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

Thursday, July 31, 2008

While We're On The Subject ...

This editorial in today's Roanoke Times prompts a question:
The U.S. House has apologized for the nation's "fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow." The apology is long overdue.
While the august members thereof are at it, why doesn't the House apologize for Nancy Pelosi and Jack Murtha?

I'll believe these jokers are sincere when they start apologizing for something that they've been involved in and not their great-great-great grandparents.

This Makes Me Want To Smoke

Using fantastically ridiculous "statistics" does nothing to bolster one's argument. Take, for example, this whopper in this morning's Washington Post:
Diseases caused by tobacco killed an estimated 100 million people during the 20th century and could kill 1 billion in the 21st if nothing is done to restrain tobacco companies from pushing their products in the developing world.
Ludicrous.

And totally unsupportable by (credible) scientific research.

They could just as legitimately have used the number 100 trillion.

Obama Supporters Are Such Nice People

Singing his praises. And being obnoxious.

The Washington Post has the latest news:
Ludacris Provides Obama With More Unwelcome Help
By Laura Yao, Washington Post Staff Writer

Once again, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is hurt by the ones who love him.

On YouTube yesterday, rapper Ludacris released a song called "Politics," in which he denigrates President Bush, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) -- all in the space of about two minutes.

"Well, give Luda a special pardon if I'm ever in the slammer/Better yet put him in office, make me your vice president," he raps. In the next line, the three-time Grammy Award winner calls Clinton an "irrelevant [slur for female]." He goes on to suggest that 71-year-old McCain belongs in a wheelchair rather than the White House.

In his song, Ludacris calls himself Obama's favorite rapper, perhaps because the candidate said in a June interview with Rolling Stone that he listens to Ludacris on his iPod. (link)
Here are some of the lyrics to "Politics" by "Obama's favorite rapper":

Said I handle my biz and I'm one of his favorite rappers
Well give Luda a special pardon if I'm ever in the slammer
Better yet put me in office, make me your vice president
Hillary hated on you, so that bitch is irrelevant

You can't stop what's bout to happen, we bout to make history
The first black president is destined and it's meant to be
The threats ain't fazing us, the nooses or the jokes
So get off your ass, black people, it's time to get out and vote!

Paint the White House black and I'm sure that's got 'em terrified
McCain don't belong in any chair unless he's paralyzed
Yeah I said it cause Bush is mentally handicapped
Ball up all of his speeches and just throw 'em like candy wrap

'cause what you talking I hear nothing even relevant
and you the worst of all 43 presidents

Get out and vote or the end'll be near
The world is ready for change because Obama is here
'cause Obama is here

The world is ready for change because Obama is here,
yeah cuz Obama is here

Yes, Obama is here. Now what are we going to do with him and the loons he brought along with him?

Tim Kaine As Vice President?

I think it's fair to say, upon careful review of his 2½ years in office, that he wasn't even ready to be governor when he was elected in November, 2005.

Dan Schnur, writing in the New York Times, is as underwhelmed by the man as Virginians now are:

The attraction of Tim Kaine as Mr. Obama’s running mate is demographic. Mr. Kaine is Catholic, speaks fluent Spanish and has successfully reached the working-class voters who eluded Mr. Obama in the primaries. But his resume is even thinner than Mr. Obama’s. Three years ago, he was the mayor of Richmond, which does nothing to bolster Mr. Obama’s credentials on national security or foreign policy. Mr. Obama may have helped himself in this area during his recent tour of the Middle East and Europe, but there are a number of Democratic Senators — most notably Joe Biden of Delaware and Jack Reed of Rhode Island — who can give him much more help in this area.
That's right. Obama's biggest weakness is in the fact that he has absolutely no foreign policy experience (his 20 minute speech in Berlin hardly counts) and he's going to choose as a running mate a man who couldn't find Iraq on a map if he was given three chances? I don't think so.

Besides, based upon the latest public opinion poll, with Tim Kaine's favorability numbers having plummeted to 46% here in the state, it's doubtful that he could actually deliver the state to the Democrats this November.

Look elsewhere, Barry. This dawg ain't gonna hunt.

We Need More Oil

And more and more Americans are coming around to that simple truth:
The Reality Revolt
Investor's Business Daily Editorial

When the Energy Department on Wednesday reported an unexpected drop in gasoline inventories of more than 3.5 million barrels, the first decline in five weeks, the global price of crude oil proceeded to shoot up more than $4 a barrel, the biggest increase since July 10.

That illustrates what the issue of high gas prices is all about — not fat-cat oil execs gouging at the pump (a smear that has been repeatedly disproved), and not the purported need for uncompetitive substitutes like ethanol that cause global food prices to skyrocket, but rather the simple fact of supply and demand.

The Democratic leadership in Congress has been trying to distract from that truth and use high gas prices to please the green special interests (and, of course, cripple the Bush presidency). When asked last week why she would not allow a House vote on drilling, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi answered: "What the president would like to do is to have validation for his failed policy."

But it's not "what the president would like to do" that's becoming a big problem for Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other Democratic leaders. It's what the American people are increasingly demanding be done. And rank-and-file Democratic senators and congressmen are beginning to feel the heat.

With Congress' Democratic leadership politically paralyzed, the people are having to look elsewhere for energy solutions. Pelosi and Reid should take note ... (link)
They should. But these fossils won't.

We'll need to save America without any help from either.

Politics In The Justice Dept.

I wonder if the Roanoke Times will write an editorial denouncing the curious timing of the indictment of Republican Senator Ted Stevens. After all, it sure seems to prove the point the paper made yesterday that politics taint the justice department.

Somehow I don't think so. There are, you see, good politics and there are bad politics ...

Twisted Values

This came to me in the form of an email:
RUNNER-UP FOR THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE

Have you heard the story about the runner-up for the Nobel Peace Prize?

Irena Sendlerowa
Born 1910, Died 2008

May 12 marked the death of a 98-year-old lady named Irena.

During WWII, Irena received permission from the Nazis to work in the Warsaw ghetto as a plumbing/sewer specialist.

She had an ulterior motive...

Being German, she knew the Nazis' plans for the Jews and smuggled infants out in the bottom of the large tool box she carried. Larger children were placed in a burlap sack in the back of her truck. Also in the back was a dog that she had trained to bark each time the Nazi guards allowed her out of the ghetto and back in. The soldiers, of course, wanted nothing to do with the dog, and its barking covered any noise made by the infants and small children.

