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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Virginia, This Is Your Future

And may God help you.

As the commonwealth becomes ever more saturated with Democrats, as it turns from that purplish color to a brilliant blue, as liberal governor after liberal governor find ways to raise our taxes and make life here more expensive, expect it to become more and more like ...

... New Jersey:
New Jersey Is the Perfect Bad Example
The Wall Street Journal

Other states offer promising experiments in areas such as Medicaid, taxes, education and regulatory reform. In contrast, the People's Republic of New Jersey offers America something truly unique: the perfect bad example.

It seems not to have dented the consciousness of our political class that New Jersey's dismal economic performance might be linked to the state's tax policy. According to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, New Jersey is home to the most hostile tax environment for business in the nation. We also bear the nation's highest burden of state and local taxes. And on the list of the 10 counties with the highest median property tax, we claim seven of them.

During the last recession, we began to feel the full weight of these burdens. Other states responded by cutting back on spending and getting their houses in order. Not New Jersey. Then-Gov. Jim McGreevey added to the burden by borrowing and spending and raising the corporate tax -- including the imposition of an alternative minimum tax on business. And we've been paying for these bad choices ever since.

Though the state did ultimately emerge from recession in 2003, private-sector job creation since then has been a pale shadow of what we enjoyed after the recessions of the 1980s and 1990s.

Though the state did ultimately emerge from recession in 2003, private-sector job creation since then has been a pale shadow of what we enjoyed after the recessions of the 1980s and 1990s.

So how do we respond to these new hard times? Beginning New Year's Day, New Jersey workers will see even more money taken from their paychecks. The money will support a new mandate offering six weeks of paid family leave to almost all New Jersey employees -- right on down to those working in very small operations. In itself, the family-leave tax will not be the ruin of the state economy. But the imposition of yet another new tax at this moment bespeaks a lack of seriousness about what both New Jersey workers and businesses can afford. [link]

New Jersey, one of the most liberal states in the country, is on the road to ruin.

Virginians in recent years have decided that they too want to head down that same road. Destination?

Gotta Love Them Global Warmists

News from Refugee Resettlement Watch:
Look out! Millions of “environmentally persecuted” third worlders may be headed our way

I kid you not! A movement is underway to get the UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) to recognize the “victims” of climate change and have them designated persecuted “environmental refugees.”

According to something called Climate Change Corp:

"Millions of people are predicted to become climate refugees as global warming increases. A new international pact will be needed to protect their rights to live.

"Global warming caused by human-induced greenhouse gas emissions has been linked to a host of environmental disasters. These include sea-level rise, flooding, spells of droughts and cold and other extreme weather conditions such as frequent hurricanes and cyclones. As such natural catastrophes push inhabitants to flee to safer places, environmental refugees are fast becoming an international security issue."
Good grief.

I have to tell you, the threat of horrific planetary catastrophe brought on by global warming doesn't scare me half as much as nitwits like these.

The Cause of the Fighting In Gaza?

It's Bush's fault!

From the loons at the Charleston Gazette:
Horror: Gaza Slaughter
editorial

This week's hideous death and destruction in the Gaza strip stem, at least partly, from two White House blunders. Here's the record:

Back in 2005, the Bush administration prodded the moderate Palestinian Fatah government of Mahmoud Abbas to hold elections, to show that democracy was advancing. The White House was uninformed, not realizing that Palestinians would vote for fanatic Hamas militants.

When Hamas won control of the Palestinian parliament in early 2006, Washington and Israel were stunned. President Abbas was hamstrung, with extremists ruling his legislature.

Ever since, the Bush administration and Israel have strangled Gaza in an attempt to drive Hamas from power. Israeli troops and gunships block most supplies and aid from reaching the desperate little zone, where hunger and joblessness abound.

Ever since, Gaza's Hamas zealots have acted almost suicidally, firing crude rockets toward Israel - mostly hitting nothing - as if trying to provoke armed retaliation by the Mideast powerhouse.

Ever since, Israel has loosed periodic military strikes into Gaza, killing 100 or so people at a time, in response to Hamas rocket attacks.

This week's severe retaliation is horrifying overkill. [link]
So, there you have it. Bush forced the terrorists in Gaza to fire over 6,000 rockets into Israel (indiscriminately; that's Bush's fault too). And the Israelis retaliated (ever too harshly).

This despite the fact that both Hamas and its Iranian backers have consistently called for the destruction of Israel and have been working toward that end - in earnest - for a year now. They are doing that which they said they were going to do.

I suppose next we'll be reading about the fact that there were no WMD's found.

And "Bush lied, millions died."

Morons.

Well, That's Good To Know

The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 killed an estimated 20 to 50 million people (including 2/3rds of a million Americans. It is, by some estimates, the worst outbreak in human history. And now researchers have found a cause:
US-Japanese study finds genes for 1918 'Spanish flu' pandemic
AFP

Washington (AFP) – A US-Japanese research team announced it had isolated three genes that explain why the 1918 Spanish flu, believed to be the deadliest infectious disease in history, was so lethal.

The genes allowed the virus to reproduce in lung tissue, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Conventional flu viruses replicate mainly in the upper respiratory tract: the mouth, nose and throat," said University of Wisconsin-Madison virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka, who co-authored the study along with Masato Hatta, also of UW-Madison.

"The 1918 virus replicates in the upper respiratory tract, but also in the lungs," causing primary pneumonia among its victims," Kawaoka said.

"We wanted to know why the 1918 flu caused severe pneumonia," he added.

Autopsies of Spanish flu victims often revealed fluid-filled lungs severely damaged by massive hemorrhaging. [link]
Well, that's good to know. I guess. Next time I get the Spanish Flu, I'll know to bend over and simply kiss my butt goodbye.

Give The Man One Thing

He's got brass cojones:

Defiant Illinois Governor Names Pick for Obama Seat

All my legal training tells me he's got every right to do it too, despite all the whining and threats coming form HIS Democrat Party.

While The Middle East Burns ...

... while the markets are imploding ...

... while bailouts are being demanded by cities and states around the country ...

... while unemployment numbers skyrocket ...

... while America's retailers are expected to close as many as 70,000 outlets in the coming year ...

... Barack be hangin'.

A few more days of fun and games, Junior. A few more days. Then watch your world get rocked.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Best Movie of 2008

Without question, the best movie of the year has to be the Disney animated picture, Bolt (3D). Imaginative, action-packed, full of wondrous color, and yes, in "three dimensions", which was my first experience with that particular special effect and, except for the mildly annoying glasses one is given (did I write given? We actually had to pay $2.50 for each pair), an experience to behold.

Paula and I took little Kaid and Jayla to see the movie last Sunday over in Wytheville (Marquee Cinemas behind Lowe's - a treasure few seem to know exists), and, unlike so many "cartoons" that are made these days targeted toward adults (Wall-E being the best recent example), Bolt was delightful entertainment for the 6-year-olds. A good thing.

Paula enjoyed the part of the movie in which the cat (seen at left) "Mittens," a stray, made it known (what, you thought the animals didn't talk to each other in the movie?) that she had been declawed by her former owners and then abandoned on the streets when they moved. Paula was so revolted by the thought, and being the animal-rights person that she is, knowing that it happens in real life all too often, shouted an obscenity about the former owners that required that I put my hands over childrens' ears for a brief moment.

Then there's that rotund little hamster, "Rhino," who is probably the most entertaining character in the flick. You gotta see him in action. He'll capture your heart. And you'll laugh uproariously at his antics.

As for the 3D imagery, a review from Kevin Coll:
Lastly, perhaps the 3D experience made this movie that much better. As Disney’s first ever, production, to be filmed in 3D from its inception, I felt immersed from the beginning. Also unlike other 3D films, such as Journey to the Center of the Earth, this movie didn’t rely on “gadgety” actions to heighten the 3D experience it used it as a vehicle to bring the audience into the world of BOLT in such a fantastic way. I truly enjoyed the movie in this capacity and would recommend it to almost anyone as it made going to the movie fun again!
Fun. That's certainly what Bolt (3D) was, from start to finish. In these troubled times, it's just what the doctor ordered.

