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

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Exodus Continues

An article in this morning's Roanoke Times ("Roanoke population signals rebound") that reveals an interesting population trend in the city of Roanoke also points to another ongoing trend - the depopulation of much of the rest of Southwest (and Southside) Virginia.

From the latest demographic study (cited by the Times article) coming out of The Weldon Cooper Center For Public Service:

Metro Areas Gain, Rural Counties Lose Population
Final 2006 and Provisional 2007 Population Estimates for Virginia

Virginia’s population reached 7.7 million on July 1, 2007, increasing by more than 633,000 new residents since the 2000 Census. The Commonwealth has the 12th largest population in the nation. While Virginia’s population continues to increase annually, the growth rate has declined in recent years.

The pattern of population change in Virginia is dramatically uneven throughout the state. A relatively small number of very fast growing localities in and around Virginia’s three major metropolitan areas fuel the Commonwealth’s population increases.

Since 2000, 31 counties and cities lost population, primarily older central cities (Richmond, Petersburg, Portsmouth, and Roanoke) and rural localities in Southside and Southwest Virginia. (link)
A map that illustrates the continuing population shift:

Here, courtesy of the Weldon Cooper Center, is a chart of the fastest growing - and fastest shrinking - regions in the state:

As that saying goes: Will the last person leaving the area please turn the lights out?

Map and chart courtesy of The Univeraity of Virginia's Weldon Cooper Center For Public Service.

Does It Pass The Smell Test?

The president and vice president of the Wise County Chamber of Commerce have written a letter to the Roanoke Times in which they extol the virtues of that "unusual treasure" that existed in their county - the High Knob Observation Tower that arsonists torched last year (see "High Knob tower is worth the price") - and contend that it should be rebuilt, partially at taxpayer expense. Because of its ... value to the area's burgeoning tourism industry.

Before I go further, see the post above that reveals - once again - the flow of human beings out of the area because of a lack of economic vitality and a glaring absence of jobs.

The pair do indeed make a reasonable argument ...

... until they cite a deviously deceptive state study to support their argument:
According to the Virginia Tourism Corp., in 2006, this regional tourism area, which includes Wise, Lee and Scott counties, posted a 8.9 percent increase over 2005. Making Virginia's top 15 list is the city of Norton, with a 9.8 percent change in 2006 on total tourism expenditures of nearly $14.6 million.
As you now know, if you regularly read this weblog, that Virginia Tourism Corp. "report" isn't a tourism study at all. The VTC goes out of its way to call it a "travel" study and makes the point that it wasn't intended to be used for the purpose of drawing inferences relating to tourism ("The word tourism is avoided in this report because of its vague meaning ...") - even though every politician in the commonwealth (along with most every newspaper editor) used it for just that.

In truth, the study can more appropriately be called a "commerce" study (constructed upon wildly precarious assumptions and the weakest of data) and is nothing more.

But then that wouldn't serve the purposes of either those who fashioned it (the tourism cheerleaders at the Virginia Tourism Corp.) or those who use it to bolster arguments intended to make people in Southwest Virginia believe that somehow the tourism industry is turning this region's economic circumstances around.

Just one more hiking trail, one more observation tower, success will be ours ...

I again refer you to the demographic trend that continues to play out - cited above. If this plan were succeeding - if we were seeing all these tourists flocking to the area that these politicians claim - then wouldn't we be seeing growth? Rather than precipitate decline?

This is getting really annoying.

Bon Voyage

The conservative movement shuddered in shock and disbelief shrugged when this news hit the wires:

Davis joins House GOP exodus

Prospects for a more conservative Congress just heightened.

Quote Of The Day

This will make you scratch your head:

"Voters have been telling pollsters that they want 'change' in this election, but two consummate Washington insiders — Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and John McCain — are the presidential front-runners of the moment."

"'Change'-hungry voters shun Washington 'outsiders'," Ralph Z. Hallow, The Washington Times, January 31, 2008

David Souter Redux

It is to our everlasting shame that the most liberal member of the United States Supreme Court was put there by a Republican senator from New Hampshire and a Republican president from Kennebunkport.

Are we about to be disgraced again? It sure looks like it:
GOP Judge Dread
By Robert D. Novak, The New York Post

January 31, 2008 -- As John McCain neared his momentous primary election victory in Florida after a ferocious campaign questioning his conservative credentials, right-wingers buzzed over word that he had privately suggested that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was too conservative. In response, Sen. McCain recalled saying no such thing and added Alito was a "magnificent" choice. In fact, multiple sources confirm his negative comments about Alito nine months ago. (link)
Does Ruth Bader Ginsburg have a twin sister? Guess we'll find out.

