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

Friday, February 29, 2008

Alleged Culprit Nailed

News out of Wise County:
22-year-old charged in burning of Wise tower
Richmond Times-Dispatch

Federal prosecutors have charged a 22-year-old Coeburn man with burning down the High Knob observation tower in Wise County on Halloween last year.

The tower, inside the Jefferson National Forest, was a popular destination for lovers, families and stargazers, and is the subject of a grassroots fundraising campaign among Wise residents, who hope to rebuild it. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that 5,000 visitors trekked to the tower annually.

U.S. Attorney John Brownlee said Nicholas Owens was charged with arson of government property in U.S. District Court in Abingdon. (link)
Carl Kilo sums it up with "Nicholas Owens-Local Dumbass Burned the High Knob Tower" with more details out of the Bristol Herald-Courier.

Photo(s) courtesy of the Roanoke Times.

Can't Be Inspecting Those Abortion Mills

For the record, Roanoke Senator John Edwards - Democrat - voted down the measure yesterday to have abortion clinics inspected and licensed to ensure the safety of young women going through risky surgical procedures.

Politics outweighs women's health concerns. Again.

Feminists applaud.

Yes, There's Wisdom To Be Found ...

... even in the Roanoke Times.

From reader Robert Butler of Crozet:

Tech needs a healthier source of inspiration

Joe Painter's letter, "No pall over Tech, but a new spirit" (Feb. 20), is representative of the troubling psychosis that has swept through the Tech campus.

Painter proudly exhorts, "We must always remember. We are Virginia Tech. We will prevail."

It is all too clear to me that this massacre is being wholly embraced and adopted by many as if they desire to use it to define who they are. This serves to expose the greater problem that exists in the culture today: the general emptiness and lack of direction in so many people's lives.

It would be better to look somewhere other than a crime scene for self-identity and inspiration. (link)

Amen to that, brutha. Wallowing in misery and victimhood is so self-defeating.

Words Have Meaning?

Noun: Abortion ə-bôr'shən
1. Women's Health Care

At least to some.

Where Real Crises Are Challenged

It says something that tiny Denmark is willing to confront a subject that all the Hollywood badasses are too frightened to tackle:
Dutch film to slam Islam
By Leander Schaerlaeckens, The Washington Times

Brussels — Europe's uneasy relationship with its Muslim minority faces another blow next month, when Dutch politician Geert Wilders releases a 15-minute film that compares Islam to Nazism and communism.

The film is called "Fitna," an Arabic term for "discord." It intersperses verses of the Koran with footage of terrorist attacks and other Islamist-inspired violence.

He said the film calls the Koran "the latest test to Western democracies since Nazism and communism." (link)
Meanwhile Hollywood continues to churn out safe movies about ... well, you know by now ... that nobody outside of Hollywood, San Francisco, and Manhattan will watch.

Not Even

It doesn't surprise me that a person who finds Barack Obama an enrapturing public speaker sees a comparison between his ability to motivate with that of the greatest president of my lifetime.

E.J. Dionne, writing in the Washington Post, apparently does, and does:
The Last 'Yes, We Can' Candidate

Barack Obama's critics bear a remarkable resemblance to the liberals who labored mightily to dismiss Ronald Reagan in 1980.

Reagan's foes wrote him off as a right-wing former actor who amiably spouted conservative bromides and must have been engaged in some sort of Hollywood flimflam.

Like Reagan's enemies, Obama's opponents concede that he gives a great speech. (link)
Only one problem, pal. That's where the comparison ends. Great oratory.

Not only are/were Obama and Reagan complete opposites, they are/were criticized for completely diametrical reasons.

Ronald Reagan was savagely opposed by the left for his conservative ideas. Obama is criticized today not for his liberal ideas but for his lack of ideas. No small matter that.

If delivery is all-important to you, fine. But if substance means anything, you might want to rethink the Obama/Reagan blood brother thing. There is no comparison.

Execute Him Twice

He has earned it:
Iraqi Presidency Clears Execution of ‘Chemical Ali’
By The Associated Press

Baghdad (AP) -- Iraq's presidential council has endorsed the execution within a month of Saddam Hussein's cousin, known as ''Chemical Ali,'' for his role in the 1980s scorched-earth campaign against Kurds, officials said Friday. But it spared the life of two other officials amid Sunni protests that they were only following orders.

The approval by Iraq's President Jalal Talabani and two vice presidents was the final step clearing the way for Ali Hassan al-Majid's execution by hanging. It could now be carried out at any time, a government adviser and a prosecutor said.

Al-Majid was one of three former Saddam officials sentenced to death in June after being convicted by an Iraqi court of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for their part in the Operation Anfal crackdown that killed nearly 200,000 Kurdish civilians and guerrillas. (link)
Another reason the war for Iraq has been righteous.

It Must Be Saturday

CBS News is in big trouble. Again.

Who Knew?

Ralph Nader has a follower:
Ralph Nader Picks Former SF Supervisor As Running Mate

Presidential candidate Ralph Nader announced Thursday morning that he has chosen former San Francisco Supervisor Matt Gonzalez as his running mate.

The Texas-born Gonzalez ran for mayor of San Francisco as a Green Party candidate in 2003 but lost to Gavin Newsom. (link)
A San Francisco politician. Must be seeking the support of the extreme right.

Obama On Choosing Supreme Court Nominees

It'll be a lot like choosing a den mother.

Stephen Bainbridge:
For somebody who taught Constitutional law for years, Barack Obama has an awfully odd conception of the judicial role. Orin Kerr collects some quotes from Obama about judges, including this gem:

"We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that’s the criteria by which I’m going to be selecting my judges."

As does Orin, I realize that this is a widely shared view of the judicial role among left-liberals, but that simply illustrates how far left-liberalism has strayed from the rule of law. (link)
Oprah qualifies.

