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

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Just Wondering ...

If you head down I-77 toward Mt. Airy, you come upon a pull-off at mile marker 128 that features a "scenic overlook" of Pilot Mountain off in the distance.

An overlook.

Now, when I think of a scenic overlook, I think of the fenced-off area above the Colorado River in that national park in Arizona. The one that overlooks - looks down upon - the Grand Canyon.

A question: If an overlook allows for one to look down upon a scenic sight, shouldn't that scenic overlook near Pilot Mountain be a scenic underlook?

Just asking ...

Back To The Drawing Board

It was a silly notion anyway. It deserves a quiet death:

Interstate 81 project falls through
By Peter Bacque, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

The joint public-private project to widen Interstate 81 is dead.

KBR Inc. has withdrawn from the multibillion-dollar I-81 project, and state Transportation Commissioner David S. Ekern has ordered VDOT to end its involvement in the toll-based effort to improve the highway corridor.

The collapse of the once $13 billion proposal leaves the state without the means for a complete fix for the aging, overburdened road, the Main Street of western Virginia, state officials said.

However, the state has set aside $730 million over the next six years for 87 spot-improvement projects on the 325-mile highway. (link)

The article points out the fact that a solution is needed to the growing I-81 congestion problem as a result of there now being three times as much traffic on the highway than there was just two decades ago.

But sane people were left wondering from the outset how setting up toll booths along the interstate was going to alleviate that congestion problem. If anything, it would add to the congestion - at the toll booth sites. That is, unless these planners had figured on making it so expensive for travellers to traverse I-81 that they'd be forced to detour to I-95, I-75, or I-65.

That was never a viable plan.

But here's one:

Four lanes become eight. Six lanes become twelve.

Everyone wins.

That Wise County Power Plant ...

... a friend to the environment?

Yes! sayeth a a man who has spent most of his career in the coal industry and is now in the environmental reclamation business.

Walt Crickmer begins his Roanoke Times column ("Coal plant would be environmental boon") with this:

"Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center, Dominion's proposed power plant, is undoubtedly the most positive environmental project that has been planned for our region in the past 100 years."

Wow. I guess that ought to put all those unhinged and irrational environmentalists in their place.

Sure it will ...

The Lightbulb Comes On

When Washington Post columnist (and Democratic Party suck-up) David Broder sees a huge disparity between the résumés of the Democratic contenders on the one hand for the position of commander in chief/leader of the free world and those of their Republican rivals on the other, you know there's a gap large enough for Hillary's rotund butt to squeeze through.

He writes:
The Résumé Gap
A Democratic Field Without an Executive

By David S. Broder

It was fascinating to watch the three top contenders for the Democratic nomination discuss their concept of the presidency during Tuesday night's MSNBC debate in Las Vegas. But it was also stunning to realize that the three current and former senators who have survived the shakeout process -- Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards -- have not a day of chief executive experience among them.

By contrast, the Republican field is loaded with people who are accustomed to being in charge of large organizations. Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee were governors of their states of Massachusetts and Arkansas, Rudy Giuliani served as the mayor of New York, and John McCain, as he likes to remind audiences, commanded the largest squadron in the Navy air wing. (link)
Tough choice:

On the one hand - Governors. Mayors. Assistant Attorneys General. Navy wing commanders.

On the other - Cookie baker. Cocaine user.

I don't know. I just don't know ...

Chuckle Of The Day

After offering up dozens of editorials in recent years demanding that Congress tie the president's hands in every which way (war-making powers, data mining, eavesdropping, executive appointments, internal White House communications, Guantanamo ...), the New York Times today gives us this:

Don’t Tie the Next President’s Hands

These guys crack me up.

Yeah, But They'll Be Back

Analysis of Michigan primary returns reveals the fact that Hillary's recent disparagement of Martin Luther King's legacy (and make no mistake; it was) is having a sweeping impact within the black community:
Potentially troubling news for Clinton in Michigan 'win'
CNN Politics. com

(CNN) — Hillary Clinton faced a grim statistic in Michigan Tuesday night, despite her primary "win" there: results revealed that she may have reason to worry about her grasp on the African-American vote.

