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

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Senator Webb Comes A'slummin'

James Webb came to Southwest Virginia on Friday and proved to the people here that, without the Iraq war to complain about, he's completely lost.

For some inexplicable reason he decided show up and yabber about the Wall Street financial crisis at the town hall meeting over in Scott County, and proceeded to prove to the world that he hasn't the first clue as to what he's talking about or about how to solve the problem:
Town Hall Meeting Focuses On Economy
By Darius Radzius*, Bristol Herald Courier

Although this ended up being the best week for stocks since 1932, government fixes for a struggling economy continues [sic] to dominate conversations on and off Capitol Hill. Friday, U.S. Senator Jim Webb sat down in southwest Virginia for a town hall meeting on the financial crisis facing our country.

“It’s been dodge city [sic] out there the way people have been throwing this money around,“ said Sen. Webb. He says all of us are paying the price for the liberal lending by banks, giving people loans they can’t afford.

“The financial markets themselves were deregulated, which is why you’re seeing this economic crisis right now,“ said Sen. Webb.

While congress passes rescue bills, Senator Webb says putting those regulations back in place will fix the economy long term. He says there was no control over how deals were made and much of the money was going to the top one percent of this country. He compared their salaries today to CEOs in 1968.

“The average corporate CEO made 20 times what the average worker made. Today, the average corporate CEO makes 400 times what the average worker makes in this country,“ said Sen. Webb. He proposes that corporations seeking taxpayer money, salaries of executives should be capped, even suggesting they receive the same compensation as federal workers. [link]
Four points:

(1) Too much (boneheaded) regulation caused the financial crisis, not too little. You might want to get your arms around that Community Reinvestment Act and its consequences, Jimmy. But then you can be forgiven for not knowing what you're talking about; you're now a Democrat.

(2) So, was the cause of the problem the fact that bankers were "giving people loans they can’t afford" or "much of the money was going to the top one percent of this country"? You can't have both, dude.

(3) Cut CEO paychecks? That's your big idea? News flash, pal: You could force the heads of GM, Ford, and Chrysler to reduce their annual income to zero (when you get your way and declare yourself to be emperor) and it wouldn't reduce the price of a new car at retail by one dollar. Talk about majoring in the minors ...

(4) Stick to Iraq. It got you elected. Try this: "All's lost! Out now! Our reputation is in ruins! Lives wasted! Retreat! Retreat! Retreat!" Honestly, Jim, it's the only thing that's going to work for you. A financial expert you ain't.

Oh, and (5) Stay out of Southwest Virginia. We don't suffer fools well here.

- - -

* Don't even think about changing your name, Darius Radzius. It's just too cool.

Oh, Please

You expected otherwise?

Warner applauds Obama's security picks

Warner would applaud Obama's bowel movements, for God's sake.

This is news? Spare me.

Breaking News

What's this?

Obama isn't black?

Who's been making that point all along?

In all seriousness, you'd do well to read Marie Arana's piece in the Washington Post about how the races in this country are mixing - inexorably and unremittingly - at a steady pace. Which allows me to make the point again: We will finally get to that point of our being "beyond race" only when we are all beyond racial classification. And what a gratifying day that will be.

Until then, though, Obama will be black and his mother will be ... ignored.

The mixed-up world we live in.

- - -

Until that day comes, expect to read plenty of accounts from people who will never give up on race. Today's offering: "I'm Not Post-Racial," written, naturally, by a black woman, for the same Washington Post. People like her will take race to the grave with them.

Only when our descendents don't fit any of those boxes will we as a country be able to declare the USA to be "post-racial." Sigh.

Screaming In an Empty Room

The financial damage is done. And it is horrendous. Now the cover-up begins. The whitewash. The specious remaking of history.

The Democrats in Washington will be the instigators and the mainstream press their willing accomplices. And they'll succeed.

The boys over at Investor's Business Daily haven't come to understand how that works, it seems:
Stop Covering Up And Kill The CRA

The Community Reinvestment Act is to blame for the financial crisis, but it so powerfully serves Democrats' interests that they'll do anything to protect it — including revising history.

The CRA coerces banks into making loans based on political correctness, and little else, to people who can't afford them. Enforced like never before by the Clinton administration, the regulation destroyed credit standards across the mortgage industry, created the subprime market, and caused the housing bubble that has now burst and left us with the worst housing and banking crises since the Great Depression.

The CRA should be abolished, along with the government-sponsored enterprises that fueled the secondary market for subprimes — under pressure from Clinton, who ordered HUD to set quotas for "affirmative action" lending at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

But powerful Democrats in Washington want to protect the act — along with Fannie and Freddie — and spin the subprime scandal as the result of too little regulation, not too much. [link]
It doesn't matter, fellas. And whining about those evil Democrats won't make any difference. Of course they brought on the financial disaster that has now gone global.

But they own the printing presses. They and their whores in the media will write the story.

Ever wonder how a man with few qualifications and absolutely no experience will, in a few weeks, be the leader of the free world?

They own the printing presses. (And the TV cameras). They can make of him whatever they wish.

They can - and will - rewrite history such that nothing they did affected - or brought about - the financial crisis.

The blame - in the newspapers and in our history books - will be assigned to those greedy Wall Street robber barons ... and Bush. And business will go on as usual.

Abramoff! Duke Cunningham! Tom Delay! Enron! Bonuses! Corporate jets! Meltdown! It all ties in.

Into the history books ...

W-E ... W-O-N

Why's it so difficult for liberals to come to terms with the realities that exist today in Iraq? As plans have been put in place for the American military to make its triumphal exit from this most important battlefield in the War on Terror, because there is now near-universal peace in that once-conflagrated nation, they struggle, for reasons no one can explain, to verbalize the truth about the situation as it exists today.

Take that leftist wiener that writes for the New York Times, Thomas Friedman. This, about the situation in Iraq, is about as limp as a declarative sentence can be:
There is now, for the first time, a chance — still only a chance — that a reasonably stable democratizing government, though no doubt corrupt in places, can take root in the Iraqi political space.
A chance ... only a chance ... though ... can ...

How gutless. How pathetic.

Of course, there may be a legitimate explanation. Friedman may have been asleep for the last year and he may have missed the news coming out of Baghdad. That certainly seems to be the case. Look at his next paragraph:
It is an Iraq where we have to begin drawing down our troops — because the occupation has gone on too long and because we have now committed to do so by treaty — but it is also an Iraq that has the potential to eventually tilt the Arab-Muslim world in a different direction. [my emphasis]
Is that why we're leaving?

Earth to Friedman: We are drawing down our troops because they've accomplished what they were sent to Iraq to do. Saddam is at room temperature, the country is nearly completely pacified, and the terrorists are nearly all dead. We won.

We Won!

Pick up a paper on occasion. And get out more often. There's a world unfolding out there. And you're missing it.


Remind me not to take gun safety lessons from this law enforcement officer:
Middletown Police Chief Shoots Himself In Leg

Middletown, Ohio -- Middletown’s police chief was recovering Friday night after accidentally shooting himself in the leg at about 1:25 p.m.

Gregory Schwarber told officers he had been out teaching his daughter about gun safety and shooting techniques. When he returned to the home, Schwarber said he didn’t realize his pistol was loaded. While he prepared to clean his weapon, he accidentally shot himself in the leg.

The bullet hit Schwarber in the inner left thigh above his knee and came out the other side, getting lodged in the wall. [link]
You'll never guess what the sheriff's excuse for his blunder was. He thought the gun was unloaded.

Uh .... lesson learned.

Oops II

Remind me not to take gun safety lessons from a millionaire football player either:
Plaxico Burress Shoots Himself Accidentally
By John Branch, The New York Times

[New York] Giants receiver Plaxico Burress accidentally shot himself in the right thigh while at a Manhattan nightclub early Saturday, hours after he was deemed unfit to play in Sunday’s game at Washington because of a hamstring strain in the same leg.

The shooting, which was first reported by FoxSports.com, took place at the Latin Quarter nightclub on Lexington Avenue at 48th Street, blocks from the N.F.L.’s headquarters on Park Avenue.

Burress, who was with his teammate Antonio Pierce, was released from a New York City hospital Saturday afternoon and was staying at his home in Totowa, N.J. It was unclear how long the injury, which pierced skin and muscle tissue but avoided any bone or artery, would keep Burress out of the lineup. [link]

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I Like This Guy

I'm now a big supporter of Massey Energy and recommend a BUY. It's chief executive looks to be a straight-shooter and calls 'em the way he sees 'em. Chips fall where they may.