- - -

* I understand that The Dark Knight has a lock on Best Picture this year, but that's not my view. The latest Batman installment was, in my opinion, the typically convoluted Batman movie (what exactly was Maggie Gyllenhall's character supposed to be about anyway?), with a few more special effects.

I will say that Heath Ledger gave the performance of the year in his role as The Joker. I went in thinking that all the adulation that was being heaped upon him was only out of sympathy for his untimely death, but no. He did a superb job with the role. One of the best I've ever seen.

That doesn't make the movie that much better though. If only it had had a coherent plotline ...

Excellent!

Here's something you need to see. A tribute to a long history of National Guard service by Three Doors Down.

"Citizen Soldier":


"We are FREE, BECAUSE of the BRAVE."

Whatever

Has the commonwealth of Virginia run out of history? Or are those given the task of choosing the history to be commemorated on historical markers so consumed by political correctness that they decide to memorialize the mind-numbingly mundane rather than be accused of ... what? Paying homage to a racist past or something?

How else to explain this?
Virginia approves 11 new historic markers
The Associated Press

Richmond, Va. (AP) -- The state Department of Historic Resources has approved 11 historical highway markers in Virginia.

They include four honoring the work of Richmond lawyer Oliver W. Hill Sr., a civil rights pioneer. Hill died last year at the age of 100.

The Hill markers reflect his birthplace in Roanoke, his long legal and civic activism in Richmond, his battle against discriminatory wages in Norfolk public schools and, in Prince Edward County, his legal challenge of school segregation.

Other markers approved by the state honor "Mr. Peanut," the dapper symbol of Virginia's peanut country, to be located in Suffolk; and the 1939 Alexandria Public Library sit-in against the library's segregation policies. [link]

Mr. Peanut? And four (!) markers devoted to some guy none of us has ever heard of? Why bother?

We'll know these guys are serious about their mission when they decide to put a marker where Stonewall Jackson's arm is buried near Chancellorsville (or where it's thought to be buried).

Until then, I ask you, why bother?


When Will They Learn?

The Palestinian people, egged on by their Arab - and Iranian - brethren, who are themselves too cowardly to fight the Israelis, are seeing their world explode into a pile of ruin. Again. In which future century, do you suppose, the nitwits will give up the "cause" and learn to live in peace?

Certainly not this one:
Tehran's cannon fodder
Washington Times editorial

Israel is defending itself.

Damascus-based Hamas has taken Gaza's population hostage, while staging repeated cross-border attacks targeting Israeli soldiers. It now wants to blame Israel for Palestinian casualities that result from this week's airstrikes? Don't be duped. Israeli Foreign minister Tzipi Livni had it right when she told Fox News yesterday, "Hamas is targeting deliberately kindergartens and schools and citizens and civilians because this is according to their values. Our values are completely different. We are trying to target Hamas, which hides among civilians."

Israel completely withdrew from Gaza in the summer of 2005, relinquishing homes, farms, businesses and military bases. Hamas responded to Israel's unilateral pullout by firing more than 6,300 mortars and rockets into Israel, killing 10 civilians, wounding 780 people and traumatizing thousands more, many of them children in Israeli towns like Sderot, located less than one mile from the border with Gaza.

For more than three years, Israel has tried unsuccessfully to use a combination of economic and diplomatic pressure, together with "targeted" strikes against terrorists operating from Gaza, to stop the rocket fire into Israel. None of those tactics has worked ... [link]
So Palestinians are dying by the hundreds. Again. And their homeland is being dismantled. Again. As they and their sponsors expected.

What fools.

Despite Everything They Threw At Her ...

... or maybe because of the despicable and underhanded efforts of the Democrats and the media to trash the woman, Sarah Palin comes out on top in the eyes of the American people:
Palin second among most-admired women
Juneau Empire

Anchorage - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was a strong second among the most-admired women, behind Hillary Clinton but ahead of television host Oprah Winfrey, when the USA Today/Gallup poll was conducted Dec. 12-14. [link]
The Gallup poll results:
Seems like Laura Bush should be higher on that list, but oh, well.

Madeleine Albright?

Anyway, Sarah Palin, in her short time on the national scene has captured the hearts of a whole lot of Americans. That couldn't hurt, should she decide on a Round 2.

Photo courtesy of Gallup.com.

Monday, December 29, 2008

What Are They Teaching At Radford?

Or should I say: What are they smoking at Radford?

I tossed my morning wheaties when I read this letter to the editor of the Roanoke Times from a "professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Radford University," curiously entitled, "Obama could shape the Supreme Court" (which deserves a resounding duh):

"In the 1996, 2000 and 2004 elections, the court consisted of three conservative justices, four moderate justices and two swing votes -- Justices Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O'Connor."

A joke, right? He's got to be joking.

Let's see:

• There are nine justices total.
• We can all agree that two of them (Kennedy and O'Connor) were considered (more often than not) swing votes (which means both held firmly to legal opinions grounded in New York Times headlines).
• And Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas were/are certainly conservative.
• That's five.
• That leaves four.

So Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stevens, Souter, and Breyer were ... moderates?

In which planetary dimension?

But the learned professor, with his years of education and research behind him, says it's so:
The two oldest members now are Stevens (88) and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (75), members of the moderate bloc. Although David Souter (69 and another moderate) is three years younger than Antonin Scalia and ... [blah blah blah]
Okay, I've read enough.

This professor is a nut.

Nobody this side of Neptune would put any of those three in the "moderate" bloc unless he was suffering from dementia or was harboring a liberal bias powerful enough to prevent an attachment to the realities of this world.

Ginsburg and Souter are moderates? Please. I'm eating my breakfast.

Muslims Are No Different From The Rest Of Us

Explosives-Laden SUV Kills 14 Afghan Schoolchildren

Someone Want To Wake Webb Up?

I read this kind of thing each day and want to just hide under a rug:
As the world begins to unwind, people stop buying things. Sales of imported wine and toys and clothes drop, along with purchases of imported and domestic-made cars. GM and Ford totter on the verge of bankruptcy, dragged down by their bloated domestic union contracts which suck up all the profits made by their booming overseas divisions. Now their overseas divisions are slowing down too. Even mighty Toyota is crashing.

Worse, no cash is available -- especially from the terrified banks -- to build new modern plants and assembly lines.

By then, US unemployment will have reached 12% and your 401K plan will be renamed the 101K plan (except for members of the auto workers union whose own retirement plans will be bailed out by taxpayers money in exchange for their votes).

Eventually, when the whole sorry mess crashes down around us ... [link]
The prospects are horrifying in their implications.

So what is the man we Virginians elected to protect us from harm doing about it?
Webb Sets His Sights On Prison Reform
By Sandhya Somashekhar, Washington Post Staff Writer

This spring, [Senator James] Webb (D-Va.) plans to introduce legislation on a long-standing passion of his: reforming the U.S. prison system. Jails teem with young black men who later struggle to rejoin society, he says. Drug addicts and the mentally ill take up cells that would be better used for violent criminals. And politicians have failed to address this costly problem for fear of being labeled "soft on crime."

In speeches and in a book that devotes a chapter to prison issues, Webb describes a U.S. prison system that is deeply flawed in how it targets, punishes and releases those identified as criminals. [link]
So the world is going to hell in a hand basket and James Webb comes to the rescue by ... calling for prison reform.

Prison reform.

I suppose it's a step up from that famous quote of his that got him elected - "Iraq ... bad."

But prison reform in a time when the world teeters on the brink of economic ruin?

For the love of God, would someone beat knots on this guy's head until he comes back to Earth?

Santa Claus Returns With More Gifts

If it weren't Obama, I'd say it couldn't be done.

