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

Monday, March 31, 2008

Crime Brings A Slice of Prosperity To SW Virginia

What's one of the biggest growth industries in Southwest Virginia?

Prisons.

And, as we build, at a feverish pace, more and more prisons, what do we do when our warehouses for bad men and women have more beds than we have criminals?

Find more criminals.

Ah, American ingenuity:

Virginia to house Wyoming inmates
The Associated Press

Richmond (AP) — Wyoming inmates are due to be transferred within weeks to two Virginia prisons in the southwest corner of the state.

The transfer, part of a contract that could pay Virginia $18.5 million, could bring up to 300 Wyoming prisoners to the state over the next two years.

The Wyoming inmates will be held at the high-security Wallens Ridge State Prison in Wise County and the state's new medium-security Pocahontas State Correctional Center in Tazewell County. (link)


Ah, yes. The more lawless America becomes, the more prosperity Southwest Virginia realizes.

There's something sinful about our attitudes toward crime down here.

The Subprime Crisis Starts Hitting Home

If you read in recent months that the commonwealth of Virginia seemed to be innoculated somehow from the mortgage foreclosure problem, forget it. We're in it with the rest of America.

See "The recession: hitting here, missing there," by Peter Coy, in Business Week.

A telling graphic:
Bar graph courtesy of Business Week magazine.

Uh, Can We Talk About This?

Nothing like scaring the beejeebers out of us this morning. In the New York Times:
None of ... the grimness on the front page today will matter a bit ... if two men pursuing a lawsuit in federal court in Hawaii turn out to be right. They think a giant particle accelerator that will begin smashing protons together outside Geneva this summer might produce a black hole or something else that will spell the end of the Earth — and maybe the universe.

Scientists say that is very unlikely — though they have done some checking just to make sure.
Hello? Scientists think it to be "very unlikely" that the Earth is coming to an end? As in only somewhat likely? Impending doom?

Should we think about this?

MIA No Longer

The body of the only soldier officially listed as "missing in action" in Iraq has been recovered:
Remains of Soldier Missing Since ’04 Are Found in Iraq
By The Associated Press


Batavia, Ohio (AP) — The father of a soldier listed as missing-captured in Iraq since 2004 said Sunday that the military had informed him that his son’s remains were found in Iraq.

The man, Keith Maupin, said at a news conference in suburban Cincinnati that an Army general told him DNA testing had identified the remains of his son, Sgt. Keith Matthew Maupin, or Matt, as he was known.

Sergeant Maupin was a 20-year-old private first class when he was captured on April 9, 2004, after his fuel convoy, part of the 724th Transportation Company, was ambushed west of Baghdad. (link)
A sad - but not unexpected - ending to the story. At least there's an end, some closure, as opposed to ... forever MIA.

Gore Launches Umpteenth Climate Campaign

Gore Launches Ambitious Advocacy Campaign on Climate

What else does he have to do?

Building a Post-Racialist America

Miscegenation. Reproduction by parents of different races. A fast-growing trend in these United States.

It can't happen fast enough, in my opinion. This is the one trend that will, in itself, end all the nonsense we have to endure each day with regard to the issue of "race."

An update in today's New York Times:
Who Are We? New Dialogue on Mixed Race
By Mireya Navarro

“There’s this notion that there’s an authentic race and you must fit it,” said Ms. Bratter, an assistant professor of sociology at Rice University in Houston who researches interracial families. “We’re confronted with the lack of fit.”

The old categories are weakening, however, as immigration and the advancing age of marriage in the United States fuel a steady rise in the number of interracial marriages. The 2000 Census counted 3.1 million interracial couples, or about 6 percent of married couples. For the first time, the Census that year allowed respondents to identify themselves as being two or more races, a category that now includes 7.3 million Americans, or about 3 percent of the population. (link)
It annoys me every time I hear Barack Obama refer to himself as being black. He's not. His mother is white. He is therefore of mixed race. He has had the opportunity like at no other time in American history to plunge a dagger into the heart of racial animus (coming from both sides of the debate). A wonderful opportunity.

He - through his racist pastor - instead fans the flames of bigotry.

Still, the trend toward a one-race America continues apace.

The bottom line: "Little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character"* because there will be no alternative.

And a glorious day it will be.

* From Dr. Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech.

Will This Be McCain's Running Mate?

He could do worse.

From an interview on ABC's "This Week":
Well, I say that the Democratic Party changed. The Democratic Party today was not the party it was in 2000. It's not the Bill Clinton-Al Gore party, which was strong internationalists, strong on defense, pro-trade, pro-reform in our domestic government. It's been effectively taken over by a small group on the left of the party that is protectionist, isolationist and basically will --and very, very hyperpartisan. So it pains me. I'm a Democrat who came to the party in the era of President John F. Kennedy.
It's a strange turn of the road when I find among the candidates running this year that the one, in my opinion, closest to the Kennedy legacy, the John F. Kennedy legacy, is John S. McCain.
The person making that bold statement? Democrat Joe Lieberman.

On Obama & Wright & Malcolm X

A devastating attack on Barack Obama and the now-infamous declaration -

"Don't tell me words don't matter."


From lapel pins to the Pledge of Allegiance to "For the first time in my adult life, I'm proud to be an American ..."

Just devastating.

This Means War

Will we allow this?

French Company Is Said to Buy Maker of Absolut Vodka

What next? If this goes unchallenged, where will they stop? Is world domination then a certainty?

I have news for the French: They'll have to pry my Maker's Mark from my cold, dead fingers. That's all I'm sayin'.

'The Audacity of Bull....'