Irena managed to smuggle out approximately 2,500 children before she was finally caught.

When she was captured, the Nazis beat her severely, breaking both her arms andher legs.

Irena kept a record of the names of all the children she smuggled out of that Warsaw ghetto and kept them in a glass jar buried under a tree in her back yard.

After the war, she tried to locate any parents who may have survived so she might reunite the child with its family. Most, of course, did not survive the Holocaust, and the vast majority of the surviving children were placed in foster homes or adopted.

Last year Irena was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, but she lost to Al Gore, who won the award for presenting a slide show on Global Warming.
* For corroboration - see Snopes.com.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Some Gave All

It would do the rest of us well to occasionally give some back:

"Some people!" snorted a man standing some distance behind me in the long line at the grocery store.

"You would think the manager would pay attention and open another line," said a woman.

I looked to the front of the line to see what the hold up was and saw a well-dressed, young woman, trying to get the machine to accept her credit card. No matter how many times she swiped it, the machine kept rejecting it.

"It's one of them welfare card things. Damn people need to get a job like everyone else," said the man standing behind me.

The young woman turned around to see who had made the comment.

"It was me," he said, pointing to himself.

The young lady's face began to change expression. Almost in tears, she dropped the welfare card onto the counter and quickly walked out of the store.

Everyone in the checkout line watched as she began running to her car. Never looking back, she got in and drove away.


Several minutes later a young man walked into the store. He went up to the cashier and asked if she had seen the woman. After describing her, the cashier told him that she had run out of the store, got into her car, and drove away.

"Why would she do that?" asked the man.

Everyone in the line looked around at the fellow who had made the statement.

"I made a stupid comment about the welfare card she was using. Something I shouldn't have said. I'm sorry," said the man.

"Well, that's bad, real bad, in fact. Her brother was killed in Afghanistan two years ago. He had three young children and she has taken on that responsibility. She's twenty years old, single, and now has three children to support," he said in a very firm voice.

"I'm really truly sorry. I didn't know," he replied, shaking both his hands about.

The young man asked, "Are these paid for?" pointing to the shopping cart full of groceries.

"It wouldn't take her card," the clerk told him.

"Do you know where she lives?" asked the man who had made the comment.

'Yes, she goes to our church."

"Excuse me," he said as he made his way to the front of the line. He pulled out his wallet, took out his credit card and told the cashier, "Please use my card. PLEASE!"

The clerk took his credit card and began to ring up the young woman's groceries.


"Hold on," said the gentleman. He walked back to his shopping cart and began loading his own groceries onto the belt to be included.

"Come on people. We got three kids to help raise!" he told everyone in line.

Everyone began to place their groceries onto the fast moving belt. A few customers began bagging the food and placing it into separate carts.

"Go back and get two big turkeys," yelled a heavyset woman, as she looked at the man.

"NO," yelled the man.

Everyone stopped dead in their tracks. The entire store became quiet for several seconds.

"Four turkeys," yelled the man. Everyone began laughing and went back to work.

When all was said and done, the man paid a total of $1,646.57 for the groceries. He then walked over to the side, pulled out his check book, and began writing a check using the bags of dog food piled near the front of the store for a writing surface. He turned around and handed the check to the young man.

"She will need a freezer and a few other things as well," he told the man.

The young man looked at the check and said, "This is really very generous of you."

"No," said the man. "Her brother was the generous one."

Everyone in the store had been observing the odd commotion and began to clap.

And I drove home that day feeling very American.

Author unknown

No Sign Of Media Bias Here ...

Aren't there some kind of rules governing propriety to which these guys are supposed to adhere? Seems a bit shameful if you ask me:
When Obama walked on stage at the McCormick Center, many journalists in the audience leapt to their feet and applauded enthusiastically after being told not to do so. During a two-minute break halfway through the event, which was broadcast live on CNN, journalists ran to the stage to snap photos of Obama.

Obama, who acknowledged that he needed a nap, stood up to say farewell to the audience of journalists, many of whom gave him another standing ovation.
"Obama notes ‘tragic’ US past," Star Bulletin, July 28, 2008

Good Riddance

As much as it pains me to say it, I'm glad this particular Republican is meeting his demise. He was an embarrassment to us all:
Alaska Sen. Stevens charged with hiding gifts
By James Vicini and Thomas Ferraro, Reuters

Washington (Reuters) - Veteran Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens was charged on Tuesday with concealing more than $250,000 worth of gifts, including home renovations, that he received from an Alaska oil services company, the Justice Department said.

The Alaska politician, who has served 40 years in the Senate, was charged in a federal grand jury indictment with seven counts of making false statements on his Senate financial disclosure forms from 2001 to 2006, the department said.

Stevens denied the charges but ... (link)
From funding bridges to nowhere to busting big rocks into little rocks.

There is a God.

Yeah. Right.

Get the impression that the editorialists at the Charleston Gazette have never in their lives listened to talk radio?
Listen to far-right talk radio and you'll hear an endless barrage of hatred for "liberals." Contempt and scorn are heaped on Americans who want equality for gays, blacks, Hispanics, women and other minorities, or those who support government people-helping programs.
I'd say these guys can put together a pretty good "hate speech" themselves.

Breaking News!

From ... every year the republic has been in existence:

Politics taint the Justice Department

Such the shock.

All's Better Now

We've apologized for slavery again:

House Issues An Apology For Slavery

Why "we" feel the need, after a century and a half, is a complete mystery.

This Can't Be Good

It's been many years since I ate at a Bennigan's Restaurant. Come to think of it, that may be why we read the following in the news:
Bennigan's Restaurants Shut Down Nationwide
CBS2Chicago.com

Chicago (CBS) ― Customers showing up for lunch at Bennigan's restaurants in Chicago and across the country found quite a surprise Tuesday morning, when all the corporate-owned locations had signs on display reading "closed for business."

Bennigan's Grill and Tavern closed all of its corporate-owned locations nationwide after filing for bankruptcy. That amounts to 160 locations, and about 10,000 employees are out of work.

Independent franchises remain open for business as usual. (link)
I can't remember anything about the place. Not a good endorsement.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Its Purpose?

Get the impression that economic development "specialists" have run out of ideas?

Area looks beyond music to furniture heritage
by Debbie Hall, Martinsville Bulletin Staff Writer


The Henry County-Martinsville area, bypassed by The Crooked Road musical heritage trail, is looking to build on its furniture heritage instead.