Combine today's headline ...

Obama team vows to deliver tax cuts

... with this previous headline:

Barack Obama reveals stimulus package that could exceed $1 trillion

... and this:

Obama announces budget director, pledges to reduce deficit

Skyrocketing spending, a fat tax cut, and he's going to reduce the deficit too!

Stupid, delusional, or just a really good liar? I'll let you decide. (Oh, wait, you already have.)

How's That Hawaii Vacation Going, Barack?

Soon enough, pal. Soon enough ...

Gaza Crisis Is Another Challenge for Obama, Who Defers to Bush for Now

In a matter of days, this kid's résumé will actually have some honest-to-God work experience on it. Obama may, in those same few days, wish it didn't.

Play time's over, Junior. Time to show us what you got.

How Has This Escaped My Reading?

Rather shocking, if there's a grain of truth to it:
The Theodore Roosevelt Administration was a time of tumult that offers many parallels to our own. We'd do well to think more about those parallels. But such thinking needn't be accompanied by adulation for an egomaniacal weirdo who was as close to being a psycopath as anyone who ever occupied the Oval Office.
This wasn't written by some wild-eyed lefty blogger in his mother's basement. It came from a senior writer at The Weekly Standard. Interesting.

- - -

"Egomaniacal weirdo." Can a comparison between TR and Bill Clinton be drawn?

That's Cruel, Man

Caroline Kennedy is getting pounded unmercifully now:

Woman who’s never worked: I’ll work twice as hard

And more:

Camelot must be Gaelic for chutzpah.

Ouch.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Is This How You Remember It?

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the news coming out of New Orleans was replete with stories about looting and burning and pillaging, robbing and raping and murdering. One such story from CNN at the time:

Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown said his agency was attempting to work "under conditions of urban warfare."

Police snipers were stationed on the roof of their precinct, trying to protect it from armed miscreants roaming seemingly at will.

Officers warned a CNN crew to stay off the streets because of escalating danger, and cautioned others about attempted shootings and rapes by groups of young men.

"They have quite a few people running around here with guns," he said. "You got these young teenage boys running around up here raping these girls."

Elsewhere, groups of armed men wandered the streets, buildings smoldered and people picked through stores for what they could find.

As it turns out - if you choose to believe the nitwits at the Charleston Gazette, who believe without question an account provided by the former American communist political rag, The Nation - it was bad white men doing all the murder and mayhem back then. Really:

Racism: Vigilante shootings
Charleston Gazette editorial

During the chaos after Hurricane Katrina, bands of armed white males in one New Orleans neighborhood evidently shot black refugees who came to their all-white sector. At least 11 black men were shot and perhaps four were killed, according to sketchy reports.

So far, police haven't investigated the vigilante murders, but testimony is surfacing. The Nation magazine published a long report titled "Katrina's Hidden Race War." And a Danish film crew made an hour-long documentary, "Welcome to New Orleans," in which beer-guzzling white men gloat about shooting blacks who entered the Algiers Point white neighborhood.

[Rebecca Solnit] adds that white Louisianans spread false rumors alleging black looting and crimes after Katrina. The hysterical tales turned out to be imaginary. [link]

There you have it. The TV cameras that were televising live from helicopters overhead were mistaken. It was white racists who were causing all the problems in the streets. For weeks. In a city that was, at the time, 2/3rds black. With hundreds of (racist) (albeit liberal) reporters on street corners throughout the city distorting that which the cameras were mistaking.

These people - those at the Gazette, and The Nation, Rebecca Solnit - are pathetic. Beyond pathetic, they are laughable.

Keep it up guys. You make for great entertainment.

I Agree

Although I've occasionally wavered on the subject, I agree with the Roanoke Times on this:
Unshackle Virginia's governors
editorial

[Governor Tim] Kaine won't be able to ride out the commonwealth's fiscal turmoil and simply delay a more ambitious pre-K initiative until better times. The popular, first-term governor won't be having a second term, not right away, because Virginia clings to an antiquated law that bars its chief executive from succeeding himself.

It's the only state in the country that imposes such a limit, and Virginia is not better for it.

[blah blah blah] [link]
Here's the deal: As much as I was opposed to our having to endure another Bill Clinton term - the sexual escapades, the charges of harassment (and worse), the scandals, the lies, the incompetence - I am a big believer in democracy. The will of the people. Of the people, by the people, for the people, and all that. For that reason alone, I oppose term limits. Federal, state, local.

If the people of Virginia want Tim Kaine to be their governor in perpetuity, long may he reign.

Of course, I'd then also be in favor of mass execution, but that's for another day.

Why We're In The Mess We're In

Paint the paintings. Carve the statues. Rename the bridges. Strike up the band. Unfurl the flags. He is/was larger than life itself. A towering statesman. A soaring intellect. An eminent diplomat, seer, and guide. A wise, wise man:

[John] Warner: Statesman's farewell

My take? He was an employee. A hired hand. No more, no less.

Why Is That?

Why is it you never read headlines like, "Daily Palestinian Rocket Attacks Into Israel Imperil Obama's Peace Chances"?

Instead, we get this from the Washington Post ...

Israeli Airstrikes on Gaza Strip Imperil Obama's Peace Chances

Myopia? Bias? Small-mindedness? Does it matter?

NY Times Columnist Demands Higher Taxes

It must be Sunday.

Thomas Friedman has decided that we need to raise the gas tax. Stop the presses.

Why?
There has to be a system that permanently changes consumer demand, which would permanently change what Detroit makes, which would attract more investment in battery technology to make electric cars, which would hugely help the expansion of the wind and solar industries — where the biggest drawback is the lack of batteries to store electrons when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining. A higher gas tax would drive all these systemic benefits.
"There has to be a system that permanently changes consumer demand." There is one in place now, Tommy Boy. It's called the mainstream press. And from its demise has risen the weblog. The weblog's rise can readily be attributed to the hatred instilled by people like you in those "consumers" you look down upon so disrespectfully and derisively. People - in massive numbers - have turned away from the mainstream media because of elitist attitudes like yours.

An inescapable truth: Taxes are routinely used these days to punish behavior. There's no arguing that fact. But there is a price to be paid. As long as your kind only nibbled at the edges, as long as you wolves picked off only the weaker among us with your sin taxes - smokers, drinkers, gamblers - you were tolerated. But now you and yours are leveling your sights more and more on mainstream America through calls for punitive across-the-board carbon taxes and ever higher gas taxes and fat taxes and SUV taxes, and on and on. These aren't taxes levied in order to raise revenue for your government. They are taxes intended to inflict pain. Who gives you and your kind that right? And how long do you think you can get away with it before we rise up in retaliation?

There is indeed a price, Tom. America - with each new law, each new tax, each new regulation, each new restriction on behavior, each new effort to hurt the citizenry, to punish - becomes more inclined to see your government as not being their government. It's becoming us against them. Or, in fact, since you are an integral part of the system - us against you.

Here's some news for you, Tom: Out here in the real world, a whole lot of people are hurting right now. And a whole lot more are worried sick about being in a world of hurt - if things don't change - tomorrow. And you're wanting to reach into that tortured world and make matters worse. Make the hurt hurt more. Make 'em suffer.

So that "we" can invest in windmills and shit.

Go ahead. Have your way. And acquire more of those Pulitzers in the process. But understand the cost of your self-indulgences. We intend to have no part of it. We are going to do our best to endure - somehow - despite your efforts to "change" us.

You're riding high right now, but there comes a reckoning. Out of contempt, unrest among us - the great unwashed - grows.

Quote of the Day

On the UAW standing in the way of the survival of the Big Three auto makers, Mickey Kaus:
Fifteen years ago, at the start of the last Democratic president's administration. incoming Labor Secretary Robert Reich famously said "The jury is still out on whether the traditional union is necessary for the new workplace." Tactfully put. This fall, if not earlier, the jury came back.
"Don't Blame Gettelfinger," Kausfiles, December 26, 2008

Please. Stop.