Seems Barack Obama's autobiography isn't holding up under scrutiny:
Obama Overstates Kennedys' Role in Helping His Father
By Michael Dobbs, The Washington Post

Addressing civil rights activists in Selma, Ala., a year ago, Sen. Barack Obama traced his "very existence" to the generosity of the Kennedy family, which he said paid for his Kenyan father to travel to America on a student scholarship and thus meet his Kansan mother.

It is a touching story -- but the key details are either untrue or grossly oversimplified.

Contrary to Obama's claims in speeches in January at American University and in Selma last year, the Kennedy family did not provide the funding for a September 1959 airlift of 81 Kenyan students to the United States that included Obama's father. (link)
This little exposé couples well with the recent news that former law professor Barack Obama was never a law "professor" (he was merely a lecturer).

Will the account of his daring flight into the war zone of Tuzla, Bosnia under blistering enemy sniper fire be far behind?

Audacity seems to be a fitting descriptive noun about now.

We've Come a Long Way

In 1990 former Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger declared the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution to be effectively rendered obsolete. In a Parade magazine article he wrote of the changing times in this country - from the days when kings ruled North America to the present:
These people, and their fathers and grandfathers before them, remembered how monarchs had used standing armies to oppress their ancestors in Europe. Americans wanted no part of this.

Against this background, it was not surprising that the provision concerning firearms emerged in very simple terms with the significant predicate -- basing the right on the necessity for a "well regulated militia," a state army.

In the two centuries since then -- with two world wars and some lesser ones -- it has become clear, sadly, that we have no choice but to maintain a standing national army while still maintaining a "militia" by way of the National Guard, which can be swiftly integrated into the national defense forces.
That became known as the "collective right" argument. According to those who dreamt up this creative notion, and to those who desperately cling to it, we are allowed a modicum of freedom when it comes to gun ownership because of that need for "a well-regulated militia." "The right of the people," to him and many like him, meant "the right of the militia."

Now, less than two decades later, that argument seems dead and buried.

Today the most prominent political figures in the political party once closely associated with the drive to disarm the American people are singing a different song:

"Barack Obama believes the Second Amendment creates an individual right, and he greatly respects the constitutional right of Americans to bear arms."

Hillary: "I believe in the Second Amendment. People have a right to bear arms."

Of course both individuals are prepared to regulate the living hell out of the keeping and bearing of firearms, but ... this is still progress.

Our vigilance and hard work are paying off.

Babble Babble Babble

Hillary Clinton has been brutal with mortgage lenders and with Wall Street funding groups when it comes to the subprime loan crisis. Perhaps she needs to turn her wrath in a different direction.

Toward those in her inner circle:
Clinton Pushes Housing Market Fixes As Campaign Manager Sits on Board of Bankrupt Lender
by Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, Fox News

Washington – Hillary Clinton spends considerable time on the campaign trail bemoaning unscrupulous lenders who have left millions of Americans scrambling to keep their homes but all the while her campaign manager, Margaret “Maggie” Williams, has sat on the board of one of the nation’s once-largest and now-bankrupt sub-prime mortgage lenders.

Delta Financing — and subsidiary Delta Funding — made much of its money by turning around and selling its loans at a profit — either through securitization or straight sale. Financial statements and federal filings indicate that Delta made huge profits between 2004 and 2007 mostly by refinancing loans to homeowners with moderate and middle incomes in urban neighborhoods.

Williams joined Delta’s board less less than a month after one federal official said Delta’s practices were “turning the American dream of homeownership into a nightmare.”

Delta ... declared bankruptcy in December 2007 ... (link)
These people know no shame.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Boucher's Dilemma?

Is Congressman Rick Boucher being squeezed by the Democratic House leadership? Is that why he co-sponsored a bill that toughens border security but has balked at having it put to a vote?

Mickey Kaus seems to think so:
The dirty secret, of course, is that the Dem leadership isn't blocking the bill because its unpopular with House Democrats. They're blocking it because it's popular with House Democrats, who'd love to have a tough-on-illegals bill to vote for before the 2008 election. (emphasis in the original)
I've never read anywhere that Mr. Boucher wants our borders secured - though he may have stated his views and I just missed it - so it's difficult to see Mickey's claim being applied to him.

But there must be some valid reason why our congressman would support legislation that he is - at this moment - blocking.

Retreat From A Post-Racialist America

I get depressed thinking about what the Barack Obama campaign has done to set back our efforts to make Dr. Martin Luther King's dream a reality. Apparently, I'm not alone.

Victor Davis Hanson:
Watching the parade of apologists for Rev. Wright’s hatred—“garlic noses”; “KKK of A;” “God Damn America;” “Condamnesia;” the U.S. deserved 9/11; America is no different from al-Qaeda; we caused the AIDs virus; Israel is a “dirty word” and sought an Arab and black ethnic bomb, etc—is, well, depressing. Instead of offering distance from Wright, far too many African-American professors and pastors interviewed on the cable stations the last few nights instead praised his brilliance and inspiration.

This disastrous regression in race relations is the natural dividend of liberal identity politics, most recently brought to the fore by the wife of the first “black President”, the first “transracial” black Presidential candidate, and the “prophet” and “healer” Reverend Wright.
"The Chickens of Identity Politics Come Home to Roost? " The Corner on National Review, March 29, 2008

Missing The Point

America to movie critic: It's not that we don't want to go see Iraq War movies. It's that we don't wish to shell out our heard-earned money on ANTI-IRAQ WAR MOVIES. How many times do we have to repeat this before it sinks in?

Cluelessness from movie critic Nikki Finke ("'21' Holds Winning Hand At Box Office; 'Superhero' Is Superflop; 'Stop-Loss' DOA"):

Friday's domestic gross showed that Hollywood can't boost the slumping box office this spring break even though 30% of students are out of school. No. 1 is Sony Pictures's based-on-a-true-story 21 which opened to a solid $8.6 million Friday ...