Read the whole thing. It's frightening in its implications.

War? What War?

From Rich Noyes (in "Fewer U.S. Dead = Less TV Coverage of Iraq"):

MRC intern Lyndsi Thomas helped tabulate all ABC, CBS and NBC evening news stories about Iraq since the beginning of 2007, just as the surge strategy was being implemented. After heavy coverage of the shift to a new Iraq policy in January and February 2007, the TV coverage began to closely track the rising and falling death rates for U.S. soldiers in Iraq. When the number of U.S. fatalities jumped in May, TV coverage jumped, too. When U.S. casualties began to steadily decline, TV coverage of Iraq dramatically decreased. (See chart.)

While the amount of coverage has shriveled, the tone remains more negative than positive. So far this month, the three evening newscasts have aired just 41 items on Iraq, most (23) just brief items read by the anchor. A mere seven stories were field reports from Iraq. Only ABC’s World News (February 13) noted the passage of key legislation by the Iraqi parliament, followed by a unique story the next evening on the success of the surge. The CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News offered no such stories in February, but NBC did find time to report a visit to Iraq by actress Angelina Jolie.
Angelina Jolie ...

Here's the accompanying chart:
How disappointing it must be for these people to know that their efforts to have us lose this war are failing.

Chart courtesy of NewsBusters.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Quote of the Day

"The SCC has to ... look for a solution in the real world."

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
The State Corporation Commission is conducting a series of hearings about a power line Dominion proposes to string from western Pennsylvania to a substation in Loudoun. Dominion says the line would play a crucial role in avoiding future blackouts by meeting some of the voracious demand for juice in Northern Virginia. Opponents, including some very rich people with a lot of picturesque farmland, say the line simply isn't necessary.

The opponents might come across as more credible if some of them were not reflexively opposed to seemingly everything, from the Disney theme park once proposed for Prince William to even a mere study of uranium mining in Pittsylvania. (Not to mention a power plant in Wise, or expansion of the North Anna nuclear reactor, or anything else anyone might consider.)
"Power Reactors," editorial, February 28, 2008

Will You People Grow Up?

Like we don't have enough problems here in Appalachia:
Foster-care cases on rise in Southwest Va.
Drug abuse by parents blamed for jump in caseloads

By Rex Bowman, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

Abingdon -- Widespread abuse of painkillers and methamphetamine across far Southwest Virginia has led to a dramatic surge in the number of children in foster care, according to social workers struggling to cope with the boom.

With mothers and fathers being led off to serve jail or prison terms for drug use, children increasingly are being sent to foster parents. That taxes social-services departments unable to afford new caseworkers, forcing them to spend time recruiting more foster families and leading them to send some children to homes out of the county. (link)
It's probably a good thing that these fools are removed from society. Getting themselves involved with meth and "oxycotton" proves them to be incapable of interacting with normal human beings. Where's Devil's Island when we need it?

Unfortunately, these people copulate - and propogate - while they're frying their brains. And little children become part of this sordid tale. Here in Southwest Virginia by the thousands.

In which case, Devil's Island is too good for them.

For the love of God, folks ...

Here's Your Problem

I'll tell you up front that I've never been inside the Virginia Museum of Transportation up in Roanoke. Been in the parking lot but never inside. To me, the parking lot was as compelling.

But to each his own. I hear it's full of locomotives and cabooses and whatnot and, if that's your thing, have at it.

Unfortunately, most people won't. Because to them it's not.

The Roanoke Times this morning offers up a lament:
The little train museum that hasn't

A graveyard for forgotten railcars -- that could be the fate of The Virginia Museum of Transportation, if its board fails to capture the imagination, enthusiasm and cash from more than parents of tiny tots and old railroaders.

A $50,000 report by Museum Management Consultants Inc. of San Francisco confirmed what laymen suspected: Without strong management, a plan to guide it, the support of the community and an infusion of funds, the museum is a train wreck waiting to happen.

Is it worth the effort? Certainly. Roanoke has a rich railroad story to tell; without the railroads, Big Lick would not have grown into the city we are today. (link)
Certainly? Uncertainly perhaps.

Look, fellas, here's what you're up against:

What does the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History have that the Roanoke museum doesn't? The General.

What does the National Railway Museum have that the Roanoke museum doesn't have? Queen Victoria's railroad carriage.

What does the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn have that the Roanoke Museum doesn't? The Allegheny.

What does the Gold Coast Railroad Museum have that the Roanoke museum doesn't? President Roosevelt's personal rail car.

What does the Roanoke museum have? Stuff. Oh, and "a rich railroad story to tell."

In this the age of video games and MTV, with museums struggling for attention everywhere, you'll need more than that to get the kids to visit.

Going After The Worst Of The Worst

Representatives from Americans for Prosperity went after Congressman Jack Murtha last night at a "fancy fundraising dinner with earmark-seeking defense lobbyists at the Ritz Carlton" in Pentagon City. They passed out this flyer to all who showed up to celebrate the corrupt tactics used by the Pennsylvania Democrat to funnel tax dollars to his favorite defense contractors who, in turn, funnel wads of cash into his reelection campaigns:

Why the American people have to resort to passing out flyers to stop this pernicious practice is beyond me. The man should be thrown in prison.

But more power to those - like Americans for Prosperity - who are trying to bring the earmark scourge under control.

Flyer courtesy of Americans for Prosperity.
Click on the image to enlarge.

And The Devil Wants Ice Water

Unless he can wave his magic wand and reduce long-term interest rates - globally - this is just wishful thinking:

Kaine wants to stem rate of foreclosures

His plan? To give mortgage-holders more time to make payment arrangements.

A really cool government plan, when you think about it. I'd rather spend my money on beer anyway. The mortgage can wait.

Here's to you, Tim.