Plans will be unveiled this week for a new furniture heritage initiative, according to Mark Heath, president and CEO of the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. (EDC).

The initiative will build on this area’s furniture heritage, he said, declining to give details of the plans. (link)
A furniture initiative.

I guess it is supposed to attract tourists from up north. I guess it will include a tour of Martinsville's abandoned furniture factories. I guess these guys need to think this through.

As the Planet's Energy Emergency Worsens ...

... the wacked-out left fights to deepen the problem:

From a Southern Environmental Law Center press release:

Legal challenges filed against Wise County power plant
Proceedings begin in Virginia Supreme Court and Richmond Circuit Court


Richmond - The Southern Environmental Law Center today submitted three separate court filings challenging the state's actions in granting Dominion Power permission to build a $1.8 billion coal-fired power plant in Wise County, Virginia. The lawsuits culminate more than a year of administrative procedures, during which tens of thousands of Virginians opposed the project due to air pollution, health impacts, and concerns over mountaintop removal mining and global warming.

"We are bringing these challenges now because this coal plant, as permitted, would fail to meet core Clean Air Act requirements," said SELC Senior Attorney Cale Jaffe, who filed the court papers on behalf of the Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards, Appalachian Voices, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and the Sierra Club. "At nearly two billion dollars and without any means to capture its carbon dioxide pollution, this plant represents a remarkably bad deal for Virginia." (link)
Had everyone on the planet not been shocked into consciousness with the recent explosion in energy prices, the effort (which was expected of this crowd) to block construction of the Wise plant was destined to fail. Now that the populace has been awakened to the looming disaster, little patience can be expected from a growingly surly and demanding crowd.

Expect this annoyance to be crushed. And quickly.

The Party's Over

USA: Record $482 Billion '09 Deficit Forecast

New York: Paterson and Bloomberg Warn of Huge Deficits

Virginia: Va. leaders prepare for budget problems

That beer was good going down. But now that it's coming back up ...

Will Tim Kaine Do The Right Thing ...

... and resign his office if he becomes a full-time candidate for vice president?
Kaine in 'Serious' Talks With Obama
By Michael D. Shear and Shailagh Murray, Washington Post Staff Writers


Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine has told close associates that he has had "very serious" conversations with Sen. Barack Obama about joining the Democratic presidential ticket and has provided documents to the campaign as it combs through his background, according to several sources close to Kaine.

Although rumors have circulated about former military leaders and other nontraditional contenders, including Republicans, Obama's pool of prospects is heavy on longtime senators with foreign policy experience. Kaine and Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius are the only state leaders believed to be under serious consideration, sources close to Obama said. (link)
Will Virginians accept an absentee governor who feels his place is everywhere but the commonwealth?

Kaine needs to either be governor or vice presidential candidate. In-between ain't gonna get it.

Make 'em Squeal

Those who truly support the Bill of Rights stay on offense:
Heller, others challenge semi-automatic ban
By David C. Lipscomb, The Washington Times

Three D.C. residents backed by one of the country's most influential pro-gun organizations Monday filed a challenge to the District's ban on semi-automatic handguns. The plaintiffs said city officials are flouting a recent Supreme Court decision that struck down the city's 32-year-old gun ban.

Lead attorney Stephen P. Halbrook and the National Rifle Association, which is financing the case, say the District's definition of a machine gun is too vague and unfairly prohibits residents from using the guns for home defense.

"D.C. has stuck to its position that semi-automatic guns are machine guns," Mr. Halbrook said. "It's a crazy definition of machine gun." (link)
Crazy indeed. But then these are liberals ...

Selective Outrage

The New York Times responded to Bill Clinton's firing of every U.S. attorney in the country with outra ...

Oh, wait. No. The editorialists there were okay with it. Those were Republican- appointed U.S. attorneys. They therefore deserved to be canned.

Today? The New York Times responds to the news that politics plays a role in the federal hiring (and firing) process with outrage:
There Was Smoke — and Fire

It was hardly news that President Bush’s Justice Department has been illegally politicized, but it was important that the Justice Department finally owned up to that sorry state of affairs. An internal investigation released on Monday found that the department’s top staff routinely took politics and ideology into account in filling nonpolitical positions — and lied about it.

If [Attorney General Michael Mukasey] hopes to leave office with any sort of reputation for integrity, he needs to get serious about punishing this sort of wrongdoing.
Integrity. Odd sort of word to appear on the pages of the Times.

Cracks Appear

I'm reminded of the scene in "The Wizard of Oz" in which Toto pulls the curtain back, revealing an old man pulling levers and shouting into the microphone, saying "Pay no heed to that man behind the curtain ..."*

As the curtain is pulled away - ever so slowly - global warming theory is revealed. And the underlying premises begin to crumble. But pay the facts no heed ...

Climate Experts Tussle Over Details. Public Gets Whiplash.
By Andrew C. Revkin, The New York Times

When science is testing new ideas, the result is often a two-papers-forward-one-paper-back intellectual tussle among competing research teams.

When the work touches on issues that worry the public, affect the economy or polarize politics, the news media and advocates of all stripes dive in. Under nonstop scrutiny, conflicting findings can make news coverage veer from one extreme to another, resulting in a kind of journalistic whiplash for the public.

This has been true for decades in health coverage. But lately the phenomenon has been glaringly apparent on the global warming beat. (link)


The reporter goes on to make the point - again and again - that the debate is at the margins. That consensus still exists when it comes to the basic premise regarding man-made global warming.

Expect that "theory" to crumble soon as well.

* Or something to that effect.

If You're A Student Of The Planet ...

... and enjoy statistics (as I do), you'll find this fascinating.

Did you know that the 25% of the population in China with the highest IQ's is greater than the total population of North America?

Think about the implications.

A Prediction

From columnist Victor Davis Hanson:

"In 5 years, Europeans will prefer George Bush to a 'We are right behind you' Obama."

"Why Do Europeans Love Obama?," Pajamas Media, July 28, 2008

Now It All Makes Sense

When I first heard that Barack Obama had decided to cancel a visit to a hospital in Germany where wounded American soldiers were convalescing, I thought: Well, he's opened himself up to a good bit of criticism from McCain's supporters, but such things do happen when one has a busy schedule and lots of people to see.

I then read of the Obama campaign's explanation - a different explanation - for the cancellation:

"For the second part of his trip, the senator wanted to visit the men and women at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center to express his gratitude for their service and sacrifice. The senator decided out of respect for these servicemen and women that it would be inappropriate to make a stop to visit troops at a U.S. military facility as part of a trip funded by the campaign."

