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

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A New Blogger Enters The Fray

Actually he's leaving the fray, but I don't want to confuse you. The news:
State Senator Brandon Bell launches new political action committee & blog

State Senator Brandon Bell will not be returning to the General Assembly in January, but he plans to keep his hand in Virginia politics.

He is launching a new political action committee and blog.

In Roanoke Red Zone, Bell says he will draw on his experience as a politician and legislator to offer commentary on state and national politics. His first post argues that former Governor Jim Gilmore is not the Republicans' best choice for next year's U.S. Senate race. (link)
It says something that a Republican state senator who was recently bounced from office by his constituents (losing to a staunch conservative in the GOP primary who then won handily in the general election) for being too liberal when it comes to the state's tax-and-spend addiction writes his first blog post about a conservative politician - Jim Gilmore - being unelectable!

Anyway, welcome to the hot tub, Brandon. Come on in. The water's warm. We look forward to your insights and ... most of your opinions.

I Guess That'll Work

In a number of other states, one declares at the time he or she signs up with the board of elections that party to which he/she affiliates (Dem, Rep, Ind, Green, Commie, etc.). Here in Virginia, The Republican Party is going to handle it a bit differently:
GOP will demand 'oath' of February primary voters

Richmond, Va. (AP) -- If you're planning to vote in Virginia's February Republican presidential primary, be prepared to sign an oath swearing your Republican loyalty.

The State Board of Elections on Monday approved a state Republican Party request to require all who apply for a GOP primary ballot first vow in writing that they'll vote for the party's presidential nominee next fall. (link)
A loyalty oath. Right out of the 50's. Much is going to be made of that.

Still, I wonder how many Republicans in the state senate would be willing to sign it ...

It Don't Get Any Plainer Than This *

From Virginia's brightest columnist par excellence:
[R]easonable interpretations of the Constitution are rare in certain circles, so in the coming months the public will be told that the second item in a Bill of Rights written explicitly to protect individual liberties does not apply to individuals. In the reading of gun-control advocates, the Founders wrote the First Amendment to protect individual rights -- then took a wide detour exempting individual rights in order to preserve only
a collective right to state militias . . . then doubled back to the protection of individual rights for the rest of the amendments.

In this reading, "the people" means one thing in the First Amendment, something entirely different in the Second, and in the Fourth and Ninth Amendments reverts to the meaning used in the First. Even more oddly, in this reading the Founders used the term "the people" to refer to "the states" in the Second Amendment -- but took pains in the Tenth Amendment to draw an explicit distinction between the powers "reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." (Why'd they do that? It's a complete mystery!)
A. Bart Hinkle, "Listen to Reason: The Bill of Rights Is a Package Deal," Richmond Times-Dispatch, November 27, 2007

* It's baffling that, despite the clarity expressed above, it is an accepted fact that at least three Supreme Court justices will think otherwise when the D.C. gun ban case is decided.

Dawn Of a New Day

Somebody pinch me. Chichester is gone. Potts is gone. Hawkins is gone. And now this:
Senate Republicans oust Stosch
In leadership shuffle, Norment is new head of chamber's caucus

By Tyler Whitley, Richmond times-Dispatch Staff Writer

In what appeared to be a peaceful coup, Republican senators shoved aside their leader, Sen. Walter A. Stosch of Henrico County, yesterday and elected two conservative senators to new leadership positions.

Stosch was made Republican leader emeritus, a new position. Sen. Thomas K. Norment Jr. of James City County, who had been floor leader, will now be the leader.

Conservative Republican senators had been pushing for a leadership change after the loss of the party's majority in the state Senate in the Nov. 6 election.

Sen. Stephen D. Newman of Lynchburg, who had been a leader of conservatives seeking a change, was elected caucus chairman, a position previously held by Sen. Martin E. Williams of Newport News. Williams was defeated for re-election in a primary.

Another conservative, Sen. Mark D. Obenshain of Harrisonburg, was made a whip along with Sen. Frank W. Wagner of Virginia Beach. Sen. Kenneth W. Stolle of Virginia Beach will be Republican leader pro tempore, a new post. (link)
Conventional wisdom amongst the talking heads here in the commonwealth had it that Republicans, after losing several seats in the recent election, needed to ... well, be more like Democrats. Better informed heads have instead prevailed.