The World Is a Better Place

Who better than John O'Sullivan to remark on the passing of legendary conservative movement leader William F. Buckley:
When news of Bill's death reached me, I was in Prague. It was suitable and perhaps comforting place to hear such sad news since Prague is one of the great European cities Bill helped to liberate from communism. Eighteen years ago he and I were here on a National Review Institute political tour of Eastern Europe. This was only a year after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the "velvet revolutions." Because of Bill's leadership in the anti-Communist and conservative movements, everyone wanted to meet him. New ministers, heads of new political parties, and editors of old national newspapers (with new editorial lines) told him of how they had read smuggled copies of NR during the years that the Communist regime condemned them to work as stokers and quarry-men.

He took it all very humbly and even a little quizzically. It was as if he didn't quite believe that he had blown a trumpet and, lo, the walls of Communism had tumbled down ...
"A Great Man -- and a Fun One," National Review's "The Corner," February 27, 2008

Photo courtesy of AP.

We're Doomed

We might as well rename this country Nuevo México and get it over with:
U.S. unable to judge 'fence'
By Jerry Seper, The Washington Times

The Department of Homeland Security spent $20 million on a "virtual fence" to better secure 28 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona but has no way to measure its effectiveness and never consulted with the field agents who will use the system before it was installed, two House subcommittees learned yesterday.

The virtual fence, known as "Project 28," uses high-tech sensors, cameras and other technology along a 28-mile stretch of the border near Sasabe, Ariz. It has been highly touted by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. (link)
Yet to be explained is how the virtual fence keeps actual illegals from crossing the border.

This is beyond parody.

We Demand The Right To Protect Our Families

John Stossel on gun control and "gun-free zones":
[L]aws that make it difficult or impossible to carry a concealed handgun do deter one group of people: law-abiding citizens who might have used a gun to stop crime. Gun laws are laws against self-defense.

Criminals have the initiative. They choose the time, place and manner of their crimes, and they tend to make choices that maximize their own, not their victims', success. So criminals don't attack people they know are armed, and anyone thinking of committing mass murder is likely to be attracted to a gun-free zone, such as schools and malls.

Government may promise to protect us from criminals, but it cannot deliver on that promise. This was neatly summed up in book title a few years ago: "Dial 911 and Die." If you are the target of a crime, only one other person besides the criminal is sure to be on the scene: you. There is no good substitute for self-responsibility.

How, then, does it make sense to create mandatory gun-free zones, which in reality are free-crime zones?

"Guns Save Lives," Real Clear Politics, February 27, 2008

The Democrats Bring Change To Washington

Well, maybe next century:

Delay in House Vote on New Ethics Panel

These people are pathetic.

What Is He Thinking?

This man wants to be our commander-in-chief:

From ABC News - "McCain Hits Obama Again":
During [Tuesday] night's debate, Obama responded to a hypothetical question by moderator Tim Russert about whether he would go back into Iraq after withdrawing a sizable number of troops to quell insurrection or civil war.

As part of his answer, Obama responded, "As commander in chief, I will always reserve the right to make sure that we are looking out for American interests. And if al Qaeda is forming a base in Iraq, then we will have to act in a way that secures the American homeland and our interests abroad."
Al Qaeda has a presence in Iraq today. Despite that well-known fact, Obama is still calling for an American withdrawal. But if he were to find, at some later point in time, that al Qaeda had a presence in Iraq, he as president would do something about it.

For ... the ... love ... of ... God.


If the New York Times keeps this up, the lowlifes there are going to force me to be a McCain supporter:

McCain's birthplace prompts queries about whether that rules him out


Like a Deer In The Headlights

Tim Russert: "Senator Obama, one of the things in a campaign is that you have to react to unexpected developments. On Sunday the headline in your hometown paper, Chicago Tribune, 'Louis Farrakhan backs Obama for President at Nation of Islam convention in Chicago.' Do you accept the support of Louis Farrakhan?

"Uh, I uh, I, I, I've been very clear, uh, he's uh, I ..."

For a man who is renowned for his eloquence and his ability to articulate a point, this guy couldn't seem to get a coherent sentence out.

From his lips to your ears:

Barack Obama is not ready for prime time.

Click twice on the image to activate.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

When A Good Idea Goes Awry

To you folks over in Highland County who are looking forward to that wind farm going in soon, I'm no expert but I don't think this is how they are supposed to operate.

(You might want to put on your hard hat before you watch it).

Kinda frightening.
Double-click on the triangle to activate.

Well, Yeah, But ...

I don't disagree with this, but it seems to miss a point that also needs to be made:

Expense ratios hold key
By Michael Keenan, Blue Ridge Busienss Journal

Mutual fund expense ratios jeopardize many investment plans. Like termites that quietly go about their work, expense ratios quietly eat away much-needed financial resources.

Getting investors to pay attention to this mundane but vital issue is more difficult than one might suppose. Although the behavior may be irrational, it likely has a neurological explanation.

The expense ratio of a mutual fund is the percentage of a fund’s assets used to pay expenses. The ratio includes several fees, including management fees, operating costs and 12b-1 fees. A fund’s expense ratio indicates in large part the annual cost to an investor of owning shares of the fund. Over the past couple of decades, most mutual funds companies have moved away from commissions and towards expense ratios as their principal source of revenue. The average expense ratio for a stock mutual fund exceeds 1.5 percent.

When money is concerned, investors must proceed with caution. Specifically, investors always should insist on the complete disclosure of initial and annual investment costs. Also, the more complex a proposal, the more time investors should take to weigh their decision and consider alternatives.

Investors win by seeking the lowest cost investment products. (link)

All that's well and good, but I might suggest that investors pay attention to another even more important yardstick, having to do with something called ... yield.

Buy a Curlicue Lightbulb. Save Planet. Die.

Look. I want to do my part to save precious fossil fuels and to conserve on the planet's limited energy resources as much as the next guy. But I'd just as soon not die a horrible death in doing so.