I'm told #7 Stop-Loss opened to only $1.6 million Friday from just 1,291 plays and should eke out $4+M. Although the drama from MTV Films was the best-reviewed movie opening this weekend, Paramount wasn't expecting much because no Iraq war-themed movie has yet to perform at the box office. "It's not looking good," a studio source told me before the weekend. "No one wants to see Iraq war movies. No matter what we put out there in terms of great cast or trailers, people were completely turned off. It's a function of the marketplace not being ready to address this conflict in a dramatic way because the war itself is something that's unresolved yet. It's a shame because it's a good movie that's just ahead of its time." (emphasis mine)


Let's see. Hollywood keeps churning out anti-war/anti-American movies, one after another, with nobody being interested in seeing their country being bashed (more accurately, we endure it on the evening news each evening, but we choose not to pay dearly at the box office to be subjected to it again), and these people conclude that Americans have no interest in war movies.

Send up a pro-Iraq War/pro-America/pro-noble cause movie once - once - and see what the results are, fool.

Or keep doing more of the same, be dismissive about our predilections, clueless about our interests, and continue to live in lala land.

- - -

A Stop-Loss review:

What is possibly left to say about a poorly produced, poorly acted, poorly directed, and very poorly written anti-war film that defames our troops…? What’s left to say that hasn’t been said about the dozen or so that came before? The only new angle here is that we’re told Stop-Loss is co-written by a conservative. Either this poor guy was steamrolled flat in story meetings or it’s true that Hollywood’s idea of a conservative is someone who only kinda hates President Bush.

Actual line from the film: “F**K the President.” A half-hour in, when absolutely nothing we’ve been told about this character prepares us for it, that’s what comes out of the mouth of our protagonist war hero, Brandon King (Ryan Phillipe). Like someone flipped a switch, King transforms from hoo-rah Army sergeant to Code Pink mouthpiece.
And they wonder why we refuse to participate.

- - -

You want to make box office history? Make this story about an heroic Navy Seal who gave his life for his country in Afghanistan - and earned the Medal of Honor posthumously for his efforts - into a movie.
Or continue to be befuddled ...

Book cover courtesy of Amazon.com

Interesting Stuff

The average height of an Egyptian male in the time of the pharoahs (13th century B.C.) was 5'2". (source)

So you know, the average height of an American male in 2008 A.D. is 5'10". (source)

5508 A.D.? 6'6"?

Cool. I can't wait to see it.

Dan Rather Taught Them Nothing?

Fabricating wild tales seems to come naturally to the people at CBS. Unlike the recent debacle that ended the career of its cornerstone news anchor and brought about the firing of a number of its employees when it was proven beyond any doubt that the story being told was based upon a lie - see "New Questions On Bush Guard Duty: 60 Minutes Has Newly Obtained Documents On President's Military Service" and "CBS ousts four over Bush Guard story" - the latest is a bit different. It's based solely on the testimony of a witness. A "victim." A victim with a grudge and a complete lack of credibility.

But so what? We all know that Bush is Hitler reincarnate so the fable works just fine for evening TV entertainment.

The latest shameful episode coming out of the once-venerable network that Edward R. Murrow built:

Ex-Terror Detainee Says U.S. Tortured Him
CBS News

(CBS) A German resident held by the U.S. for almost five years tells 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley that Americans tortured him in many ways - including hanging him from the ceiling for five days early in his captivity when he was in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Even after determining he was not a terrorist, Murat Kurnaz says the torture continued.

He claims American troops tortured him in Afghanistan by holding his head underwater, administering electric shocks to the soles of his feet, and hanging him suspended from the ceiling of an aircraft hangar and kept alive by doctors. "Every five or six hours they came and pulled me back down and the doctor came," he recalls. "He looked into my eyes. He checked my heart and when he said 'okay,' then they pulled me back up," he tells Pelley.

The U.S. Pentagon responding by e-mail says, "We treat all detainees humanely… and all credible claims are investigated thoroughly…. The abuses Mr. Kurnaz alleges are not only unsubstantiated and implausible, they are simply outlandish." (link)

Incredible. Unsubstantiated. Implausible. Outlandish. And the kind of stuff one has come to expect from CBS News.

The National Enquirer has nothing on these people.

What a Mess

I want to know who the genius was that decided to hold the 2008 summer olympics in communist China. Could it be any more of a sideshow?

Merkel says she will not attend opening of Beijing Olympics

China’s Genocide Olympics

China: Crackdown Violates Olympic Promises

China's looming Olympics disaster

Where once it was about swimming, distance running, pole vault, decathlon ...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

'Jumpin' Ugly' Redux

I brought to your attention two weeks ago a story about an unfortunate incident that had taken place inside the Bristol Herald-Courier boardroom one day when a delegation from Wise County met with the editorial staff of the Bristol paper to discuss the merits of that coal-fired power plant that's going up in St. Paul and recriminations started flying. See Jumpin' Ugly.'...

"Accusations of plagiarism, threats of retaliation, hurt feelings ... "

"The meeting must have been a hoot."

Well, there's a follow-up to the story. If the original account was one-sided - coming from the Herald-Courier team, the other side is now revealed - by one of the attendees. It provides a whole different - and clarifying - perspective. From the Coalfield Progress, in a letter to the editor, Mark S. Wooten writes:
Bristol Editor's Attack Offensive

I must respond to [editorial board member Todd] Foster's scathing personal attacks against me and others in that meeting.