It was at that point that the bullshit detector lit up.

Then I heard that he found time that day to work out in a local gym.

Say what?

Now I've gotten the real story. And it makes me mad.

From MSNBC's Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube:
A U.S. military official tells NBC News they were making preparations for Sen. Barack Obama to visit wounded troops at the Landstuhl Medical Center at Ramstein, Germany on Friday, but "for some reason the visit was called off."

One military official who was working on the Obama visit said because political candidates are prohibited from using military installations as campaign backdrops, Obama's representatives were told, "he could only bring two or three of his Senate staff member, no campaign officials or workers." In addition,"Obama could not bring any media. Only military photographers would be permitted to record Obama's visit."

The official said "We didn't know why" the request to visit the wounded troops was withdrawn. "He (Obama) was more than welcome. We were all ready for him."
Go back to the Obama campaign's explanation for the cancellation of the visit. The candidate supposedly didn't want to make a political photo op out of the visit, "out of respect for these servicemen and women." The truth is just the opposite.

Because the military wouldn't allow Obama to turn the visit to the hospital into a media event, his people cancelled the visit.

How despicable. How utterly despicable.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Best Looking ATV's In Bland County

Who needs slaves when you have six-year-olds?


Actually, I paid Kaid and Jayla for their hard work. A Scooby Do movie and a bowl of popcorn. Just call me Mr. Magnanimous.

Scraping The Bottom Of The Barrel

9th District Congressman Rick Boucher was on hand in Independence the other day for the unveiling of a spectacular new pamphlet.

What?

I read it twice. That's what it says:
Grayson unveils visitors' guide
By Ben Bomberger, Galax Gazette


Independence — Grayson took a step forward in trying to attract more tourism to the county by unveiling its 2008 Visitor’s Guide on July 14.

Congressman Rick Boucher was on hand to unveil the guide. “We are here today to unveil a key milestone for Grayson County in the area of tourism.”

The process began in April 2006 when former Board of Supervisors Chairman Ralph Tuggle and Boucher announced a significant economic development initiative for Grayson — the creation of a citizens task force appointed by the board to explore ways in which the quality of life in Grayson could be enhanced through broadband telecommunications and the enhancement of the tourism economy.

Boucher said later that year he and Tuggle received recommendations from the task force, which suggested the county develop a resource to enhance the tourism economy and promote economic development. (link)
A "key milestone for Grayson County." A pamphlet.

A "significant economic development initiative." A committee.

Meanwhile, 4.3% of the county's residents have packed their bags and left since April, 2000 for areas of the country where pamphlets and task forces are less important than jobs. A county in which 14.3% of the citizenry lives in poverty. A county in which the median household income is 45% below the state average.*

A key milestone for Grayson County. For the love of God.

* Source.

All SW Virginia Will Benefit From Her Decision

Andrea Hopkins has decided to quit her job and become a doctor.

They Just Won't Listen

Well, actually they just won't read.

Folks at the Richmond Times-Dispatch are shocked that Virginia Tech racist - and professor - Nikki Giovanni is a coarse human being:
Insulting History
editorial

Last year members of the Virginia Tech community took solace from the words of professor and poet Nikki Giovanni. Her stirring remarks during a convocation in the wake of Seung-Hui Cho's massacre -- "We are better than we think and not quite what we want to be. We are the Hokies. We will prevail . . . ." -- comforted the sick at heart.

It was a great pity, therefore, that Giovanni felt compelled to lace her reading at the Library of Virginia's panel discussion on the commemoration of Virginia's Civil Rights memorial with drops of acid.

To call commentator Armstrong Williams a "pitiful little dumb bunny" was beneath her, and the event. But to call Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas a "poster boy for the lawn jockeys" was obscene. It was a racist insult worthy of David Duke that, particularly in the context in which she delivered it, amounted to spitting in the face of history. It is hard to believe someone with the soul of a poet could spurt such puerile venom.
(
link)
Hard to believe? Only if you've not been paying attention. Only if you've not been reading this weblog.

Nikki Giovanni - poetess - is first and foremost a hatemonger. The "news" people over at the TD would have done well to have known that.

Whatever

Personally, I'd prefer that Wythe County Sheriff Doug King, a man who I admire greatly, would just give these guys a break and turn them loose. They are, in fact, doing the world a big favor:

Wythe County authorities make major drug arrests
By Mike Gangloff, The Roanoke Times


Authorities in Wythe County announced Friday the roundup of a crack cocaine distribution ring described as the largest seen in Wytheville in a decade.

"To my knowledge it's the biggest since 1998, as far as quantity is concerned," Wythe County Sheriff Doug King said.

King said the case began when routine undercover drug buys by investigators from three law enforcement agencies -- the Wythe County Sheriff's Office, the Wytheville Police Department and Virginia State Police -- started revealing a pattern. (link)
I'm kidding of course about the sheriff giving these scumbags a break. He should do the taxpayers a favor and take the ... alleged ... drug dealers out back and shoot them.

Oh, and there should be a trial to determine their guilt or innocence - before or after.

But what concerns me even more are the morons in Wythe County - none of whom, based upon my last journey down I-81, can be very wealthy - who think it necessary or appropriate to try their best to take their few precious dollars and fry their brains on crack cocaine, making them wards of the state before they reach maturity - or old enough to procreate. I say, give 'em some arsenic along with that crack and get it over quickly. The world would be better for it.

Better still if it's done before they reproduce.

Okay, I feel better.

How About 'Lying Two-Faced Liberal' Then?

A bit of legerdemain delivered in an editorial in this morning's Washington Post:

"The Republican portrayal of [former Governor Mark] Warner as a tax-loving liberal is fiction."

Maybe he didn't love 'em. But he sure lied about 'em. The horse's ass mouth:

.
For those of you who might have missed it, let's review once again the empty promise made by the non-tax-loving former governor: "The fact is I will not raise taxes."
.
He raised taxes.
.
The Washington Post could care less.

Is This Coordinated?

Boy, is Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn a popular guy. He gets big write-ups in both the New York Times and the Washington Post this morning. But unlike the sycophantic drivel that the two papers spew with regard to "hope" and "change" and all that, these two articles focus on Coburn's standing in the way of "progress." And all that that implies.

Anything curious about the two headlines that go along with the hit pieces?