Liberal Republicans in the Senate (see list above) prevented much of the GOP's agenda from going to the governor's desk in the last session. That coupled with their siding with the most fanatical tax-and-spend Democrats in Virginia, who pushed for a massive tax increase to pay for transportation fixes they claim were desperately needed, had independent voters around the state wondering why they should consider supporting Republicans when their opponents offered the same solutions to our many problems (taxes, taxes, taxes ...).

This - a two-party system! - is a welcome change. You go, guys.

While They Ban Handguns ...

... maybe Washington D.C. officials need to consider banning men who don't use rubbers.

This is unbelievable:

'A Modern Epidemic'
Washington Post editorial

The statistics in the "District of Columbia HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Annual Report 2007" -- the first to detail the local reach of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS -- are harrowing. [next sentence deleted because it is laughable; something about a new HIV-AIDS director, "plenty of funding," and data now possibly making all the difference!].

AIDS is devastating the District. While there are 14 cases per 100,000 people in the United States, the rate is a staggering 128.4 cases per 100,000 here. That's higher than New York, Baltimore or Philadelphia. More people became HIV-positive through heterosexual sex (37 percent) than through men having sex with men (27 percent) or intravenous drug use (14 percent). Twenty-two percent of infections occurred by unknown modes of transmission. (link)

According to another Washington Post article, 10,000 D.C. residents (of the total population, that's one in fifty) are infected with AIDS. 1 in 50. Another 17,000 to 25,000 have contracted HIV.

This truly is an epidemic. Sadly, an epidemic of our own making. One that is easily prevented from spreading. But spread it will ...

They're So Easily Won Over

Get the players in the Middle East together on occasion "to talk" and the mainstream press goes climactic. The fact that the Israelis and Arabs have been "talking" - when they weren't slaughtering one another - for half a century, and still hate one another seems, just for the next few days, to be unimportant. Today we have bliss:

Restrained Optimism For Mideast Peace Talks
By Michael Abramowitz and Glenn Kessler, Washington Post Staff Writers

On the eve of President Bush's most ambitious effort to forge peace between Israelis and Palestinians, White House aides played down expectations for an immediate breakthrough, while Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. ally, made clear that it expects an aggressive administration attempt to broker a final deal.

Officials from about 50 countries and organizations arrived in Washington yesterday for today's Middle East peace conference in Annapolis. U.S. officials describe the event as the beginning of negotiations they hope will lead to a Palestinian state,
perhaps before Bush leaves office in January 2009. (
Here's the way this will play out, the way it always plays out:

● The Israelis will be expected to make concessions (note the issue raised above benefits only the Palestinians).

● The Israelis will make concessions.

● The Palestinians will continue to fire rockets into Israel.
● The Palestinians will continue to call for the destruction of Israel.
● The Palestinians will continue to launch terror attacks upon Israeli civilians.
● The Palestinians will continue to hold those Israeli soldiers hostage.
● The Palestinians will continue to make demands of the Israelis.

● More "peace" talks will be held.

● The Israelis will make more concessions.

● There'll be more rounds of happy talks. In perpetuity (or until the end of the Israeli state, whichever comes first).

● The mainstream press will be hoodwinked overjoyed - again.

On and on and on ....

Boucher Gets It Right

The campaign that is being waged against the XM-Sirius merger sometimes comes across as being ... well, less than serious. The argument being made is that the merger would violate anti-trust laws, since the two are the only two subscription-based satellite radio companies on the planet. The combined corporation would have a monopoly on space-based broadcasting. That, of course, is true.

The only problem is in the fact that there isn't a huge audience in space to pick up the signal being generated. Most of the listeners, and potential listeners, are here on Mother Earth, where there is a massive amount of competition. What was that about monopolizing the airwaves again?

Congressman Rick Boucher (D-Abingdon) comes down on the side of reality:
A beneficial merger
By Rick Boucher, writing in the Washington Times

By the end of the year, the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission should have completed their review of the proposed merger of satellite radio providers XM and Sirius. Because the merger will promote competition and benefit consumers, it should be approved. The key questions for both agencies are whether the merger would hinder competition in the relevant market and the effect the merger will have on consumers. In each instance, a close examination supports merger approval.

In the radio marketplace of both satellite and terrestrially delivered radio services, XM and Sirius occupy less than a 4 percent share of listeners. The balance is held by AM and FM stations. In the broader audio entertainment market of radio and Internet-based news and entertainment, XM and Sirius have an even smaller share. When one concludes that the broader market is the proper measure, it is clear that the merger would not hinder competition. (link)
There's another good reason to support the merger. One (or both) of these companies is going to go belly-up if it doesn't happen (see related article here) and this technology is too valuable to be squandered.