You oughta get a kick out of this:
Newspaper staff called communists, atheists
Bristol Herald-Courier editorial [Thumbs Down section]

Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Energy, compared Charleston Gazette Editor James. A. Haught to Osama Bin Laden on Nov. 20 when he spoke to the Tug Valley Mining Institute in Williamson, W.Va. “It is as great a pleasure for me to be criticized by the communists and the atheists of the Charleston Gazette as to be applauded by my best friends,” he said. “Because I know they are wrong. People are cowering away from being criticized by people that are our enemies. Would we be upset if Osama Bin Laden was critical of us?” he asked.

Blankenship, who heads the country’s fourth-largest coal company, said the coal business needs to start standing up for itself.

“They can say what they want about climate change ,” he said. “But the only thing melting in this country that matters is our financial system and our economy.”

“The greeniacs are taking over the world,” he claimed. [link]

The Charleston Gazette. Personally, I think Blankenship has insulted communists and atheists everywhere by associating them with the lowlife goons at the Gazette. But lumping them in with America's misguided "greeniacs" seems appropriate.

As for his one-liner, "They can say what they want about climate change, but the only thing melting in this country that matters is our financial system and our economy," as each day passes, more and more Americans are coming to that same realization, on both counts.

The climate is what it's always been (unpredictable and unchangeable). It's the American economy that is in precipitate meltdown.

You go, Don.

If Congressman Rangel Were a Republican ...

... would the Washington Post be calling for him to temporarily step aside from his position as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee while an investigation continues? Or would the the Washington Post be calling for his head on a platter?

After all:
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Mr. Rangel helped preserve a valuable tax loophole for an oil and gas drilling company while the company's chief executive, Eugene M. Isenberg, was pledging $1 million to the Charles B. Rangel School of Public Service at City College of New York.

The revelation is the latest in a litany that has come to light since the summer. It was disclosed that Mr. Rangel was paying below-market rents on four Harlem apartments. One, which he has since given up, was illegally used as a campaign office. He owed taxes on at least $75,000 in rental income on a vacation home in the Dominican Republic. (He has since paid $10,800 to the IRS and New York State for three tax years and has hired a forensic accountant to determine how much he owes for the remaining 17 years.) Mr. Rangel underreported [sic] the value of a condominium he and his wife owned in Florida. He neglected to fully account on House travel disclosure forms for some privately sponsored trips.
Good grief.

And the Post simply asks for a temporary remotion?

I wonder what it would take for the Post to call for Rangel's resignation? For his immediate arrest? Incontrovertible proof that he was the gunman on the grassy knoll?

Oh, wait. I know. If Rangel were a member of the GOP, you can bet ...

'We Won'

Quote of the day:
Nineteen months after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared the war "lost," a freely elected Iraqi Parliament signs a security pact with the United States. We won. It is the terrorists and their appeasers who lost.

[T]he jihadists are a spent force that lost the war as well as the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. Province after province has been returned to Iraqi control, and the young Iraqi nation appears both willing and able to defend itself.

"Two years ago, this day seemed unlikely," Bush said in a statement from his retreat at Camp David, Md. "But the success of the surge and the courage of the Iraqi people set the conditions for these two agreements to be negotiated and approved by the Iraqi parliament." [link]
There are those - many - who argued that we shouldn't have challenged global terrorism in the streets of Baghdad; that we should have chosen the remote mountains of Afghanistan, instead, to chase after Islamist militants. And, of course, there were those who were far too willing to declare the Battle of Iraq "lost" (Barack Obama being one) even at that point when a sweeping victory was being won.

But they've never grasped the larger point. Iraq became of extreme importance after Saddam Hussein was overthrown because, in part, the terrorists made it the battleground of their choosing. And it was on that battlefield that American soldiers and Marines killed them all.

A glorious victory. Shout it from the rooftops.

Now we move on to other lesser important battlefields. In what will be a long, drawn-out war on terror.

Here's to President Bush for persevering, despite the worst efforts - to their eternal shame - of so many of his fellow countrymen.

'Fighting The Last War'

You've heard that expression before, perhaps. "We're always fighting the last war." Which means we pattern our coordinated defenses against attack based upon the scenario laid out in the last attack. In the case of 9/11, we strengthened airport security (well, some would say we unionized baggage handlers) and boosted electronic surveillance in airports around the country, in an effort to keep terrorists from hijacking planes and flying them into government buildings.

I said right after 9/11 that it was a waste of time and money. Terrorists, if they are well-organized and well-trained, and are smart, will find a new weak point to hit. And it probably won't involve commercial jetliners at all. Shopping malls would make good sense. Hotels. Schools.

Organized, well-trained, and smart ...
Armed Teams Sowed Chaos With Precision
By Keith Bradshur, The New York Times

The details are still fragmentary; Indian officials are saying little publicly. But from interviews with witnesses and survivors, it seems clear that the men on the boat were joining a larger terrorist force, which included some attackers who, unconfirmed local news reports say, had embedded themselves in Mumbai days before the attacks. Their synchronized assaults suggested a high level of training and preparation.

At the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the train station that appears to have been the first location hit, a fusillade of bullets left the floor of the main hall quickly littered with bodies and pools of blood. At the Leopold Cafe, a chic restaurant popular with Westerners and wealthy Indians and famous for sidewalk dining, a cluster of gunmen mowed down diners.

At the opulent Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels, the assailants poured heavy fire into restaurant goers on the ground floors, then moved upstairs to round up guests as hostages. And at a range of other locations, from a movie theater to a hospital to a police station, the attackers opened fire remorselessly on anyone in their path, frequently throwing grenades as well. [link]
Local authorities, naturally, were unprepared for such an assault, and the attackers slaughtered with impunity. And, of course, the local populace was completely unarmed and unable to protect itself, making the unchallenged executions of 125 civilians all the easier.

But then, Americans living in urban areas of this country have, by and large, decided to disarm themselves too, voting overwhelmingly for those politicians who pass gun control laws and who willfully make those citizens one step closer to being victims. Making them prime meat for the Islamist butcher.

But it's not clear that an armed citizenry would have made that much difference when it came to the Mumbai terrorist attack. Prevention, however, would have. The kind of prevention - counterintelligence - surveillance - that George Bush has been hugely successful with; the kind that Democrats - and a majority of Americans - have, of late, been so critical of.

That, as much as anything else, put Barack Obama in charge. Protecting civil liberties is now our only concern. Terrorism is, as it was when Clinton was playing hide-the-cigar with his female employees, a distant non-consideration.

May God have mercy on us as the gathering storm approaches.

Organized, well-trained, and smart terrorists are coming once again. And it won't be at O'Hare.

Chicago Mayor Daley's a Nitwit

In the "You can't make this stuff up" category, Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman brings us this bit of reality:
Chicago defies forgotten 2nd Amendment

Then there is Chicago, which is being sued for violating the 2nd Amendment but refuses to confront the possibility that what the Supreme Court said may apply to this side of the Appalachians.

When it comes to firearms, Mayor Richard Daley is no slave to rationality. "Does this lead to everyone having a gun in our society?" he asked after the ruling came down. "Then why don't we do away with the court system and go back to the Old West, where you have a gun and I have a gun and we'll settle it in the streets?"

From listening to him, you might assume that the only places in North America that don't have firefights on a daily basis are cities that outlaw handguns. You might also assume that Chicago is an oasis of concord, rather than the site of 443 homicides last year. [link]

And He Got This News In His Cave How?

What a nitwit:

Al Qaeda's Zawahri says U.S. wars behind financial crisis

And there are millions of Muslims out there who will hear that bit of "news" and say, "Oh, okay."

Nit wits. They're all nit wits.

Just Stop By The House ...

Local women can receive free mammograms Dec. 5

Friday, November 28, 2008

When The Courts Decide ...

... on cultural issues best left to the people to sort out, we all lose.

The Wall Street Journal on California's Prop 8:
[W]hen courts usurp the role of the people, they inject cynicism and bitterness into America's body politic. In his dissent in Casey v. Planned Parenthood (1992), Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia put it this way: "[B]y foreclosing all democratic outlet for the deep passions this issue [legalized abortion] arouses, by banishing the issue from the political forum that gives all participants, even the losers, the satisfaction of a fair hearing and an honest fight, by continuing the imposition of a rigid national rule instead of allowing for regional differences, the Court merely prolongs and intensifies the anguish."