Senate's 'Dr. No' Spurs Showdown Over Spending

Democrats Try to Break Grip of the Senate’s Dr. No

Yeah, I checked. They were written by two different reporters.

"Dr. No," as you might guess, is a Republican. The only man standing (in either party) in the way of fiscal ruin. Thus the attention.

Someday maybe we'll read about Mr. Yes.

And Mr. Yes.

And Mr. Yes.

And ...

Liberal Ideology Has Consequences

All the lofty prattle in this state about the potential mistreatment of illegal aliens in our midst at the hands of a harsh government - be it federal, state, or local - and about the xenophobic results that will surely obtain from such actions eventually leads those who get sucked into such a mindset to do what the mayor of San Francisco did - provide the illegals with sanctuary.

But beware. That bleeding-heart liberalism will eventually reap the whirlwind. Just ask the mayor of San Francisco:

San Francisco's sanctuary nightmare
Washington Times editorial

There's an old saying that "a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality." Over the past month that kind of political re-thinking may have started in California, where citizens who routinely vote for liberal, pro-open-borders ideologues at the federal, state and local levels have come face to face with the real-world consequences of such decisions:

Specifically, they are learning about San Francisco's policy of shielding illegal-alien juvenile thugs from deportation, which may have resulted in a triple murder that occurred last month in the city. In some ways, the furor over San Francisco's sanctuary policies is reminiscent of the wave of opposition that forced then-New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer to kill his own proposal to give driver's licenses to illegals last fall.

Today, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome - a liberal Democrat who bragged about the city's sanctuary policies until just a few months ago - says he has rescinded them. But it may be too late to salvage Mr. Newsome's expected run for governor in 2010.

In the Bay Area, the case that sparked the outrage was the June 22 killing of San Francisco resident Tony Bologna, 48, and his sons Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16, who were murdered on their way home from a family picnic. Police say Tony Bologna made a fatal mistake: temporarily blocking a car driven by Edwin Ramos, a 21-year-old illegal alien and a member of MS-13, a Salvadoran criminal gang, from making a left turn. Ramos allegedly pulled a gun and shot Tony, Matthew and Michael Bologna to death. He plead not guilty last week to three counts of first-degree murder in the case.

The Bologna murders have sparked widespread outrage as information has pored out about San Francisco's sanctuary policies and how Ramos, despite his illegal status and numerous run-ins with the law prior to the slayings, was never deported.

[T]he crux of the problem has long been San Francisco's routine flouting of federal immigration law. (link)

You support the resistance movement in Prince William County, Virginia? You think illegal aliens deserve the right to be in this state, this country? You're willing to take whatever actions are necessary to have those 12,000,000 lawbreakers who wander our streets set free? Look to San Francisco. And reflect on the fact that granting immunity from the law - even to the extent of letting illegals reside in our communities with impunity - means granting immunity from the law.

Either we are a nation of laws or we are a nation of Edwin Ramoses. Decide.

A Wonderful Plan

When I read in the Washington Times this morning that the chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia has come up with a plan for "Solving Virginia's traffic problem," I became interested.

His solution? Republicans should "listen" and then do what Democrats say and increase taxes and fees.

Fresh, new ideas like that will certainly win over the hearts and minds ...

A Wonderful Plan II

When I read in the Washington Times this morning that Delegate Brian Moran, Democrat, 46th District has come up with a plan for solving the problems with "Virginia Transportation," I became interested.

His solution? Republicans should listen and then do what Democrats say and increase taxes and fees.

Fresh, new ideas like that will certainly win over the hearts and minds ...

The Media's Effort Pays Off

Gallup Daily: Obama 49%, McCain 40%

Ignore This Guy At Your Peril

Peter Huber:
A number of influential people in Russia, China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam say the planet is now entering a 30-year cooling period, the second half of a normal cycle driven by cyclical changes in the sun's output and currents in the Pacific Ocean. Their theory leaves true believers in carbon catastrophe livid.

To judge by actions, not words, the carbon-warming view hasn't come close to persuading a political majority even in nations considered far more environmentally enlightened than China and India. Europe's coal consumption is rising, not falling, and the Continent won't come close to meeting the Kyoto targets for carbon reduction. Australia is selling coal to all comers.

On the far side of the environmental curtain China already mines and burns more coal than any other country. Together, China and India control more than one-fifth of the planet's vast coal reserves. [T]he two countries may fire up a new coal plant as often as once a week for the next 25 years, adding about twice as much coal-fired generating capacity as the U.S. has today.

Persian Gulf states are planning significant coal imports, because coal generates much cheaper electricity than oil or gas.
"The Carbon Curtain," August 8, 2008 edition, Forbes.

Oh, They're Against This Too

While Democrats fiddlefart around with wind, solar, and voodoo power, a wealth of potential energy lies just beneath the surface, right here in southern Virginia:

Virginia Is Sitting on the Energy Mother Lode
By Max Schulz, writing in the Wall Street Journal

Amid the rolling hills and verdant pastures of south central Virginia an unlikely new front in the battle over nuclear energy is opening up. How it is decided will tell us a lot about whether this country is willing to get serious about addressing its energy needs.

In Pittsylvania County, just north of the North Carolina border, the largest undeveloped uranium deposit in the United States -- and the seventh largest in the world, according to industry monitor UX Consulting -- sits on land owned by neighbors Henry Bowen and Walter Coles. Large uranium deposits close to the surface are virtually unknown in the U.S. east of the Mississippi River. (link)
The Virginia legislature in its last session toyed with the idea of lifting the ban on uranium mining here in the state, but there was no serious impetus to get it done, so the move quickly died.

Here's what we're up against: An ignorant and cowardly legislative body and an equally ignorant populace. To wit:

Jack Dunavant, head of the Southside Concerned Citizens in nearby Halifax County, is another outspoken critic. He paints a picture of environmental apocalypse. "There will be a dead zone within a 30 mile radius of the mine," he says with a courtly drawl. "Nothing will grow. Animals will die. The radiation genetically alters tissue. Animals will not be able to reproduce. We'll see malformed fetuses."

Yet it is not as if we have no experience with uranium mining, which is in fact relatively harmless. Handled properly, the yellowcake that is extracted is no more hazardous than regular household chemicals (and unlike coal, it won't smolder and combust).
"Nothing will grow. Animals will die." You gotta chuckle at the idiocy.