This is borderline painful:

She's a Kennedy, But She's a Lot Like Us

Yeah. Right. Just like "us."

We Make Progress

At least on one front ...
2008 was the year man-made global warming was disproved
By Christopher Booker, London Telegraph

Easily one of the most important stories of 2008 has been all the evidence suggesting that this may be looked back on as the year when there was a turning point in the great worldwide panic over man-made global warming. Just when politicians in Europe and America have been adopting the most costly and damaging measures politicians have ever proposed, to combat this supposed menace, the tide has turned ...

First, all over the world, temperatures have been dropping in a way wholly unpredicted by all those computer models which have been used as the main drivers of the scare. After several years flatlining, global temperatures have dropped sharply enough to cancel out much of their net rise in the 20th century.

Secondly, 2008 was the year when any pretence that there was a "scientific consensus" in favour of man-made global warming collapsed. At long last, as in the Manhattan Declaration last March, hundreds of proper scientists, including many of the world's most eminent climate experts, have been rallying to pour scorn on that "consensus" which was only a politically engineered artefact, based on ever more blatantly manipulated data and computer models programmed to produce no more than convenient fictions.

Suddenly it has become rather less appealing that we should divert trillions of dollars, pounds and euros into the fantasy that we could reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 80 per cent. All those grandiose projects for "emissions trading", "carbon capture", building tens of thousands more useless wind turbines, switching vast areas of farmland from producing food to "biofuels", are being exposed as no more than enormously damaging and futile gestures, costing astronomic sums we no longer possess. [link]
This is not news to those of us who have looked at both sides of the argument (with both eyes open). Global warming theory was a hoax from the start, built on a foundation of false assumptions and a reliance on faith in computer analyses that would make the most devout worshipper proud.

It all now comes crashing down. Not a day too soon either. Obama has stacked his cabinet with global warming "true believers," and is preparing to tax the living hell out of the American people in order to save the environment raise the kind of cash that Democrats typically need in order to feel worthy. Hopefully, someone will talk some sense into the kid before he does anything stupid.

Who Knew?

There are people out there who still recognize this "holiday":

A Post-Obama Kwanzaa

Whatever.

- - -

* For those of you who aren't familiar with the contrived holiday called Kwanzaa and are wondering who it is exactly that devotees worship on that festive occasion, here's some background. It's Obama.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Good Grief

Hey, you people ever heard the word dumpster?
Tri-county program removes 330 tons of trash Since 2004, the Tri-County Illegal Dump Cleanup program has removed nearly 330 tons of old appliances, rusty pieces of metal, old tires and other trash from the region, according to the director of the regional waste authority.

Dickenson, Buchanan and Russell Counties, the three members of the Cumberland Plateau Waste Management Authority, participate in the program. Through the project, counties share resources to clean up illegal dumpsites. Toby Edwards, the authority’s director of waste management services, is delighted with its success. [link requires paid subscription]
Well, Toby may be delighted that 330 tons of debris have been removed from the hollers and hillsides of Buchanan, Russell, and Dickenson Counties, but the people who live there might think otherwise.

How in God's name can the wretched, miserable lowlifes in the area, who obviously have no concern for their fellow man, toss that much refuse along the roadside? Who'd a thought they even owned that much refuse?

330 tons of debris. The stuff John Carpenter movies are made of.

Planet To Have Orgasm Difficulties

Don't blame me. I'm just going by what the Roanoke Times says. The world is going to experience ever greater difficulty experiencing climax.

Isn't that what this says?

The U.S. Geological Survey quietly released a study before the holidays spelling out a dire climactic future for the world.

"A dire climactic future." Hmm.

Maybe it's time for Viagra II.

Quote of the Day

From Investor's Business Daily:
The heavily subsidized ethanol industry is the latest to seek a federal bailout. If there is any industry that deserves to go bankrupt, it's this one. Time has come to stop putting food in our gas tanks.
"Ethanol Bailout? Time To Shuck Corn," December 26, 2008

Despite Her Efforts, She'll Be Appointed

This article in the New York Post is notable for what it doesn't say:
Sweet Caroline: I'm Set To Serve
By Maggie Haberman

Caroline Kennedy broke her silence with the start of a media blitz yesterday, defending her qualifications to replace Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and confidently saying she's up to the job. [link]
The odd thing is, nowhere in the article are we told what those qualifications are that she "defended." This, apparently, is as good as it gets:
The 51-year-old daughter of John F. Kennedy told NY1 last night, "There are many ways to serve. I think I have been serving my community up until now, and I think I'm ready to take the next step."
Beats me what that means.

But no matter. She's going to be appointed anyway. Her name is Kennedy.

I think it would serve her well, though, if she'd at least throw in a bit of "hope and change" babble. it seems to hit home with the weaker of mind among us.

The Government, The Enemy

It's becoming an increasingly popular strategy among Democrats in this country to use the government to punish the American people for their wicked ways. Wicked as in fat. Wicked as in addicted to nicotine. Wicked as in armed for personal protection. Alcohol. Garbage. Incandescent light bulbs. SUV's. Not to mention the savagery that is being wreaked through the use of eminent domain.

They're even salivating these days at the thought that all those young, healthy American males among us who don't want or need health insurance will be punished if they don't accept it - willingly or otherwise.

Today's example, most annoying, the use of taxation to curb our driving habits. Which is at the core of our way of life.

This friends, is exceedingly pernicious:
The Gas Tax
New York Times editorial

President-elect Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress seem to have a clear vision of the auto industry they think the country needs. It must be financially self-sufficient. It also must be capable of producing highly fuel-efficient, next-generation vehicles that can help the nation cope with climate change and finite supplies of oil.

Yet for all the conditions attached to it, the multibillion-dollar aid package for Detroit’s carmakers approved by the White House (with Mr. Obama’s support) fails to address one crucial question: Who will buy all the fuel-efficient cars that Detroit carmakers are supposed to make?

The danger is that too few will, especially if gasoline prices remain low. Therefore, it might be time for the president-elect and Congress to think seriously about imposing a gas tax or similar levy to keep gas prices up after the economy recovers from recession. [link]
A former Secretary of Labor, himself a Democrat, just recently pronounced the nation to be in a state of Depression. Robert Reich:
Today's employment report, showing that employers cut 533,000 jobs in November, 320,000 in October, and 403,000 in September -- for a total of over 1.2 million over the last three months -- begs the question of whether the meltdown we're experiencing should be called a Depression.

We are falling off a cliff. To put these numbers into some perspective, the November losses alone are the worst in 34 years.
Despite this gloomy - and perhaps accurate - assessment, the New York Times calls for a massive increase in gas taxes, so as to influence our behavior. Influence exerted in a sweeping and cataclysmic way. Worst of all, taxes that will affect, disproportionately, the poorest among us.

Depression? So what? Us proles need to be disciplined. The planet needs to be saved. If the drudges out here are thrown out of work, if more factories are shut down, if hungry mouths aren't fed, too bad, for there is the greater good. Fuel consumption will decline. Electric cars will be sold. Live with it.

Enough is enough. These people, and these people, and these people are dangerous to our way of life. They must be stopped, at all costs. America can't survive their evil machinations.

Stop them. Now. Before it's too late.

The Trend Continues Apace

Over time, this is supposed to work in the Republicans' favor. Bu then, Nancy Pelosi being in charge of the House was supposed to work in the GOP's favor too:
Lone Star State to pick up 3 seats
By Josh Kraushaar, Politico

Texas will lose some influence in Washington when President George W. Bush leaves the White House, but a new study finds that the Lone Star state will be the big winner in the upcoming congressional reapportionment.

The study, from the firm Election Data Services, projects that Texas will pick up three seats in Congress. Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Utah would gain one seat each. Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania would each lose one.