Plainly this is what we have seen with abortion. With the latest intervention by the California Supreme Court, it is beginning to look the same for same-sex marriage. How much healthier our politics would be if those so convinced of the rightness of their views would have equal faith in the decency of their fellow Americans -- and their openness to being persuaded by clear, fair and honest argument.

"Gay Marriage and the California Courts," November 25, 2008

Automakers Need a Bailout?

Only some, it seems:
VW building Tenn. assembly plant during hard times
By Bill Poovey, The Associated Press

Chattanooga, Tenn. -- With huge dirt movers shaping the site of Volkswagen's $1 billion assembly plant at Chattanooga, Europe's largest automaker says it has no regrets about announcing its arrival as an American employer in hard times.

"We have stuck with our goals of growing our sales in the U.S. market," Volkswagen AG spokeswoman Jill Bratina said. "This plant is critical to that."

Since Volkswagen announced plans to build the plant in July, the global economy has been deflating. Following the housing, credit and financial crises in the U.S., the possible collapse of General Motors Corp. or Chrysler LLC would likely drag down some auto suppliers and manufacturers of steel, aluminum, electronics and plastics.

Volkswagen AG spokeswoman Jill Bratina said the company is "absolutely not" having any regrets about the timing of the Chattanooga plant. Volkswagen is also building assembly plants in Russia and India. [link]
So how is it that Volkswagen is expanding while Detroit is imploding? Well, the simple answers are that VW ain't Detroit. And VW ain't building cars in Detroit.

There's also this that needs to be understood:
Kia Motors Corp. plans to open an assembly plant at West Point, Ga., in 2009, and Toyota Motor Corp. said earlier this month that it is sticking with plans to open its new plant at Blue Springs, Miss., in 2010. They'll join other foreign automakers like Nissan Motor Co., Honda Motor Co. and BMW AG that have opened plants in the South.
So "U.S. automakers" are doing just fine. At least some. It's only those in the heavily unionized North that are on the brink. The question is, do we start subsidizing a segment of the auto industry that is failing when the industry as a whole is humming along? Apparently. The Democrats are in charge.

This is so wrong.

When Gov't Starts Designing Cars ...

... we end up with this:

The "Schumer-mobile"

Welcome to the USA, 2009.

Charles Krauthammer:
Even more egregious will be the directives to a nationalized Detroit. Sen. Charles Schumer, the noted automotive engineer, declared "unacceptable" last week "a business model based on gas." Instead, "We need a business model based on cars of the future, and we already know what that future is: the plug-in hybrid electric car."

The Chevy Volt, for example? It has huge remaining technological hurdles, gets 40 miles on a charge and will sell for about $40,000, necessitating a $7,500 outright government subsidy. Who but the rich and politically correct will choose that over a $12,000 gas-powered Hyundai? The new Detroit churning out Schumer-mobiles will make the steel mills of the Soviet Union look the model of efficiency.
"From Market Economy To Political Economy," The Washington Post, November 27, 2008

A Most Pessimistic View

Two distinguished gentlemen from the Brookings Institution argue in this morning's Wall Street Journal that the plight of the Big Three automakers is beyond any help that a Washington bailout might provide, or even that Chapter 11 bankruptcy might bring. They are calling for a short-term stimulus and ... liquidation:
Detroit Needs a Selloff, Not a Bailout
By Robert W. Crandall and Clifford Winston

Congress was decidedly unimpressed by the three domestic auto makers' plea for a bailout last week and responded by asking them to do the impossible: conjure up plans by Dec. 2 detailing how a bailout would revive them.

After more than three decades of denial about their long-term decline, Detroit's car companies must now face the facts. A bailout will not revive them. Moreover, the leading alternative that has been proposed by others -- bankruptcy -- will not re-energize these companies sufficiently to reverse their decline.

In our judgment, based on experience elsewhere in American industry, the most constructive role the government can play at this point is to provide a short-term infusion of capital with strict repayment rules that will essentially require the auto makers to sell off their assets to other, successful companies.

Why is such a dramatic step necessary? For the unavoidable reality that the fundamental problem the auto makers face is not their pension, health-care or other legacy costs. It is that they are not making cars and trucks that enough Americans want to buy. And this has been true to some degree since the first energy shock hit the U.S. in the early 1970s. [link]
It's gotten that bad.

I hope these fellas are wrong and GM, Ford, and Chrysler are able to get back on track, but I've seen no willingness on the part of either management or the UAW to make the sweeping changes necessary to put the less-than-Big Three back on the path to profitability. I think all concerned are now hoping for massive government subsidies in perpetuity.

Are we ready for permanent government ownership of America's once-premier automakers? The average American, based on what I saw on election day, doesn't care at all.

See the photo above and be worried. Very, very worried.

Didn't This Get Old a Long Time Ago?

Where's this guy been? The war in Iraq is over:
Army deserter seeks asylum in Germany over Iraq

Frankfurt (Reuters) – A U.S. soldier who deserted his unit to avoid returning to Iraq has applied for asylum in Germany, saying the Iraq war was illegal and that he could not support the "heinous acts" taking place.

Andre Shepherd, 31, who served in Iraq between September 2004 and February 2005 as an Apache helicopter mechanic in the 412th Aviation Support Battalion, has been living in Germany since deserting last year.

"When I read and heard about people being ripped to shreds from machine guns or being blown to bits by the Hellfire missiles I began to feel ashamed about what I was doing," Shepherd told a Frankfurt news conference Thursday.

"I could not in good conscience continue to serve." [link]
My guess is, Andre has other issues he's dealing with. Because this excuse he's come up with is a pathetically weak one.

Personally, I think the Germans should keep him.

What Are They Thinking?

What makes the geniuses at NBC think that anyone is interested in anything that that cow, Rosie O'Donnell, says or does?

Genius, meet reality:
NBC's Rosie O’Donnell variety show disappoints
By James Hibbard

Rosie O'Donnell gave NBC a real turkey.

The network's attempt to revive the primetime variety show failed to draw an audience Wednesday night, tying for the evening's lowest-rated program.

A mere 5 million viewers tuned in for the 8 p.m. premiere of "Rosie Live," with the program earning a 1.2 preliminary adults 18-49 rating. The telecast matched ABC's recently canceled "Pushing Daisies" as the night's lowest-rated program on a major broadcast network.

"There's a notion that the climate is right for the genre to make a comeback," emailed one executive at a rival network. "I guess we now know what not to do, thanks to Rosie." [link]
Rosie O'Donnell is right up there with Roseanne Barr for the title of least liked woman in America. And NBC, in its wisdom, gives her a show of her own.

Is it any wonder she failed and they're struggling?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

On This Thanksgiving Day ...

... we have much to be thankful for.

"We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing."

Their Only Hope. A Bright, Shining Hope.

Every town in Virginia - and across America - has a Pulaski Theater. Or, in some cases, HAD a Pulaski Theater, that downtown establishment that residents flocked to in the 40's and 50's to catch the latest offering coming out of Hollywood, that cinematic oasis, that respite in a world of woes where the not-so-elite and not-yet elite met to be seen and to be entertained. Many - too many - of our movie houses, like the Pulaski, have gone dark. Some long ago, like the Appalachian Theater down in Appalachia, the Cameo Theater in Bristol, the Coeburn Theater in Coeburn, the Pearis Theater in Pearisburg, the Salt Theater in Saltville. (Such creative names they had too ...)

In other cases, movie houses, like the Millwald Theater in Wytheville, have gone dark and been converted to something else; in its case, a church.

Others went out of business and were forever destroyed, like the American Theater in Roanoke, the Bolling Theatre in Norton, the Clinch Theatre in Tazewell, the Colonial Theater in Galax, the Palace Theater in Christiansburg, the Scott Theater and Taylor Theater in Gate City, the State Theater in Chilhowie, the Zephyr Theater in Abingdon ...

The Pulaski Theater, in ... guess where ... may, however, defy the odds. It is reopening, with a twist. One that may just keep it from going the way of all the others:
Pulaski's theater returns to glory
Amy Matzke-Fawcett, The Roanoke Times

Pulaski -- A Pulaski landmark, dark for 16 years, will soon reopen.

The Pulaski Theatre on West Main Street showed movies from 1937 to 1992. The Friends of the Pulaski Theatre formed in 1993 to keep the theater from demolition.