The facts really make no difference in this discussion. Fools like this Dunavant character will wail about malformed babies (reminiscent of Meryl Streep's heartwrenching - and completely unfounded - warnings about the chemical alar in apples doing the same) and proponents will run for the hills.

My guess is, $4.00 a gallon gas won't change anyone's mind, but temperatures in the home next winter hovering around 38° might get peoples' attention.

Until then, expect more blather about solar and wind and french fry oil.

Kinda makes one want to burst into tears.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Thanks, Massa

The government has deemed it acceptable for Virginia residents to purchase French liquor in government liquor stores:

Potent Swiss Liquor Now Available At ABC Stores

The people of Virginia wish to thank the overseer who made this possible.

Does They?

Sullivan County School Director’s Personnel Moves Raises Questions

1st Law Of Holes: When You're In One, Stop Digging

This is funny:
Some folks are entitled to a welcome mat
Roanoke Times editorial

The Bristol Virginia Redevelopment and Housing Authority chased Barack Obama supporters from its property by telling them it is against the law for them to knock on tenants' doors. If anyone violated the law it was the authority by trampling the First Amendment.

Housing authority Executive Director David Baldwin explained to the Bristol Herald Courier the reasons for evicting the canvassers: "We have federal regulations that we can't have anybody campaigning on our development."

Not so, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

OK, then, said Baldwin, "I thought it was federal law. I can say that it's our practice not to allow partisan activity on our site." The signs say so.

Well, not exactly, the reporter found. Baldwin agreed, "They say no parking for non-tenants."

What if canvassers walk in? Still, no go; the authority's policy doesn't allow "solicitations." (link)
I think if the director used the excuse to ban Obama supporters - "We don't allow religious fanatics to solicit on the premises" - he'd have solid ground to stand on.

Excepting that, "uh ..." seems kinda weak.

Warner Speaks Frankly to Roanoke Supporters

He has no clue as to how to solve our energy crisis:

Warner stops in Roanoke
By Mason Adams, The Roanoke Times

The group of Roanoke business owners, bus drivers, wine distributors and retirees who met with U.S. Senate candidate Mark Warner on Thursday was as diverse as you'll find in the valley, but they all seemed to have the same concerns in mind: rising gas prices, food prices and a generally slow economy.

For his part, Warner offered up little ... (link)
He then moved on to New Castle, Pearisburg, Bland, and Pulaski, where he presumably made the same offer.

Wild, enthusiastic applause resounded at each stop.

Breaking News In The NY Times!

... from 2007:

Shiite Militia in Baghdad Sees Its Power Ebb

Are we to take the Times seriously?

Separated From Reality

Barack Obama to his "fellow citizens of the world," July 24, 2008:

Now the world will watch and remember what we do here – what we do with this moment. Will we extend our hand to the people in the forgotten corners of this world who yearn for lives marked by dignity and opportunity; by security and justice? Will we lift the child in Bangladesh from poverty, shelter the refugee in Chad, and banish the scourge of AIDS in our time? [my emphasis]
If Obama's treatment of his own grandmother is any indication, the answer is ...

... no.

Meet his grandmother, her roommates, and accompanying squalor:


Lift her - your own grandmother - from poverty, pal, and we'll listen to you.

And while you're at it, why don't you honor the commitment you made to the villagers in her small town in Kenya?

A report from the London Evening Standard:

Barack Obama's broken promise to African village
By David Cohen

The small brick house with no running water, a tin roof and roving chickens, goats and cows is owned by Sarah Obama, Barack's 86-year-old step-grandmother. Inside, the walls are decorated with a 2008 Obama election sticker, an old "Barack Obama for Senate" poster on which he has written "Mama Sarah Habai [how are you?]", a 2005 calendar that says "The Kenyan Wonder Boy in the US", and more than a dozen family photos.

But this bucolic scene in his father's village of Kogelo near the Equator in western Kenya conceals a troubling reality that, until now, has never been spoken about. Barack Obama, the Evening Standard can reveal, after we went to the village earlier this month, has failed to honour the pledges of assistance that he made to a school named in his honour when he visited here amid great fanfare two years ago.

At that historic homecoming in August 2006 Obama was greeted as a hero with thousands lining the dirt streets of Kogelo.

He told the assembled press, local politicians (who included current Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga), and students: "Hopefully I can provide some assistance in the future to this school and all that it can be." He then turned to the school's principal, Yuanita Obiero, and assured her and her teachers: "I know you are working very hard and struggling to bring up this school, but I have said I will assist the school and I will do so." (link)

I guess he figured his having delivered "hope" to the villagers was enough to fulfill his promise.

The audacity of some people ...

Photo courtesy of AP.

Make It Go Away

Mickey Kaus on how Barack Obama should instruct his minions in the media to make the John Edwards sexual affair story disappear, quickly:
Will the Pro-Obama Bias Turn Anti-Edwards? At this point, does Barack Obama want John Edwards to even show up in Denver, much less give a prime time speech? Even if the Love-Child saga progresses no further than it already has, an Edwards Denver appearance will inevitably be accompanied by renewed speculation about his seemingly scandalous and politically toxic behavior.

If you're an Obama strategist, mightn't you conclude that the best thing for your candidate would be if the press weighs in quickly and definitively concludes that Edwards is guilty, with the result that he and his whole sordid story go away until after November? ...
"Does Obama Want Edwards Gone? ," Slate, July 26, 2008

On Democracy ...

... and the effort of state legislators around the country to shield you from it:
Representative government will remain the enduring feature of American democracy, but the initiative process is a valuable safety valve. So long as elected officials gerrymander their districts and otherwise make it nearly impossible for voters to oust them, direct lawmaking will be popular. That's why attempts to arbitrarily curb the initiative, or to intimidate people from exercising their right to participate, must be resisted. It's a civil liberties issue that should unite people of good will on both the right and left.
"The Far Left's War on Direct Democracy," John Fund, July 26, 2008

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Here's Some Audacity For You

The newspaper that made macaca a word - and intentionally destroyed a decent man in the process - attacks John McCain for ... failing to be civil.

Pardon me while I puke.
Failing in Civility
editorial

Politicians say a lot of things in the heat of campaigns that they end up regretting -- or ought to regret. Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, had one of those unfortunate moments the other day, when he charged that his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, "would rather lose the war to win a political campaign."