First, I most certainly was not looking to buy any favors from the editorial board or the Bristol paper. My remarks on withholding advertising by our company were simply to reiterate what any newspaper company already knows: They sell a product and any potential customer has the freedom to make choices of where they spend their money. Shoddy standards of journalism compromise credibility and that does not go unnoticed by readers and advertisers alike.

Second, our meeting was considered "on the record." We were not looking to hide our positions, far from it; we wanted them known. We wanted them to hear from us and even publish what we had to say.

But instead of fairly reporting both sides of this conversation, the decision-makers opted to simply react on the opinion page.

Indeed, while everyone is entitled to an opinion, Foster is aware that his opinion is published, circulated and carries with it the power and freedom of the press securely protected by the Constitution's First Amendment. His editorial commentary and opinions, therefore, ought to be exercised in a professional and responsible manner in keeping with the obvious power he possesses as managing editor of a widely circulated newspaper.

He has every right to disagree with me and others on the power plant, and to even yield the power of the press by publishing and circulating his editorial disagreement with our opinions, or even our expression of them.

What he has done, however, is breach the very duty of fairness he has as an editor and a member of the press; he has unfairly and improperly utilized the power and freedom of the press to wage an ugly personal attack against me, my company and Ron Flanary, a dedicated and highly respected public servant whose services to the region are immeasurable as executive director of Lenowisco Planning District Commission, past chairman of the Crooked Road and a board member of the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority.

What he wrote, published and circulated in his March 16 opinion column exceeded the boundaries of fair comment. It was offensive, mean-spirited, vengeful, unprofessional and immature. It did not fully inform nor enlighten. It served no public interest at all, only his personal misguided self-interest. (link requires paid subscription)
I'm a bit dubious about that notion that newspaper editors are to play fair. It's been my experience that they simply act out of self-interest - like the rest of us. They just prefer to think their attitudes and actions are "fair." Had he known that going in, Mr. Wooten would then not have been surprised by the reaction he got from those at the Herald-Courier.

Still, he holds the upper hand in this ongoing battle. He has the power of the purse. Wooten has either threatened or suggested to the folks at the Herald-Courier that his company might withhold advertising dollars from the paper. I respectfully suggest that he do just that.

The paper has a formidable power at its disposal as well - that of the printed word. That power was deployed to its fullest in the scathing editorial. But that power exists only so long as the balance sheet allows it to exist (see "The newspaper industry has experienced the worst drop in advertising revenue in more than 50 years. ").

Ask the good people who work ... er, worked at the now-defunct New York Herald Tribune. The Boston Gazette. The Baltimore Morning Herald. The Omaha Bee. The Sacramento Union. The St. Louis Sun. The Washington Herald. The Washington Star ...

The Bristol Herald-Courier needs Mark S. Wooten more than Mark S. Wooten needs the HC.

Something worth remembering.

On a Wing & a Prayer

If I had a quarter for every time I heard someone telling us how great the tourism industry is going to be here in Southwest Virginia some day, I'd be able to go out and buy us an honest-to-God tourist.

Today's wishing well offering from the Bluefield Daily Telegraph:

Driving tours — Region getting renewed attention
editorial

We applaud Virginia’s role in the new Appalachian Driving Tours Map, and we hope the national attention can help to foster renewed tourism growth in Southwest Virginia.

We join [Governor Tim] Kaine in saluting and supporting Virginia’s robust tourism industry. We believe Southwest Virginia, as well as neighboring southern West Virginia, remains largely untapped in terms of the region’s vast tourism potential. We expect great potential from the local tourism traffic created by the Coal Heritage Trail, Virginia’s Crooked Road and the Wilderness Road.

The renewed national attention of our local driving tours is indeed exciting. By bringing more visitors to the region, the driving tours will help to facilitate renewed tourism growth in southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia. (link)
I picture Snow White singing to a bluebird perched on the castle windowsill: "Some day my prince will come ..."

You folks at the Daily Telegraph would do well to investigate the following affliction, at the hands of which you obviously suffer -

Pollyannaism: The tendency toward being foolishly or blindly optimistic.

The Massacre That Wasn't

Time magazine's libelous (clearly libelous*) story about U.S. marines going berserk in Haditha, Iraq on November 19, 2005 and slaughtering dozens of innocent civilians in the process continues to crumble under the weight of factual evidence. The latest nail in the once-venerable publication's coffin:

Case Against U.S. Marine Is Dismissed
By Paul von Zielbauer, The New York Times


Camp Pendleton, Calif. — Hours before his court-martial was set to begin, all charges were dismissed Friday against one of two remaining enlisted marines involved in a combat action that killed 24 Iraqis in Haditha in 2005, the Marine Corps announced.

With little public explanation, a Marine general in charge of the prosecution dropped the charges against Lance Cpl. Stephen B. Tatum, who was among four enlisted marines originally charged with murder in the case.

The charges against him had been reduced to involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and aggravated assault for what prosecutors said was his role in shooting a group of unarmed women and children. (link)


This story - what turns out to be a complete fabrication - about a massacre having occurred in Haditha was a lie from the day it came out of the mouths of an Iraqi with close ties to the Islamist insurgents and two "human rights" advocates with a grudge. For details on the unraveling of this shameful hoax, go to "Time Magazine Massacres the Truth."

Lest we forget, there is someone else who deserves to be shamed in this deplorable incident. Congressman Jack Murtha of Pennsylvania. You may remember his now-infamous quote:
"There was no firefight. There was no IED that killed those innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."
I've written it before; I'll write it again: May he rot in hell for turning on our troops in time of war.