Call me selfish.

This - having to do with those cute little lightbulbs that are all the rage - is a bit disturbing:
High-efficient lightbulbs come with mercury risk
By Beth Daley, The Boston Globe

Compact fluorescent lights -- those energy-efficient bulbs popular as a way to combat global warming -- can pose a small risk of mercury poisoning to infants, young children and pregnant women if they break, two reports concluded today.

The Maine study, which shattered 65 bulbs to test air quality and clean-up methods made these recommendations: If a bulb breaks, get children and pets out of the room. Ventilate the room. Never use a vacuum -- even on a rug -- to clean up a compact fluorescent light. Instead, while wearing rubber gloves, use stiff paper such as index cards and tape to pick up pieces, then wipe the area with a wet wipe or damp paper towel. If there are young children or pregnant woman in the house, consider cutting out the piece of carpet where the bulb broke. Use a glass jar with a screw top to contain the shards and clean-up debris. (link)
Gimme that again?

How 'bout I just buy an incandescent bulb and save myself the trouble and expense of a full-blown bio-hazard clean-up.

Oh, I can't. Congress has banned them.

For the love of God.

Hat tip to James Taranto.

'If It Walks Like a Duck ...'

The logic of Bristol Herald-Courier managing editor Todd Foster is a tad mystifying when it comes to his assessment of the New York Times hit piece on John McCain that has stirred such outrage and disappointment inside and out of the journalism world.

He writes (in "New York Times piece on McCain missing vital ingredients"):
As published, with the vague sexual overtones, the story feeds the perception by many Republicans that the Times is a tool of the Left and that its liberal bias on its editorial pages carries over to the news sections.

I don’t believe that, but I also have my doubts about whether this story would have been published if you substituted the name "Barack Obama" for "John McCain."
So it's not a liberal bias. It's your garden variety ... what kind of bias?

I think another editorial is in order, deciphering this editorial ...

'The Only Thing We Have To Fear ...'

You'd think a (retired) park ranger would know better. But no.

Adding to the hysteria surrounding the proposal that is working its way through the United States senate regarding the repeal of a ban on guns in national parks, former ranger and one-time superintendent of Shenandoah National Park Bill Wade (in "Conservation Groups Want Loaded Guns Out Of Virginia National Parks") asked:

"How many of you would want to go out there if you knew that people were running up and down the Appalachian Trail with guns?"

This guy has obviously never been to Bland County, Virginia, through which the Appalachian Trail runs. Here we are more suspicious of the motives of those "people" who come to the area unarmed.

But Will This Weblog Have To Shut Down?

Tougher crabbing limits are set in Virginia

Oh, never mind. it's about little crustaceans. Not my daily grousing.

Ugh. Another 'Whitewater.'

The Times of London looks at that Obama-Rezko land/mansion deal and finds there to be ... smoke:

Mansion 'mistake' piles the pressure on Barack Obama

It's Obama. So the wads of cash that magically appeared must have been aboveboard. After all, he's not a Clinton ...

We Need More Greenhouse Gases!

And quick!

Temperature Monitors Report Widescale Global Cooling
By Michael Asher, Daily Tech

Over the past year, anecdotal evidence for a cooling planet has exploded. China has its coldest winter in 100 years. Baghdad sees its first snow in all recorded history. North America has the most snowcover in 50 years, with places like Wisconsin the highest since record-keeping began. Record levels of Antarctic sea ice, record cold in Minnesota, Texas, Florida, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Greece, South Africa, Greenland, Argentina, Chile -- the list goes on and on.

No more than anecdotal evidence, to be sure. But now, that evidence has been supplanted by hard scientific fact. All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA's GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously.

A compiled list of all the sources can be seen
here. The total amount of cooling ranges from 0.65C up to 0.75C -- a value large enough to wipe out nearly all the warming recorded over the past 100 years. All in one year's time. For all four sources, it's the single fastest temperature change ever recorded, either up or down. (link)

The piece is accompanied by a line graph showing average global temperatures over the last twenty years. Look at the line as it goes into 2008. It's enough to make you think of the movie "
Day After Tomorrow" (only this scenario - unlike Al Gore's silliness - actually makes sense).

Many of us knew all along that the hysteria surrounding the global warming debate would eventually subside, when cooler heads started to prevail (pun intended). It's possible, if this trend continues, that Crazy Al will be making movies with a different kind of nightmare scenario soon.

Click on the image to enlarge.
Chart courtesy of the Hadley Center for Climate Prediction and Daily Tech.

Obama To Destroy Our Defense Capabilities

This is frightening in its implications. In one of two ways: Either Barack Obama is so naive and uninformed he's prepared to unilaterally dismantle our national defense systems without understanding the ramifications of his actions, or he's the extreme anti-American liberal hell bent on unilaterally dismantling our defense systems because the USA is the root of all evil in the world many say he is. Take your pick.

From his lips to your ears:

The man is dangerous.

Double-click on the triangle to activate.

OK, Stop The Nonsense About 'Special Interests'

You two are right there in bed with them along with all the others:

Dem hopefuls won tax breaks for contributors
By Ken Dilanian, USA Today

Washington — Both Democratic presidential candidates, who promise to curb the influence of corporate lobbyists in Washington, helped enact narrowly tailored tax breaks sought by major campaign contributors.

Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign has accepted $54,350 from members of a law firm that in 2006 lobbied him to introduce a tax provision for a Japanese drug company with operations in Illinois, according to public records and interviews. The government estimates the provision, which became law in December 2006, will cost the treasury $800,000.