The study, from the firm Election Data Services, projects that Texas will pick up three seats in Congress. Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Utah would gain one seat each. Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania would each lose one. [link]
I see the word Massachusetts in that list and think of Barney Frank. Wouldn't it be ... strange if Elmer Fudd lost his seat due to reapportionment after all he's done for this country?

In any case, the trend continues. Americans are, in large numbers, trying to escape Democratic strongholds and are moving to areas where the heavy hand of government hasn't destroyed their opportunities for personal and economic success. Yet.

Where will Virginia be on that list in coming years? The commonwealth, as they say, is now a bright blue.

You may want to start packing ...

Right Goal, Wrong Reason

In a sane world, this should be a cakewalk for the Republicans. But that crook Murtha managed to get reelected, so so much for sanity ...
Sen. Reid Hits the Ground Running in Uphill Re-Election Bid
By T.W. Farnam, The Wall Street Journal

Sen. Harry Reid will command the biggest party majority of any Senate leader in a quarter century when the new Congress convenes in January. But the Nevada Democrat is already worried about his own re-election fight in 2010.

Sen. Reid ... faces a potentially tough fight. A recent Research 2000 poll of likely voters put his approval rating at 38% and his disapproval rating at 54%, a possible reflection of voters' displeasure with gridlock and partisanship in Washington. And while Nevada broke for President-elect Barack Obama by 12 percentage points in November, the state voted for President George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.

Sen. Reid "saw what happened to Tom Daschle and Mitch McConnell," said Republican Sen. John Ensign, Nevada's the other senator. "He saw the consequences of being the majority leader or the leader of one of the parties." [link]
With all due respect to Senator Ensign, the reason for Reid's vulnerability has nothing to do with his being a party leader. It's the fact that he's a wiener. A bumbling, feckless wiener. A minor politician with little intellect who's stumbled his way into the big leagues.

And a crooked one to boot.

Will the Republicans in Nevada flub it and allow Harry Reid to return to the Senate for another six years? Why even ask ...

Parody Cuts Like a Knife

On Crazy Al, "The Twelve Days of Global Warming":



Slather it on, fellas. Gore and his untenable ideas deserve derision.

All Too Familiar

There must be some kind of Congressman school made available to the members of the Magic Kingdom. That's the only thing I can figure. Otherwise how do you explain two Washington pork kings providing the identical answer when faced with a question about the indefensible practice of earmarking?

Ray LaHood, a Republican nominated by Barack Obama to be transportation secretary, as quoted in yesterday morning's Wall Street Journal:

"... who knows better how to spend money on worthwhile projects than a community and an individual Congressman?"

Rick Boucher, in the Roanoke Times back in June:

"I frankly think the members of Congress are far better situated to understand the priorities of their districts."

Curious.

Even Nancy Pelosi once recognized the corrupting nature of earmarks, suggesting at one point that she'd support banning them outright (before she crossed over to the dark side).

Who's to decide what a "worthwhile project" is anyway, Ray? Ted Stevens? Duke Cunningham?

Who's to set those priorities, Rick? John Murtha? Charles Rangel? The political action committee waving the biggest wad of cash in your face?

Earmarks are evil. And those who use them are corrupting the process and are themselves corrupt. And, as for your excuses, a famous American once said, "You can put lipstick on that pig, but it's still a pig."

Friday, December 26, 2008

Hello? Anyone Piloting This Plane?

While the city of Blacksburg (and a small, vocal minority of residents Virginia Tech outlanders there) fight to keep Wal-Mart from building a store downtown, downtown is crumbling. The latest from Main Street:
2 Blacksburg retail businesses closing
By Jeff Sturgeon, Roanoke Times*

Two Blacksburg retail businesses recently have closed or are on the verge of closing, one selling big-ticket items and the other general merchandise at a discount.

J.D. Byrider used cars on South Main Street in Blacksburg will close and turn over its accounts to the Roanoke J.D. Byrider location effective Jan. 1.

Meanwhile, Family Dollar at 1411 N. Main St. has closed in recent days. [link]
There are those who will declare, particularly those who live on campus, that this is actually a good thing. These stores' closings will help the city meet its goal of reducing carbon emissions. No stores, no people. No people, no breathing. No breathing, no carbon emissions. Sweet!

Let me sum all this up for you: The city of Blacksburg is working to reduce carbon emissions. And it's still working just as hard to keep Wal-Mart out. All this while its downtown is - increasingly - becoming a ghost town.

Carbon emissions. For the love of God.

- - -

Hey, they let Jeff Sturgeon write an article!

Yeah, That'll Work

Ever wonder why credit card interest rates are so high? (I know, it's those evil corporations. The ones that defy the laws of retail competition). Let me tell you. It's because - in part - of the meddling of government (another large part being extraordinarily high default rates on loans by card holders). And the Bristol Herald Courier says, "Yeah, baby. Bring on the meddling!"
Credit Card Rules Benefit Consumers
editorial

On Thursday, federal regulators approved new rules for the credit card industry to protect consumers from large spikes in interest rates on existing balances. The changes will allow credit card companies to raise rates only on new cards and future purchases or cash advances, not current balances.

This is good news for Americans who are working to pay down credit card debt, but may have been getting stuck with higher interest rates from their credit card companies. If you are one of those people, especially if you have noticed your rate jump, this measure is aimed at helping you.

We support this measure ... [link]
Ever heard the term, "Cause and effect"?

Suppose those (evil) credit card companies are simply going to accept lower profits (or bankruptcy?) No. They'll raise rates on everyone to compensate for this heavy-handed move by the government to block rate increases. They'll simply do it on the front end, when you apply for a new account.

So how's that supposed to "benefit consumers," genius?

Credit card interest rates are going to increase. Anyone with half a brain knows that.

Which explains ...

Barney Frank To The Rescue

He keeps this up and America is sure to fold:
Fading Housing Hope
Washington Post editorial

Passed by Congress in July and put into effect on Oct. 1, the federal government's Hope for Homeowners program was billed as strong medicine for the twin ills of rampant foreclosures and sagging home prices. Advocates argued that it would help stave off recession by delivering mortgage relief to the most deserving of distressed homeowners -- all while creating the least possible taxpayer expense and avoiding perverse incentives. Well, the early returns are in, and the program is, at this point, a flop. There have been only 312 applications, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. At that rate, the three-year program would help only about 5,400 borrowers.

The Bush administration and the program's congressional author, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), are now engaged in a blame game, with Bush officials saying that the program is a victim of burdensome conditions imposed by Congress and Frank asserting that he only agreed to those conditions as the price of a politically acceptable bill. [link]
Hang on a second. Wasn't it this Barney Frank guy who caused the mortgage crisis in the first place? And we're letting him fix it? Who's acting crazy here?

Anyway, we find out that Elmer Fudd is still at it. And America's economic plight worsens by the day. Will he be put in charge of fixing his fix now too?

Quote of the Day

From Investor's Business Daily on that misguided - and doomed - automaker bailout:
The government gave the Big Three a $17.3 billion bailout based on the idea that both management and the unions would make concessions. Now the UAW says no thanks. Can we have our money back?
"The UAW Reneges," December 24, 2008

Believe In Global Warming Or Else

On the fanatical nature of the environmental movement, James Lewis:
"You can believe what you want, I don’t believe, I know that global warming is a reality."

And there you have it, folks, the voice of skeptical reason assaulted by militant dogma, ready to burn as many witches as may be needed to defend the One True Faith. If this sounds familiar, just think of Galileo and Pope Innocent III, who did not want to peer through Galileo’s telescope at the night sky, having a rock-hard faith that made evidence unnecessary.

Enter the Barack Obama administration. Between new “Climate Czar” Carole Browner and Science Advisor John Holdren, the True Believers are now taking over Federal policy on energy and the weather. (The weather? Yes! We are now blessed with an official bureaucracy tasked to change the weather. It includes NASA Goddard Space Center’s James Hanson, who believes that CEOs of energy companies “should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature” if they spread foul skepticism about global warming. Hanson’s career at NASA was boosted by Al Gore when he was “reorganizing government” during the Clinton years. His job is to spread planetary catastrophism, come hell or high water. We have our own Danny the Reds, who know the answers without bothering to consult Mother Nature.)

