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

Friday, December 21, 2007

All I Want For Christmas Is ...

... a rapid-fire, 20-round, rotary clip, kick-ass 12 gauge shotgun.

This is very cool:

It looks like the shells are loaded with slugs. That has to hurt.

And no recoil. What's up with that?

Actually I'm kidding about getting this for me for Christmas. If you enter my home without my permission, I'm sure I've got something lying around to stop you.

It's still cool ...

- - -

UPDATE: Since I've been asked, I should probably tell you, this weapon is actually in use by the Military Police.

Double-click on the triangle to activate.

On That Bland Property Reassessment

I referred yesterday to the astounding increase in land assessment that property owners in Bland County had handed to them by the county assessor's office in recent days. For those concerned about coming up with the necessary cash so as to keep from getting thrown out in the cold, I'm reproducing a few of the comments that were left here after I put up my weblog post. They are both instructive and informative and - though they came from anonymous sources - may be of help.

First, there's this:

Here's what you do.

1) Get a comparable sales listing for properties similar to yours over the last couple of years.

2) Take that down to the assessor's office and ask for an adjustment.

3) If you are not satisfied with the adjustment, your county will appoint a board of citizens to serve as the final hearing board (your local circuit court judge will make the appointments. I believe they must include at least one professional appraiser.) You then petition the Board of Equalization about your assessment.

Now, as to the broader question about why this happens. The Constitution of Virginia requires that localities tax real estate property at 100% valuation. As a Dillon's Rule state the localities have no choice or control of this process.

Assessment of real property valuation must occur every four years I believe. Most localities have gone to annual assessments but rural communities invariably find the cost of staffing a fulltime assessment office too much to bear so they pass and outsource the process to as long a gap as possible so as to not incur additional expenses. I believe the cost to reassess Bland County cost the local taxpayers around $200K. Check with Mr. Sweet.

Now, after the assessments are in, the Board of Supervisors will then set the tax rate. The effective rate with the new assessment will obviously mean that the cents per dollar will decline. How much? Well, that's up to you and your Board of Supervisors.

If you don't like the property tax mechanism (and most in local government don't like it because of the inequity it places on one type of value) talk to your State Delegates and Senators and see if they would be willing to let localities shift fund support to consumptive taxes instead to some degree.

Good stuff. I'm very much in favor of shifting to a consumption tax, all or in part. To think, there are people who will be losing their ancestral lands because the increase in property taxes that is going to result from this reassessment is going to push them over the edge.

Then there's this ray of hope for those retired folks who suddenly find themselves in a bad way because of this massive increase in the assessed value of their property (in fact you've been asset-rich and cash-poor all along as the assessments are - in all reality - just catching up with the market value of the land):

They more than likely won't face a huge increase as rural Boards around here have long held to the tradition of adjusting the rate down post reassessment so as to keep the effective dollars about constant. Not totally, but as close to constant as fiscally feasible.

I don't believe Bland has any huge debt service scheduled soon (e.g. school construction, landfills, jails) so you'll probably see a small increase in terms of real dollars.
There is of course that Taj Mahal of a new courthouse.

Still, let's hope this doesn't hurt too many of our friends and neighbors.

- - -

UPDATE, 3:10pm: here's an interesting twist. I received the following via email:

"State law prohibits localities from raising taxes via the sleight-of-hand assessment process. To increase taxes, local boards must overtly vote to do so. Absent that vote, a new assessment requires that the rate per hundred be rolled back so that overall the take remains within 1 percent of what it was before reassessment."

Interesting. That changes everything. We now await that vote.

* Thanks for the excellent input ... anonymouses.

** A side note: Taxes. Taxes. Taxes.

A Punishment Too Lenient

I need to consult attorney extraordinaire Steve Minor. Are judges prevented by law from passing judgement that allows for penetrating the scumbag in the following story with a cigarette as punishment for his crimes?
Pulaski man gets 320 years for sex crimes
James Ferlon Clark was convicted of attacking a paraplegic woman and her pregnant caregiver in a Dublin apartment.
By Shawna Morrison, The Roanoke Times

Pulaski -- After a hearing Thursday in which he accused a prosecutor of planting evidence against him, a man convicted of committing sex crimes against two women in January was sentenced to life in prison many times over.

James Ferlon Clark, 23, was convicted after an August jury trial of penetrating a paraplegic woman with a cigarette at her Dublin apartment and raping and sodomizing the woman's pregnant caregiver.

The jury that convicted Clark recommended he serve 320 years in prison ... (link)
320 years. He got off easy.

The GOP Must Excise This Cancerous Tumor

Make that plural. Don Young and Ted Stevens.

One of those two ulcerations makes news again:

Spending Bills Still Stuffed With Earmarks
By Elizabeth Williamson, Washington Post Staff Writer

Twice in the past two years, Alaska lawmakers lost congressional earmarks to build two "bridges to nowhere" costing hundreds of millions of dollars after Congress was embarrassed by public complaints over the pet projects hidden in annual spending bills.

This year, Rep. Don Young and Sen. Ted Stevens, who are Alaska Republicans, found another way to move cash to their state: Stevens secured more than $20 million for an "expeditionary craft" that will connect Anchorage with the windblown rural peninsula of Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

Now what Alaska has, budget watchdogs contend, is a ferry to nowhere. (link)

A ferry to nowhere. A slap in the face the Republican Party has earned.

But This Can't Be!

We had consensus! We had consensus!
Scientists doubt climate change
By S.A. Miller, The Washington Times

More than 400 scientists challenge claims by former Vice President Al Gore and the United Nations about the threat of man-made global warming, a new Senate minority report says.