In 2002, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton introduced legislation at the request of Rienzi & Sons, a Queens, N.Y., food importer, according to company president Michael Rienzi. The provision, which became law in December 2004, required the government to refund tens of thousands of dollars in duty charged on imported tomato products, Rienzi told USA TODAY. (link)
Obama in particular, apparently doesn't see anything wrong with this. Perhaps because his special interests don't count. Or perhaps because George W. Bush wasn't involved in it. Earlier this month in a speech in Janesville, Wisconsin:

“It’s a Washington where George Bush hands out billions in tax cuts year after year to the biggest corporations and the wealthiest few who don’t need them and don’t ask for them — tax breaks that are mortgaging our children’s future on a mountain of debt; tax breaks that could’ve gone into the pockets of the working families who needed them most."

And now we have the news that he's up to his eyeballs in the same intrigue.

So much for all the blather about "special interests."

This Isn't Good

Though we knew, what with the housing situation such as it is, and with ethanol requirements pushing up fuel and food prices, it was bound to happen:
Confidence Plunges, Inflation Rate Soars
By Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

Washington (AP) -- In more bad economic news, consumer confidence and home prices posted sharp declines while higher costs for such basics as food, energy and medicine left wholesale inflation rising at a pace unseen since late 1981.

The 1 percent January jump in wholesale prices was led by a surge in the prices of energy, food and prescription drugs and followed a report last week that consumer prices had risen by a bigger-than-expected 0.4 percent because of price pressures in the same areas.

Over the past 12 months, wholesale prices rose by 7.4 percent, the largest yearly gain since late 1981. Analysts warned consumers to brace for more bad inflation news with crude oil prices rising to records above $100 per barrel and with more evidence that the prolonged jump in energy prices is starting to break out into more widespread price problems. (link)
Heading over to the Wal-Mart Super Center for groceries? You might take out a second mortgage before you go.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How Cool Is This?

Let the environmentalists bellyache. I think the artist's rendering of the proposed Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center over in Wise County is gorgeous.

And the fact that it is being built where one of those infamous "mountaintop removal mining" sites once stood is sweet in itself.

You go,
Dominion Power.

Ft. Chiswell Hits The Big Time

I never quite understood the attraction this TV show had for my truckin' buddies until someone related it to the pampering my Ferguson tractor gets. Then “Trick My Truck” made perfect sense.

It turns out, the wildly popular (if you're a Peterbilt kinda guy) show has a Fort Chiswell connection:

Chrome shop featured on CMT show
By Wayne Quessenberry, Wytheville Enterprise Staff

Local fans of CMT’s hit television series, “Trick My Truck,” can see the owner of a Fort Chiswell business featured in 10 episodes this season.

Kelvin Lovelace of Florence, S.C., is the leader of the show’s truck builders now known as Outcast Kustoms.

He and his wife April own K&L Chrome Shop in Florence and the one on East Lee Highway at Fort Chiswell which is managed by his in-laws, Charles and Susanne Jordan, who reside in the Graham’s Forge community. “ (link)
So what's all the hoopla about?

Style, baby. Ridin' in style.

Photo of Eugene Jackson's "Lifeline" courtesy of Trick My Truck.

Racism Is Alive And Well

This from the Richmond Times-Dispatch strikes me as being rather un-American. Typically American - circa 2008 - but still so very un-American. It (see "Another Day") has to do with the controversy surrounding that SCC nomination that has been in the news of late:
The qualifications for SCC commissioner include not only keen intellect and professional experience but temperament.

Theodore Morrison's retirement created a vacancy on the SCC.

Last week Barnie Day [blah blah blah] ...

Day went ballistic because a possible compromise would see the Assembly placing Katherine Hammond -- a highly regarded Henrico judge appointed by Jim Gilmore -- on the SCC. Democratic State Sen. Donald McEachin subsequently would nominate an African-American judge to replace Hammond on the Henrico bench. (my emphasis)
Reread that first sentence above: "The qualifications for SCC commissioner include not only keen intellect and professional experience but temperament."

Apparently those qualifications for the SCC position - keen intellect and professional experience - matter not when it comes to a candidate for the Henrico bench. That person has to be black.

An odd world we live in.

Like I Said

The Richmond Times-Dispatch on the 'know-nothing" approach to the nuclear energy debate:
Common sense suggests there's no harm in learning more about the effects of mining uranium in Virginia. The pointed opposition to the study implies the anti-nuclear crowd fears deeper understanding of the risks and benefits may lead reasonable people to conclude that uranium mining is a good idea. The Senate has approved the study in SB 525. A sensible compromise would be welcome -- but the House should reject the know-nothing approach to energy exploration.
"Open Mines," editorial, February 26, 2008

- - -

As Virginia's most influential political blog put it on Saturday: "Utter the word uranium and a huge chunk of the American populace goes freaky. All this over a study. I shudder to think what the reaction is going to be when the first shovel breaks ground."

'Gun Free' Killing Zones

John Lott on America's effort to disarm the law-abiding, and the whirlwind we reap as a result:

Just like attacks last year at the Westroads Mall in Omaha, Neb., the Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City and the recent attack at the Tinley Park Mall in Illinois, or all the public school attacks, they had one thing in common: They took place in "gun-free zones," where private citizens were not allowed to carry their guns with them.

The malls in Omaha and Salt Lake City were in states that let people carry concealed handguns, but private property owners are allowed to post signs that ban guns; those malls were among the few places in their states that chose such a ban.

In the Trolley Square attack, an off-duty police officer fortunately violated the ban and stopped the attack.

At some point you would think the media would notice that something is going on here, that these murderers aren't just picking their targets at random. And this pattern isn't really too surprising. Most people understand that guns deter criminals.

If a killer were stalking your family, would you feel safer putting a sign out front announcing, "This home is a gun-free zone"? But that is what all these places did.

"Columbine To Va. Tech To NIU: Gun-Free Zones Or Killing Fields? " Investor's Business Daily, February 25, 2008

Not Meaning To Stir Up Trouble Or Anything ...