The trouble is that the actual evidence for global warming has been shot full of holes, and has actually flipped the other way in the last ten years.
Evidence? We don' need no steenking evidence! "Evidence" has always run afoul of those computer models that scientists set up (and continue to adjust in order to fit changing circumstances). We prefer to believe - Believe! - despite all the data that is pouring in that should at least allow for a tiny tad of skepticism, that the planet is warming. And that we are the cause.

And by god, we're not going to let reason get in our way. So don't YOU get in our way.

Or else ...

Where It All Began

I'd probably be on fairly solid ground if I tried to make the argument that the modern-day environmentalist movement began with the 1968 publication of Paul Ehrlich's book, The Population Bomb. Its introduction on college campuses at the time electrified a student population already aroused to social action (think Vietnam, black power, bra-burning ...), and a tome devoted to (a) predicting the end of humanity, and (b) humanity ("the establishment," as it was called back then) being responsible for it fit right into the evolving dogma.

Well, what of that epic tome that shook the world ("shook the world," see, I can do it too)

Ross Douthat provides us with a recent quote from Obama's new "science" adviser, John Holdren, and comment:
"This was the key insight in Paul Ehrlich's The Population Bomb (Ballantine, New York, 1968), as well as one of those in Harrison Brown's prescient earlier book, The Challenge of Man's Future (Viking, New York, 1954). The elementary but discomfiting truth of it may account for the vast amount of ink, paper, and angry energy that has been expended trying in vain to refute it."

It is, I suppose, possible to find a "key insight" about population growth in Ehrlich's book that's anodyne enough to qualify as "elementary" and irrefutable. But there's a pretty good reason that the book is remembered primarily for its mix of hysteria and moral idiocy: When you kick off your argument by predicting that "the battle to feed all of humanity is over," and that "in the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now," and then proceed to argue for mass sterilization programs, the quarantine and abandonment of countries too overpopulated to save from total collapse, and various other "triage" methods (honestly, The Population Bomb has to be read to be believed), you pretty much forfeit the right to be praised for your prescience forty years down the line.

Unless, that is, one of your friends goes on to become the science advisor to the President of the United States.
These ignorant fools are dangerous.

And they've taken over the asylum.

While Tim Kaine Wants To Raise Their Taxes ...

... Retailers Want In on Stimulus Plan
The country's largest retail trade association asked President-elect Barack Obama Tuesday to add a series of sales tax-exempt shopping days to a coming economic stimulus package in an effort to revive consumer confidence and spur spending.

The National Retail Federation called for three periods of sales tax-free shopping that would last 10 days each in March, July and October 2009. The trade group estimates that it would save consumers about $20 billion, or $175 per family.

Under the industry group's proposal, which would exclude alcohol and tobacco sales, the federal government would reimburse states for the lost tax revenue. [link]
Chances are slim that the government is going to listen to America's retailers (if only they had UAW membership). But isn't it at least odd that the governor of Virginia, according to the Roanoke Times, is contemplating a tax increase on retailers at the very time that those retailers are pleading for help?

Hello?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

May you all have a joyous holiday with family and friends.

Christmas Myspace Animated Gifs

A sincere Merry Christmas!

He Is Born

"I bring you tidings of great joy that will be for all people; for unto you this day, in the city of David, a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."



And out of darkness ...

On This Glorious Christmas Day ...

... it would do us well to remember those who make it possible for us to worship freely and rejoice without fear of reprisal:

" ... that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion ..."

Enjoy the day.

Pulaski Hits The Big Time

When you get a shout-out from Glenn Reynolds, the blog daddy of them all, you have indeed hit the big time. Glenn (Instapundit to those of us who know him and love him) makes mention this morning of a McDonald's over in Pulaski with a rather unique approach to customer service.

Glenn, with your permission, I've reproduced your photo (and caption) to let all the local folks see what they are missing if they're not down at Micky D's at breakfast time:

Pulaski, Virginia. The Comfy-Chair Revolution comes to McDonald’s. Love the fireplace. There’s free wi-fi, too!
Kinda reminds me of the lobby of the Hampton Inn. At McDonald's! What next?

I'm guessing, by the way, that this is an effort on the part of some shrewd marketing guru at McDonald's to capitalize on the fact that McDonald's is now America's go-to place when it comes to the finest coffee on the planet. What could be better than great coffee and a warm, comfortable atmosphere in which to savor it. Nice.

Go to the Comfy-Chair Revolution link for more information on this phenomenon. Glenn has a great deal to say on the subject.

* By the way, I can't place this restaurant. It can't be out on I-81 because there isn't a McDonald's there. I remember one being over by Goodwill and the Food Lion, across from the Japanese restaurant (Kabuki?), but I've never been inside. Anyone recognize this McDonald's? It looks to be very cool.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Sad End

I have two reactions to the following story. (1) How did they survive this long? (2) I wish they had found the necessary magic to keep their doors open.

If you've never been inside the Agnew Seed store in downtown Roanoke, you've never taken this unique opportunity to step back in time. Which is why it is no more.

Confused?

The sad tale:
Farewell to growers: downtown Roanoke shop closes
By Jenny Kincaid Boone, Roanoke Times

A landmark downtown Roanoke seed shop opened its doors to shoppers for the final time Tuesday.

Pat Agnew has closed Agnew Seed, a family-owned business on Market Street.

Agnew Seed opened in 1897, and its Web site claims that it is the oldest seed store in Virginia. It was started by relatives of Frank Agnew, Kent Agnew's father, according to the Agnew Seed Web site. Frank Agnew took over the store with W.S. Connelly in 1946. [link]
To clarify, Agnew Seed is an old feed & seed store that catered to growers and farmers (successfully) back when the Roanoke area had a lot of growers and farmers. That's certainly the case no more.

Last time I was there, it was evident that the store management was trying its best to reach out to those urban gardeners in town, but it was a woefully weak attempt. And a miniscule customer base to be depending upon. It was a business model that was doomed to failure.

Still, to walk into Agnew Seed is (was) to step into a retail shop of a hundred years ago. It was a memorable experience. Sadly, memories are now all that remain.

Too bad.

But such is life.

Chapter 11 Awaits

Only when the UAW is tossed from the process will the Big Three automakers be able to work their way to profitability. But until then:

UAW Vows to Fight Salary Concessions

Is anyone surprised by this?

The Bottom Line

On the state of California's attempt to crush the will of the California citizenry, Investor's Business Daily:
California's attorney general claims Proposition 8's amending of the state constitution is unconstitutional. He says it attempts to "extinguish" a "fundamental" right that has existed for all of seven months.
To show just how detached the government of California is from the people, the Supreme Court there is likely to find that constitutional amendment unconstitutional.

"Live from Sacramento, it's Saturday Night!"

We're All Going To Die From Global Warming!

The top ten indicators, as provided by the loony left:
No Matter What Happens, Someone Will Blame Global Warming
Fox News

Global warming was blamed for everything from beasts gone wild to anorexic whales to the complete breakdown of human society this year -- showing that no matter what it is and where it happens, scientists, explorers, politicians and those who track the Loch Ness Monster are comfortable scapegoating the weather.

FOXNews.com takes a look back at 10 things that global warming allegedly caused — or will no doubt soon be responsible for — as reported in the news around the world in 2008.

1. Cannibalism
2. The Death of the Loch Ness Monster
3. Beer Gets More Expensive
4. Pythons Take Over America
5. Kidney Stones
6. Skinny Whales
7. Shark Attacks
8. Black Hawk Down
9. Frozen Penguin Babies
10. Killer Stingray Invasion
You can find the details of each here.

