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

Sunday, January 27, 2008

We Don't Need No Stinking Jobs

I usually try to avoid commenting on letters written to newspaper editors, though it often proves to be a target-rich environment. But this one I just can't ignore.

A friend of the earth living up in Salem proves himself to be an enemy of the people of the coalfields. And, as is usually the case, he's calling for their economic ruin for their own good.

For the love of God, I can't deal with this:

Boucher needs to wean district off coal

I listened recently to Rep. Rick Boucher's interview on WVTF as he made the case for increased federal investment in clean coal technologies.

Yes, we want jobs, economic development and clean energy. It is worth noting though that there are also substantial economic opportunities in the development of solar energy technologies -- although probably not for the same corporations that have supported Boucher's campaigns over the years.

I can't help but wonder how a municipality that has its own electric utility wouldn't make its future brighter, cleaner and more economically viable by investing aggressively in the free energy of the future. Imagine our competitive advantage if we could tell the companies we hope to lure here, "come to Southwest Virginia where the energy we consume is 100 percent renewable and free from nasty collateral damage, the air is clear, we can eat the fish we catch without worry, and we can travel our region without witnessing the atrocities of mountaintop removal coal mining." (link)

Atrocities? Are you serious? Down this way, and outside the big city, we call that surface mining rural landscape beautification.

And you want us all to what? Switch to ... solar energy? Are you nuts? Pal, if it was going to have been a viable alternative to coal and nuclear and hydro, it would have spread beyond pocket calculator technology long before now.

Then there's that silly "... where the energy we consume is 100 percent renewable" line. If you want to get real about 100% renewable energy sources (and not be talking about calculators), you'd be advocating the use of wood-burning (and corn-burning) fireplaces. They are the only true "renewable" energy sources. But then those animated Disney movies (or was it Judy Garland's "Somewhere over the rainbow"?) from which you have developed your theories probably never went into a great deal of detail on the subject.

The mindset of today's (comfortably employed) environmentalist: "Yes, we want jobs, but quit the shorted-sighted thinking." Like gas in the car and food on the table should be long-term goals.

I can feel my wheaties churning.

Gun Show 'Loophole' Reality

From David Adams:
What the gun-ban lobby and many in the media refer to when discussing this non-existent loophole is the fact that federal law allows private individuals who do not engage in the business of selling firearms to sell firearms from their personal collection without the requirement of the buyer undergoing a background check. Sometimes these individuals show up at a gun show to sell one or two of their guns.

Unfortunately, it is rare to read a report about gun shows where the reporter gets it right. That is probably not really his fault. Unless the average reporter is also a firearms enthusiast or recreational shooter, he probably does not visit many gun shows. Thus, he simply relies on information he is fed by people he interviews, and sometimes this information is less than accurate.

The fact is, existing laws apply at gun shows just the same as any other place guns are sold. Further, contrary to what has been written on many other state editorial pages since the beginning of the General Assembly, and even uttered by the former superintendent of the State Police, the overwhelming majority of guns offered for sale are from federally licensed dealers. Those pushing the gun-show bill have said on more than one occasion that between 22 percent and 35 percent of the vendors at gun shows are private sellers. The only way one can arrive at that figure is if you include all of the T-shirt, book, novelty, and hot sauce vendors in the calculation.

Besides frequenting gun shows for recreation, I have worked many shows recruiting volunteers to assist the campaigns of pro-Second Amendment candidates. Rather than the private individual plopping down $45 to rent a table on the weekend to sell one or two guns, I more often see the occasional guy walking in with a rifle or shotgun over his shoulder with a "for sale" sign in the barrel. And, more often than not, the same guy walks out the door an hour later carrying the gun, as he found no takers for his wares.
"The 'Gun-Show Loophole'," Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 27, 2008

Uh Oh

A red flag?
Holding on to Advance Auto Parts
Roanoke Times editorial

The decision by new Advance Auto Parts CEO Darren Jackson to hire three former Best Buy executives may give some hint of the business approach he'll bring to the auto parts and accessories retailer.