Look, let me go on record and state my firm belief that the photo that was released by the Clinton campaign that created such a ruckus yesterday of Barack Obama wearing "traditional Somali garb" does not necessarily make him out to be a terrorist.

I do think, however, it makes him out to be a complete doofus.

Christ Almighty. What was he thinking?

Hail to the Chief. Leader of the free world. Commander of the mightiest fighting force the world has ever known.


Photo courtesy of the New York Post

Volvo and union might not resume bargaining

Volvo and union could resume bargaining

Looks Like Someone's Adopted My Plan

I've suggested in the past that, when some addlepated government bureaucrat decides to launch one of those gun buyback escapades, an enterprising capitalist should go out and buy some cheap guns and sell them for a profit. To the addlepated bureaucrat. In turn, to the taxpayers who allow addlepated bureaucrats to get away with making such foolish decisions. Make 'em bleed.

Let's go to Oakland, California, where the addlepated have run the show since the beginning of time. Here's Alex Tabarrok:

Oakland's recent gun buyback was especially ridiculous. The police offered up to $250 for a gun "no questions asked, no ID required." The first people in line? Two gun dealers from Reno with 60 cheap handguns. Fortunately the buyback did manage to get some guns off the street, too bad they were turned in by a bunch of senior citizens
from an assisted living facility. Whew, the streets are safe at last.
Tabarrok's op-ed in the Oakland Tribune is worth reading too. In it he writes:

Imagine that instead of guns, the Oakland police decided, for whatever strange reason, to buy back sneakers. The idea of a gun buyback is to reduce the supply of guns in Oakland. Do you think that a sneaker buyback program would reduce the number of people wearing sneakers in Oakland? Of course not.

All that would happen is that people would reach into the back of their closet and sell the police a bunch of old, tired, stinky sneakers.

Or, as was the case with those two gun dealers from Reno, people would buy sneakers at wholesale and sell them to the idiots who are willing to pay top dollar for them. I'd be taking some of that action all day.

But let's be clear: This effort to "get guns off the street" was never intended to get guns off the street. It was - is - intended to make liberals feel good about themselves. That's why you never hear one say he or she is disappointed by often low numbers of guns purchased. You know the spiel: "Even one gun taken out of the hands of criminals is worth it." This despite the fact that a criminal's spouse can go down to the local Kmart and buy a boatload of replacement weapons the same day.
Anyway, Oakland, California is now the proud owner of a pile of stinky sneakers.

Perfect timing too. I hear Wal-Mart has a sale running through Saturday.

What a Downer

Placebos Just As Good As Uppers: Study

But I thought He Was The Savior Of All Mankind

This Obama stat surprises me:
For or Against Presidential Candidates
Rassmussen Reports

Thirty-four percent (34%) of all voters say they will definitely vote for John McCain if he is on the ballot this November. Thirty-three percent (33%) will definitely vote against him while 29% say their support hinges on who his opponent is.

Barack Obama has the same number who will definitely vote for him--34%. But, more people are committed to voting against him than McCain. Forty-three percent (43%) say they will definitely reject him at the ballot box. For 18%, their support depends on his opponent. (link)
43% will definitely ("are committed to ...") vote against Obama in November. Note that it doesn't say they'll simply not vote. That figure is right up there with the negative attitude expressed toward the Wicked Witch of the North (in this study, Hillary comes in at 46% opposed).

Doesn't leave much room for error on Mr. Sunshine's part.

Have Their Antics Caught Up With Hollywood?

This probably doesn't surprise those few people who actually became interested:

Oscars a ratings flop Sunday
By James Hibberd, The Hollywood Reporter

Following the lowest-rated Emmys since 1990, the strike-hindered ratings performance of a severely truncated version of the Golden Globes and a nonstruck airing of the Grammys that nonetheless disappointed, Sunday night's presentation of the 80th Annual Academy Awards on ABC hit an all-time ratings low.

According to overnight fast national ratings, the awards averaged a 10.7 rating among adults 18 to 49 and was seen by 32 million viewers. In the demo, that's down a sharp 24% from last year and the lowest on record. Among viewers, that's a 20% drop. The previous all-time low was in 2003. (link)
The "experts" tell us the poor showing has to do with the fact that there just weren't any big box office hits vying for "Best Picture." I think it has as much to do with the fact that, if we were allowed to vote on it, we'd banish en masse every rich, spoiled, smartass, Michael Moore-loving, anti-American Hollywood bimbo - male and female - and a lengthy list it is - to prison, and throw away the key.

But that might just be me ...

That Leaves 5,186,203 To Go

Obama Wins Over One Ohio Voter

Monday, February 25, 2008

Ah, The Entrepreneurial Spirit

Well, why not?

After it was disclosed last week that an Antigua-based Internet casino paid $10,600 for that Virgin Mary/with Child pretzel on eBay (seen above), a number of similar offerings have appeared on the planet's most popular e-auction site. Go figure.

Key in the words Virgin Mary Pretzel in eBay's search engine and the following come up:

· The Joseph's Staff Pretzel (it's straight).

· An unopened bag of Rold Gold pretzels that might contain another Virgin Mary pretzel.

· A Virgin Mary Lucky Pretzel (pieces miraculously spilled from the bag and spelled out the words VIRGIN MARY.

· A Baby Jesus Olive, A GREAT Virgin Mary Pretzel Accessory

· The "original" Joseph & Virgin Mary 12" pretzel.

· A Virgin Mary Pretzel Christian icon found in chex mix

· The Father Son & Holy Spirit Tortilla


· A Virgin Mary Animal Cracker

· the Virgin Mary or Baby Jesus Corn Chip

And last but not least:

· The VIRGIN MARY ROCK ("not a replica")

Great stuff.

Photo courtesy of the AP.

Look At The Results, Not The Methodology

Some one translate this for me. I only have a Masters Degree.