Frighteningly, this is not a spoof. "Global warming" was actually cited as being the cause of all these current or soon-to-be (and one past) afflictions on humankind. And "scientists" play a prominent role in the spreading of the insanity.

The latest of course, but not making the top 10, has to do with that AP science (fiction) writer who postulates that recent global cooling trends are attributable to global warming as well.

Madness. Sheer madness.

What Makes The Difference?

You've all read by now about the verdict in that Ft. Dix terrorism trial. If not, you can read here about those 5 foreign-born Muslims who were found guilty of conspiracy. On a related note, some are asking a very legitimate question. Why is "white and wealthy" Bill Ayres a free man despite his efforts to pull off the identical terrorist attack?

Jonah Goldberg:
What other conclusion can you draw? The white and wealthy Bill Ayers never spent a day in jail despite being an accomplice in an attempted terrorist attack on Fort Dix. Why should these poor immigrants be singled out for simply trying to do a job Americans will no longer do?
Funny. And yet ...

Ponder This

Haven't we had enough of the Kennedys by now? Apparently not if we live in the northeast and have the intellect of herded sheep. Michael Weiss makes the point:
Thomas Paine didn't have Google, where terms like "American Royalty" and "Camelot" spring right up whenever the query is the name of one of the most mediocre and over-indulged families to ever sully these fine shores. How is it that, in an age where a mixed-race man from a broken home, the product of international upbringing and no inherited fortune, can be elected president, we are still talking about the [f'ing] Kennedys?
To me, it's the sense of - and willing acceptance of - entitlement that is galling. And, quite honestly, a bit shocking. I hold Caroline Kennedy in high regard because of the fond memories her relationship - cut short - with her father many years ago engenders. That does not mean, however, that I'll be a gleeful passenger aboard a Boeing 757 flight to Phoenix that she's piloting any time soon. (think about it ...)

What's with these people?

A Clear Winner

The contest wasn't even close:
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews Wins“Quote of the Year”
Media Research Center

Alexandria, VA. --- The Media Research Center today announced its Best Notable Quotables of 2008: The 21st Annual Awards for the Year’s Worst Reporting, and MSNBC’s Chris Matthews “won” the dubious honor of Quote of the Year for gushing over a Barack Obama speech back in February: “I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don’t have that too often….And that is an objective assessment.” [link]
Second place had to be this, from "comedian" Bill Maher:
"If you have a few hundred followers, and you let some of them molest children, they call you a cult leader. If you have a billion, they call you ‘Pope.’ It’s like, if you can’t pay your mortgage, you’re a deadbeat. But if you can’t pay a million mortgages, you’re Bear Stearns and we bail you out. And that is who the Catholic Church is: the Bear Stearns of organized pedophilia."
(I don't understand it either, but it's fair to say, this guy has major issues.)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Really?

The Roanoke Times comes out this morning in support of Governor Kaine's decision to raise taxes on Virginia retailers:
Time to do away with the 'dealer discount'
editorial

Back in 1966 when Virginia first instituted its sales tax, retailers complained that the accounting and collection of the tax would be a considerable burden. To compensate for the time and cost involved, the state let retailers keep a small portion of the tax, 2 to 4 percent of the collections depending on the amount of sales. In the 42 years since, of course, it has become far easier to collect the tax and handle the accounting. Computerized cash registers and accounting software make the expense involved minimal.

Gov. Kaine, looking under every sofa in the state capitol for spare change, took note of this so-called "dealer discount," and decided it was time to let the discount expire. That will net the state about $65 million a year.

Retailers, naturally, aren't happy. But there is no good reason left for the discount to remain in place ... [link]
There is no good reason left for the discount to remain in place? I can think of one:

Retailers report worst sales month since 1969

More Retailers Announce Bankruptcy, Store Closings Amid Economic Downturn

Financial Crisis Spreads to Retailers

Retailing Chains Caught in a Wave of Bankruptcies

Of course, when your brain can't think beyond the word Wal-Mart (you've heard of Bush Derangement Syndrome? The Times is afflicted with Wal-Mart Derangement Syndrome), you're more than willing to sign onto a potentially devastating initiative that will drive many of Virginia's retailers further into debt ... and beyond. Because it will hurt Wal-Mart in the process.

This to prop up a government that continues to spend beyond its means.

No good reason? Talk to the folks at Richmond-based Circuit City. Oops. Never mind. They've already been thrown out of work and are on the streets.

Then talk to your neighbor. Because one out of every ten people in this country is now employed in retail. Or was, before Kaine got a hold of him.

No good reason? Only if you think that we can all work for the state prison system when all other jobs disappear.

A Thought Worth Considering

Mark Steyn:
General Motors now has a market valuation about a third of Bed, Bath And Beyond, and no one says your Swash 700 Elongated Biscuit Toilet Seat Bidet is too big to fail. GM has a market capitalization of just over two billion dollars. For purposes of comparison, Toyota’s market cap is one hundred billion and change (the change being bigger than the whole of GM). General Motors, like the other two geezers of the Old Three, is a vast retirement home with a small loss-making auto subsidiary. The UAW is the AARP in an Edsel: It has three times as many retirees and widows as “workers” (I use the term loosely). GM has 96,000 employees but provides health benefits to a million people.
"
Can You Still See the USA in Your Chevrolet?," National Review, December 22, 2008

I Don't Have a Shy Bladder ...

... or anything, but I can't see myself peeing into one of these things.

What Kind Of Game Is This?

The Washington Post recently had an article that cited a study of guns and crime that was prepared for "Mayors Against Illegal Guns" (which should give one pause about the study's objectivity in the first place). I mentioned at the time that it was indeed curious that the Post used the "study" to claim that guns purchased in states with lax firearms laws were being used extensively in states where laws are strict (and crime is rampant, ahem) but failed to provide any details about the study. Who did it? How was it conducted? What are its actual findings? Where can we access the supporting data?

Nothing.

Well, guess who's now using the same "study," with the same purpose in mind, and pulling the same stunt:
Price of Lax Gun Laws
New York Times editorial

For years, the gun lobby has defeated new gun control laws partly by arguing that stronger laws do not deter crime. A study prepared by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a bipartisan group headed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York and Mayor Thomas Menino of Boston, should finally put that myth to rest.

The study analyzed trace data for guns used in connection with crimes during 2007. The data reveal a strong correlation between weak state gun laws and higher rates of in-state murders, police slayings and sales of guns used in crimes in other states. [link]
In fact, the data reveal no such thing. Because the data itself isn't revealed. Nor is access to the study itself. Only the wildly anti-gun New York Times's twisted opinion is revealed. Again, we're left without details of any kind.

Why?

How Can They Be Any Lower?

I chuckle:

Democrats Try to Lower Expectations

Odd how this became a recent effort. Seems like prior to November, it was just the opposite.

Words Well Writ

James Taranto:

Bloomberg columnist Albert R. Hunt makes the case for why Basil Paterson's son should appoint John F. Kennedy's daughter to replace Bill Clinton's wife in the Senate:

"[Caroline Kennedy] has all the qualities--intellectual curiosity; a friendly, at times pointed, sense of humor, and a deferential manner (she hails her own cabs)--that are the stuff of a good legislator."

She hails her own cabs! This is what passes for a common touch these days? Lots of New Yorkers can't even afford cabs and ride the subway instead.

When I originally read the Hunt piece, I came away with this feeling that someone close to Kennedy - and to Hunt - had asked him to do this promotional column to boost her image. Because there can be no reasonable explanation for this completely unreasonable bit of syrup.

Instead of helping her prospects, Hunt only manages to make himself look silly. And he does nothing to enhance Caroline's perceived persona.

But, to the point, I like that, "why Basil Paterson's son should appoint John F. Kennedy's daughter to replace Bill Clinton's wife in the Senate." Instead of Mario Cuomo's son, by the way.

Good stuff.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Such The Legacy

So what is our exalted senior senator's most noble accomplishment from his three decades in Washington?