- - -

Libel
Noun: libel lībul
1. A false and malicious publication printed for the purpose of defaming a living person

Santa Claus Comes Early This Year

Hillary Clinton is now promising most Americans that they'll be paying less for their universal health care when she becomes president. And most Americans will believe it possible:

Clinton Details Premium Cap in Health Plan
By Kevin Sack, The New York Times

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton said in an interview on Wednesday that if elected president she would push for a universal health care plan that would limit what Americans pay for health insurance to no more than 10 percent of their income, a significant reduction for some families.

In an extensive interview on health policy, Mrs. Clinton said she would like to cap health insurance premiums at 5 percent to 10 percent of income. (link)

Unbelievable! We are all going to be paying less for our health care coverage! What a woman.

Unbelievable indeed.

You'll not see me argue that what Hillary wants to do is impossible. It's clearly possible. Just as it's possible for her to promise a car in every garage.

The question is: What will that car that everyone is going to be handed going to look like?

Count on it.

A Portent Of Things To Come

While we're on the subject of universal government-run health care ...

When the bureaucracy gets a hold of your confidential health records (including nude photos!), once Hillary's plan is imposed, expect to find those records turning up on eBay. Security, you see, isn't your government's strong suit.

Today's example:
Laptops, weapons missing at DEA
By Jerry Seper, The Washington Times


More than 90 weapons and 230 laptop computers belonging to the Drug Enforcement Administration have turned up missing over the past five years and, despite efforts by the agency to address weaknesses in tracking the items, "significant deficiencies" remain, a report said yesterday.

The lost and stolen weapons include pistols, rifles, shotguns and a submachine gun, said a 105-page report by the Justice Department's Office of Inspector ... (link)
Why am I having sleepless nights these days?

Quote of the Day

From Mark Steyn:
"I'm sure," said Barack Obama in that sonorous baritone that makes his drive-thru order for a Big Mac, fries and strawberry shake sound profound, "many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed."

Well, yes. But not many of us have heard remarks from our pastors, priests or rabbis that are stark, staring, out-of-his-tree, flown-the-coop nuts.

It is Barack Obama's choice to entrust his daughters to the spiritual care of such a man for their entire lives, but in Philadelphia the senator attempted to universalize his peculiar judgment – to claim that, given America's history, it would be unreasonable to expect black men of Jeremiah Wright's generation not to peddle hateful and damaging lunacies. Isn't that – what's the word? – racist? So much for the post-racial candidate.
"So much for the 'post-racial' candidate," The Orange County Register, March 22, 2008

Food For Thought

From Don Surber on Barack Obama's perplexing Jeremiah Wright equivocation:
Barack Rodham Obama might have quit his church if Rev. Wright had stayed on. Once again, on the tough issues, Obama votes, “Present.”

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois taped an appearance that will be aired on “The View” on Friday morning,
AP reported.

Obama’s latest position on the hateful, race-baiting sermons of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright: “Had the reverend not retired, and had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people and were inappropriate and mischaracterized what I believe is the greatness of this country, for all its flaws, then I wouldn’t have felt comfortable staying at the church.”

This is hilarious.

The man has a banana in his ear. And he won’t admit it, let alone remove it.

You feel uncomfortable in a church when you are wearing wool on a hot day in the summer.

You run the hell out of said church when it is on fire.
Starting to get the idea that this man who talks a mean streak about audacity struggles from a paucity thereof?

Par For The Course

You may have seen the headline from the Columbus Dispatch:

Limbaugh safe from voter-fraud charges

Your reaction probably mirrored mine: "Whew, I'll bet Rush was shaking in his boots ..."

The only item of interest in this non-story, as it so happens, is a quote from a spokesman for Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann - a Democrat:

"'We have no intention of prosecuting Rush Limbaugh because lying through your teeth and being stupid isn't (sic) a crime,' said Leo Jennings."

A spokeman for the state attorney general.

A Democrat.

A towering intellect.

Somebody Explain This To Me

I understand why black Americans vote as a block for the Democratic candidate - always - in national elections. Whether they have a legitimate reason to do so is neither here nor there. They vote Democrat; I accept it as a given.

What I don't understand is the American Jew. For this reason (repeating itself over and over again):

Rev Jeremiah Wright lands Barack Obama in trouble again
By Tom Baldwin, Times of London

Barack Obama faced fresh controversy yesterday over the anti-Israel views propagated by his former pastor even as he was being welcomed to New York by Michael Bloomberg, the city's Jewish Mayor.

The disclosure of articles published by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's church newsletter threatened to overshadow his speech outlining his economic plans. The articles included a column by the Hamas leader, Mousa Abu Marzook, which asked: “Why should any Palestinian recognise the monstrous crimes carried out by Israel's founders and continued by its deformed modern apartheid state?”

Mr Obama swiftly denounced the decision to reprint the article but faced further embarrassment over comments from Mr Wright, quoted in another church magazine, which referred to Italians as “garlic noses”.

The presence alongside him of Mr Bloomberg prompted speculation that he could yet help Mr Obama fix his growing problems at least with the Jewish vote, an important constituency and source of Democratic campaign donations. (link)


There has been a miniscule migration of Jewish voters to the Republican cause in recent decades, but only miniscule. This despite a clear anti-semitic, anti-Israel undercurrent flowing rather freely through the Democratic Party.

Why Jewish Americans continue to beg for entry into a club where they are obviously unwelcome is a mystery to me. A complete mystery.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Well, That's What He Meant To Say

This is odd. A headline in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph from a few days ago:

Kaine: Region on road to prosperity

Perhaps Governor Kaine suddenly realized that the region he was in was Southwest Virginia.

Or that the Southwest Virginia region has left the road to prosperity and is instead on the road to ruin.

Because nowhere in the article does he talk about prosperity, or anything remotely close to it.