From today's Charleston (WV) Gazette ("Pistols Bring More Crime"):
"Gun Availability and Crime in West Virginia" is the title of a report in the Justice Research and Policy professional journal. It was written by Dr. Stephen Haas and others at the Criminal Justice Statistical Analysis Center, a unit of the West Virginia Division of Criminal Justice Services.

The survey - designed to support America's "Project Safe Neighborhoods" to reduce gun violence - compares county-by-county figures in three categories: the per-capita rate of violent crimes, the per-capita rate of "legal guns" as indicated by concealed pistol permits, and the per-capita rate of "illegal guns" as indicated by thefts reported to police.

The authors acknowledge that these categories are fuzzy, because some gun thefts aren't reported to police and some unlicensed "street guns" are traded informally among drug dealers and others. "More comprehensive measures of true illegal gun activity are likely to be substantially higher," the report says.

Counties with a high rate of legal guns have more violence, the study found - but the danger soars further in counties with many illegal guns.

"The results indicate that counties with high concentrations of both legal and illegal guns are associated with violent crime, gun crime and knife crime," the report concludes. "... Our analysis supports the notion that both legal and illegal guns contribute in specific ways to crime problems in West Virginia."
"Fuzzy" categories? Knife crime? "Counties with a high rate of legal guns have more violence ... but the danger soars further in counties with many illegal guns"? Further than "more"?

This isn't a study. It's an editorial position fluffed up with meaningless, dubious jargon. Idle commentary. Paid for by the taxpayers of West Virginia, no less.

Come back to us, fellas, when you have a legitimate study for us.

Maybe There's a Reason For This

I read Roanoke Times columnist Christian Trejbal's argument (see "Paying our own way," February 24) regarding local government and funding sources and came away feeling like I needed to take a shower. The general premise seems strong enough, but something just doesn't seem right.

He posits:
Lazy pundits often claim that Democrats like to spend, spend, spend. When the party controls Congress or the General Assembly, cash flows easily by way of subsidies and bleeding-heart programs.

Republicans, the story continues, are responsible with public dollars. They don't waste money. Good conservatives stand on their own abilities and take care of themselves without government handouts.

Were those portrayals accurate, one would find that conservative localities strike boldly independent financial courses. The communities that vote Republican pay their own way while liberal locales suckle at the state and federal teat whenever they can.

What one actually finds is just the opposite. Localities that voted Republican in recent elections rely more heavily on state and federal welfare to provide local services.

Liberal bastions of Northern Virginia pay up to 80 percent of their own way.

Conservatives talk big about self-reliance, but progressive communities live it.
Uh, let me pick a bone. "Liberal bastions of Northern Virginia pay up to 80 percent of their own way"? With what exactly are they paying it? How about tax dollars?

Everyone knows that government (particularly the federal government) is far and away the largest employer in northern Virginia. Factor in those tax dollars that go to (highly paid) government employees by the tens of thousands and the numbers balance out again. In addition, add in all the income that goes to those who work for private entities in the area (of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William Counties; cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, Manassas) that feed off of government largesse and the comparison goes completely haywire. So I'd probably leave northern Virginia out of the discussion. It is, by anyone's measure, more dependent on government than we are.

But the general point is well taken. Republicans' actions - when it comes to spending - often don't match their rhetoric.

Don't confuse, though, Christian, Republicans with conservatives. While Republicans (locally and in Richmond) are sometimes as recklessly wasteful as their Democrat brethren, conservatives don't like it one bit. And we often say so. Just ask this guy.

And while I'm at it, I might make another related point. Regarding this:
Localities that voted Republican in recent elections rely more heavily on state and federal welfare to provide local services.

Consider Craig County. It raises only 36 percent of its money locally. Yet it voted heavily for far-right conservatives such as Jerry Kilgore and Bob McDonnell in 2005 and George Allen in 2006. Each was a close election statewide but a landslide for the Republican in Craig County.

The same goes for the other conservative communities in the New River Valley and, indeed, around Virginia.
I'll not dispute the numbers. But I might ask that readers take into account a bit of area history. Southwest Virginia, including Craig County, was Democrat-controlled for more than a hundred years. Much of it still is. It has only been in recent years that Republicans have gained a foothold in local elected offices. Why?

Because of the statistics that Christian Trejbal cites.

We are dependent on government handouts because we lack private enterprise. Enrepreneurs. Wealth. And we are experiencing a heart-wrenching decline in manufacturing jobs to boot. We know it.

It is who we are, to be sure. We are ever-more reliant on government here for our livelihood(s). But we don't like it. We don't want it to be that way. So we, in ever growing numbers, are driving the bums out and are voting Republican.

But understand this: If the GOP'ers don't produce, we'll kick their asses out too and look to someone else. One way or another, we are going to turn things around here in Southwest Virginia. And stop the dependence on government once and for all.

Unfortunately things are going to get worse before they get better. But sooner or later we are going to elect leadership here that understands how to grow the economy. Not with bike paths or hiking trails. Not with earmarks for music centers and museums. Not with layers upon layers of government relief. But with quality jobs offered up by private employers. By the hundreds. Because they find it more advantageous to relocate here rather than to the jungles of Guatemala.

So. Don't look at things as they are and criticize those who are trying to make it better. One by one, those who created this mess are being driven out of office. Stick around.

The TD Joins The Chorus

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch this morning:

We support legislation to allow Sunday sales in ABC stores in Richmond and other jurisdictions of similar size. We also agree with State Sen. John Watkins -- an opponent of the move -- that the commonwealth ought to get out of the retail liquor business. Private stores sell wine and beer. Private stores ought to sell rye, bourbon, vodka, gin, and other spirits.
"In Brief," February 25, 2008

The Insiders Chose What?

What were the top movies* of 2007? According to Box Office Mojo, they were:

According to Hollywood's best and brightest, what were the top movies of 2007?

