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

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Live Here

This goes out to all you UMW members over in Wise and Dickenson and Tazewell and Russell and Buchanan Counties. I want to make mention of the man you enthusiastically support for reelection every two years for Congress. But I should start with a few questions:

First and foremost: Why?

Is it because Rick Boucher throws you a few crumbs each year in the way of such issues as "card check" legislation? Surely it can't be because he supported an increase in the minimum wage. What's that to you? I can see it being important that he helped cut the budget of the agency overseeing investigations into union fraud and corruption. But is that, in the end, sufficient to warrant your unbridled support?

Maybe it's something more substantive, like the Annual Fish Fry over in Clintwood that he enjoys attending.

Well, I want you to consider what it is you are getting for your $34,500 in contributions to his last reelection campaign:

A sellout. An act of betrayal. For those of you still employed, unemployment.

I made reference below to a Democrat congressman from western Pennsylvania who is always knee-deep in earmark controversies. I and many others around the country have treated Jack Murtha unmercifully for the way he has abused the peoples' trust - not to mention the way he abuses their hard-earned income. But what you won't see me criticizing him for is abandoning the people who sent him to Washington. His earmarks are always meant to provide - whether good or bad - for the betterment of his people back in his home district.

Whether it be Senator Trent Lott's efforts to bring jobs to his home-state of Mississippi by capturing funds to move a train track that had just been rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina, or Senator Ted Stevens's notorious effort to build a bridge to nowhere, at least it can be said that these guys were thinking of their constiuents first. And their respective constituents know that they are well-represented. That their interests are protected. That they have champions in Washington fighting tooth-and-nail for them.

They have Lott and Stevens and Murtha.

You have Rick Boucher:
Boucher: Global warming law ‘virtually certain’
By Keith Strange, Coalfield Progress Staff Writer

Norton — Ninth District U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher has announced his intention to author legislation that will both mandate the reduction of greenhouse gases and ensure a viable coal economy for years to come.

Boucher announced his intention during a Wednesday interview with The Coalfield Progress.

The long-term congressman, who chairs a key subcommittee of the House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce committee, said he will have a ringside seat in drafting America’s response to global warming.

“In Congress, I chair a subcommittee on energy and air quality that is responsible for the response our country will make to the challenge of global warming,” he said. “And it’s now virtually certain that within the next three years, Congress will pass a law that will impose mandatory controls on greenhouse gases.”

Although the issue of greenhouse gases has received much publicity in the media over the past several years, Boucher said he intends for the legislation to assist the coal mining industry as well.

“My goal is to have a meaningful control on greenhouse gas emissions, while at the same time enabling a growth in the use of coal,” he said.

Boucher said in the future Americans need to be using even more coal, but encouraged the exploration of methods to produce coal-fired electricity without major damage to the environment.

“Federal funding will be essential to any plan we implement,” he said. “But in 2008, we will work to develop legislation that will simultaneously control emissions through a mandatory program and promote the development of CCS (carbon capture) technology.” (
link requires paid subscription)
Let me cut through the PoliticianSpeak and the annoying have-it-both-ways bullshit and get to the nub here. You're being played for fools.

Congress will, with Boucher's admitted leadership and guidance, cut CO2 emissions. He will accomplish that task by putting the clamps on growth, by putting harsh restrictions on the automotive industry, and as state governments are now doing, by blocking the construction of coal-fired power plants.

What Congress can't do - until it acquires the Good Witch of the North's magic wand - is make the highly dubious and potentially cost-prohibitive carbon sequestration technology work. Chances are great it will never be deployed. Talk of such things is only meant to keep you placated. Distracted. To keep your hopes up.

Leave the very arguable argument about global warming out of this.

Rick Boucher will not be allowed to have it both ways, though he's trying. Coal is the dreaded and professed enemy of the environmental movement, and will remain so.

If Boucher and his pals in Washington succeed in passing their CO2 emission restriction legislation - as the man is now on record as being in favor of - your friends, neighbors, and relatives will be the first to feel its effects.

And those effects I'm referring to won't be in a 0.02° decrease in the temperature up on High Knob Mountain.

The effects will be felt over at the unemployment office. Again. Still.

And U-Haul will continue to benefit as more and more Southwest Virginians pack their bags and head north looking for work.

Surely, you'll agree that you deserve better than this. You deserve to have someone on your side fighting for your interests up in Washington and not for the interests of Rick Boucher's neighbors and friends in the D.C. environmental community. You need a champion now more than ever. Your way of life is under assault.

It's time you woke up and realized it before you are all out of work: This is a cowardly, shameful, and deceitful act of treachery that can only result in harm to your community.

Haven't you suffered enough?

Hat tip to D.J. McGuire.

Just Don't Say He Wasn't Warned

I don't disagree with the governor's logic here, but let it be noted: the man has been warned of impending doom, because of out-of-control state spending and a tax revenue slowdown:
Fight over Va. spending bill looms
By Jeff E. Schapiro, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, a Democrat, is quietly escalating the looming fight with General Assembly Republicans over his proposed $78 billion spending plan for 2008-10.

Kaine dismissed criticism of his revenue projections and calls that he reconvene his economic advisers to reconsider cash-flow forecasts amid recession fears.

Such steps would send the wrong signal, Kaine told Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford, and incoming House Appropriations Committee Chairman Lacey E. Putney, I-Bedford.

Changing the usual timetable for revenue prognostications -- the last was made in mid-November and another is due in February -- "may be interpreted by the public as a sign of panic," said Kaine. (link)
Kaine's probably right that the move would be perceived as a sign of panic.