So, here's to Rick Boucher, who comes forth in support of the XM-Sirius merger.

*** You might wonder why Mr. Boucher has gotten involved in this feud. He has a dog in this fight.

He Might Want To Think About This

The British archbishop of Canterbury, who made the statement the other day that the U.S. has brought about "the worst of all worlds" should each day read the newspaper headlines before he shoots off his mouth.

The world's headlines tell a different story. Today's:
British teacher held over prophet 'insult'
Agence France-Presse

Khartoum, Sudan — A British teacher in Sudan yesterday faced lashes and deportation as she languished in police custody, accused of insulting the Muslim prophet for allowing young children to name a teddy bear Muhammad.

Sudanese police arrested Gillian Gibbons in Khartoum on Sunday after parents complained that she allowed 6-year-old boys and girls at an expensive English school to name the bear, and so "insult" the prophet Muhammad. (link)
The U.S. is the worst of all worlds? Only if you disregard all the others.

Such Promise. Such Disappointment.

He won't be missed:
Mississippi’s Lott to Leave Senate Seat
By Adam Nossiter and David M. Herszenhorn, The New York Times

Pascagoula, Miss., Nov. 26 — Senator Trent Lott’s announcement on Monday that he would resign in a few weeks added to the growing Republican exodus from Congress, but may have strengthened Mr. Lott’s post-Senate job prospects.

Mr. Lott insisted Monday that he was not ending his 35-year career in Congress because of the rules, pointing instead to “financial commitments” made before Hurricane Katrina, a desire to “do something else” and other reasons.

Mr. Lott made the surprise announcement in this Gulf Coast city where he grew up and ... (link)

Trent Lott could at times come across as the staunch conservative. At other times, he was just a butt boy for the Democrats in the Senate. (Then there was that ghastly scene that played out several years ago in which he had been accused of being a racist and he went around pleading, "But I like negroes." He should have resigned for that reason alone.) He, like so many others that come to mind, was a good man who simply stayed in Washington too long, and let it affect his judgement.

So long, Trent. Don't let that door slap ...

On The Global Warming Scare

Tucked away in an article appearing this morning in London's Telegraph about global atmospheric temperatures actually declining in the last decade is a nice bit of slice-and-dice regarding the global warming fear campaign, a particular politician, and his no-there-there:
Planet-saving madness
By Christopher Booker

On the other hand, we had [British Prime Minister] Gordon Brown last week, in his "first major speech on climate change", airily committing his own and future governments to achieving a 60 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 - which is rather like prime minister Salisbury at the end of Queen Victoria's reign trying to commit Winston Churchill's government to achieving some wholly impossible goal in the middle of the Second World War.

Mr Brown's only concrete proposal for reaching this absurd target seems to be his plan to ban plastic bags, whatever they have to do with global warming (while his government also plans a near-doubling of flights out of Heathrow).

But of course he is no longer his own master in such fantasy exercises. (link)
Plastic shopping bags. Sounds awfully similar to Al Gore's call for everyone to go out and buy a curlicue lightbulb ... as he (private) jets around the planet, picking up awards for his wildly successful environmental crusade.

And the world buys into it ....

I'm Surprised It's Only Five

When 50% of eligible voters say they'd never vote for Hillary under any circumstances, the math involved tells me that this is at least the case:

New poll shows Clinton trails top 2008 Republicans

Washington (Reuters) - Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton trails five top Republican presidential contenders in general election match-ups, a drop in support from this summer, according to a poll released on Monday.

Clinton's top Democratic rivals, Barack Obama and John Edwards, still lead Republicans in hypothetical match-ups ahead of the November 4, 2008, presidential election, the survey by Zogby Interactive showed.

Clinton, a New York senator who has been at the top of the Democratic pack in national polls in the 2008 race, trails Republican candidates Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, John McCain and Mike Huckabee by three to five percentage points in the direct matches. (link)

When you get down to names like Thompson and Huckabee beating Clinton, names that most voters are still unfamiliar with, and they still beat her in a hypothetical match-up, I have to believe that those polled are simply reflectiive of the ANYONE BUT HILLARY crowd.

Something the DNC should think long and hard about. They nominated a doofus in 2004. The she-bitch-from-hell in 2008?