"2008 Best Picture Oscar Winner" - "No Country For Old Men"

"2008 Best Director Oscar Winner"Joel & Ethan Coen - "No Country For Old Men"

"2008 Best Actor Oscar Winner"Daniel Day Lewis - "There Will Be Blood"

"2008 Best Actress Oscar Winner"Marion Cotillard - "La Vie En Rose"

"2008 Best Supporting Actor Oscar Winner" Javier Bardem - "No Country For Old Men"

"2008 Best Supporting Actress Oscar Winner" Tilda Swinton - "Michael Clayton"

"2008 Best Original Screenplay Oscar Winner"Diablo Cody - "Juno"

"2008 Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar Winner" "No Country For Old Men"

So the following is a surprise why?

Dull Show Hails Flicks No One Sees
By Adam Buckman, The New York Post

At three hours and 18 minutes, last night's Oscar telecast was far from the longest ever produced - it only seemed that way.

You can probably blame the nominated films, most of which no one bothered to see. As a result, it was difficult to really care about who won.

For example, raise your hand if you went to see that movie about Edith Piaf, "La Vie en Rose," the film for which Marion Cotillard won a Best Actress Oscar last night.

Edith who? Marion who? I figured as much. In fact, about five minutes after she won the award last night, I forgot she'd won it. (link)

Forgot. Past tense of the word forget. As in: Forget these people. You can take La Vie en Rose and stick it. I'm renting I Am Legend.

* In gross box office receipts.

Visions Of Things To Come

I read articles like this and conjure a vision of Hillary - ten years from now - being a bag lady wandering the streets of Hoboken:

No One Dares To Tell Her It's Over

Even Bill is frightened to death of the woman.

Blame The Israelis If You Wish ...

... but the real problem for the Palestinians lies elsewhere.


Here's Yael Kaynan's "Gaza's Culture of Self-Destruction":
Do the parents in Gaza not worry about the shape their future society will take when today’s children are being taught that the lives of other children have no value and, indeed, that those other children should be killed, as is frequently told to the children of Gaza through their children’s television programming? Do they not worry about the kind of adults they are producing when, as children, their society and the parents themselves have told them that their own lives have no value? What future accomplishments will their society attain when their children have been taught that the greatest thing they can do with their lives is to kill themselves in the process of killing others –that there is no greater accomplishment that they can achieve than to blow themselves up among groups of old women and children? What will be the face of a society in which the children have been raised to admire violence and to consider the use of a deadly weapon as a first resort in a conflict?
A fact that speaks volumes about this situation: The Israelis have built a wall to keep the suicidal maniacs - the children of Gaza - from entering the freedom-loving world and wreaking havoc, not to keep them inside Gaza. Even the Egyptians want them kept apart. Such a sad circumstance.

Ralph Nader Decides To Ru..zzzzzz

Sorry. I dozed off.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Where McCain Might Start

He might get his own house in order first:
Senators Diverting Campaign Funds to Kin
By Shailagh Murray, Washington Post Staff Writer

Under long-standing congressional ethics rules, corporations, unions and other large organizations cannot directly pay senators stipends. But their contributions to senators' election campaigns can be paid without limit to the children, spouses, in-laws and other relatives of the lawmakers, in a practice that has aroused controversy but is fully legal.

Since 2000, at least 20 members of the Senate dipped into their campaign contributions and wrote more than half a million dollars in checks to their own relatives, typically as payment for fundraising and other campaign work, according to a new report by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). (link)
From One who faced this not that long ago:

"Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it, saith Jehovah." Jeremiah 7:11

And a strategy for our time: Jeremiah 7:15

Remember This When You Go To The Pumps

The Democrats in the Virginia senate (including our own Phil Puckett, John Edwards, and Roscoe Reynolds) are this day clamoring for an increase in the gasoline tax.

Meanwhile ...

Gas prices rise to top of woes
By Patrice Hill, The Washington Times

More than three times as many consumers are concerned about high energy prices than other economic problems such as job losses, foreclosures and the sagging stock market, according to an informal poll of Washington Times readers.

Sixty-five percent of the 230 readers who had voted by 4 p.m. yesterday said their biggest worry is high gas prices and heating bills — outdistancing concerns about the stock market, which were cited by 20 percent of readers polled, and foreclosures, which were cited by 6 percent. (
Want to make that uneasy feeling worse?
Campaign sign courtesy of the DNC.

Nothing Else Need Be Written


Lost In The 60's

"Help! I'm locked in a different dimension and I can't get out!"

Springsteen, Young Join Anti - War Soundtrack

They're still alive. Who knew?

A Warning Sign?

Roger L. Simon on the cult of personality:
Two or three days before Robert Kennedy was assassinated in the early morning hours of June 5, 1968- its hard to remember now - I attended a rally for RFK in East Los Angeles. The audience was almost entirely Mexican or Mexican-American - there were very few of us gringos. The crowd was wildly enthusiastic, to put it mildly. Cries of "Viva! Viva!" rang out everywhere. It felt as if I was at a rally in Central America and Kennedy was not running for President. He was running for "caudillo." I am sure if it were put to a vote of those present, they would have installed him as "maximum leader" for life in a landslide.

I was a supporter of Bobby Kennedy's in those days, but I was unnerved. And it's not just because I knew that his record was checkered, to say the least. A cult of personality was developing and I was beginning to feel nauseated by it. I am having the same feeling about Obama. Every time I hear "Si se puede!" I get queasy. I didn't when I heard it years ago at Cesar Chavez farmworker rallies, when it had a specific reference, but I do here. It's as if rhetoric has been stolen in a form - almost deliberately - devoid of content. "Yes, we can - what?" Nobody knows.
The frightening thing is, these people want us to believe they are grounded in the "reality-based" community. And they are willing to get swept up in this mindless lunacy.

"Yes, we can - what?" indeed.