So we're going to wait until February and then panic.

Earmarks = Waste. At Minimum. Chapter 143.

Representative John Murtha (D- Johnstown, PA) is arguably the king of earmarks, having steered tens of millions of dollars in federal expenditures - not all but mostly through the infamous earmark process - to his home district in western Pennsylvania.

The Washington Post has done some research on one of those companies that benefitted greatly from Murtha's - and the taxpayers' - largesse. The findings are damning, as we all knew they would be:

Millions in Earmarks Purchase Little of Use
By Robert O'Harrow Jr., Washington Post Staff Writer

The National Defense Center for Environmental Excellence opened its doors in 1991 with a $5 million earmark from a powerful lawmaker. Operating in Johnstown, Pa., the privately run center has received at least $671 million worth of federal contracts and earmarks since then to research and develop pollution-abatement technology and other systems for the Defense Department.

The center's researchers have examined scores of software systems and other gear, including groundwater monitoring equipment, gun cleaners and ultrasonic devices, according to its managers. They said the center had delivered nearly 500 technology products and tools to protect the environment, improve safety and cut Pentagon costs.

But a months-long examination by The Washington Post, including a review of documents and interviews with Pentagon officials, found that little of the center's work has been widely used or deployed by the Defense Department. (link)

Is anyone surprised by this?

I started to compile a list of the earmarks that were contained in the 2008 omnibus appropriations bill that passed the House and Senate earlier this month, those earmarks sponsored by Virginia congresspersons anyway, and have yet to reach the end of it. Quite honestly, the list of earmarks is so immense (some 10,000 in total number) - especially the list of earmarks sponsored by our Senators Warner and Webb - that I quit in frustration (and because I had to get back to my life)*.

Be it understood, that which the Post outlines above is the tip of the iceberg. There is perhaps no more corrupt, or more wasteful, process for spending the peoples' hard-earned income than through this earmark skulduggery.

- - -

* Note: The only list I've been able to find thus far relating to the omnibus bill earmarks came from Senator Jim Demint's office and it's in .pdf format, making it "search unfriendly." I exported it to Excel to make it more useful, but the formatting became a problem. I estimate it will take a good 40 hours to sift through the data and provide a list of those egregious earmarks sponsored by our elected representatives. Give me time. I'm not abandoning the effort.

Looks Like She's Had Enough Of Him Too

Wife Files for Divorce From Sean Penn

I Inch My Way Toward A Choice

I claim no party affiliation, so I'll not be voting in either political primary. But if I were, I think this would be my choice, in a very solid field of candidates on the GOP side, for president:

After eight years of "compassionate conservatism," which to me has come to mean "a hair's breadth from rabid liberalism," Fred Thompson seems to be the most genuine - and the most consistently conservative - of all the top-tier candidates.

Here's to Fred Thompson.

Double-click on the triangle to activate.

Bloomberg Helps The Cause

Who said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg wasn't a loyal Republican? If he weren't, would he be running a full-page ad in the Des Moines Register just before caucus day in Iowa that can only boost the chances of those candidates most conservative?

Here's part of the ad:

In Iowa of all places, where every man, woman, and child owns at least one firearm and zealously supports the right to keep and bear arms, a liberal anti-gun northeast politician tries to come in and influence the election with wads of cash.

You go, Mike. We can use all the help - and money - we can get if we are going to keep the 2nd Amendment intact and meaningful.

Deny It If You Dare

That Nixon Comparison Again

You'll be reading a lot about how Hillary comes across as being so much like Richard Nixon. Especially if she gets elected.

Here's the latest, from Peggy Noonan:

Hillary Clinton? I concede her sturdy mind, deep sophistication, and seriousness of intent. I see her as a triangulator like her husband, not a radical but a maneuverer in the direction of a vague, half-forgotten but always remembered, leftism. It is also true that she has a command-and-control mentality, an urgent, insistent and grating sense of destiny, and she appears to believe that any act that benefits Clintons is a virtuous act, because Clintons are good and deserve to be benefited.

But this is not, actually, my central problem with her candidacy. My central problem is that the next American president will very likely face another big bad thing, a terrible day, or days, and in that time it will be crucial--crucial--that our nation be led by a man or woman who can be, at least for the moment and at least in general, trusted. Mrs. Clinton is the most dramatically polarizing, the most instinctively distrusted, political figure of my lifetime. Yes, I include Nixon. Would she be able to speak the nation through the trauma? I do not think so. And if I am right, that simple fact would do as much damage to America as the terrible thing itself.
Be Reasonable," The Wall Street Journal, December 28, 2007

Said The Pot To The Kettle:

John Edwards: Obama 'Living in Never-Never Land'?

Hillary's Talking Tough

Thought I'd record this for posterity. Before she renounces her demand for an investigation, I thought I'd make it known that Hillary is demanding an investigation:

Clinton demands international Bhutto probe

Hillary Clinton Friday called for an independent, international probe into Benazir Bhutto's murder, as turmoil wracking US anti-terror ally Pakistan reshaped debate in the White House race.

The Democratic front-runner weighed into the crisis just six days before first 2008 party nominating contests, as candidates brandished their national security credentials following the ex-Pakistani premier's death.

"I'm calling for a full, independent, international investigation," Clinton said in an interview with CNN.

"I think it's critically important that we get answers and really those are due first and foremost to the people of Pakistan," Clinton said. (link)

Next she'll be demanding that we invade Pakistan.

Then she'll denounce those who sided with her in making that demand.

Then ...