- - -

We do find out, however, that Bland County, by God, has a regional organizer for the Sierra Club. One Dave Muhly. More on him here. More on his efforts to stop surface mining in the area here.

A revealing insight:

"We quote figures about how much more money and jobs there would be if we stopping logging (sic) and depended instead on recreation and tourism."

Ugh.

Leave It To American Ingenuity

In business school we pick up on a concept called "kaizen," Japanese for "change for the better" or "improvement." "To take apart and put back together in a better way."

Here in Southwest Virginia the construct is adopted and kaizen is applied to the research, development, and production process of one of our fastest growing manufactures and we have ...

Meth Mixed With Strawberry Flavoring Appears In Galax, Va.
By Nate Hubbard, Media General News Service

The Virginia State Police seized a form of crystal methamphetamine mixed with strawberry flavoring last month in the Galax, Va., area, and local parents are being urged to be on the lookout for such a substance.

Sgt. Michael Conroy, a State Police spokesman, emphasized there are no signs that dealers are marketing the pink-colored meth directly to children. He added, though, the candy-like appearance has authorities concerned that children may mistake it for a harmless treat. (
link)
Have mercy.

- - -

* To be accurate, police speculate, according to the article, that the meth is being flavored in Mexico; not in Southwest Virginia.

Because They Are Accepting Bribes

Our politicians in Richmond leave themselves open to that charge (though it is notr meant to be an indictment of any particular legislator) when they involve themselves in the seamy practice of earmarking. As noted by this morning's Roanoke Times:
Nonprofit agencies can't live on pork
editorial

Virginia's delegates and senators in the General Assembly regularly serve up the bacon. This year, the budget looks a little leaner, though those in key budget-writing positions still managed to bring home some pork.

Not all pork is bad, of course. It's the method of distribution that rankles, not the money itself.

Considering how tight the state budget was this year, why did some programs get funding while others did not? (
link)
Yes. Why some and not others? A question that conjures all kinds of less than desirable possibilities.

To those we elect to public office: Get out of this unethical, foul, and repulsive practice. Or get used to the accusations of corruption.

When There Is No Oversight ...

... we end up with the worst kind of government waste this country has ever seen.

Again, earmarks.

Again, Boucher:
Virginia Pork for Crabs and Sheep
By Neil H. Simon, Media General News Service


Washington-The 2009 federal budget will include funding for some strange animals if one Virginia lawmaker has his way.

Rep. Rick Boucher, a Democrat from southwest Virginia, has requested $744,325 to study the horseshoe crab and $250,000 for hair sheep - a unique bread (sic) of short-haired sheep that does not require shearing.

Both requests would go to Virginia Tech, which already has efforts to establish a "hair sheep research center" to study the genetics of the sheep and improve the animal's resistance to parasites, and get more people to buy the lamb's meat. (link)
Horseshoe crabs. Hair sheep.

Horseshoe crabs. Hair sheep.

A hair sheep research center no less. To study organic sheep meat no less.

$1,000,000.

Somebody please make it stop.

- - -

"I believe in transparency," said Boucher, who requested $48.8 million for 39 projects, including $4 million to research improvements for military gear to reduce head, neck and chest injuries and $3 million for mine-safety equipment."

What does it say that neither the Defense Department nor the Interior Department requested these funds?

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Virginia's own Extreme Mortman asks if Hillary is about to violate the law.

Vince Foster was unavailable for comment.

What a Mess

At some point in time the lightbulb is going to come and the leaders of America's two major political parties are going to wise up to the fact that the manner in which candidates are chosen has gotten to be a complete joke. From Senator Emmett Hanger's reelection here in Virginia to Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos" to the following (from Real Clear Politics) regarding the ongoing Democrat nominating process, it's clear that the system is broken. At minimum:

A key issue in determining the nominee is who is seen to have won more votes.

First, there are many reasonable ways to count the popular vote. None is obviously superior to the rest. Of course, it does not matter which we think is most appropriate. What matters is what the superdelegates think, as they will be the "tie-breakers" in the nomination battle.

They could approach it in many ways. They could take the basic vote count and choose to exclude or include Michigan, Florida, or caucus estimates. Assuming they want to include the Michigan results and the caucus estimates (for IA, ME, NV, and WA, whose state parties do not supply actual vote totals), they could account for them in different ways. With Michigan, they could (a) give Obama the "unaffiliated" vote, (b) not give Obama the "unaffiliated" vote, or (c) reallocate the vote based upon whom voters claimed in the exit poll they would support if all candidates had been on the ballot. If they include caucus estimates, they could (i) count the non-binding Washington primary instead of the caucus, or (ii) count the Washington caucus instead of the primary.

This implies ...
Eyes crossed yet? Determining who has won more votes? Take the basic count and choose to exclude? Reallocate the vote? Count the caucus but not the primary?

What?

This was once so simple. Now it's incomprehensible. And, worst of all, nobody is going to be satisfied when the saga concludes and a nominee is elected chosen.


There must be a better way ...

- - -

Good grief: "It looks like there was data entry error. You ended up being coded as BOTH a Hillary Clinton and a Barack Obama delegate."

- - -

Then there's the change-the-rules-in-the-middle-of-the-game madness. Just three days ago: "The Democratic Party on Monday approved Puerto Rico's proposal to scrap its caucus and hold a presidential primary on June 1."

More On Congressman Boucher's Immigration Bill

The one that he has co-sponsored but, by not signing the discharge petition, is effectively blocking ...

Michael Goldfarb with The Weekly Standard:

McCain Blocks Immigration Enforcement?

