Sunday, January 06, 2008
Consider this a public service announcement:
In a little over a year, you are more than likely going to be upset that Oprah is no longer available for your viewing pleasure because you didn't get one of those digital converter boxes.
Repeat: Come February, 2009 your analog TV, by federal law, becomes nothing more than a boat anchor, unless you prepare.
* Special note: Those with cable, satellite, or a new HD TV won't be shut out.
Go here to learn more.
Oh, and for those of you who can't afford the 50 to 60 bucks that the converter is going to cost you (per television), never fear. Your congressman has made available a converter box welfare check for you. Actually two checks, should you need them. Apply here.
Just looking out for you. I shudder to think what the reaction is going to be if half of America tunes in one night only to find that they've lost American Idol.
If I held a leadership position in the DNC, I think I might hunt down the recruiter that found these dudes and strangle him. Get a load of the quotes in this Danville Register & Bee news article ("Democrats kick off bid to unseat Goode") having to do with two new contenders for Goode's 5th District Congressional seat:
"[Tom] Perriello was confident about his chances ... He told those attending he was putting together a campaign of 'tremendous, tremendous belief.'”
[What in God's name is a campaign of tremendous belief?]
"Perriello, who supports strong schools, health care and a living wage, said the next chapter of Danville’s history hadn’t been written yet. 'Together, we can write it this year,' he said. 'It’s going to be about who stands up and fights.'”
[Everyone out there who opposes strong schools, health care and/or a living wage, raise your hand. Guess you'll be for Goode.]
"[Dave Shreve] addressed Rep. John Conyers Jr.’s 'Medicare for All' bill. While Shreve said he supports it, he thinks it could be funded without raising payroll taxes. One way to do this, said Shreve, could be closing loopholes and ending special tax breaks."
[If all the money in the Treasury won't pay for "Medicare for All," closing loopholes and ending tax breaks sure as hell aren't going to do it. Did someone hand this guy John Kerry's "How I Became President" playbook?]
"Sheila Baynes, chair of the Democratic committee, was impressed by the candidates. 'I think we have two excellent choices and I think it’s going to be a tough decision for the public,' Baynes said."
[Yeah. Real tough.]
I find myself scratching inappropriately this morning because of a (boilerplate) whine about that power plant that is going to provide 1,358 desperately needed jobs in St. Paul and $439 million in economic vitality to Wise County.
See "Devil's pact: Sacrificing health, environment for jobs."
The editorialist, one Andrea Hopkins, doesn't like coal.
No word on whether she appreciates - or even understands - the warmth emanating from those little vents in the floorboard of her double-wide.
And it's probably the case that she didn't write the headline to her news item. So I'll not blame her for it. But I blame somebody.
Southwest Virginia residents are loading up to oppose a proposed Wise County power plant at SCC hearing
"Residents are loading up ..."
Read the article and you'll come away with the knowledge that there is one person in Southwest Virginia "loading up" to oppose the plant.
As to whether there may be two? Or more?
The one person mentioned by name, the one known to be heading to Richmond to oppose the plan, is "unsure."
Care to change that header, fellas?
Out from under a rock comes a University of North Carolina professor to write in the Roanoke Times this morning (see "WMD on our streets, schools, malls"):
The news is replete with reported acts of violence on innocent people. Men, women and children murdered or severely wounded by pointless killers. For years now we have been reading and hearing about people systematically killing scores at places like Virginia Tech, in high schools, malls and churches. The news is always devastating as we attempt hopelessly to understand this trend of senseless violence.We hardly ever hear about guns (there are an estimated 120 million in circulation) being available to those who wish to inflict harm on others? Where's this guy been? We only read and hear about it every day. From beanbrains just like him. And we've been listening to it for decades upon decades.
Psychologists, police and the news media all speculate on the increase in mostly random killings that seem to be becoming commonplace. Is it that the number of mentally disturbed people in this country is increasing? Is it population pressure?
We hardly ever hear about the real common denominator in almost all of these mass murder cases -- the availability of weapons of all kinds to anyone that wants them.
And, for the record, all the chatter coming from fascists like this college professor - every day for years upon years - has resulted in no less than 10,000 gun laws in this country.
So what does this learned academic want to do about all the senseless slaughter that he sees occurring here in the USA?
He wants a new gun law.
For the love of God.
Northern Virginia Realtors back taxThis is one of the offshoots of that regional taxing authority setup that the legislature created in the last session of the General Assembly. Northern Virginians were hell-bent on having taxes raised in order to get their roads fixed and Southwest and Southside Virginians were just as resolute about holding them in place. All three got what they wanted.