But Friday, years after the last show and many renovations later, the theater reopens to host "Holidays at the Pulaski Theatre," a fundraiser featuring live music. Additional fundraising shows will take place in December and January.

Building renovations are complete, but the theater still needs full sound and lighting systems for live performances and a projector and screen to show movies, said Pam Austin, a board member of the Friends of the Pulaski Theatre. [link]
Live music. Live performances. That just may bring the kind of success that had eluded all those other long-departed theaters. And, though the fund-raising organization had to exclude plans for the Pulaski to become a civic center, why not make that work as well? After all, just up the road in Princeton, WV, town managers saw enough opportunity in the prospect to build a marvelous new Chuck Mathena Center that is reported to be packin' 'em in (if you didn't get tickets to see Lee Greenwood, you're out of luck; he's sold out). If Princeton can do it, why not the Pulaski?

Anyway, the Pulaski Theater is reopening. Here's to its sweeping success. May it regain its once-great renown. And live forever.

Words Well Writ

I commend this letter-to-the-editor of the Roanoke Times and recommend that the paper consider hiring the author as a columnist to replace some of the dead weight that exists there. This gal can write!

"The nation needs such giants," by Jan VanHorn.

Good stuff.

Why I Never Read David Broder

How does one respond to this without bursting into uproarious laughter
... I am struck at how lucky this country is, at the moment, that the president-elect of the United States is a supersmart person like Barack Obama.

With each passing day, it becomes more evident that the smartest and most experienced managers of the American economy are struggling to understand — and fix — what has gone wrong in our markets.

I attempt to follow the discussion in serious newspapers and on the Jim Lehrer "NewsHour" and other deeply serious television programs about the latest moves of the Federal Reserve Board and the Treasury — and I am stumped.

Obama is not similarly handicapped. Even in the emotional maelstrom of his election victory, and even with the pressures of assembling his administration, everything points to his managing to focus on the policy choices looming in the economic field.

I have talked to two people on the fringe of the transition team — both members of Congress with major responsibilities in the economic area. Both have been asked for input by Obama and both say that the quality of his questions — and the follow-ups — were a measure of the depth of his knowledge of the situation. [my emphasis]

Good God.

Is there any doubt that Broder voted for Obama? Is there any doubt as to why?

It's that silly hope & change crap again. Obama has no answers but he's asking a lot of the right questions. All hail Barack.

The rest of us who are less ethereal expect just a tad more from our leaders, Davey. Beginning with leadership.

Obama. Broder. Butt, meet nose.

They Just Don't Get It

Studies are coming in that confirm the FACT that the globe is not warming. Despite the empirical evidence (as opposed to those notorious computer models that global warming alarmists have been using) that temperatures around the planet have been declining, not increasing, the New York Times calls upon Barack Obama to bring forth legislation that will correct that which doesn't need correcting - at horrendous expense:
Save the Economy, and the Planet

Environment ministers preparing for next week’s talks on global warming in Poznan, Poland, have been sounding decidedly downbeat. From Paris to Beijing, the refrain is the same: This is no time to pursue ambitious plans to stop global warming. We can’t deal with a financial crisis and reduce emissions at the same time.

There is a very different message coming from this country. President-elect Barack Obama is arguing that there is no better time than the present to invest heavily in clean energy technologies. Such investment, he says, would confront the threat of unchecked warming, reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil and help revive the American economy. [link]
This is the typical kind of idiocy that comes from these people. Energy independence? Windmills and solar panels are going to replace power plants and electric cars will make the internal combustion engine obsolete. This despite the fact that no scientist on said planet who has been involved in the research and development of both has been able to figure out ways to make either work cost-effectively. And they've been trying for 40 years.

But tax the hell out of the working stiff anyway. And blather on about energy independence. At least it'll keep 'em in power. And make the fools at the New York Times all tingly inside.

Pursuing non-solutions to a non-existent problem. While Rome burns ...

Still Trying To Put Lipstick On That Pig

Two New York Times articles, back-to-back:

Obama Picks Volcker to Head New Economic Panel

... and ...

Obama Describes Team as Experienced Yet Fresh

Paul Volcker is 81 years old.

Experienced to be sure. But fresh? Is an 81-year-old bottle of milk fresh?

Only in Obamazone. And now, therefore, in the world of the mainstream press.

On That Terror Attack In Mumbai

100 killed, purportedly by a radical Muslim terrorist cell. This frightening assessment comes from Bruce Hoffman, a professor at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the author of the book “Inside Terrorism,” as quoted in a New York Times report:

“It’s not often that things in terrorism alarm me. So much is a repeat of what we see almost every day, like suicide bombings. There’s no real innovation in terrorism, which is why 9/11 was so terrifying, because it was so innovative and heinously clever.

“But these attacks show how a handful of men, basically using weapons off the shelf, can paralyze a city and frustrate highly trained security forces. These attacks were calculated to spread alarm and anxiety — to put it quite frankly, to unhinge things — and that’s exactly what they’ve done.”
In other words, Mission Accomplished.

Which means there's not a hotel or restaurant or shopping mall that's now safe anywhere on the planet. Brace yourselves for more of the same.

On Gays, Hate Crimes, and the 1st Amendment

From a National Review editorial:
Last week in a Denver suburb, someone lit a Book of Mormon on fire and dropped it on the doorstep of a Mormon temple, presumably as a statement about the church’s support of Proposition 8 in California, an initiative that amended the state constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In a move that may make gay-rights supporters’ heads spin, the incident is being investigated as a hate crime.

Where do they go from here? Gay activists are already using the legal system to try to revoke the tax-exempt status of the Mormon church. If you believe that churches and synagogues, priests and rabbis won’t eventually be sued for their statements on sexuality, you’re kidding yourself. Chai Feldblum, a Georgetown University law professor and gay activist who helps draft federal legislation related to sexual orientation, says that, when religious liberty conflicts with gay rights, “I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.” A National Public Radio report on the conflict noted that if previous cases are any guide, “the outlook is grim for religious groups.”

Given their cavalier disregard for the freedom of conscience, it’s little surprise that the gay lobby is equally disdainful of democracy: They began pursuing legal challenges to Proposition 8 practically before they were done tallying the votes. Lamentably, the state attorney general defending the will of the people will be former Jerry Brown, the liberal former governor who was an open opponent of the measure and tried to sabotage it. The legal challenges will be heard by the same state Supreme Court that overturned California’s previous law forbidding gay marriage back in May. There’s a real possibility the will of the people will be spurned a second time, democracy be damned. They’ve already burned the Book of Mormon. The First Amendment is next.
"Legislating Immorality," November 24, 2008

What On Earth ...?

Someone needs to explain this to me.

Seems Fair

I was prepared to be outraged when I began reading this news item, but the accommodation that was made seems fair to all concerned:
Sour note: Md. mall quiets Salvation Army bells
Associated Press

Hagerstown, Md. (AP) - A Maryland mall says Salvation Army bell ringers are making too much noise, and that's striking a sour note with merchants.

The mall is asking the charity to replace the insides of bells with paper clips to keep the clanging down.

Maj. Robert Lyle says the three indoor ringers at Valley Mall have replaced the clappers inside their bells. Lyle says he sympathizes with merchants who get tired of the noise. But he says the two bell-ringers located outside the mall are still at full volume.

Salvation Army volunteers ring the bells to call attention to their red kettles. Shoppers drop donations for the poor into the buckets.

Mall Marketing Director Brian Kaltenbaugh says the noise complaints came from kiosk- and cart-based businesses in hallways near the bell ringers. [link]
My guess is, there are some guilty consciences in that building and the noise became an issue only because those bells reminded the complainers of just how cheap they are. It's Christmas, fellas! Rejoice! Enjoy the bells! And donate to a worthy cause!

Anyway, the retailers made noise about the noise. A settlement was reached. All's now quiet. Everyone seems happy.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Don't Hold Your Breath

Surprisingly, the Washington Post took Barack Obama seriously when he said he was going to make spending cuts in order to offset his massive new spending initiatives:
Name Those Cuts

"To make the investments we need," President-elect Barack Obama said Monday, "we'll have to scour our federal budget, line by line, and make meaningful cuts and sacrifices, as well, something I'll be discussing further tomorrow." When yesterday arrived, however, Mr. Obama wasn't much more specific. On one level, that's understandable; it will be difficult enough for the new administration to come up with a detailed budget by the time that is due in February. Yet Mr. Obama is talking about adding hundreds of billions of dollars in federal debt. That is reasonable under the dire economic circumstances, but it is scarcely adequate to couple that with platitudes about eliminating wasteful spending. As Mr. Obama well knows, and as his first-rate new budget director, Peter R. Orszag, understands as keenly as anyone, it will take far more than that to get the nation's fiscal house in order.