Even so, roughly 70 percent of Michigan’s African-American voters — a group that makes up a quarter of Michigan’s Democratic electorate — did not cast their votes for Clinton, choosing the “uncommitted” option instead. Yet these voters weren’t uncommitted at all: in fact, according to CNN exit polls, they overwhelmingly favored Barack Obama, whose name did not appear on the ballot.

Had Obama’s name been on the Michigan ballot, CNN exit polls show that he would have won an overwhelming 73 percent of the African-American vote, in contrast to 22 percent who say they would have voted for Clinton under those circumstances. If South Carolina’s large African-American community votes as Michigan’s, Hillary may not be feeling much ‘southern hospitality’ in that state. (link)
OK, Hillary has hurt herself. But Democratic strategists won't blink an eye when it comes to figuring out a way to retrieve the black vote, should she win the nomination. A TV ad, rednecks in a pickup truck dragging a black man in chains, some quote about Republicans remaining unchanged since the days of "massah and his field hands," and they'll be back.

Talk about a plantation mentality ...

They Won't Go Quietly

Congress is going to put up a fight if the president tries to stop its members from wasting our money on earmarks. And sadly, both political parties will be there challenging him:

Bush earmarks plan roils Dems, fractures GOP
By Kevin Bogardus and Manu Raju, The Hill


The leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee are calling on President Bush to back away from threats to kill funding for lawmakers’ pet projects.

The pre-emptive warnings from the top Democrat and Republican on the panel are the clearest signs yet that President Bush could face a bipartisan backlash if he uses his executive authority to wipe out the more than $7 billion in earmarks.

Bush signed the fiscal 2008 spending legislation into law shortly after Christmas Day, but has indicated he might direct officials at federal agencies to ignore the nearly 9,000 member projects written in the bill’s report language.

A spokesman for Senate Appropriations Chairman Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) accused the Bush administration of hypocrisy ...

Byrd’s counterpart, ranking Republican Thad Cochran (Miss.), agrees that such a plan would hinder the appropriations process. (link)


A pox on both their houses.

Out of the Mouths of ... Catholics

This comes as no surprise. I offer it up to illustrate the fact that, when it comes to the print and television media, nothing has changed. Those who participate are still considered anti-American commie pinkos. And deservedly so.

A study:
AMERICANS SLAM NEWS MEDIA ON BELIEVABILITY
Sacred Heart University News

Americans see:

● Growing media attempts to influence public opinion and policies
● Poor quality
● A strong liberal bent in most media
● Fox News, CNN and NBC as the most accurate


Fairfield, Conn.—A Sacred Heart University Poll found significantly declining percentages of Americans saying they believe all or most of media news reporting. In the current national poll, just 19.6% of those surveyed could say they believe all or most news media reporting. This is down from 27.4% in 2003. Just under one-quarter, 23.9%, in 2007 said they believe little or none of reporting while 55.3% suggested they believe some media news reporting.

“The fact that an astonishing percentage of Americans see biases and partisanship in their mainstream news sources suggests an active and critical consumer of information in the U.S.” stated James Castonguay, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of SHU’s Department of Media Studies & Digital Culture. “The availability of alternative viewpoints and news sources through the Internet no doubt contributes to the increased skepticism about the objectivity of profit-driven news outlets owned by large conglomerates,” he continued.

The perception is growing among Americans that the news media attempts to influence public opinion – from 79.3% strongly or somewhat agreeing in 2003 to 87.6% in 2007. (link)
On that last point, I remember long ago some TV talk show hosting several successful women from different professions and from various points around the country. One of them was then-ABC News reporter/anchor Carole Simpson*. One of the questions she was asked by an audience member had to do with the reason for her having gotten into journalism. Her reply (in so many words): "To make the world a better place."

Journalism - a tool to affect social change.

It's been downhill for this bunch since that mindset took hold in the 60's and 70's.

- - -

Carole Simpson made the news not long ago when she announced her endorsement of Hillary Clinton. Nothing changes.

This Was Inevitable

You can't take a barrel of oil from $16 to $100 (with it settling back into the low 90's range in recent days) and not have this occur:

Gas, Food Spur Inflation Jump in 2007

Interestingly both food and fuel cost increases can be attributed to the dramatic rise in oil prices. However, food prices rose mostly due to government meddling in the marketplace (see ethanol story).

Where will it all end?