But the fact that all three, in addition to coming from Best Buy like Jackson, also live in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area should give Roanoke area economic development officials even more cause for concern that Advance, the only Fortune 500 company based here, might eventually defect from the region.

Jackson already announced that he would soon start working from a new regional office the company plans to open in Minneapolis.

Roanoke officials need to do some serious courting of Jackson and his leadership team. They need to actively sell the region and its work force.

Advance officials have said the corporate headquarters will remain in Roanoke, but that assurance should not lead to complacency, especially when so many signs point to a different outcome. (link)
Barring a bidding war erupting between Minnesota officials and those here in Virginia who might want to provide a slew of tax breaks and assorted other incentives to the company, there is no compelling reason for AAP executives to move the headquarters location to the cold confines of a harsh and inhospitable Minneapolis (okay, that was my feeble effort at "selling" them on the idea of staying put).

But this wouldn't be the first time a stupid decision was based on a stupid notion.

So be forewarned. Be on guard.

This Crazy Country Of Ours ...

... where Barack Obama is somehow considered a "black man."

George Will explains:
The conventions that govern America's racial discourse derive from the odious "one drop" rule. According to it, anyone with any admixture of black ancestry -- one drop of black "blood" -- is black. So, ["black" activist Ward] Connerly is an African American. One of his grandparents was of African descent, one was Irish, a third was Irish and American Indian, and the fourth was French Canadian. Two of the grandchildren of Connerly and his Irish wife have a Vietnamese mother. Are these grandchildren African Americans?

Will the superstitions surrounding race ever fade away? Not before governance is cleansed of the sort of race-based policies opposed by Connerly, who intimately knows the increasing absurdity of racial classifications and the folly of government preferences based on them. (link)
The Nazis in the 1930's made a science of all this, by the way, something that should tell you how far we've progressed.

To Will's point, Barack Obama's "white" mother must scratch her head every time she hears her son being called a black man and wonder how it came to be that, after all these years, we have not yet gotten to the point where we can judge a man by the content of his character and not by (a portion of) his genetic makeup.

I Have To Admit ...

... this to be true.

Despite the tears flowing down Paula's cheeks (okay, I got a little misty-eyed too) as we watched Eli Manning make Brett Favre and our beloved Green Bay Packers look like chumps in the recent NFC playoff, we are both in this category now:

This Is Our Country
By Steve Serby, The New York Post

Because everybody loves the underdog, everybody except those misguided souls who harbor an anti-New York bias, an ESPN poll this week tallied 59 percent of the country rooting for the Giants.

Tough town. Tough team.

New York's team.

Tough country. Tough team.

America's team. (link)

It'll take a miracle, but ... GO Eli!

Quote Of The Day

Attributed to Republican presidential candidate John McCain, the subject - illegal immigration and border security:

"By the way, I think the fence is least effective. But I'll build the [expletive] fence if they want it."


Marching Toward Oblivion

You know that Episcopal Church that has seen its membership plummet in recent years and certain of its congregations break away over the issue of homosexual bishops and siding with a more traditional wing of the Anglican Communion? Seems the leadership of the church hasn't gotten the message:

You're supposed to be about God, stupid!

Instead, we witness a church of defiance. Resistance. Anti-American resentment.

This'll sure fill the pews, fellas:

Episcopal church agrees to 'resist' illegal alien laws
By Julia Duin, The Washington Times

Virginia Episcopalians tangled over immigration yesterday, finally passing a resolution committing the 86,000-member diocese to resisting the "criminalization of persons providing humanitarian assistance to migrants."

Meeting at the Reston Hyatt for their annual council meeting, Episcopalians passionately debated whether they should "resist legislation and actions that violate our fundamental beliefs as Christians."

The resolution, "Working for a Just and Humane Legal Immigration Policy," also includes a provision that the council "opposes recent efforts by some local governments within our diocese to implement policies that deny rights, privileges and services to immigrants." (link)

I wish they hadn't brought Christ into this. He is, after all, an afterthought to these people. Theirs is a social movement, not a church. Christ plays no part in their decision-making, only political calculation does.