We, too, fault Mr. Obama's unwillingness to acknowledge his mistake in predicting that the surge would fail. But Mr. McCain needn't impute motives to make his points. It's one thing to say Mr. Obama is wrong. It's another to accuse him of putting political self-interest over country. This is not the "politics of civility" that Mr. McCain was promising as recently as last month. (
link)
This from "George Allen's America," Tuesday, August 15, 2006, the same Washington Post:
Let's consider which positive, constructive or inspirational ideas [Senator George] Allen had in mind when he chose to mock S.R. Sidarth of Dunn Loring, who was recording the event with a video camera on behalf of James Webb, the Democratic nominee for the Senate seat Mr. Allen holds. The idea that holding up minorities to public scorn in front of an all-white crowd will elicit chortles and guffaws? (It did.) The idea that a candidate for public office can say "Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia!" to an American of Indian descent and really mean nothing offensive by it? (So insisted Mr. Allen's aides.) Or perhaps the idea that bullying your opponents and calling them strange names -- Mr. Allen twice referred to Mr. Sidarth as "Macaca" -- is within the bounds of decency on the campaign trail?

We have no inkling as to what Mr. Allen meant by "Macaca," though we rather doubt his campaign's imaginative explanation that it was somehow an allusion to Mr. Sidarth's hairstyle, a mullet. [my emphasis]
There's civility for you. "We don't know what Senator Allen's motives were but we're going to speculate."

I guess what's good for a politician is not necessarily good for a newspaper editorialist. No, make that a Republican politician. There never seems to be this kind of moral outrage over anything said by a Democrat. I wonder why that is.

Civility. These people haven't a clue as to what that word means either.

Why California Is Headed Toward Insolvency

A budget deficit of $15 billion. Employers fleeing the state. Taxes going up again. Unprecedented midlle class flight to neighboring states. (See details here)

How does the Democrat-controlled state legislature respond?

California Bars Restaurant Use of Trans Fats

May God have mercy.

Explaining It All Away

Much has been made in recent days of the fact that the mainstream press is fighting ferociously to avoid knowing anything about the relationship between former vice presidential candidate (and rumored future vice presidential candidate) John Edwards and some babe named Rielle Hunter. If they know nothing, they have nothing to report.*

Odd. But that's the mainstream press, circa 2008.

And as for those few media types who do give (brief) consideration to the possibility that Edwards may have continued a sexual affair at the very time that his wife Elizabeth is fighting for her life battling cancer, you get this (from a Philadelphia Daily News columnist):

"But let's assume for a minute that Elizabeth Edwards' treatments have hindered their sex lives, and Edwards, being a standard-issue horndog politician, chose to look elsewhere for excitement. Maybe Elizabeth gave him permission to look elsewhere."

These people have no shame.

- - -

* It's reminiscent of the Washington Post in 2004 refusing, day after day, to print any mention of the news relating to allegations made by the Swiftboat Veterans For Truth that John Kerry wasn't the Vietnam hero that John Kerry said he was, until it printed an exhaustive refutation - or attempted refutation - of the charges that it had never even acknowledged up to that point had been made:

"Here's what we've been able to determine about that which you know nothing about. There's no truth to it."

A bizarre set of circumstances indeed.

Quote of the Day

From John McCain:
Senator Obama said this week that even knowing what he knows today that he still would have opposed the surge. In retrospect, given the opportunity to choose between failure and success, he chooses failure. I cannot conceive of a Commander in Chief making that choice.
(Source)

Nothing But Hot Air

The bullshit is starting to wear thin with some. Like New York Times columnist David Brooks:
Playing Innocent Abroad

In Berlin on Thursday ... [Obama] vowed to help “remake the world.” He offered hope that a history-drenched European continent could “choose its own tomorrow free from the shadows of yesterday.” He envisioned “a new dawn in the Middle East.”

Obama’s tone was serious. But he pulled out his “this is our moment” rhetoric and offered visions of a world transformed. Obama speeches almost always have the same narrative arc. Some problem threatens. The odds are against the forces of righteousness. But then people of good faith unite and walls come tumbling down.

Much of the rest of the speech fed the illusion that we could solve our problems if only people mystically come together.

When I first heard this sort of radically optimistic speech in Iowa, I have to confess my American soul was stirred. It seemed like the overture for a new yet quintessentially American campaign.

But now it is more than half a year on, and the post-partisanship of Iowa has given way to the post-nationalism of Berlin, and it turns out that the vague overture is the entire symphony. The golden rhetoric impresses less, the evasion of hard choices strikes one more. (link)
"The vague overture is the entire symphony." For those not into classical music, that means there is no there there. The man is an empty suit. All hat, no cattle. Where's the beef?

Obama's silly rhetoric enthralled a Democratic throng that lapped up the kind of inane platitudes that he is now famous for, and it got him the nomination. That "audacity of hope" kind of weirdness. But he's now playing to a more sophisticated audience - the American people - and finds himself confronted with a different reality:

Homey don't play that.

Madness

While the world's politicians work feverishly to stop global warming ...

... the globe continues to cool:
Gloomy summer headed toward infamy
By George Bryson, The Anchorage Daily News

The coldest summer ever? You might be looking at it, weather folks say.

Right now the so-called summer of '08 is on pace to produce the fewest days ever recorded in which the temperature in Anchorage managed to reach 65 degrees.

So are all bets off on global warming? Hardly, scientists say. Climate change is a function of long-term trends, not single summers or individual hurricanes. (link)
I wonder how many years of global cooling will be required before these guys give up on the unsupportable notion that the planet is warming?

A Good Line

John McCain would be smart to keep picking away at Obama with biting derision like this:

McCain rejects 'audacity of hopelessness' for Iraq
By Tom Raum, AP

Denver (AP) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain, ridiculing Barack Obama for "the audacity of hopelessness" in his policies on Iraq, said Friday that the entire Middle East could have plunged into war had U.S. troops been withdrawn as his rival advocated.

Speaking to an audience of Hispanic military veterans, McCain stepped up his criticism of Obama while the Illinois senator continued his headline-grabbing tour of the Middle East and Europe.

The Arizona Republican contended that Obama's policies - he opposed sending more troops to Iraq in the "surge" that McCain supported - would have led to defeat there and in Afghanistan. "We rejected the audacity of hopelessness, and we were right," McCain said, a play on the title of Obama's book "The Audacity of Hope." (link)


Obama has made himself such an easy target. McCain should have no difficulty using the man's lofty - and empty - words against him.

Good stuff.

Let's Talk About That Choice Of Words

Is this for real?