On 'Two Americas' & All That

Regarding John Edwards's failure to capture the imaginations of his new-found friends in the 9th Ward of New Orleans:

"His exceptional weakness among African-Americans, in 2008 as in 2004, provides a cautionary tale about the breadth of appeal of 'populism.'”

"Netroots Unplugged," Chris Suellentrop, The New York Times, January 30, 2008

Bob Dole Rushes To Victory!

Like Giuliani, New York G.O.P. Rushes to McCain

Looks Like I'm Not Alone

It appears that the strategy that I intend to adopt when I enter the voting booth in November (should current trends prevail) is going to be deployed by others as well. Glenn Reynolds has posted an email response from one of his readers to an earlier weblog post he'd put up regarding John McCain:
Long time daily reader, first time writer. I have noticed the Fred Thompson comments as well; file under "You Don't Know What You Got 'Til It's Gone". For the record, not only did I donate to his campaign, I went door to door to get signatures so he could be on the ballot here in Ohio and my wife was a state delegate to boot. I have been wondering who to support since Fred dropped out of the race and I am now fairly certain that I am going to vote for Fred anyway. Screw John McCain!
Well, I'd never tell McCain to go screw himself. In public anyway. But I appreciate the sentiment. And the man's intentions.

Here's to the write-in ballot!

Headline Of The Day

Regarding that candidate who wants to be the leader of the free world and the next commander-in-chief of the mightiest fighting force the world has ever known:

Clinton Says She Can Control Her Husband

That'll be a start ...

Freedom For Me, Not For Thee

This is typical of the radical left. They will fight to protect your right to free speech. As long as you say nothing they disagree with. From a Move America Forward press release:

City Calls Marines “Unwelcome Intruders”

San Francisco – The City of Berkeley, California has passed two resolutions attacking the United States Marine Corps, calling the Marines, “uninvited and unwelcome intruders in the city.”

The Berkeley City Council voted to condemn the Marines on Tuesday night (January 29th) as part of a campaign by anti-war activists to shut down a U.S. Marine Recruiting Center located in the city of Berkeley.

The actions by the Berkeley City Council followed continuous protests by Code Pink and other anti-military organizations that vandalized and defaced the U.S. Marine Recruiting Center in September 2007.

One of the two resolutions passed by the Berkeley City Council last night granted a parking spot in front of the Marine Recruiting Center to be used by anti-military activists to harass Marine recruiters. The anti-military activists would not need to apply for a sound permit for the next six months – allowing them free reign to disrupt the day-to-day operations by the Marines. (link)

Move America Forward has posted this in response:

The people of Berkeley have always been a disgrace to this nation. I don't know why the good men and women of the Marine Corps even try to work with them. Still, there's the larger point to be made, one having to do with the pledge we maintain to protect their sorry asses ...

John Edwards Drops Ou...

... oh, never mind.

Vermont Town Becomes Laughingstock

Ever wonder where all those 60's hippies went to die of old age?

It would appear that Brattleboro, Vermont is now retirement central for those who hit the bong a few too many times and went "trippin'" on LSD more than they should have.

And now, after having fried far too many brain cells, they're making themselves look like fools.

Consider this: The Select Board of Brattleboro must have solved all the town's problems, and thus has lots of time on its hands to engage (in the above and ...) in developing dopey resolutions that only make the members thereof look like burned out flower children grandparents. And, in doing so, they've made themselves and the residents of their town the laughingstock of the nation:

Vermont anti-Bush petition lambasted
By John Curran, Associated Press Writer

Brattleboro, Vt. - A town petition making President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney subject to arrest for crimes against the Constitution has triggered a barrage of criticism from people who say residents are "wackjobs" and "nuts."

In e-mail messages, voicemail messages and telephone calls, outraged people are calling the measure the equivalent of treason and vowing never to visit Vermont.

"Has everyone up there been out in the cold too long?" said one.

"I would like to know how I could get some water from your town," said another. "It's obvious that there is something special in it."

News of the measure made the rounds on the Internet, and soon people started calling and writing. The Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce got about 60 e-mails Monday, all of them negative, said Executive Director Jerry Goldberg. (
I'm inclined to schedule a trip to Brattleboro, just to get a look at - and take a few photos of - the loons living there. On the other hand, why encourage the aged hippies who decided to live out the final years of their lives in their world of delusion peace and solitude.

Consider my trip cancelled. Forever.

- - -

Update 04:40am: A link to this post was sent to the Brattleboro Chamber of Commerce in hopes that cooler heads will prevail. If any exist.