By Tom Ramstack, The Washington Times
A Virginia real estate tax took effect this week with support from the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors during one of the worst housing slumps on record.
Despite high foreclosure rates and falling home values, the association is backing the tax because revenue from the grantor's levy would help pay for transportation improvements in Northern Virginia.
"I think right now is a horrible time to hit sellers" with the new tax, said Mary Beth Coya, the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors' vice president for public and government affairs. But the sacrifice of an additional $4 tax per $1,000 value of the property sold is worthwhile, the real estate trade group says.
"For the first time ever, we went along with an increase in the tax because the transportation problems are so great," Mrs. Coya said. (link)
And those of us here in Bland County get a ringside seat to the spectacle that is sure to ensue.
All you homeowners up there in Fairfax who are having a tough time moving that property you've had on the market for the last six months: With this added cost being foisted on prospective home buyers, how does that vote of yours that put the Democrats in power look now? You wanted them to solve your problems but did you realize at the time that solving one problem would create another?
If it weren't for the fact that the folks on the other side of D.C. - Marylanders - were even more tax-happy these days, I'd guess that buyers would be looking over there for a new home they can afford. But that ain't gonna happen either.
Guess they'll have to give Bland County some consideration.
That, friends, was our plan all along ...
It gets hotter. It gets colder.
The latest evidence:
Ancient Greenland mystery has a simple answer, it seemsThere are people in this "enlightened" age of ours who want to destroy our way of life because the planet is warming. I say to them: Stick around, fellas. All will be well soon enough.
Did the Norse colonists starve? Were they wiped out by the Inuit – or did they intermarry? No. Things got colder and they left.
By Colin Woodard, Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
The Greenland Norse colonized North America 500 years before Christopher Columbus "discovered" it, establishing farms in the sheltered fjords of southern Greenland, exploring Labrador and the Canadian Arctic, and setting up a short-lived outpost in Newfoundland.
But by 1450, they were gone, posing one of history's most intriguing mysteries: What happened to the Greenland Norse?
There are many theories: They were starved off by a cooling climate, wiped out by pirates or Inuit hunters, or perhaps blended into Inuit society as their own came unglued.
Now scientists are pretty sure they have the answer: They simply up and left.
"When the climate deteriorated, and their way of life became more difficult, they did what people have done throughout the ages: They looked for a more opportune place to live," says Niels Lynnerup, a forensic anthropologist at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark who studies the Norse. (link)
And don't throw away that thermal underwear.
By the same token, Mitt Romney is probably wetting his lips about now as well. Over this:
It has been reported that, should he decide to run (he still denies he'll ever do it), Bloomberg has said he will devote half a billion dollars to the effort.
Scratch an Independent Bloomberg and Get a Democrat, Positions Show
By Nichloas Confessore, The New York Times
Hundreds of miles from the hustings of New Hampshire lurks a possible presidential candidate who supports gay marriage, abortion rights and stricter regulation of handguns. Who doesn’t mind taxing the rich on their income or big companies on their carbon emissions. Who says that deporting illegal immigrants would destroy the nation’s economy. And who is not necessarily averse to adding more bureaucrats to the government payroll.
That politician — Michael R. Bloomberg, the billionaire mayor of New York — has spent months laying out his vision for a post-partisan approach to politics that would take the best from left and right.
Yet a close reading of the policies Mr. Bloomberg has promoted during his mayoralty suggests that Mr. Bloomberg actually has a lot in common with one party’s leading candidates — the Democrats — and not so much with the other’s. Indeed, on issues like gay marriage and gun control, Mr. Bloomberg stands well to the left of top-tier Democratic candidates like Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama. (link)
As a conservative, I say: "Come on in, old buddy! We can use all the help we can get."
That's all right. We're more concerned about curlicue lightbulbs and "the climate."
In Miami, authorities say the proliferation of assault weapons led to an increase in killings, from 56 in 2005 to 79 in 2006 and 86 so far in 2007.The Associated Press, "Chicago, NYC See 40-Year Low In Homicides," December 28, 2007
"You just pull a trigger and 20 or 30 rounds come in a second and in those 20 rounds you're sure to hit your intended target and some innocent bystanders, totally unlike a firearm that is just one bullet every time you pull the trigger," Miami Police spokesman Willie Moreno said.
* Fully automatic weapons -as described above - have been banned in the United States since the 1930's and are rarely - extremely rarely - ever seen on the streets. Except, if this "police spokesman" is to be believed, on those of the city of Miami.