Congressman Heath Shuler (D-NC) is claiming that John McCain has been pressing Republicans not to sign onto the discharge petition for his legislation to enhance immigration enforcement. In considering the likelihood that this is true, let's look at the reality of the situation:

A discharge petition needs 218 signatures to bring a bill to the floor. The petition was filed just 4 legislative days ago -- on March 11, with March 14 being the last day to add signatures before Easter recess. In those 4 days, Republicans got 172 signatures (out of 198 Republicans in the House). In the same time, the Democrats got 9 signatures for the petition (out of 49 cosponsors of the legislation). We know there's heavy pressure from senior liberal Democrats not to sign the petition.

So the petition has been signed by 90 percent of all Republicans in the House, and by less than 20 percent of all its Democratic sponsors. Shuler seems to be more concerned with CYA and blame spreading than with getting the bill to the floor.

That's Shuler's excuse. What is Boucher's? Nancy's bullying me?

History Repeats Itself

Hillary's jaw-dropping 2008 lie about dodging bullets and her plane taking evasive action as it took her into the war zone of Tuzla, Bosnia in 1996 reminded me of another whopper she told - and got away with - back in 1994 (this from the Washington Post):

It's a story she seldom tells, not even in her autobiography. But Clinton, who opposed the Vietnam War, says she once tried to join the Marines shortly after the conflict ended. She recounted the failed enlistment one time when she was first lady, in a speech to female veterans in June 1994. She said she went to an Arkansas military recruitment office shortly before she married Bill Clinton in fall 1975. Once the Marine recruiter saw the bespectacled law professor, she told the group, he rejected her by saying, "You're too old, you can't see and you're a woman."
Hillary, at the time anti-war, the same year she was marrying a man who loathed the military, wanted us to believe that she attempted to join the Marine Corps.

I was stupefied then. I'm stupefied now.

Barack & The Friends He Keeps

From Gateway Pundit:

"Being an anti-American racist minister has its perks."

I'm in the wrong business.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Roanoke Times Responds ...

... to my post from yesterday regarding the glaring contradiction that was created over the last few days when on Monday the editorial page called for the creation of universal health care coverage but on Tuesday denounced the notion of universal flood coverage. The staff there sees no contradiction, writing (in "Flood insurance vs. health care"):

Jerry at From On High seems to think he caught us in a contradiction ...

I don't see the contradiction. Part of the problem with a universal flood program is that it makes all taxpayers assume the risk for the unwise choices of a few who decide building in flood-prone areas is wise. By offering premiums far below what is actuarially necessary, it also encourages that unwise behavior.

Eventually, wise or unwise, we all need health care. And, far from encouraging unwise behavior, a universal health care program would encourage wise behavior, since those with insurance are more likely to seek life- and money-saving preventive care.
That's the problem, Dan. Eventually we may all need health insurance but young unmarried males and females without children, as a general rule, don't today. And they know it. That's why millions choose to not have coverage. Statistically, it's a wise choice.

Yet most universal health care plans require that they participate. Thus forcing them to cover the needs of others. Thus it's no different from flood insurance, which does the same.

- - -

Also posted at Roanoke Times Roundtable: http://blogs.roanoke.com/roundtable/editorials/flood_insurance_vs_health_care.html#comments

A Word Of Warning

My daughter wanted me to pass along this announcement to the "coward" who ripped the Marine Corps sticker off the window of her SUV when it was parked in the Wal-Mart parking lot up in Salem on Monday. While she was inside shopping.

Quote: "When I find you, I'm going to kick your ass."

She'll do it too.

And, should it become necessary, she'll probably get plenty of help holding your skinny butt down while she does it.

Then again, they'll probably not care to get involved. The Marines are, after all, occupied with more important matters - like keeping your unworthy carcass free from harm.

Coward.

'We Care!' & Other Blather

“Remember the poor - it costs nothing.” Mark Twain

John Edwards made poverty in America the centerpiece issue of his 2008 Democratic presidential primary campaign (see his tale of two Americas here). And of course he lost.

No, he didn't just lose. He was stomped. The issue of poverty just didn't resonate with the party rank-and-file. Not like it used to.

Perhaps for a reason. George Will (in "Bleeding Hearts but Tight Fists") tosses us some interesting statistics about liberals and their attitudes toward the poor, revealed in the most measurable way possible - charitable donations:

• Although liberal families' incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227).

• Residents of the states that voted for John Kerry in 2004 gave smaller percentages of their incomes to charity than did residents of states that voted for George Bush.

• Bush carried 24 of the 25 states where charitable giving was above average.

• In the 10 reddest states, in which Bush got more than 60 percent majorities, the average percentage of personal income donated to charity was 3.5. Residents of the bluest states, which gave Bush less than 40 percent, donated just 1.9 percent. '

• People who reject the idea that "government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality" give an average of four times more than people who accept that proposition.

• Conservatives also donate more time and give more blood.

Good conservative Americans will not be surprised by these stats. We donate generously and, having done it, feel rewarded for the effort.

Liberals will deny them.
And they'll continue to bemoan the plight of the poor.
and they'll continue to do little about it.

So much for all that compassion.

I Feel Better

Florida Legislature Apologizes for State’s History of Slavery

Video Doesn't Lie

It turns out Hillary did experience sniper fire when she went to Bosnia back in 1996. And it was caught on tape. Here we all thought she was lying through her teeth.

Incoming! See her dodging bullets here:


My hero.

Click twice on the triangle to activate.

An Odd Moment It Is

"Conservative" legal scholar and former Mitt Romney advisory committee campaign co-chair Doug Kmiec is taking a lot of heat lately for his announcement that he is supporting Barack Obama going forward. A conservative switching to Obama? How does that happen?