Click on the image to enlarge it. Read the text.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Is SW Virginia Doomed?

I read with great interest a Bristol Herald Courier editorial the other day (I haven't had the time till now to actually address it properly) in which we learn that the tobacco settlement money that has been doled out by the state of Virginia in recent years to revitalize our ailing economy has been a complete waste of effort. * Nothing positive has resulted from the $400 million in economic investment that has poured into the area.

From the editorial:
Do The Right Thing With Tobacco Funds

Since 1999, Virginia has doled out $400 million in tobacco settlement funds with the ostensible purpose of rebuilding the economies of the Southwest and Southside regions.

The report card just arrived, and the marks are mediocre.

“Despite this spending, population in the region continues to decline, wage rates still lag behind the rest of the state, there is persistent high unemployment and poor educational attainment is still endemic,” a Blue Ribbon Review Panel report on the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission states ominously.

The panel recommends a number of changes ... (
link)
The panel - and the HC editorialists - recommend that the money be devoted to improving educational opportunities in Southwest Virginia, which is fine. The change in investment strategy won't bring about any fundamental change in the business climate here, but it won't do any harm either. The money would be better spent if we were all simply given a case of beer, but I don't want to be accused of being too negative ...

What caught my attention in the editorial was this:

At least one seasoned political commentator, Jim Bacon, a former editor of Virginia Business magazine, is ready to write off Southwest and Southside Virginia – in part because of this report.

“Even if the Commission followed the advice of its blue ribbon study group and invested more heavily in education, it wouldn’t make much difference,” Bacon opined in a column for his Webzine, “Bacon’s Rebellion. “Tragically, the vast majority of newly educated residents of Southside and Southwest simply would emigrate to metro regions where they could better utilize their skills and make more money.”
Wow.

And it gets more harsh.

Bacon's commentary can be found in full
here. The nut of Jim's argument:

Some truths are just too hard for politicians to speak: There are some things that constituents refuse to hear. That's why we have blogs.

One of those truths here in Virginia is that Southside and Southwest Virginia are experiencing an irreversible decline that cannot be halted as long as current economic trends and development policies hold. This is not a reflection upon the earnestness, work ethic or moral worthiness of the people of those regions. It's just the way it is.

The dispersed, low-density settlement patterns of Southside and Southwest Virginia -- small towns, tens of thousands of homestead scattered along country roads -- are not sustainable (a) in an age of energy scarcity that drives up the cost of gasoline and (b) in a Knowledge Economy in which the "
clustering force" rewards companies for locating near large pools of skilled labor.

If there's any hope for the region, it's in conducting economic-development triage and concentrating resources into a handful of urban areas -- Danville, Bristol, perhaps Martinsville -- that are large enough to compete for human capital.
"An irreversible decline."

Is Southwest (along with Southside) Virginia doomed to extinction? Is energy scarcity and the lack of a skilled workforce here enough - in themselves - to force the area to become a vast wasteland? Or a vaster wasteland?

Hardly.

I'd ask Jim to consider a few points:

1) That energy that he rightly considers to be "scarce" is to be found here in Southside and Southwest Virginia, not in either northern Virginia or in Richmond. Coal, timber, hydro, and
uranium are in abundance around us. Scarce? Only in our people-rich, natural resource-poor big cities. You need energy? You need us, bud.

2) That "knowledge economy" that so captivates the authors of Bacon's Rebellion on a regular basis, I respectfully suggest, isn't an important driver anywhere in the commonwealth to any appreciable extent. Northern Virginia is awash in wealth to be sure. But remember this: The only thing grown in the Washington D.C. area is government and the only thing manufactured there is money.** Where's that knowledge economy thriving? Silicon Valley. That's in California. Take out all the businesses that cater to Homeland Security and the Defense Department and you're left with squat.

3) I've never been sold on the whole "the area lacks skilled labor" argument. If it held water, America's I.T.-related businesses would be clustered in and around Jaipur, India, not in Seattle or in the San Francisco Bay area. Skilled labor - just ask the tens of thousands of Indians who have emigrated to the USA and found employment in California and Washington State respectively - goes where the job opportunities are. Always have; always will. I'll agree that that "clustering force," which to me is best described as a clustering "effect," is something to be reckoned with, but only because corporate heads have been convinced that it is necessary and therefore make it whole.

But I've strayed off the subject.

Is Jim Bacon's pessimism warranted?

Without doubt.

As the Herald Courier points out (again), "population in the region continues to decline, wage rates still lag behind the rest of the state, there is persistent high unemployment and poor educational attainment is still endemic." The editorialists could have added the growing problems with drug abuse, erosion of the nuclear family, an horrendous suicide rate, an uncomfortably high rate of government welfare and government jobs (think prisons), and a troubling trend toward a predominantly geriatric population.

Add to that the blind eye that our elected representatives in the area are turning toward the problem. Factories have closed right and left and they respond by funding bike paths and hiking trails - at a cost of millions - that have resulted in the creation of tens of thousands tens of seasonal, part-time bike repair and canoe rental jobs springing up in the area.


Worse yet, the problems are worsening.

But are they terminal?

Not by a long shot. I have argued in the past (and experts, having read my work, are coming around to the notion), that high transportation costs and high energy costs make our region more valuable. That which fuels America's power plants is to be found here. That which fuels nuclear power plants is to be found in Southside. And the cost of shipping our raw timber to China is fast becoming prohibitive. We can only prosper from the trend.

Of course, it would be helpful if area politicians were more inclined to ease the burden of doing business here - the burden being in the forms of oppressive taxation and government regulation - instead of farting around with bike paths that take us nowhere. But Southwest Virginia, I think, will make it out of this. Eventually.

That "knowledge economy" stuff is great for MBA classes. But when it comes down to it - as the Chinese are teaching us - brutally - we still need raw materials and manufactories, and a cost-effective means of getting one to the other. That's where we come in. Now and forever.

So don't write us off yet, Jim. We still have a little political housecleaning to be done. And we certainly need to get our houses in order. But there is every likelihood that we'll get through this. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

- - -

* An interesting aside came out of this. Mr. Bacon brings to our attention a letter that was written by our own former Delegate Barnie Day, from which we learn that he - Barnie - was instrumental in having tobacco settlement money blown on a covered bridge festival. It goes well with my call for a case of beer for everyone. Just as useful but has a longer-lasting effect.

** I know. Our currency is actually manufactured elsewhere. But you know what I mean.