and as head of the Homicide Unit of the Wayne County (Detroit) Prosecutor's Office, I never saw anyone charged with murder who had a license to legally carry a concealed weapon. Most people who want to possess guns are law-abiding and present no threat to others. Rather than the availability of weapons, my experience is that gun violence is driven by culture, police presence (or lack of same), and failures in the supervision of parolees and probationers.
"Second Amendment Showdown," The Wall Street Journal, November 23, 2007

It Was Never About The Embryos

It will be interesting to see how long the embryonic stem cell activists here in the USA cling to the notion that human embryos must be destroyed in order to some day develop the technology to allow doctors the capability of making the blind walk and the lame see, now that a viable alternative method of obtaining cells has been developed. Since the controversy was never really about embryos, but about abortion, my guess is it will continue for a long, long time.

The news:
Man Who Helped Start Stem Cell War May End It
By Gina Kolata, The New York Times

If the stem cell wars are indeed nearly over, no one will savor the peace more than James A. Thomson.

Dr. Thomson’s laboratory at the University of Wisconsin was one of two that in 1998 plucked stem cells from human embryos for the first time, destroying the embryos in the process and touching off a divisive national debate.

And on Tuesday, his laboratory was one of two that reported a new way to turn ordinary human skin cells into what appear to be embryonic stem cells without ever using a human embryo. (link)
So. Will the embryonic stem cell warriors (you know who you are) continue their fight now that the controversial method of harvesting cells that they champion has proven to be unnecessary?

You can bet someone's life on it.


It is these guys who have convinced the gullible of this world to go out and buy those expensive curlicue lightbulbs. To save the planet. Or so they say. If you're one of those that bought the snake oil, it would do you well to know the salemen. From Bali Discovery Tours:
How to Jettison a Jet
A Lack of Apron Area Will Compel Delegations Attending the UN Climate Change Conference to Park their Planes Outside of Bali.

Tempo Interaktif reports that Angkasa Pura - the management of Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport are concerned that the large number of additional private charter flights expected in Bali during the UN Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC) December 3-15, 2007, will exceed the carrying capacity of apron areas. To meet the added demand for aircraft storage officials are allocating "parking space" at other airports in Indonesia.

The operational manager for Bali's Airport, Azjar Effendi, says his 3 parking areas can only accommodate 15 planes, which means that some of the jets used by VIP delegations will only be allowed to disembark and embark their planes in Bali with parking provided at airports in Surabaya, Lombok, Jakarta and Makassar. (
Private charter jets as far as the eye can see.

On the resort isle of Bali.

For a two week conference on swimming, sunning, dancing, wine-tasting, group-sex, recreational drugs, partying, fine dining conserving the world's resources.

For the love of God.

Rather Nixonian If You Ask Me

The comparison is startling. And you'll hear it made more often as we get closer to election time, and to her coronation. Hillary is so paranoid, so distrustful of others, probably distrustful of herself, that she comes across just as did Richard Nixon all those years ago.

Secretive. Suspicious. Humorless. Wary. Vengeful. Dark.

Today's red flag:
Hillary criticized for press strategy
By Christina Bellantoni, The Washington Times

When Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton wants to get a message out, her presidential campaign handpicks news outlets. Or, in some cases, bypasses the media entirely.

The strategy allows Mrs. Clinton — who rarely holds press availabilities — to avoid taking questions from reporters who cover her campaign and who might have detailed follow-up queries to her carefully planned policy announcements.

Mrs. Clinton's rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination have been painting her as someone who dodges tough questions or parses answers to difficult issues. (link)
She's frightened by the press.

I guess that's what I like about Rudy. He does interviews - lots of 'em - and is open, self-critical, and always jocular, in good humor even when having to deal with the embarrassments from his past. And if he doesn't have all the answers, he'll tell you.

Hillary, in those rare interviews she grants, comes across like she's prepared for the reporter to lunge at her with a knife at any moment.

The woman who would be president. Should be interesting.

Had She TRULY Been Committed ...

You've probably read somewhere the witty remark about pigs and chickens at breakfast time as they relate to risk taking. If not, it goes like this:

The difference between the pig and the chicken in the ham-and-eggs breakfast is ... the chicken has an interest, the pig is committed.

I thought of that message when I read this story about a young gal who was so committed to her environmental causes, feeling desperately that there were just too many people on this earth, knowing that she needed to do something about it, that she decided to kill ... someone else. Her unborn child.

Such commitment:

Meet the women who won't have babies - because they're not eco friendly
By Natasha Courtney-Smith and Morag Turner, London Daily Mail

Had Toni Vernelli gone ahead with her pregnancy ten years ago, she would know at first hand what it is like to cradle her own baby, to have a pair of innocent eyes gazing up at her with unconditional love, to feel a little hand slipping into hers - and a voice calling her Mummy.

But the very thought makes her shudder with horror.

Because when Toni terminated her pregnancy, she did so in the firm belief she was helping to save the planet.

Incredibly, so determined was she that the terrible "mistake" of pregnancy should never happen again, that she begged the doctor who performed the abortion to sterilise her at the same time. (link)

It's not known why Toni didn't put a bullet into her own brainpan. To save the planet, and all that.

Or maybe it is. It was easier to have someone else snuffed.

So much for commitment.