The scientists — many of whom are current or former members of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that shares the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Mr. Gore for publicizing a climate crisis — cast doubt on the "scientific consensus" that man-made global warming imperils the planet. (link)
I encourage you to read the whole thing. Al Gore and his band of socialists-who-masquerade-as-scientists may be wrong about it all.

I've said for a good length of time now: All we need to do politically is execute an effective delaying action, preventing as best we can these one-world goons from destroying our way of life, and the science will catch up with all the preposterous theories that are being bandied about.

That science is - ever so slowly - catching up. We rock.

Webb Has Lost The War. Now What?

Get the feeling that our junior senator, James Webb, was indeed a one-issue wonder? Now that he's lost the Iraq War - America is winning - he comes across as ... to be generous ... less than informed on other issues.

Check out this bold stance he's taken with regard to what may be the hottest issue in the commonwealth:
Webb: Illegals broad issue
By Seth McLaughlin, The Washington Times

Sen. Jim Webb yesterday said localities and states should do what is in their best interests to address their problems with illegal aliens.

"I think it's appropriate for state and local governments to take a position on this," Mr. Webb, a Democrat, told The Washington Times during an interview in his Senate office.

"On the one hand, there are going to be people who don't like that, but on the other hand, they still want us to vote for such things as the right of a local community to create a sanctuary," Mr. Webb said. "So if a local community ... [blah blah blah] (link)
I'll not bore you with the rest of it. Suffice to say, he hasn't the first clue as to what he's talking about. And he probably has no real interest, truth be known.

It's got to be a big letdown knowing that his best efforts to force American retreat in Iraq were for nought.

Maybe ol' Jimmy should do what others in his party are now doing, since the war in Iraq has turned against them - slam the war effort in Afghanistan.

This is so pathetic ...

Why We Fight

I've said this before and I'll keep repeating it until all you Democrats (including lost lamb above) understand and accept it.

It was never about Iraq:
50 Killed in Pakistan Bombing
By David Rohde, The New York Times

Islamabad, Pakistan -- A suicide attacker detonated a powerful bomb inside a crowded mosque in northwestern Pakistan on Friday, killing at least 50 people and injuring 80 as they celebrated one of Islam's major holidays with the country's former interior minister, Pakistani officials said.

Independent Pakistani television stations showed images of blood-spattered prayer caps and clothes scattered across a white marble courtyard outside the mosque. Trails of scarlet blood marked where the injured were dragged from the building. Dozens of pairs of shoes – those of the dead and wounded -- lay abandoned. (
A mosque.

For the love of God.

And Romney Fades ...

I must have missed this. It's time we talked about it.

Mitt Romney believes in gun bans. And he's working to be the guy to decide which ones we'll not have the right to keep and bear:

From his recent appearance on Meet The Press with Tim Russert:

… I signed—I would have supported the original assault weapon ban. I signed an assault weapon ban as Massachusetts governor because it provided for a relaxation of licensing requirements for gun owners in Massachusetts, which was a big plus. And so both the pro-gun and the anti-gun lobby came together with a bill, and I signed that. And if there is determined to be, from time to time, a weapon of such lethality that it poses a grave risk to our law enforcement personnel, that’s something I would consider signing. There’s nothing of that nature that’s being proposed today in Washington. But, but I would, I would look at weapons that pose extraordinary lethality…
And that was followed by this:

… We also should keep weapons of unusual lethality from being on the street. And finally, we should go after people who use guns in the commission of crimes or illegally, but we should not interfere with the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns either for their own personal protection or hunting or any other lawful purpose.
The old "unusual lethality" shibboleth. Clinton's "assault weapons" ban redux. Ugly guns are more lethal than pretty guns. A semi-automatic .30-06 Remington model 742 has more "lethality" than does a Ruger No. 1 single-shot .30-06. Try explaining that to the ballistics experts, pal.

Ban one.
Protect the other.
For now.

Mitt, I can't tell you how disappointing it is to find that you are indeed one of them.

Hat tip to Bob Owens, Pajamas Media.

Higher Education Has Too Much Money

That's obvious when you read crap like this:
Tech hall to host peace studies
By Sue Lindsey, The Washington Times

Blacksburg, Va. (AP) — The Virginia Tech classroom wing where a student gunman killed 30 people and himself and wounded two dozen others last spring will be turned into a place to study peace, the university announced yesterday.

Having vowed never again to use Norris Hall for general classes, school officials said the rooms will house the new Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention.

"It was an opportunity for something new and different and hopeful to emerge," said provost Mark McNamee, who headed a campus task force that reviewed proposals for the use of Norris Hall. (link)
Something new and different and hopeful. Which means the second floor of Norris Hall is now going to be an Episcopal Church?

Christ almighty.

Governor Kaine wants to float some bonds in order to better fund higher education here in the commonwealth. I say, as long as our university administrators have money to waste on idiocy like this - a center for "peace studies" - our universities have plenty of cash to burn.

Peace studies. At the finest engineering school in America. Unbelievable.

On Those Who Get Paid To Blog

Be honest and open with your readers.

That's all I'm sayin'.

The Final Insult

To find that the American people are just not willing to rally 'round a (solid but ...) one-issue candidate and then be hit with this:

Trancredo Drops Out, Endorses Romney...

Having your name spelled wrong on the most popular internet news site on the planet in announcing your demise. The final insult.

Look At The Source

Where have I heard this before?
"The reason she ought to be president, over and above her vision and her plans is that she has proven in every position she has ever had in life, whether it was in elected office or not, that she is a world-class genius in making positive changes in other people's lives." (source)
"A world-class genius." This from the man who was considered a modern-day political genius himself. The political genius who got himself - as president - impeached - and whose political genius lost his party the majorities in both houses of Congress. The same genius who gave al Qaeda free rein for eight long years.

A question: Can the Democrats afford to make another "genius" their standardbearer?