Stephen Bainbridge is having trouble with the concept as well and says: "Something very, very odd is going on here":
When he was still on board the Romney campaign, Kmiec wrote that:

"Mitt Romney is pledged to name to the Supreme Court individuals with the intellectual qualities and philosophy of judicial restraint of Justice Scalia, Alito, and Roberts."

In Barack Obama’s brief stint in the Senate, he had the opportunity to vote on both Roberts and Alito’s nominations. He voted no on both. How do you go from supporting a candidate pledged to appoint judges like Roberts and Alito to backing one who voted against them?

Finally, in the same NRO column, Kmiec explained why he favored Romney over Giuliani by noting that “we cannot afford a president who is only faking his attachment to conservative legal principle.” But Obama has no such attachment, real or faked!

Something very, very odd is going on here. The explanations simply do not explain. (my emphasis)
How indeed. Had Kmiec simply said "I'd rather open a vein than vote for McCain," his neck-wrenching turnabout would be a bit more understandable. But what he has thus far said and written makes no sense at all.

Obama, it seems to me, deserves this guy.

Where It All Began

That whole "Bush lied to get us into war" canard, where did it begin?

Actually it all started before the war even began, with three congressmen who flew to Baghdad in support of Saddam Hussein's murderous regime. A blast from the past, September 30, 2002:

On [ABC's] This Week, after Congressmen David Bonior (D-Mich.) in Baghdad claimed past U.S. bombing in Iraq had caused kids to get leukemia, “a horrendous, barbaric, horrific thing that’s happened,” and Congressman Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) confirmed that he thought President Bush would lie in order to justify going to war, Republican Senator Don Nickles of Oklahoma told [George] Stephanopoulos: “I’m really troubled by what I just heard. Congressman McDermott said, well I think the President would mislead the American people and basically he’s taking Saddam Hussein’s lines, they both sound somewhat likes (sic) spokespersons for the Iraqi government.”
Both Democrats sound like spokespersons for Saddam's government.

Turns out they were. Paid spokespersons at that:

US: Saddam Paid for Lawmakers' Iraq Trip
By Matt Aouzzo, Associated Press Writer

Washington (AP) - Saddam Hussein's intelligence agency secretly financed a trip to Iraq for three U.S. lawmakers during the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

The three anti-war Democrats made the trip in October 2002, while the Bush administration was trying to persuade Congress to authorize military action against Iraq. While traveling, they called for a diplomatic solution.

Prosecutors say that trip was arranged by Muthanna Al-Hanooti ... (link)
I thought at the time that the treasonable actions - giving aid to the enemy in time of war - of these Democrats - particularly of Bonior and McDermott - should be looked into as a hanging offense. I still think that to be the case. Now there's more reason than ever.

- - -

See also Don Surber's "Saddam's Three Stooges." He asks: "Shouldn’t congressmen know who is paying for their trips?"

Read also Paul Mirengoff's "An Oil For Stooges Deal."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

This Is So Aggravating

Why does it take newspaper readers to provide us with the news?

This comes from the "Letters To The Editor" section of the Bristol Herald Courier, dated Wednesday, March 26:

Boucher Playing Both Sides

Rep. Rick Boucher, D-9th, is playing a shell game on the people of this district. He is a co-sponsor of HR 4088, a bill to provide immigration reform by securing America’s borders, clarifying and enforcing existing laws and enabling a practical employer verification program, but he has not signed the discharge petition. (* see below)

This allows him to play to both sides of the immigration issue. The people need to be aware that many elected officials are playing the same game with their constituents. (link)
The letter is signed by a (vigilent) Pound, Virginia resident.

Sure enough, you go to the site referenced above and you'll find that the discharge petition relating to HR 4088 has been signed by:

• Thelma D. Drake Virginia 02
• Tom Davis Virginia 11
• Eric Cantor Virginia 07

• Frank R. Wolf Virginia 10
• J. Randy Forbes Virginia 04

• Virgil H. Goode, Jr. Virginia 05
• Bob Goodlatte Virginia 06
• Robert J. Wittman Virginia 01

Now you might say: Well, there's a glaring lack of Democrats signing the petition; that should tell you something. But what? Boucher co-sponsored the darn thing. Now he's trying to keep it bottled up?

What's up with that?

But back to my original point: Does the Bristol Herald Courier (and the Roanoke Times for that matter) pay reporters to find the news? Or do they wait and have the readers provide it? This should not be a "Letters To the Editor" story.

* See http://clerk.house.gov/110/lrc/pd/petitions/Dis5.htm

They Ask; I Answer

The editorialists at the Charleston (WV) Gazette are perplexed:
Charleston's Bible Center is booming so rapidly that it just opened a $20 million unit of its planned $60 million worship complex on Corridor G. Meanwhile, four once-thriving West Side United Methodist congregations have shrunk so badly that they voted to merge into a single church - just as four shrinking Charleston Episcopalian congregations did three months ago. Why are evangelical megachurches soaring while traditional "mainline" Protestant groups fade?
Why?

Could it have anything to do with the fact that mainstream ministers care more about our carbon footprint than about serving the poor among us?

Or the fact that Episcopal leaders are more concerned with driving out conservative members than with bringing the flock to Jesus?

Or with the Methodist leaders who care more about Palestine than Heaven?

Or the doofus who heads the Anglican Church?

Not to mention the ranting racists who scream their bile from United Church Of Christ pulpits every Sunday.

Why are mainline churches fading? I wonder.

The pastor whose favorite line is "Let us pray" instead of "Bush lied; children died" is going to fill the pews each week.

It's that simple.

Help Me Understand This

Yesterday the Roanoke Times demanded a universal health care program.

Today the Roanoke Times denounces the idea of a universal flood program.

I don't know what to think - one day to the next.