Mr. Obama spoke of meaningful cuts, but the example he cited yesterday -- crop subsidy overpayments to millionaire farmers not entitled to receive them -- was especially galling. The supposed amount involved -- $49 million over four years -- is puny in the context of a $3 trillion annual budget. [link]
I heard Nancy Pelosi talk the other day about the need for an economic stimulus and for fiscal restraint. I laughed. That, and Obama's comment here, mean neither he nor Pelosi are serious about the issue.

I'm surprised that the Post got sucked into that campaign fluff and bluster.

- - -

* By the way, the deficit next year, by some estimates, may hit $1,000,000,000,000. That's one trillion dollars more going out than is coming in. Fiscal restraint ...

A Question

Is it unethical for the Roanoke Times to come out with an editorial that denounces the pro-life movement here in Virginia and wholeheartedly supports the efforts of Planned Parenthood to turn a profit off the slaughter of little babies (see "Planned Parenthood a Worthy Investment") without mentioning that the publisher of the Roanoke Times is - or was - a member of the board for Planned Parenthood of the Blue Ridge?

The answer is ... yes.

My Boycott Is Working

As you all know, I'm boycotting Target Stores. And have been now for three Christmases. As a result of the decision some moron of an executive at the retail giant made to ban Salvation Army bell ringers from in front of their establishments nationwide. I haven't spent a dime at Target since that announcement was made back in 2006. And I don't intend to shop at Target until the company changes its policy.

It appears that my boycott is paying off. Target is in a nosedive:
Target profit falls, suspends buybacks

New York (Reuters) - Target Corp posted a nearly 24 percent drop in profit as an economic downturn curtails shoppers' ability to splurge on the discount retailer's trendy wares and make payments on its credit cards.

To navigate the tough environment, Target will conserve cash to protect its liquidity and debt ratings, the company said on Monday.

It is temporarily suspending nearly all of its share buybacks, has cut its 2009 capital spending plan by $1 billion, and is pulling back new store openings at least through 2010. Shares in the company fell 3 percent to $32.03. [link]
Oh, sure. Blame it on the economy.

I know better. My boycott continues.

- - -

By the way, I gave to the Salvation Army the other day when I came upon one of their bell ringers in front of BB&T. My bank. A bank to which I'm becoming very loyal.


While Democrats Dust Off The 'Fairness Doctrine' ...

... which is nothing more than a heavy-handed attempt by government to silence as many conservatives as possible on talk radio, democrats in Canada have come to the realization that they've erred grievously in their ways and are reinstating the God-given right to free speech there:
By Mark Steyn, The Corner, National Review

On Friday I had the honor of addressing the Federalist Society in Washington on the matter of my free-speech travails up north. And, in response to a question on whether the Canadian "Human Rights" Commission were surprised that I'd pushed back against them, I quoted that great line from the Kevin Bacon film Tremors* when the giant mutated killer worms attack Michael Gross and Reba McEntire's well-armed basement and wind up blasted to smithereens: "Looks like they picked the wrong rec room to break into."

The giant killer worms of the Canadian "Human Rights" Commission picked the wrong rec room to break into. Ezra Levant and I and a few others went nuclear on the Dominion's thought police and gave them the worst year of publicity in their three-decade existence. The result is that, earlier this month, over 99 per cent of delegates to the Conservative Party convention voted to abolish Section 13 (the "hate speech" provision) of the Canadian Human Rights Act, and a brave principled Liberal, Keith Martin, renewed his private member's motion in the House of Commons to do the same. [link]

Does it strike anyone else as being more than a bit ironic that, while the USA moves rapidly toward a socialistic state and, on the subject of the 1st Amendment, toward a more restrictive view of our right to speak freely (the hammer that is the Fairness Doctrine), the Europeans have rejected socialist governments in France, Germany, and Italy, the EU is now in the hands of titular head Vaclav Havel, a man who is more in the mold of Ronald Reagan than any Republican alive today in this country, and the Canadians are reaffirming the right of the people there to freedom of speech? (!)

What are we doing to ourselves?

- - -

* By the way, Steyn references Ezra Levant. For those of you who don't recognize the name, he's the magazine editor that delivered some of the best television entertainment I've ever witnessed when he went before a government bureaucrat in Alberta and told her to stick her tribunal up her ass (in so many words). If you're interested, you can view it here.

This guy could be my president any day.

- - -

* God help me, I can sit and watch Tremors over and over again. It's that good. Or I'm that demented.

Hillary Unconstitutional?

Well, her husband could give her some pointers on that score but ...

There is a fascinating thesis bring kicked around over at The Volokh Conspiracy among several law professors that essentially finds that the appointment of Hillary Clinton to the position of Secretary of State by Barack Obama would violate the Constitution. It has something to do with the "Emoluments Clause" (Article 1, section 6).

Not being a lawyer, I haven't a clue, but when a learned professor who has written on the subject says, "So, 'Is Hillary Clinton Unconstitutional?' In a word, Yes -- or, to be more precise, a Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be unconstitutional," I pay attention.

You might as well.

Great Stuff

Focus on the Family founder Doctor James Dobson spanks Washington Post's "conservative" columnist Kathleen Parker for suggesting that the Republicans - if they ever want to win an election again - should dump their most loyal proponent: G-O-D.

We Won’t Be Silenced

Good for him.

The World Has Gone Mad

At first, I thought this was some kind of spoof. But no. Welcome to that which passes for an institution of higher learning, circa 2008:

University cancels cystic fibrosis fundraiser because disease only affects white men

For the love of God.

Global Warming Theory Collapses

It's no time to say I TOLD YOU SO, but I TOLD YOU SO:
Scientists urge caution on global warming
By Erika Lovley, Politico

Climate change skeptics on Capitol Hill are quietly watching a growing accumulation of global cooling science and other findings that could signal that the science behind global warming may still be too shaky to warrant cap-and-trade legislation.

While the new Obama administration promises aggressive, forward-thinking environmental policies, Weather Channel co-founder Joseph D’Aleo and other scientists are organizing lobbying efforts to take aim at the cap-and-trade bill that Democrats plan to unveil in January.

The global cooling lobby’s challenge is enormous. Next year could be the unfriendliest yet for climate skeptics. Already, House Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) has lost his gavel, in part because his peers felt he was less than serious about tackling global warming.

The National Academy of Sciences and most major scientific bodies agree that global warming is caused by man-made carbon emissions. But a small, growing number of scientists, including D’Aleo, are questioning how quickly the warming is happening and whether humans are actually the leading cause.

Armed with statistics from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climate Data Center, D’Aleo reported in the 2009 Old Farmer’s Almanac that the U.S. annual mean temperature has fluctuated for decades and has only risen 0.21 degrees since 1930 — which he says is caused by fluctuating solar activity levels and ocean temperatures, not carbon emissions.

Data from the same source shows that during five of the past seven decades, including this one, average U.S. temperatures have gone down. And the almanac predicted that the next year will see a period of cooling. [link]
That house of cards is finally crumbling. As it was destined to all along.

If only you had listened to reason ...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Yeah. Don't Wanta Be Damaging Their Credibility.

Amazingly, I agree with this Roanoke Times editorial on the subject of the Big Three auto makers and their impending bailout:

Automakers Need a Bailout

Bewildering, though, is this odd declaration:

Though some experts believe that only the tough love of bankruptcy will provide the impetus for true change, others worry bankruptcy would be fatal to a car company.

Unlike other companies, such as airlines, that can emerge from bankruptcy leaner and stronger, auto manufacturers depend on consumer confidence that the company will be around for the life of the car to provide service and honor the warranty.

Ah, yes. That sterling consumer confidence in Ford, GM, and Chrysler.

That's like arguing that Richard Nixon's reputation might be damaged by lackluster sales of his memoirs after he resigned in disgrace.

Their reputation is in the toilet, fellas. Consumer confidence is nonexistent. And has been for years. It can't get worse.