My reaction? Whatever. Through their crafty machinations, they've made themselves irrelevant anyway. Let them play.

Where Once Redemption & The Pathway To Heaven Were Preached

Bishop conveys message of activism

A Book I Intend To Read

War had its staggeringly profound effect on the nation in the years 1861 through 1865. That effect was felt most acutely in the hundreds of thousands of homes where the relatives of young sons, of fathers, even grandfathers, dealt with the tragedy of knowing that their loved ones were gone forever. Killed on the battlefield or died in a far-away hospital. Three quarters of a million of them.

Of those, some untold thousands simply vanished from the face of the earth, never to be heard from again.

The sense of unfathomed grief and the compelling need for mourning would last for many years after the war ended, resulting in - consecrated in - the creation of what we know today as Memorial Day.

The lament that arose was particularly palpable in the South, where nearly every household experienced the death of a family member. In many cases, the deaths of several family members. All told, a generation of southern men ceased to exist.

A new book on the subject has been released: "THIS REPUBLIC OF SUFFERING:
Death and the American Civil War
," by Drew Gilpin Faust.

I'll be looking for it.

McCain Is Desperate

It's getting painful to watch:

McCain Goes on Offensive in Tight Race in Florida
By Michael Luo and John M. Broder, The New York Times

Sun City Center, Fla.— Senator John McCain stepped up his attacks on his Republican rival Mitt Romney on Saturday, accusing him of once wanting to withdraw from Iraq and likening him to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in his approach to the conflict.

In response, Mr. Romney lashed back, saying Mr. McCain was being “dishonest,” and demanded that he apologize.

At a town-hall-style meeting later in Sun City Center, a retirement community, Mr. McCain reiterated his accusation.

“My friends, I was there — he said he wanted a timetable for withdrawal,” Mr. McCain said.

The charge appears to be misleading. The McCain campaign pointed to remarks Mr. Romney made last year in which he said he believed that President Bush and Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq should have “a series of timetables and milestones” that they discussed among themselves but did not announce publicly.

But Mr. Romney has not called for setting a date for withdrawal. (link)

I read the other day Bill Clinton's comment that John McCain and Hillary are "very close." In many ways, it now appears.

Hillary Is Toast

Obama is on a roll.

At least until the next primary returns come in.

The Russians Were The First In Space ...

... perhaps because they took a different approach to the project. We sent chimps up in sub-orbital capsules; they sent ... human guinea pigs:
Gagarin was not the first cosmonaut

As 40 years have passed since Gagarin’s flight, new sensational details of this event were disclosed: Gagarin was not the first man to fly to space. Three Soviet pilots died in attempts to conquer space before Gagarin's famous space flight, Mikhail Rudenko, senior engineer-experimenter with Experimental Design Office 456 (located in Khimki, in the Moscow region) said on Thursday. According to Rudenko, spacecraft with pilots Ledovskikh, Shaborin and Mitkov at the controls were launched from the Kapustin Yar cosmodrome (in the Astrakhan region) in 1957, 1958 and 1959. "All three pilots died during the flights, and their names were never officially published," Rudenko said. (link)
We may never see this story validated, but it fits the Soviet narrative of those years. Citizens of the USSR (Russian, Ukrainian, Uzbhek, Latvian, Mongol, ...), from the days after the overthrow of the czar, were nothing more than cannon fodder in World Wars I and II and human chattel to be relocated or eliminated in the various gosplans that were churned out by the bureaucracies and in the many political purges that took place over those years. People were a means to an end. A communist workers' paradise. An end that was never realized. A "means" that brought about the demise of tens of millions of innocent lives.

It would do our children and grandchildren well to be taught the lessons learned in this shameful period of human history.

I'll Bet That Hurt

Power tools and their unintended cnsequences ...

Click twice on the triangle to activate.