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

Monday, January 14, 2008

The End Of An Era

For those of you who don't know what a bag phone is, you obviously don't live in the mountains. It has always been a prized possession around here because it could often get a cellular signal where digital phones can't. Why? Because an analog signal reaches further. And, some say, the voice quality is better.

But news reaches us that those prized possessions are about to become collectors' possessions. Starting next month the inevitable becomes the here-and-now: the analog cells in all the cellular towers around here are being removed forever:
Some cell phones might not work after February 18th
By Josh Green, Bristol Herald-Courier Reporter

As of midnight, February 18th, cell phone companies won't be required to provide analog service anymore. It means some phones simply won't work.

"Worst case scenario: if you've missed all of the letters, your phone is not going to work," Verizon Wireless Manager Jim Alley said.

Those letters have warned customers that the switch to digital is coming. Verizon estimates it will affect less than one percent of its customers overall ... (
The reason analog died a quick death is because you can't do all the fun things with it that you can with a digital signal - email, photo transmission, large data transfers, etc.

So, kiss those bag phones goodbye.

And those of you over in Grundy are just going to have to run down to the Pizza Hut parking lot to make your calls.

The Road Less Travelled

Want to know why I always avoid Pocahontas 895 in Richmond? Want to know why it always appears abandoned?

It's a toll road. A short stretch of highway in a city too small to warrant even one toll road.

And this one is about to be even less travelled:

Pocahontas 895 toll increase today

Whatever. My finding an alternative route brings me on any given day about five minutes of additional inconvenience - max.

Nice looking pile of concrete though.

Ok, I'm Willing To Compromise

First, let it be duly noted that I supported the transportation compromise hammered out last spring by the governor and the Republican-controlled legislature. As did so many Virginians who now mysteriously oppose it - incuding the governor (!). And I may be the only person in the commonwealth who still supports it. It provided the opportunity to levy new taxes on those people screaming the loudest for taxes to be raised (northern Virginians and Hampton Roadsters) and injected needed revenue into state coffers through fees raised on habitually bad drivers, which is warranted.

But now that a vocal minority of citizens has convinced politicians in Richmond to void the compromise, we're back where we started. With calls for a massive tax hike:
Road compromise comes to a U-turn
With new abusive-driver fees facing possible repeal, both parties need to look for new money.

Roanoke Times editorial

By last Thursday, one day into this year's General Assembly session, Virginia lawmakers had filed at least 21 bills to repeal the state's new abusive driver fees.

That's good. We don't like them, either. As a public-safety measure, they are suspect. As a revenue generator, they are insufficient and unreliable. And they threaten to place an unbearable burden on the poor. The fees ought to go away.

But lawmakers can't get rid of them without finding other money to pay for highway maintenance. (link)
That's true.

Being the magnanimous compromiser that I am (see above), I'm willing to accept the fact that the driver fees idea is going to be scrapped. So I'm going to meet you half way.

1) Let's do away with those driver fees you guys hate so much.

And ...

2) Pull money from the budget intended for higher education (those rich families sending their kids to UVa can pay their own way) and devote it to road construction up in Fairfax (where those rich familes of UVa students live).

Somehow I'll bet you guys aren't really looking for compromise though. You just want a tax increase. Again.

Well, I've got news for you. We beat you last time; we'll beat you again.

You'd do well to take my compromise. Or there'll be hell to pay.

Webb Can't Admit He's Wrong

"Meet The Press" host Tim Russert asked our junior senator a simple question recently: "Is the military surge working?"

James Webb gave a rambling, evasive, incomprehensible 715-word response.

Not one of those words was the obvious ...


So Much For Mr. Straight Talk

John McCain should have been a Democrat. For a number of reasons, including his ability to talk out of both sides of his mouth. Regarding George Bush's tax cuts, well, to coin a phrase, he was against 'em before he was for 'em:

Tripping On Taxes
By Robert D. Novak, The New York Post

January 14, 2008 -- Two days before his decisive victory in New Hampshire, John McCain was asked by Tim Russert on NBC's "Meet the Press": "Do you believe that voting against the Bush tax cuts was a mistake?" Sen. McCain replied quickly, "Of course not."

Thus has McCain, campaigning now as he did in 2000 as the "straight-talk" candidate, made trouble for himself by taking a circuitous position on taxes. While he favors making permanent the Bush tax cuts, he defends twice voting against them. The old war hero is stubborn, reluctant to admit either error or defeat.

Democrats watch with keen anticipation. They contemplate feasting on a lame-duck Republican president pleading for continuation of his tax program that the party's nominee branded as a mistake to pass. (link)

That's probably not the only reason that Democrats would like to see McCain become the GOP nominee. He is, after all, more Democrat than Republican.