Besides, there comes a time when bankruptcy becomes a "healthy" way for a company - or an individual - to restructure debt. Yeah, it comes with baggage. But we're talking about Chapter 11 here (at least today). That's not the end of the world. Potentially, it's a beginning. Ask Kmart. Ask Texaco.

In my opinion, if GM were to declare bankruptcy, its image might actually be enhanced. A message would be sent that it is no longer business-as-usual. Contracts - especially with the UAW - would be abrogated, with the Statement of Cash Flows improving dramatically as a result.

And cash, being king, might allow for more consumer-friendly automobiles to be released to market. Who knows? GM and the others might actually once again have reputations.

Guess we'll see ...

They're Going To Start Snorting Cocaine?

Girls get new role model in Obama

Sorry. This Room Is Occupied.

Over my dead body ...

Expect Obama To Govern From On High

From on High? Uh, I don't think so. I seized this high ground long ago. Obama can stick to the nether regions. There ain't enough room here at the top for the both of us.

The Cold, Hard Truth

Congress has decided it knows more about the auto industry than the auto experts do. That alone should frighten the thong underwear off of you. And if that ain't enough:
The Car of the Future -- but at What Cost?
By Steven Mufson, Washington Post Staff Writer

Many members of Congress believe they know what the car company of the future should look like.

"A business model based on gas -- a gas-guzzling past -- is unacceptable," Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said last week. "We need a business model based on cars of the future, and we already know what that future is: the plug-in hybrid electric car."

But the car company Schumer and other lawmakers envision for the future could turn out to be a money-losing operation, not part of a "sustainable U.S. auto industry" that President-elect Barack Obama and most members of Congress say they want to create.

That's because car manufacturers still haven't figured out how to produce hybrid and plug-in vehicles cheaply enough to make money on them. After a decade of relative success with its hybrid Prius, Toyota has sold about a million of the cars and is still widely believed by analysts to be losing money on each one sold. [link] [my emphasis]
Auto expert Chuck Schumer tells that a business model based on gasoline-powered automobiles is unacceptable. But a business model based on the classic premise "the more you make, the more you lose" is a winner? Because that assumption works for government, it necessarily works in the real world? I don't think so.

And who, exactly, has decided that hybrids are the car of the future? Those "wildly popular" sorta-electric autos now make up a whopping 5% to 10% of all cars sold in this country (and that's with gobs of incentives and rebates). GM, Ford, and Chrysler are going to dump the 90% to capture that 10%? That's a sound business model?

And why those inconvenient and annoying plug-in cars? Why not fuel cell vehicles (FCV's)? Don't they hold out more promise? And aren't they more suitable - by far - for the average American's driving habits?

Lastly, who elected Chuck Schumer auto guru? And if he hoists that mantle, is he going to give up that of banking guru, now that his efforts to regulate the banking industry have resulted in the collapse of markets across the globe?

Why are we even listening to this nitwit?

This Should Be Interesting

A blaring headline in this morning's New York Post:

The Post calls upon the entire board of directors of Citigroup to resign because of the financial giant's impending collapse that has forced the federal government to step in and, with billions of taxpayer dollars, attempt to bail them out.

And who, until recent days, sat on the Citigroup board?

None other than the man who is rumored to be Barack Obama's soon-to-be go-to guy on all matters financial.

It don't get juicier than this:
Bounce These Bozo Bankers
Rubin & Co. Orchestrated the Fall of this Behemoth
The New York Post

Washington was forced over the weekend to come to the res cue of Citigroup - a once- great bank brought near to ruin by a grossly negligent board of directors.

The cost? A mere $351 billion - that is, only $1,000 for every man, woman and child in America.

Blame abounds, but most of it must accrue to the Citigroup directors - the men and women paid well to make corporate policy, and to oversee its proper execution.

Already gone, though not soon enough, is former Director Robert Rubin ...

Rubin, the Clinton administration treasury secretary who successfully engineered the bank deregulation that made so much of the current mess possible, was appointed to the Citi board in 1999.

Then, it seems, things began to happen.

That is, Rubin apparently undertook to test the limits of his new banking rules.

In a 4,076-word autopsy of Citigroup's "rush to risk," The New York Times on Sunday labeled Rubin "an architect of the bank's strategy." [link]

Rubin. The architect of the collapse. Soon to be Barack Obama's closest financial advisor.

Change we can believe in?

I can see it now. Barack Obama, as he makes the announcement: Robert Rubin will do for America what he did for Citigroup. Sweet.

Word Games

The editorial writers at the New York Times can't be this obtuse. Diabolical, perhaps. Stupid, maybe. Petulant, probably.

Let me ask you a question: If Congress passed and put on the ballot an amendment to the Constitution calling for a permanent ban on the ownership of handguns, do you suppose the leftists at the Times would argue that such an amendment isn't an "amendment," but, because of its significance, it's more of a "revision," and therefore requires extraordinary considerations?

Not on your life. They'd be out there championing the amendment process as the best means for the American people to be heard when it comes to making America a better place for all to live. Yada yada yada.

But when its one of their oxen that's being gored, look how their argument changes:
California’s Legal Tangle

The approval of Proposition 8 in California, a constitutional change designed to prohibit marriage between couples of the same sex, was not just a defeat for fairness. It raised serious legal questions about the validity of using the Election Day initiative process to obliterate an existing right for a targeted minority.

The case turns on whether Proposition 8 is a constitutional amendment, requiring only approval by a bare majority of voters, or a more far-reaching constitutional revision, requiring a two-step process: either a constitutional convention or a two-thirds vote of the State Legislature followed by voter ratification. The court, which has struck down several measures before, should not lightly overturn the will of the people. But it has not confronted a revision this far-reaching in terms of upsetting basic rights and the state’s constitutional structure. [link]
Got that? The constitutional amendment that the people of California passed isn't an amendment. It's a revision. Because its so far-reaching.

A preposterous notion on its face.

So expect every leftist in California - especially those on the California Supreme Court - to seize upon it.

A question: What makes the amendment - a simple guarantee that the classic definition of marriage would be maintained in perpetuity - so "far-reaching"? Especially considering the fact that the amendment simply affirms that set of laws and those mores that have been in place since this country was founded? I'll tell you. The goons at the Times disagree with the peoples' decision. Pure and simple. Thus, to them, it is earthshaking.

To the rest of us though, us normal people, the amendment is nothing more than an annoyance. The people of California had to take time out to explain the birds and the bees - in codified form - for the beanbrains to understand. Marriage - our most sacred institution - exists for a reason. It is the cornerstone of that which we call THE FAMILY, two key ingredients of which are a man and a woman. A third being children. Marriage means nothing without them.

Despite that, the New York Times tries to make something of the will of the people that it isn't. Laughably so. The amendment isn't an amendment.

For the love of God.

- - -

For the geniuses at the New York Times, from Grammar 101, a couple of synonyms to ponder:

Revise: Improve.

Amend: Improve.

Revision? Amendment? A distinction without a difference.

Oh, Brother

To think, this is the same government that will soon be in charge of America's health care system:
Ineligible farmers keep getting federal subsidies
Investigators found that at least 2,700 farmers received subsidies they were not supposed to get.
By Michael Doyle, The Miami Herald

Washington -- Millionaire farmers continue to pluck crop subsidies they don't deserve, federal investigators say.

At least 2,702 farmers nationwide received subsidies between 2003 and 2006 even through they were making more than the $2.5 million gross-income cutoff. The unwarranted payments totaled $49 million and exposed enduring Agriculture Department management problems, investigators concluded.

"USDA cannot be assured that millions of dollars in farm program payments it made are proper," the Government Accountability Office investigators noted in the report issued Monday.

In one case, investigators noted, "an individual with ownership interest in a professional sports franchise received a total of more than $200,000 in farm program payments for 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006." [link]
Just goes to show, the government can't keep track of a Little League baseball roster, much less a list of farmers who are entitled to federal handouts.

And soon, with Obama now taking the reins and nationalized health care looming, that same government will be in charge of keeping track of organ donations. And rare blood supplies. And diagnostic equipment. Hospital beds. Flu shots.

May God have mercy on us.

Change We Can Believe In

Isn't former Republican Congressman Duke Cunningham in prison for taking in ill-gotten gains? If so, why isn't this guy some big buck's girlfriend in a federal correctional facility not of his choosing?

N.Y. Congressman Rangel Incorrectly Got D.C. Tax Break

Oh. Wait. Cunningham is a Republican, Rangel a Democrat. Never mind.