John Warner on his proudest achievement

It has to do with fish.

I'll not argue.

So Why Should They Be Exempt?

Washington Is Killing Silicon Valley

WaPo To Rick Boucher:

Don't waste the taxpayers' hard-earned money:
The Stimulus Package
Barack Obama's plan must not become a vehicle for old-fashioned earmarking.
Washington Post editorial

We're happy to see that the shroud of secrecy surrounding the formulation of an economic stimulus plan by President-elect Barack Obama is lifting, albeit through leaks. Since his advisers met with congressional leaders last week, details from the Capitol Hill briefing have trickled out that are bringing the impending stimulus package into focus. Yet concern about transparency has given way to concern that the economic crisis will be used as an excuse to throw sacks of cash at projects instead of leading to the development of discrete proposals that pack a lot of punch in the short term. That Mr. Obama is reportedly prepared for his plan to rise from as little as $670 billion to as much as $850 billion because of additions from Congress only reinforces that fear.

Mr. Obama has said that the economic crisis provides the nation with an opportunity to transform its economy. If it's not done right, it will have been an opportunity wasted. [link] [my emphasis]
A prediction: It'll be largely wasted.

Experience tells us that funds will be spent on train stations that serve no trains or passengers, horseback riding trails ... to nowhere, and visitor centers on top of visitor centers that see no visitors.

Experience provided by Southwest Virginia's representative to Congress.

Projects, all of which have Congressman Rick Boucher's name on them.

Projects, none of which he's apologized for.

Projects, more of which he's vowed to support.

Waste? You ain't seen nothing yet.

As The U.S. Government Steps In ...

... Chrysler's owner wants out:
Uncertainty Grows Over Parent’s Role in Chrysler
By Bill Vlasic, New York Times

Unlike General Motors, Chrysler has provided few specifics on how it plans to overhaul its operations after receiving federal loans.

After President Bush announced loans for both companies on Friday, Chrysler’s parent, the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, said in a statement that it hoped to “facilitate the restructuring and the recapitalization of Chrysler.”

But in the same statement, Cerberus raised questions about whether it would remain an investor if Chrysler survives.

“Cerberus has advised the Treasury that it would contribute its equity in Chrysler automotive to labor and creditors as currency to facilitate the accommodations necessary to effect the restructuring,” Cerberus said.

In other words, Cerberus appears willing to give up its 80.1 percent stake in Chrysler to the United Automobile Workers and anyone else the troubled automaker owes money to. [link]
So Chrysler ownership will be migrating to the UAW and the United States government (and some lesser entities, perhaps). Is that a match made in Democrat heaven, or what?

Only problem is, never in the history of the country has such an arrangement been successful. So how long are you, the taxpayer, willing to prop this dead horse up just to maintain UAW jobs?

The British Reflect On Their Failures ...

... and on America's successes. From former cabinet minister Michael Portillo (in "Britain has lost the stomach for a fight"):

It cannot be a defence of British policy that the war was unpopular at home. Our mission was to provide security for the Iraqi people, and in that the US and Maliki’s government have recently had marked success and we have failed. The fault does not lie with our fighters. They have been extremely brave and as effective as their orders and their equipment would allow.

It raises questions about the stamina of our nation and the resolve of our political class. It is an uncomfortable conclusion that Britain, with nuclear weapons, cruise missiles, aircraft carriers and the latest generation of fighter-bombers, is incapable of securing a medium-size conurbation. Making Basra safe was an essential part of the overall strategy; having committed ourselves to our allies we let them down.

The extent of Britain’s fiasco has been masked by the media’s relief that we are at last leaving Iraq. Those who have been urging Britain to quit are not in a strong position to criticise the government’s lack of staying power. Reporting of Basra has mainly focused on British casualties and the prospect for withdrawal. The British media and public have shown scant regard for our failure to protect Iraqis, so the British nation, not just its government, has attracted distrust. We should reflect on what sort of country we have become. We may enjoy patronising Americans but they demonstrate a fibre that we now lack.

Perhaps they'll find their way again some day.

A Heartbeat Away From The Presidency

A former Justice Department attorney spanks our soon-to-be vice president (and current law professor), Joe Biden:

"Keep it up, Joe. At this rate, you'll know more about the Constitution than your non-lawyer predecessor in, well, never."

Ouch.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Three Cheers For Democracy

Or representative government, as the case may be.

This, from the Martinsville Bulletin, seems right to me:
Democracy prevailed
editorial

The 2008 election finally is over, and democracy has won.

On Wednesday, Albemarle Democrat Tom Perriello’s victory in the 5th Congressional District race was confirmed after a recount showed he topped incumbent Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Rocky Mount, by 727 votes.

Rep. Goode had asked for the recount when the Nov. 4 election results showed only a 745-vote difference between the two. The slim margin meant the recount was done at taxpayer expense.

Now, it is time to move past the election and to welcome Congressman-elect Perriello to the rigors of elected office. [link]
The outcome was unexpected. But not incomprehensible. As is the case in (nearly) every election involving an incumbent who was unseated, most votes were cast against one instead of in favor of the other. This election was no different.

Virgil Goode managed to cultivate and motivate a whole lot of constituents in recent years who were prepared - even eager - to vote against him in Southside. From his completely unnecessary outspokenness on the non-issue of an American Muslim congressman using the Q'uran for his swearing in ceremony to Goode's out-of-the-mainstream - and rather obvious - opposition to immigration (rather than to illegal immigration, which many of us oppose), raising the legitimate accusation of his being a xenophobe(!), he pretty much sealed his fate.

Too bad, really. Now folks in the 5th Congressional District are left with a Democrat who, from all indications, will fit right in with the increasingly liberal wing of his party. And that won't play well with the people of Southside for long.

But play Tom Perriello will. The people have spoken. And they get the last word. Always.*

- - -

* Okay, the people get the last word, except in California, where the ruling elite can void the will of the people with impunity.

But Will She Put Everyone To Sleep ...

The New York Times this morning plays up the efforts of poet (and Yale teacher) Elizabeth Alexander, as she prepares to speak at Barack Obama's inauguration:
Poet Chosen for Inauguration Is Aiming for a Work That Transcends the Moment
By Katharine Q. Seelye

Elizabeth Alexander, who teaches at Yale, was plucked last week from the relatively obscure recesses of contemporary poetry for a moment on the world stage. President-elect Barack Obama has commissioned her to compose and read a poem for his inauguration, making her only the fourth poet in American history to read at one and elevating the art to unaccustomed prominence in the national psyche, at least for a day.

To prepare, she has delved into W. H. Auden, particularly his “Musée des Beaux Arts” (“About suffering they were never wrong/The Old Masters”), and the work of Gwendolyn Brooks, the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize, for poetry. Auden, she said, “asked very large questions about how we stand in history.” And Brooks has had a major influence on her work. [link]
Pardon me for pissing in your corn flakes, but transcendent this woman ain't. Typical of her work, "Blues":
I avoided sleep for years,
up at night replaying
evening news stories about
nearby jailbreaks, fat people
who ate fried chicken and woke up
dead. In sleep I am looking
for poems in the shape of open
V's of birds flying in formation,
or open arms saying, I forgive you, all.
Transcendent? Please.

How about mindless. Unremarkable. Empty. Worthless.

And Alexander thinks she can rise to W.H. Auden's level of brilliance? Good luck.

He too wrote of "blues." This from Auden's "Funeral Blues":
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
Makes the words of Elizabeth Alexander seem like those of a fourth grader by comparison, doesn't it? A bored - and boring - fourth grader at that.

But at Obama's inauguration she'll be.
She'll go there with metrical literature that'll transcend the ages in hand.
The masses she'll regale with splendid verse a'soarin'.
At least that's what the email instructed.
Gosh, what would Oprah do?
Give a car to everyone.
O the cheers.
Birds sing.
A poem.