But to the point, which is it, Mr. Straight Talk? Do you favor tax cuts? If so, why'd you vote repeatedly against them?

Earmarks = Welfare

And, in Representative Jack Murtha's case (D-Johnstown), they = reelection:
The Pork King Keeps His Crown *
New York Times editorial

The new earmark disclosure rules put into effect by Congress confirm the pre-eminence of Representative John Murtha at procuring eye-popping chunks of pork for contractors he helped put in business in Johnstown, Pa. The Pennsylvania Democrat, a power player on defense appropriations, exudes pride, not embarrassment, for delivering hundreds of millions of dollars in largesse to district beneficiaries. They, in turn, requite with hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations.

There’s been no report of Mr. Murtha’s profiting personally. “This is about jobs,” the congressman insists. But the Murtha operation — which has become a model for other entrepreneurial lawmakers — is a gross example of quid pro quo Washington. Every one of the 26 beneficiaries of Mr. Murtha’s earmarks in last year’s defense budget made contributions to his campaign kitty, a total of $413,250, according to the newspaper Roll Call. (link)
If the companies on the receiving end of Murtha's largesse (that would be your largesse, taxpayer) serve no purpose other than to employ people (and donate some of the earmarked money to his reelection campaigns), are those federal dollars in fact nothing more than welfare payments to the people in the employ of the purposeless companies?

If so, why don't we cut out the middleman and simply mail each mendicant a check?

* That could just as easily have read "How the Pork King Keeps His Crown."

At Least Obama Is Straightforward About It

Unlike John Murtha, who sends federal dollars to companies in and around his hometown of Johnstown, Pennsylvania for the sole purpose of paying people who pretend to be employed, Barack Obama - oh, I should mention the fact that both are Democrats - does in fact want to cut out the middleman and simply send everyone a check:

Barack Vows $250 Checks For Workers
By Charles Hurt, The New York Post

Washington - Barack Obama yesterday proposed a massive eco nomic-stimulus package yesterday that would immediately give the vast majority of American workers a check for $250.

"Obama believes we cannot wait until he becomes president to give workers the tax relief they need," the campaign said of the tax credit. "This will help maintain consumer spending, strengthen the economy and ease the squeeze so many Americans are currently experiencing."

Aside from the immediate $250 tax credit for workers, which could double if the economy worsens, his plan includes a one-time $250 supplement to Social Security payments; a $10 billion fund to help homeowners facing foreclosure; and a $10 billion fund to assist states facing budget shortfalls. (link)

Drinks for everyone! On The House!

Uh, who is "The House" again?

Abstinence Education Is In Order

It works 100% of the time it's practiced ... fellas:

H.I.V. Rises Among Young Gay Men

Far be it from me to deny your right to kill yourself however.

Just Wondering ...

What happened to all the headlines (with accompanying exclamation marks!!!) screaming the demise of Planet Earth (!!!) due to global warming?

Was it that burlesque sideshow in Bali this summer that made a mockery of the conservation movement?

Or is it just because it's cold outside.


Protesters Protested

First, let me admit - I don't know much about Posada Carriles. He's been in the news over the years, but he's too far removed from my life to have permanent lodging in the memory banks. So keep that in mind when you read this fun story about those anti-America, anti-Bush morons that call themselves CODEPINK, and about how they came close to having their heads handed to them down in Miami yesterday:

Protest against anti-communist militant met with resistance, derailed
Activists abort plan after meeting resistance
By Ruth Morris, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Miami - Female peace activists in pink dresses and tiaras demanded the arrest of anti-communist militant Luis Posada Carriles Saturday, but aborted plans for a demonstration in Little Havana after his supporters rushed their vehicle.

The activists, from the Codepink anti-war group, had planned to speak to reporters outside the landmark Versailles restaurant to publicize their campaign against Posada Carriles — a former CIA operative wanted in Venezuela in connection with the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner.

However the five women, who were accompanied by at least one man, were met by some 200 irate Cuban-Americans who consider Posada Carriles a champion of freedom. Several charged at the activists' truck as they arrived, tearing at its pink fringe, while others jeered and shouted insults. The truck then drove on. (link)
Yahoo! News has photos posted, including this one of a Cuban-American chasing after the vehicle the CODEPINK chicks were in:

You may remember CODEPINK. It's a Marxist organization made up of women who saw fit to protest for months in front of Walter Reed Army Medical Center where our soldiers who had been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan were being treated, where the batty old fruitcakes could be found shouting at the wives, husbands, children, and parents of the patients there as they entered.

It's about time this scum got a little payback.

Viva Cuba Libre!

You Mean ... It Might Be a Rip-Off?

F.T.C. Asks if Carbon-Offset Money Is Well Spent