GOP Loses, Lobbyists Win

Most of us knew this to be true: No matter who won the presidential election, Washington lobbyists would end up standing tall and doing what they do best - greasing palms. And despite all the Obama rhetoric about putting an end to it, it continues unabated.

This tidbit proves instructive:
For Lobbyists, No Downturn, Just a Turnover
By David Kirkpatrick, The New York Times

Many trade groups and Republican lobbying firms did not wait until the election on Nov. 4. The lobbying firm of Barbour, Griffith and Rogers, for example, was once almost synonymous with Republican power. Its three name partners were all well-known White House officials under President Ronald Reagan and the first President George Bush. One, Haley Barbour, went on to become Republican Party chairman and is now the governor of Mississippi.

But in the aftermath of the Democratic victory in the 2006 elections, the firm’s partners decided to shorten the name to the less evocative “BGR Group,” and started to hire more Democrats. Last month, the firm even held a fund-raiser for the Democratic campaign of Senator-elect Mark Warner of Virginia. And on Election Day, it acquired the Democratic firm of Westin Rinehart, headed by a former Clinton administration official, Morris L. Reid. [link]
One of the most reviled lobbying firms in Washington cozies up and throws a party for our very own Mark Warner. That didn't take long, did it? And what will Warner do in return? Stay tuned.

Parties in power may change, but the real power in Washington never does.

Good Debater Moves On

Every time I hear some Democrat talk about the need for the Fairness Doctrine to be reinstated with regard to talk radio because "there are no liberal voices to be heard," I think of poor Alan Colmes. What is he, a potted plant?

I heard the same thing said when left-wing Air America was launched with great fanfare a number of years ago. "There are no liberals on the radio verbalizing ..."

Poor schmuck. He never gets any respect.

And he moves on:
One Half of ‘Hannity & Colmes’ Is Leaving
By Brian Selter, The New York Times

“Hannity & Colmes” will soon be without “Colmes.”

Alan Colmes, the longtime liberal half of the Fox News Channel prime time program, will leave the show at the end of the year, the network announced Monday.

Mr. Colmes will remain at the network as a commentator and will develop a possible weekend program. He will also continue to host his 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. radio show, “The Alan Colmes Show.” [link]
Colmes's presence on the show made for a good counterpoint to the wildly popular Sean Hannity. The interaction between the two will be missed.

Now, if only he could get a little respect from his pals in the loony left ...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Headline of the Day

From this morning's Roanoke Times:

Marijuana as economic stimulant

The accompanying piece was written by a Virginia Tech political science major. Which explains a lot. A future in the Obama administration most certainly awaits.

Campaign Promises?

They aren't worth the powder it would take to blow them up.

That's why, in response to those who argued in recent months that we shouldn't be concentrating on Obama's character and his personal relationships, but on policy positions, my response has always been: You mean the contradictory ones that are always changing during the campaign and are completely ignored after the candidate is elected?

(For a lesson on how preposterous a notion it is to pay attention to campaign promises, sit down and read Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign tome, "Putting People First: How We Can All Change America." I'll lend you my copy. Then compare his proposals BEFORE he got elected to those AFTER he became President, and compare that to his actual accomplishments over his eight years in office. You'll get the idea. Or I can save you the time. He did nothing that he said he was going to do.)

I bring this up now because Obama is, as each day goes by, renouncing every proposal that he advocated just one month ago. With the eager help of the mainstream press. Today's course change? His Education promises:

Obama Faces Fierce Fight to Keep Education Promises

This is nothing more than an effort to excuse Obama's failure to reform "education" before he actually fails to do so. The excuse-making has begun before he even takes office.

But it doesn't really matter. Obama never intended to do anything about the mess that government has made. Not really. He wanted to get elected. His work is done.

And as for the content of his character, the issue that we were forbidden to explore during the campaign? I guess Vladimir Putin and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will - finally - give us a briefing on that concern soon enough, when both sit down with him and start pushing him into a corner.

Sad to say, by then, there's no going back ...

It Worked So Well For Bush Last Year ...

... why not do it again? Maybe we can force the country into COMPLETE COLLAPSE this time:

Democrats' Stimulus Plan May Reach $700 Billion

And from whom are the Democrats going to get that $700 billion that they are going to give to the taxpayers? That's what I want to know.

GM, Ford Feel Our Pain

What do the Big Three auto makers have in common with businesses - and former businesses - here in Southwest Virginia?

Foreign competition.

And a government that has done all it could to destroy us:
Unfair Competition From Overseas Deadly For American Car Industry*
By Patrick J. Buchanan, writing in Investor's Business Daily

Who killed the U.S. auto industry?

To hear the media tell it, arrogant corporate chiefs failed to foresee the demand for small, fuel-efficient cars and made gas-guzzling road-hog SUVs no one wanted, while the clever, far-sighted Japanese, Germans and Koreans prepared and built for the future.

I dissent. What killed Detroit was Washington, the government of the United States, politicians, journalists and muckrakers who have long harbored a deep animus against the manufacturing class that ran the smokestack industries that won World War II.

Washington imposed a minimum wage higher than the average wage in war-devastated Germany and Japan. The Feds ordered that U.S. plants be made the healthiest and safest worksites in the world, creating OSHA to see to it.

It enacted civil rights laws to ensure the labor force reflected our diversity. Environmental laws came next, to ensure U.S. factories became the most pollution-free on earth. It then clamped fuel-efficiency standards on the entire U.S. car fleet.

Next, Washington imposed a corporate tax rate of 35%, raking off another 15% of autoworkers' wages in Social Security payroll taxes. State governments imposed income and sales taxes, and local governments property taxes to subsidize services and schools.

Now there is nothing wrong with making U.S. plants the cleanest and safest on earth or having U.S. autoworkers the highest-paid wage earners.

Outside the United States, however, there was and is no equality of standards or taxes. Thus when America was thrust into the Global Economy, GM and Ford had to compete with cars made overseas in factories in postwar Japan and Germany, then Korea, where health and safety standards were much lower, wages were a fraction of those paid U.S. workers, and taxes were and are often forgiven on exports to the United States. (link)

It's not mentioned here but I think Buchanan would prefer that government - - the government that he excoriates - "level the playing field" by imposing stiff tariffs (again) on foreign imports. But that will only result in our auto manufacturers going the way of our TV manufacturers and our computer manufacturers and our ship manufacturers. (Where are those, you ask? That's my point.)

No, the government that has brought devastation to the manufacturing sector that it has traditionally hated with a passion can right things only by scrapping its Alice-in-Wonderland approach to running America's businesses and then by getting out of the way.

Until then, see more of the same follow closely on more of the same.

Ask those 2.4 million textiles workers here who are, this morning, showing up at McDonald's for work. They thought they could have it all too.

- - -

* "Unfair" competition? Are we a nation of whiners now?

I Wonder ...

... since Barack Obama seems intent on filling cabinet positions with Clinton people, including Hillary herself, if the voters who chose him over her are wondering why they didn't vote for her in the first place.

I wonder ...

Well, I Wasn't Expecting This

But, what the heck? The government has all this money and nothing to do with it, soooo ...
Needed: Network bailout?
By Michael Schneider, Variety

It's D-Day for the broadcast networks.

[W]ith the economy in a tailspin -- and the Big Three auto manufacturers, some of TV's best advertisers, near ruin -- the biz may finally have to pull the emergency cord.

Already smarting from a writers strike-impacted season, the networks haven't had much more to celebrate this fall. Collectively, the Big Five (including the CW) are down 13% among adults 18-49 vs. last year.

How low can they go? And at what point can the networks no longer monetize ratings that don't look much better than cable? (link)
I may be like most folks these days. 90% of my TV viewing time is spent on cable channels. CSI and House are the only (occasional) network shows I ever watch. And never the network news shows. So, would the last person watching CBS, NBC, and ABC please turn off the box?

Your Days Are Numbered, Junior

Only a few more weeks and Mr. Hope & Change is going to have to get down off the soapbox that he's become so comfortable with and actually DO SOMETHING for the first time in his life. Making wild boasts about what he's going to do in the future is going to get mighty old mighty quickly.

In the meantime, he keeps at it. Today's bullshit commitment to the American people?

He's going to create 2.5 million new jobs.

