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

Friday, January 04, 2008

A Worthwhile Project

Unlike the complete waste of taxpayer money (and the cruel hoax that continues to play on the hopes, and worries, of an increasingly anxious populace - see next post), the new power plant that is in the works over in St. Paul is a fabulous boon to the local economy, and will bring much needed energy to an energy-starved planet.

On the jobs side, experts at Virginia Tech put pencil to paper:

Power plant yearly impact $400 million-plus
By Keith Strange, coalfield.com

Economists with Virginia Tech say the planned Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center in St. Paul will provide more than $439 million a year to the Wise County economy. According to an economic impact study conducted by Virginia Tech’s Office of Economic Development, the county stands to realize about $311.8 million during the construction phase of Dominion Virginia Power’s plant (2007-2012), with projected employment during construction contributing to as many as 1,358 jobs in 2010. (link requires paid subscription)

Here's how it breaks down:


And if the introduction of this new plant knocks down the rising cost of electricity, even a little bit, everyone benefits.

Even sweeter ...

Chart courtesy of Virginia Tech and The Coalfield Progress.

* You'll notice no wild claims about a "tourism" windfall in this study. It therefore has to be legitimate.

A Complete Waste

Can I make a suggestion?

Why don't we ask Congressman Rick Boucher to take those truckloads of cash he brings back from Washington, set up a booth on the corner of Main and High Streets in Clintwood, hire a bluegrass band, don a clown suit, and hand out twenty dollar bills to everyone who walks by (and candy to the kiddies).

Area residents will benefit in ways that we'll never realize as long as boneheaded notions like the following persist:

Cranesnest Trail soon to be reality
By Keith Strange, Staff Writer, Coalfield Progress

Although work on the project will continue throughout the next several years, Dickenson County will soon have another major tourism destination.

More than $500,000 in federal monies put into the project will enable the construction of the 23-mile trail to get underway.

Congressman Rick Boucher said last week that he envisions the project to benefit the area well into the future.

“This trail has the potential to enjoy a level of popularity equal to that of the Virginia Creeper Trail in Washington County,” he said, noting that currently the Creeper Trail has around 200,000 visitors each year.

According to the congressman, in 2006, tourism dollars accounted for about $5.7 million in income for the county, and he believes the trail project could bring that number even higher. (
link requires paid subscription)

1) Anyone who has walked the Virginia Creeper Trail on a busy day knows that it doesn't have 200,000 visitors in a good decade, much less a good year. The number is preposterous.

2) As a renowned analyst has determined (
me), that $5.7 million in income from the tourism industry that Boucher is fond of quoting is (a) grossly unquantifiable, (b) a shameful distortion of what numbers are available, and (c) a fraud being perpetrated on the entire populace of the commonwealth of Virginia, as the study cited (over and over and over again) isn't a tourism study at all, but a "travel" study, which was developed by the official cheerleading organization in the state - The Virginia Tourism Authority - to confuse and to deceive.

3) This guy spent half a million dollars on a trail in Dickenson County!? Has he lost his mind?

4) Rick Boucher won reelection last time around with 68% of the vote. Have we lost our minds?

I have to confess: There are now so many trails here in Southwest Virginia (each bringing fabulous riches to the area - some day), I had to look it up to see if I'd commented on this particular wasteful project before or not (I had, back in November).

For those of you who buy into this stuff (68% of us, it appears), I suggest some real soul-searching. Despite what you may have been told, money doesn't grow on trees. The cash wasted on this trail came out of someone else's pocket. Cash that may have gone toward food and clothing and dental work for those folks that I see lined up at the local Baptist ministry center on a cold winter day.

I still like my clown booth idea. At least, if you buy a six-pack and some Marlboros with the twenty that Bozo the Boucher hands you, the money won't be completely wasted.

On This We Agree

The Roanoke Times comes out this morning with an attack on ... Congressman Rick Boucher. The circumstance leading to the denunciation? That tower project in Wise County:
The High Knob tower isn't a national priority

Southwest Virginia lost one of its lesser-known landmarks on Halloween when the observation tower atop High Knob in Wise County burned down. Although the site is on federal land, it does not warrant federal funds for rebuilding. Rather, fans of the tower should pursue the private fundraising that has already begun.

Rep. Rick Boucher has pledged to secure federal funds to rebuild the tower. His well-intentioned aid is misguided, though.

The chronically underfunded U.S. Forest Service does not have spare money for such capital projects, and any direct federal expenditure would be nothing more than pork. (link)
"Nothing more than pork." The Roanoke Times. We make progress.

If I have a quibble with the editorial, it is over this: "Rep. Rick Boucher has pledged to secure federal funds to rebuild the tower. His well-intentioned aid is misguided ..."

Boucher's intentions have nothing to do with aid to those who want to climb the observation tower on High Knob Mountain once again and do drugs. His intention is to get reelected.

Seems to work too.

Anyway, here's to the Roanoke Times for fighting for us little guys out here.

As Goes Boeing ...

... so goes the nation.

This is spectacular news. Especially for the city of Seattle:
Boeing Orders Top 1, 400 in 2007
By The Associated Press

Seattle (AP) -- Boeing Co. blew past an order record it set two years ago, selling 1,413 commercial jets in 2007 while delivering 441 planes, its best showing in six years.

The single-aisle 737 remains its best-seller, followed by the new midsize, long-haul 787 Dreamliner, which is scheduled to begin flight testing by spring.

Boeing shares gained 36 cents to close at $86.98 Thursday. (link)
Of late, Boeing has been kicking Airbus's butt on the production side too. These guys rock.

A Look To The Future

If I were one of those Romney supporters who are holding their heads down this morning because of Mitt's showing in Iowa, I think I'd be more concerned about this:

Clinton And McCain Lead In New Hampshire

It's one thing for Mr. Romney to lose in Mike Huckabee's backyard. It's another for him to lose in his own.

It Just Wasn't His Time

Senator Joe Biden couldn't catch a break. First, despite his best efforts, we are winning the war on terror. Second, nobody paid attention to his presidential campaign. Thus:

Sen. Biden abandons presidential bid
Delaware Sen. Joe Biden to abandon presidential bid because of poor Iowa showing
By Beth Fouhy, Associated Press Writer

Delaware Sen. Joe Biden abandoned his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination Thursday after a poor showing in the state's caucuses.

"There is nothing sad about tonight. We are so incredibly proud of you all," Biden told his supporters. "So many of you have sacrificed for me and I am so indebted to you. I feel no regret. I ain't goin' away.

"I want to thank the people of Delaware and I'll be going back to the Senate as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee," he said. (link)

Yeah, whatever.

I Fear For My Country

With regard to the spectacle that played out in Iowa last night (was your confidence shaken as badly as mine was when I got a good insight into how the caucus process works?), I have but one comment:

Democrats worry about the reliability of electronic voting machines but don't have a problem with the way heads are counted in a sea of people crowded into someone's bathroom in Dubuque?

The next president of the United States may have been sent down the path to victory last night by a process that includes:

"Sir, is there a short person standing behind you?"

"Will you all quit moving around? I lost count again."

"Is there anyone out there in the other room that wasn't counted?"

"Do we want to wait for Ernie to show up or should we proceed?"

"You're voting for whom?!! Go stand in the corner!"

My country teeters on the brink.