Ah, the campaign continues:
Obama: 'Millions of jobs' in danger next year

Washington - U.S. President-elect Barack Obama said on Saturday that he was crafting an aggressive, two-year stimulus plan to revive the troubled economy, warning that swift action was needed to prevent a deep slump and a spiral of falling prices.

The economic recovery plan being developed by his staff aims to create 2.5 million jobs by January 2011, and he wants to get it through Congress quickly and sign it soon after taking office. (link)

Another day, another empty promise. Just one of how many?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pulaski Needs Obama

If I'm reading this Roanoke Times editorial correctly, all the people of Pulaski need to get their recently burned train depot rebuilt is hope and fortitude. And, as the recent presidential election proved, hope and fortitude make all things ...


a sure thing

a done deal

... seem to gullible people to be possible.
Pulaski must rebuild its history after fire

Sometimes it seems like Pulaski cannot catch a break. Tragedy struck again Monday when the town's landmark railway station burned down. Now, the community must rally and rebuild, as it has done before.

The devastating loss is not the building. The town can and should rebuild it.

Pulaski residents have shown in the past that they can persevere through adversity. We have no doubt they will again. (link)
What one very important word is missing from this sappy editorial?


Pulaski is broke. And it'll take the better part of a million dollars to rebuild the train station. Where's it going to come from? Should the town fathers levy a tax on Wal-Mart? Oops. Wal-Mart moved its store out of Pulaski and into Dublin a couple of years ago. How about that huge Southern States complex downtown? Uhhhh. No. It closed down. How about charging a toll on that sparkly new New River Trail extension that's packing in the tourists? A quarter a person, say? That oughta bring in a good 75¢ a day. At that rate, construction can begin in just 1,333,333 days.

But what if those "persevering" citizens of Pulaski want the train station to be rebuilt before their great-great-great-great grandchildren die? What to do?

No, we need Obama down here. Pronto. One speech from Mr. Hope&Change and all will be okay. He promised. Right? We believed him, right?


Then again, maybe all we need is some good old-fashioned capitalism. And lots of it.

I'm Confused

Memo to Washington Post editorialists:

Isn't the practice that's being advocated by your pals over at the New York Times the kind of thing that you criticized former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales incessantly for doing? Are you now going to come out with an editorial denouncing the Times' advocacy of wholesale firings of government employees for their political views?

I wait with bated breath:
Eight Years Is More Than Enough
New York Times editorial

As the sun sets on the Bush administration, the survival rite known as burrowing is under way. Burrowing is when favored political appointees are transformed into civil servants and granted instant tenure on the federal payroll.

Barack Obama the candidate smartly appealed to demoralized federal workers, writing campaign letters promising to reverse many of the Bush administration’s worst practices.

It’s encouraging that the president-elect recognizes that to make the changes he’s promising — and deliver a government that will protect and help its citizens — he will need energized, rather than alienated, federal workers. His aides will have to circumvent or dump any Bush burrowers intent on sabotaging that effort. [link] [my emphasis]
I have to laugh. Remember when the Times had its collective undies in a bunch over the "mistreatment" of federal employee James Hansen? He's the environmental scientist who claimed that the Bush administration was trying to silence him for his (completely unsubstantiated) views on global warming. The Times was outraged - then - that a civil servant could be treated in such a coarse manner. Now the geniuses there are pushing Obama to do far worse. They want Bush's appointees fired.


But back to you Post dudes: Have anything to say about this? Or do you have a different outlook of late too?

You Gotta Love Zimbabwe

The people there have better taste than we do:
Carter Group Barred From Zimbabwe
By Celia W. Dugger, The New York Times

Johannesburg — Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s 84-year-old president, clinging to power after 28 years in office, barred another famous 84-year-old, former President Jimmy Carter, from entering the country Saturday. The globe-trotting, Nobel Prize-winning Mr. Carter said it was a novel experience for him. He had never before been denied a visa. (link)
Can it be that easy? Can we simply deny Carter a visa and get him out of our hair? Hey, I know: The Swedes, having given him that Nobel, might take him in. They seem to be soul mates these days with whacked-out, washed-up American politicians. Let them deal with the likes of Mr. Anti-America.

So long, Jimmy. It was nice ... well, on second thought ...

Another One Meets His Maker

And I hear that God knows how to deal with murderous goons like him:
Airstrike Kills Qaeda-Linked Militant in Pakistan
By Ismail Khan and Jane Perlez, The New York Times

Peshawar, Pakistan — A British militant who was a liaison to Al Qaeda and was a main suspect in the plot to blow up trans-Atlantic airliners in 2006 was killed Saturday in a missile strike by an American aircraft in northern Pakistan, senior Pakistani and American officials said.

The militant, Rashid Rauf, was among the five people killed in the attack by a remotely piloted aircraft in North Waziristan, close to the Afghan border, the officials said. (link)

Goodbye 'Change'

The ever-discerning Victor Davis Hanson on Obama's debut:
So that was it?

So a mere two weeks after victory, 'hope and change' and 'a break from the past' reified into parceling out posts to dozens of Clintonite retreads, plenty of the old requisite Ivy-League law degrees, ample influence from establishment ex-lobbyists, de rigueur Sidwell Friends for the kids, and apparent sudden existential angst and uncertainty over FISA, getting out pronto from Iraq, closing down the Constitution-shredding Gitmo, and overturning the McCarthyite Patriot Act—and all to acclaim and relief from aristocratic Beltway pundits of both parties? So that was all the election was about? Just new faces on the same old, same old? And at least on national and homeland security it is perhaps not the shadow of Bill Clinton, but of George W. Bush, that now begins to loom large?
Does this mean that Obama didn't mean anything he said during the campaign? I'm shocked.

Well, at least we got a black guy.

'Sorry. I was Just Trying To Get Elected.'

One by one, everything Obama promised is being flushed down the commode. The latest (in "Obama Vows Swift Action on Vast Economic Stimulus Plan"):
In light of the [economic] downturn, Mr. Obama is ... said to be reconsidering a key campaign pledge: his proposal to repeal the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. According to several people familiar with the discussions, he might instead let those tax cuts expire as scheduled in 2011, effectively delaying any tax increase while he gives his stimulus plan a chance to work.
He might. Then again, he might not. He really doesn't know what he's going to do.

Executing is so much harder than simply lying to the American people each day, isn't it, Barry?

The Lightbulb Comes On

Maybe all this bilge about global warming is bogus?

NBC, actually for reasons unclear, has terminated the employment of everyone at The Weather Channel who was, in any way, connected with that insufferable segment that appeared daily having to do with hlobal catastrophe brought on by ... you:
NBC Fires Weather Channel Environmental Unit
By Andrew Freedman, The Washington Post

NBC Universal made the first of potentially several rounds of staffing cuts at The Weather Channel (TWC) on Wednesday, axing the entire staff of the "Forecast Earth" environmental program during the middle of NBC's "Green Week," as well as several on-camera meteorologists.

Forecast Earth was hosted by former CNN anchor Natalie Allen, with contributions from climate expert Heidi Cullen. It was the sole program on TWC that focused on global climate change, which raises the question of whether the station will still report on the subject. (link)
NBC released a statement that said nothing, intentionally. But it's fair to assume that the company wants the cable channel to get back to its core business of giving us the news and not scaring the beegeebers out of us with fantastic stories of soon-to-be global devastation that only Al Gore could love.

A good move on NBC's part, as far as I'm concerned.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Where Have You Guys Been?

Do you get the feeling that the boys in the editorial boardroom of the Roanoke Times never read the papers?

What's up with this?

It's an ill-wind that blows no good*

The economic downturn, combined with a dramatic decrease in violence in Iraq, is making it far easier for the military to meet its recruiting goals. As hundreds of thousands of jobs are lost in the national economy, many job-seekers are turning to the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Every branch has met or exceeded its recruiting goals for the year.

News flash: Each and every branch of the United States military has exceeded its recruiting goals since the war began in 2001. Long before the economic downturn. So quit the crocodile tears.

"As hundreds of thousands of jobs are lost in the national economy, many job-seekers are turning to the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines"? Where have you guys been?

Since 9/11 hundreds of thousands of brave American men and women have not only turned to the military for career opportunities, they've served - proudly and honorably - in defense of the United States of America.

Put down the dope, fellas. There's news unfolding out there.

- - -

* Could I make a suggestion? "It's an ill-wind that blows no good"?

Try this:

"A Foul Wind Blows."

Consider it a freebie.